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Religion Library: Scientology

Sacred Narratives

Written by: J. Gordon Melton

While Scientologists have an understanding of cosmic history, they build their sacred universe around their vision of the future when the aberrations that weigh down human life and cause the great social ills -- from war and crime to drug addiction and simple human unhappiness -- will be erased and the spiritual essence of the individual will be free to assert itself.

For Scientologists, L. Ron Hubbard was the person who discovered the way out of the human predicament, and as the founder of the church of Scientology he deserves the accolades they place upon him.Though not formally trained (he was a college drop-out), he was a genius destined to do great things outside the box of the academic world.In an age of specialization, he was the Renaissance man who did everything -- he wrote music, he thought deeply on the best way to educate the current generation, he explored unknown lands, he elucidated the way to properly organize any endeavor, and he was a philosopher and ethicist who proposed a workable ethical code for contemporary society.Along the way he promoted the arts, served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and became a successful fiction writer -- all quite apart from his crowning achievement:discovering Scientology and establishing the structure to deliver it to humankind.

The many stories of Hubbard's accomplishments reach back into his childhood and youth where he encountered the Blackfoot people and learned of Native American ways, traveled to the far east and met with learned teachers, and explored island cultures in the south Pacific and Caribbean.Another set of stories concern his interaction with the medical and psychological community.These reach back to his childhood encounter with Joseph C. Thompson (an office in the Navy's Medical Corps who had studied with Sigmund Freud), his observations of the problems doctors had in treating war veterans, and the closed-minded refusal of the medical and psychiatric establishment to recognize Scientology for the breakthrough it was.Hubbard's life is celebrated in a series of booklets, the Ron Series, each volume of which highlights one aspect of his life.

The stories of Hubbard's accomplishments blend into the accounts of the movement's success in spreading Hubbard's thought to humanity.The church sees itself as the wave of the future, and believes that, like its founder, it is overcoming obstacles because it has the Ultimate Truth that humankind will accept as soon as it takes the time to consider it and test it out.Though still relatively new and small, its history is punctuated with forward movement and an annual set of accomplishments, spoken of as "wins" for the cause.The wins begin with the publication of Dianetics: The New Science of Mental Health, and its sudden movement on to the bestseller list. The movement grew spectacularly in its first decade, sweeping through the English-speaking world and then jumping the language barrier.Step-by-step, while Hubbard was alive, the full content of Scientology teachings were released, and in the years since, the church has continued to grow and expand worldwide.


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