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The religion of Scientology was developed by Lafayette Ronald Hubbard, an American philosopher and writer (1911-1986). It offers a precise path leading to a complete and certain understanding of one’s true spiritual nature and one’s relationship to self, family, groups, Mankind, all life forms, the material universe, the spiritual universe and the Supreme Being.
The religion addresses the spirit - not the body or mind - and believes that Man is far more than a product of his environment, or his genes.
Scientology comprises a body of knowledge which extends from certain fundamental truths. Prime among these are:
1 - Man is an immortal spiritual being;
2 - his experience extends well beyond a single lifetime; and
3 - his capabilities are unlimited, even if not presently realized.
Scientology further holds Man to be basically good and that spiritual salvation depends upon the individual, his fellows and his attainment of brotherhood with the universe.
While Dianetics evolved into the religion of Scientology throughout 1952, it was not until 1954 that the first Church of Scientology was founded in Los Angeles, California.
Today, the Church claims to have more than 11,000 churches, missions and social betterment groups in over 167 countries and territories, and its social and administrative acceptance by international organizations and governments steadily increases despite the sometimes harsh criticism that continues to be directed at the Church.
Scientology-related entities are divided organizationally into groups, missions, churches (at local, regional and national levels) and advanced organization churches (continental). Each one of them is legally and financially independent and they are ecclesiastically advised by Continental Liaison Offices (the European one being in Copenhagen). At a higher level the Church of Scientology International (Los Angeles CA, USA) gives training, support and ecclesiastical advice to all of them for the correct application of Scientology doctrines and administrative policies.
Scientologists are united by the Creed of the Church of Scientology, included in the book "The Background, Ministry, Ceremonies & Sermons of the Scientology Religion", and share the goals of building "a civilization without insanity, without criminals and without war, where the able can prosper and honest beings may have rights, and where Man is free to rise greater heights" READ MORE
It may seem safe to say that every religious movement, in its beginnings, has been viewed with suspicion by the factional powers of the various countries and empires, and with Scientology the same has been true, having overcome various barriers to the point that the European Court of Human Rights has had to pronounce itself in a final judgment on the right of Scientologists and Scientology Churches to be treated like any other religion (see Church of Scientology Moscow v. Russia, Application no. 18147/02 - JUDGMENT 5 April 2007, available at http://hudoc.echr.coe.int)
Scientology operates within the European Union under the legislation of each country, and while there is no single system of religious recognition, it has managed over the years to be accepted and recognized by administrative, fiscal and judicial decisions throughout the Union and continental Europe.
Note for the reader: the World Religion Database does not include data on Scientology's religious demographics.
References can be found in
Lewis, J. R. (2009). Scientology. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Lewis, J. R., & Hellesøy, K. (eds.) (2017). Handbook of Scientology. Leiden: Brill
Urban, H. B. (2011). The Church of Scientology: A History of a New Religion. Princeton: Princeton University Press
Further information is available at