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Religion Library: Scientology

Sacred Texts

Written by: J. Gordon Melton

Throughout the latter part of the 20th century, Hubbard's major books were reprinted and new editions issued (and translations made into major languages). As the main books were reprinted, additional writings by Hubbard were added to the books; thus what began as relatively small volumes were gradually transformed into large textbooks by the beginning of the 21st century.

As early as the 1960s, people began to apply Hubbard's teachings in new and interesting directions, which resulted in further publications. In 1966, for example, William Benitez, a prison inmate, began to apply Scientology to his particular challenges-he was a drug addict and habitual criminal.His use of Hubbard's material to free himself from his habit led to the development of the Narconon anti-drug program, the first of a variety of auxiliary Scientology organizations that pushed Hubbard's teachings in new directions. As these programs developed, new materials were published, authored, and edited by others though they were based on Hubbard's writings and teachings.These materials go beyond the actual Hubbard canon, but are nonetheless treated with respect by church members.

The year 2000 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the original publication of Dianetics, and a special anniversary edition of the book was issued along with an announcement that it had been translated into some fifty languages.

In 2007, David Miscavage, Hubbard's successor as leader of the Church of Scientology, made a dramatic announcement to a large gathering of church members in Clearwater, Florida.He described an effort that had been pursued quietly within the church for a number of years based upon the discovery of a variety of errors in Hubbard's books, errors introduced in the early transcription and editing of the different volumes.As a result, the church had thoroughly reedited all the books based upon the surviving original manuscripts.The effort had culminated in a complete new set of Hubbard's books, with a set of eighteen books, fourteen lecture series, and 280 lectures presented as "The Basics." Members were invited to turn in their old editions and acquire the new editions and begin reading them in chronological order.

Study Questions:
     1.    What are the influential texts of Scientology? Should they be considered sacred? Why or why not?
     2.    How did Hubbard ensure followers would remain faithful to his teachings?
     3.    Why did Hubbard publish so many texts about Scientology?
     4.    Who is David Miscavage? How did he influence Scientology's texts?


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