Towards the end of the twentieth century, the Church of Scientology emerged as one of the largest, and most controversial new religious movements of modern time. The teachings of founder L. Ron Hubbard in the 1950’s at first were successful with the emergence of Dianetics, but endured a vast amount of criticism nationally. Dianetics and the auditing process have been prohibited, as well as the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard all over the world. Due to the negative portrayal from the media and the public, “Scientology has grown into a large international, ecclesiastical body with centers in almost half the countries of the world” (Melton 53). Not only has the church given others a “spiritual and optimistic perspective on life” (Melton 53), but also it has given thousands of people a second chance in life freeing them from past traumatic experiences. This paper will critically examine both an insider perspective, as well as an outsider perspective of Scientology, to better understand the Church of Scientology and its social teachings.
The Church of Scientology is heavily analyzed in the online publications, media, and former members of the new religious movement. It is very uncommon to see former or members speak positively about their experience with the church. Scientology has made headlines because of the involvement of celebrities such as Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Kristie Alley. Scientology recruits celebrities for the following reasons:
“To recruit the masses, to endorse L. Ron Hubbard's teachings, to give Scientology greater acceptability in mainstream America and to forward Scientology's secret goals of world control. It also helps hide, deflect, and overcome Scientology's horrendous public relations problems is understandable” (Fact Net).
John Travolta and Tom Cruise promote the philosophy behind Scientology and the benefits they have personally gained from the church. Travolta says, “It’s nice to know you can be a cause of your life as well as an effect. I don't get upset as easily as I used to. I don't think I could have handled my success as well without it" (Fact Net). Travolta also promotes that Scientology actually “rids you of your stresses and pain as opposed to an advisory or recommendation of how to live” (Gray). He believes that L. Ron Hubbard has resolved the “human mind as in human pain” (Gray). Another inside perspective from a non-celebrity that advocates and promotes the Church of Scientology is an ex-member who identifies himself as Bernie but does not disclose his real name for privacy and protection. Regardless of the fact that he is not currently a member he talks about five positive aspects of the religion. The first positive aspect of the Church of Scientology is spiritual affects a member gains. Bernie states that it allows you, “to have the potential to create powerful effects that are felt by the person to be highly spiritual” (Another look at Scientology). The high levels of spirituality are what motivate...