Saturday, February 23, 2008

A religion for the 21st century: Scientology

Great story about Dianetics and Scientology in the North County Times!
What We Believe: The Church of Scientology
Questions of faith and religion aren't usual topics of Hollywood buzz. Drug use, infidelity, weight and cosmetic surgical procedures are.But any tidbit about the Church of Scientology or its high-profile celebrity believers seem to be the exception, attracting attention at every turn.

First there was the controversy in Germany, which in December declared Scientology unconstitutional and banned it. Then there was the release of Andrew Morton's unauthorized biography of actor Tom Cruise, which coincided with the broadcast of a nine-minute video of Cruise extolling the virtues of the faith, viewed by millions of people around the world before it was pulled from YouTube.

But more than material for late-night talk hosts, the Church of Scientology is the belief system of more than 3.5 million Americans, including more than 18,000 people in the San Diego area, according to Dave Meyer, president of the Church of Scientology of San Diego.
Scientology has been called by some the only major new religion to emerge in the 20th century with no heritage from any mainstream Judeo-Christian faiths. Nor is it connected with the churches of Christian Science or Religious Science. Others, however, say Scientology is not a religion because of its methods, including the practice of charging for some of its services.
'We so respect him'
Scientology grew out of a best-selling book called "Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health," published in 1950. The book includes a concept of God expressed as the urge toward existence as infinity or the supreme being.
The author of "Dianetics" was L. Ron Hubbard, a filmmaker, aviator, adventurer, photographer, philosopher and expert mariner. The founder of the Church of Scientology, he is considered a genius by his followers.
Among those followers are Kathy and Ed Marsh of Escondido. The library in their guesthouse is home to thousands of first edition and signed volumes, many written by Hubbard. The room also contains pieces of Hubbard memorabilia that Ed Marsh, a Scientologist since 1969, has collected over the years, such as a package of Hubbard's favorite Kool cigarettes and his early aviator helmet.
But Scientology is not about worshipping Hubbard, said Meyer, who has been the president of the Church of Scientology of San Diego for the last two years.
"We so respect him (Hubbard) for his deeds and accomplishments ... and for his caring factor," said Meyer.>>

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