A Brief History
On February 18, 1954 Los Angeles, California hosted the establishment of a new religion.
Digging deeper, we find The Church of Scientology founded in December of 1953 and its first church located two months later in L.A..
Founder L. Ron Hubbard (Lafayette Ronald Hubbard) was a science fiction writer and a self-help proponent of his system he called Dianetics. Hubbard’s best known science fiction story is Battlefield Earth, which was also made into a movie starring church member John Travolta.
Prior to succeeding with Dianetics and science fiction, Hubbard served in the U.S. Navy in World War II. According to church documents, he served in combat all over the world, was severely wounded and highly decorated, having commanded a flotilla as “commodore.”
Navy records indicate otherwise, with Hubbard only briefly going to Australia and spending the rest of the war in the continental United States. Having briefly commanded a small vessel twice, Hubbard was relieved of command both times, once for accidentally leaving U.S. waters and shelling an occupied Mexican island for “practice!” If that is not cracked enough, Hubbard also claimed he once lowered the American flag on his ship and tied up at a Japanese port, not noticed by the Japanese while he walked around for a few days!
Scientology accounts claim Hubbard was a great explorer, war hero, and nuclear physicist among other things, and that he wrote the screenplay for the movieStagecoach, although critics claim that these assertions are false. There is enough written about that for you to decide for yourself. (We do not take sides.)
Scientology counts famous actors John Travolta, Tom Cruise and Gloria Swanson among its adherents, and has gone as far as to initiate Project Celebrityto recruit famous people into the church.
Controversial from the start, Scientology has had and still has strident critics, with many countries refusing their boats entry and refusing to recognize Scientology as a religion. France even indicted Hubbard for fraud.
Hubbard died of a stroke in 1986, but Scientology lives on. There are numerous books about L. Ron Hubbard and about Scientology, and as we do not have the room here to discuss the beliefs, teachings, and controversies, interested people should consult the reading list. We welcome your opinions in our comments!