Church of Scientology

Definition: Scientology
System of beliefs and religion founded by L. Ron Hubbard in the 1950s. It is based on the principles of Dianetics, a form of psychotherapy developed by Hubbard, which uses various techniques for ridding the psyche of painful experiences or engrams.
Fast Facts on Scientology
Adherents 70,000 or several million, depending on the source
History Founded by L. Ron Hubbard, 1954, California
Beliefs God(s) not specified; reality explained in the Eight Dynamics
Practices Auditing, progressing up various levels until "clear". Focus on education and drug recovery programs.
Texts Writings of Hubbard, such as Dianetics and Scientology
Symbols S with two triangles; Scientology cross

The Church of Scientology was founded in 1954 by L. Ron Hubbard, a former science fiction writer. The organization doesn't present itself as a religion, but as a technology that leads people to true spiritual release and freedom.

Scientology does not emphasize particular beliefs about God or other traditional religious topics, yet it calls itself the "Church" of Scientology and presents many of its teachings in spiritual and religious terms.

Scientology has attracted several high-profile celebrities, most famously Tom Cruise and John Travolta, but is also highly controversial, with some regarding it as a dangerous religious cult or deceptive financial scam.