A reclusive multimillionare who preferred to work all night. A man terrified of germs who fought his growing array of ailments with a variety of drugs and massive vitamin injections.
That’s how Time magazine described L. Ron Hubbard–founder of Scientology–back in 1983.
Later, in 1991, Time referred to Scientology as a cult thriving on greed and power.
Here are thirteen facts on quite likely the most lucrative cult in America.
1. In May 1950, Hubbard collected and published many ideas common to Scientology in an article for the magazine Astounding Science Fiction. In the same year he published a systematic presentation of his quasi-psychoterapeutic and religious ideas in a non-fiction book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health.
3. Hubbard insisted Scientology was a religion and in 1953 incorporated the Church of Scientology in New Jersey. To this day Scientology is recognized as a tax-exempt religion in the U. S.
4. From 1966 through 1975, Hubbard lived aboard the Scientology’s floating headquarters, the 300-foot boat Apollo. Hubbard died from a stroke at his ranch aged 74 on January 24, 1986, .
5. Scientology revolves around the idea of the “thetan,” a person’s essential self expressed in the universal force. Thetans existed in the primordial past, created the universe for their own pleasure and fell from grace when they identified with this creation. Thetans also reincarnate.
6. Scientology splits the mind in two: the reactive and the analytical. The reactive side is responsible for emotions while the analytical, consciousness. Think subconscious versus conscious.
7. Important to Scientology is the concept of survival, broken down into eight classifications, individual survival being the most basic. [Note of Maslov’s hierarchy of needs here.]
8. Hubbard believed and taught that the human population was 80% “social personalities” and 20% “anti-social personalities,” the Hitlers, Stalins, Pol Pots, unrepentant murders and drug lords.
9. Through a process known as “auditing” a Scientologists can solve his problems and free himself of engrams–painful and debilitating mental images that can accumulate and cloud a person’s true identity.
10. Scientologists develop spiritually through a process known as “the Bridge to Total Freedom” that involves progressively complex study materials. Donations are required for each course with higher-level courses costing in the thousands.
11. The Church hides higher-levels of mystical teachings to protect unprepared minds and fight against text twisting.
12. Scientology opposes psychiatry, charging it was responsible for World War I, Hitler’s rise, the decline of education in America, the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo and September 11.
13. Tom Cruise is an unequivocal Scientology fanatic, evident in this indoctrination video The Church tried to suppress.
Part of the Quick Facts on Christian Cults series.