Friday, November 18, 2011

Scientology's Expanding Presence (Pt. 1)

My final blog post addresses Scientology and the ideologies that go along with this relatively new religion. Throughout these blog posts, I will be shedding light on their common practices, relating these practices to other religions, and analyzing the system of symbols that are associated with this Church. In this blog particular post, I will cover the background of how Scientology was introduced and some of the problems along with it. The blogs following this will be going into more depth about the religious ideologies that surround Scientology. The Church of Scientology is among the world’s most controversial religions and claims to have millions of members in 165 different countries across the globe. In 1954, Scientology was born from the idea of a science fiction writer, L. Ron Hubbard. In 1950, when L. Ron Hubbard’s book, Dianetics was published, it took the nation by surprise. This term Dianetics refers to a psychological distress theory that Hubbard invented. This theory was poorly received by professionals in the scientific and medical fields [1], especially in the publication of “The American Psychological Association,” which said that these claims could not be supported by firsthand proof. Other criticisms include an article published in Scientific American, saying that LRH’s book Dianetics contained “more promises and less evidence per page that any publication since the invention of printing”.[2] 
As Dianetics groups or cults were spreading across the country, many people were willing to pay for Dianetic therapy; this led to the large sums of money that came into Hubbard’s possession. Organization was lacking and there were no financial strategy of control over the money. Dianetic associates began to resign after watching the organization take in over $90,000 just within a single month and could only account for $20,000 (Reitman 34). The financial accounts of LRH were beginning to look a bit suspicious and a lot of this money was beginning to go missing and unaccounted for. As clearly shown, the foundation of Scientology has been surrounded by much skepticism and seems very shady financially. From Janet Reitman’s book Inside Scientology, Reitman tells readers that, “In the past 15 years Scientology had been involved in more than half a dozen wide scale government investigations around the world, thousands of lawsuits, many of which center on its controversial doctrine and practices” (Reitman).

[1] Staff (August 21, 1950). "Dianetics book review; Best Seller." Newsweek
[2] Rabi, Isaac Isador. "Book Review." Scientific American, January 1951

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