Item Details

The Creation of 'Religious' Scientology


Journal: Religious Studies and Theology

Subject Areas: Religious Studies Buddhist Studies Islamic Studies Biblical Studies

DOI: 10.1558/rsth.v18i2.97


This article traces the evolution of L. Ron Hubbard’s presentation of Dianetics as a mental health science to Scientology as a religion in the 1950s. It shows how Hubbard came to realize that a religious label likely would protect his alleged healing practices from governmental and medical interference, as well as provide him with tax breaks during a period of heightened financial difficulties. Part of the cosmology that Hubbard developed involved descriptions of priests and psychiatrists impeding the ability of soul-like entities (that he called thetans) from realizing their true nature. In tracing how Hubbard developed religious claims out of a reputed psychotherapy, the article clarifies why critics see this development as mere expediency on Hubbard’s part. Nevertheless, Scientologists are unlikely to know, or much care, about these issues from the early days of its movement.

Author: Stephen A. Kent

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