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Religion Library: Scientology

Community Organization

Written by: J. Gordon Melton

Since 1981, all of the churches and Scientology organizations have been brought together under the Church of Scientology International (CSI).CSI provides a visible point of unity and guidance for the individual churches, especially in the area of applying Hubbard's teaching and technology in a uniform fashion.Besides coordinating church growth, CSI has charge of a variety of specialized tasks from handling public relations and overseeing legal affairs to supervising the translation of Scientology texts into different languages.

The highest ecclesiastical structure in the Church of Scientology is the Religious Technology Center, based in southern California.Just as other religious groups seek to maintain orthodoxy, Scientology seeks a high level of uniformity in the application of the processes (including auditing) that it offers to members, what it terms the "spiritual technology."The Religious Technology Center (RTC) has been assigned the task of seeing that the technology is delivered as intended, and it exercises its authority as the formal owner of all Dianetics/Scinentology trademarks and copyrights.The various missions, churches, and other organizations are all autonomous corporations that associate with the larger movement and receive licenses from the RTC to use the church's trademarks, service marks, and copyrights.RTC representatives visit local churches to check on the quality of the services being of¬fered and have the authority to pull the licenses of any church (which would effectively shut it down) in any organization they find that does not meet their standards.

Paralleling the RTC is a little-known additional church organization, the Church of Spiritual Technology (CST), also based in southern California.CST was formed in 1982 to receive the bulk of Hubbard's estate, especially his many writings on Scientology, and to preserve those writings for posterity.The CST staff has taken the preservation mandate very seriously and has overseen the reproduction of all the writings on the most indestructible of materials and placed them in a remote site so they will survive any possible future catastrophe.

The Flag Service Organization, located in Clearwater, Florida, is the largest Scientology center in the world.Over 750 full-time staff members work in its more than thirty buildings.While Clearwater is now home to the largest Scientology complex, the church complex in Hollywood, California is plainly the administrative center.Along Hollywood Boulevard one finds the headquarters of the Church of Scientology International, Scientology Missions International, the International Hubbard Ecclesiastical League of Pastors, the Association for Better Living and Education and its affiliate organizations, the National Commission on Law Enforcement and Social Justice, and Author Services, Inc.A few blocks away, on L. Ron Hubbard Way, off Santa Monica Boulevard, one finds the Los Angeles Advanced Organization, the American Saint Hill Organization, the Los Angeles Church of Scientology, and Scientology's publishing arm, Bridge Publications.Also a part of the Los Angeles complex are the Citizens Commission for Human Rights, the largest of the Celebrity Centers, and one of two offices of the RTC.(The church also owns property just outside Los Angeles at Hemet, California where Golden Era Productions, which produces audio-visual media for the church, the second office of the RTC, and the headquarters of the Church of Spiritual Technology are located.)

Study Questions:
     1.    Could the work of Scientology's missioners be considered proselytizing? Why or why not?
     2.    How does Scientology utilize the arts within its structure?
     3.    What are the Saint Hill Organizations? What is their purpose?
     4.    How does the CSI provide structure to Scientology?
     5.    What is the Religious Technology Center? Why is it important to Scientology's organization?


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