Origins of Scientology
Welcome to the Wikiversity learning project about the Origins of Scientology.
This project is devoted to finding and reviewing reliable sources of information about the origin and early development of Scientology.
project notes: The following information needs to be updated to reflect the latest edits to the cited Wikipedia articles.
- 1 The history of dianetics
- 2 How did Dianetics lead to Scientology?
- 3 When did Scientology start?
- 4 Spiritual/religious aspects made explicit
- 5 Scientology and practicing medicine
- 6 Scientology vs Governments
- 7 References
The history of dianetics
from the History of Dianetics article at Wikipedia
"The ideas of Dianetics originated in unpublished research L. Ron Hubbard supposedly performed in the 1920s and 1930s." <-- Like many statements in Wikipedia, this sentence was introduced to the encyclopedia with no citation. Hubbard would have been 19 in 1930. Claims have been made that by about the age of 12, L. Ron Hubbard began thinking about the topics and issues that would eventually lead to the development of Scientology. Should the thoughts of a growing boy be described as "research"?
"He recorded the results and his conclusions in an unpublished 1938 manuscript, Excalibur, the contents of which formed the basis for some of his later publications." <-- this is a vague statement. Why not describe what the "conclusion" was? The cited reference does not seem very relevant. Is the text of "The Anatomy Of Thought" (Hubbard Communication Office Policy Letter) available?
other Web sources
"at George Washington University.....he set out to determine precisely how the mind functioned." (source)
"1937 cytological experiments" (source)
"a new experimental path.....to determine how cells functioned..... an elaborate series of experiments in early 1938" (source)
Reading after near death experience in 1938 (source)
maybe 1920s and 1930s should be 1930s and 1940s (see)
How did Dianetics lead to Scientology?
From the Scientology article
- In the 1965 edition of Scientology: The Fundamentals of Thought, he added, "Scientology is that branch of psychology which treats or (embraces) human ability. It is an extension of Dianetics which is in itself an extension of old-time faculty-psychology of 400 years ago."
Mentioned in Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health: Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation (cites A Piece of Blue Sky).
1945 "The state of Connecticut passed licensure legislation for psychologists, becoming the first state to recognize psychology as a protected practice oriented profession." (source).
When did New Jersey start to regulate psychologists?
The Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation is described as the target of a law suit by the New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners in 1951 (see Scientology's Relationship With Eastern Religious Traditions).
"The Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation, Inc., was accused of operating a school for treatment of disease without a license in a complaint by the State Board of Medical Examiners" See: New Jersey Starts Action Against Dianetics. The cited law: "No school or college shall be conducted within the State for the purpose of training or qualifying students to practice medicine or surgery or any branch thereof or any method for the treatment of disease or any abnormal physical condition without first securing form the State Board of Medical Examiners a license authorizing it to do so."
"Various groups can also be said to be spin-offs either of academia or religious traditions. Scientology, UFO cults, and certain theistic evolutionist movements can be said to have obtained their roots from scientific, i.e. scholarly, studies, even though the source material may be on the fringes of the academic world or outright poor scholarship."
To what extent can dianetics be called a "religious doctrine"?. Additional description, "Dianetics, a melange of Eastern mysticism, Freudian psychoanalysis, and a fair amount of pseudo-science". "Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, authored in 1950 by L. Ron Hubbard, is the fundamental sacred text of Scientology"....." Negative sentiments are typically implied when the concepts "cult" and "sect" are employed in popular discourse. Since the Religious Movements Homepage seeks to promote religious tolerance and appreciation of the positive benefits of pluralism and religious diversity in human cultures, we encourage the use of alternative concepts that do not carry implicit negative stereotypes."
When did Scientology start?
Hubbard Association of Scientologists International says: HASI was incorporated in 1954 (nonprofit) and cites this webpage as saying it was started as the Hubbard Association of Scientologists (HAS) on 10 September 1952
From the Scientology article
- At Scientology it says: "Scientology is a system of beliefs and practices created by ..... L. Ron Hubbard in 1952 as a self-help philosophy."
- Atack, Jon (1990). A Piece of Blue Sky. Lyle Stuart. ISBN 081840499X. http://www.clambake.org/archive/books/apobs/. A critical history of Scientology, by a Scientology archivist and former Scientologist
- To what extent can Operation Clambake publications be trusted as NPOV sources of information?
- "Scientology would be a study of knowledge," Hubbard stated in 1952. He went on to make it clear there is a difference between knowledge in recall, and understood, usable knowledge. And that Scientology would guide its members toward the latter situation. 
From the L. Ron Hubbard article
"In mid-1952, Hubbard expanded Dianetics into a secular philosophy which he called Scientology"
From the Church of Scientology article
- First incorporation of a Church of Scientology, December 1953 in New Jersey, although "Scientology clubs" had been operating for at least a year before that.
- The History of Scientology Expansion. This website indicates that scientology started in 1951 (specific page) in the form of a new subject of study for Dianetics auditors.
- a "Scientology center" in Phoenix, Arizona. Spring 1952?
- Hubbard Association of Scientologists International (HASI)
- "the first Journal of Scientology was published in August 1952"
- The website of Michel Snoeck mentions a "Handbook for Preclears" that was published in December 1951 and used the term "scientology". Snoeck provides an interesting link to a description of a "new science of epistemology" that he claims was in the original version of the handbook. A 1952 publication called "Scientology: 8-80" is discussed by Snoeck and it describes the new science of scientology as a "science of knowledge" and introduces some ideas about thought as existing beyond physical reality.
- A History of Man - was this book really called Scientology: A History of Man? Amazon.com 1952?
The Library of Congress indicates that the full title is "Scientology, a history of man : a list and description of the principal incidents to be found in a human being".
Spiritual/religious aspects made explicit
- says "The Church of Scientology was founded in December 1953" but cites this article which says, "Since its founding in 1950, Scientology has grown into a worldwide movement".
From the Scientology article
- In 1960 L. Ron Hubbard redefined Scientology as: "a religion by its basic tenets, practice, historical background and by the definition of the word “religion” itself." 
- cites this webpage which says, "On 1 September 1954, the HAS became the HASI (HAS International) "to establish a religious fellowship and association for research into the spirit and the human soul and the use and dissemination [of Scientology materials]." .....the first incorporated Church of Scientology being founded in California on 18 February 1954."
Scientology and practicing medicine
See "New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners", above.
In the Scientology article without a citation: "Scientology's principles have been characterized as pseudoscientific by scientists, medical doctors and psychotherapeutic practitioners."
There are 10 items in the PubMed database for "scientology". Three of them:
- "Complaints against scientology doctors" by van der Linde I. Entrez PubMed 10416447
- "Scientology and APA" Entrez PubMed 9406275
- "Scientology" Entrez PubMed 6022467
Scientology vs Governments
"In 1993, contemporaneously with its official recognition of Scientology as a bonafide church, The United States Internal Revenue Service released and circulated to the press and to foreign governments a body of documents covered with an explanatory letter. It acknowledged that, in violation of their authority and in a more or less coordinated campaign stretching back to early 1953, the IRS, FBI and other government agencies had forwarded significant amounts of information on Scientology which they knew to be false and defamatory, some compiled without any factual basis by medical and psychiatric sources, to foreign intelligence agencies abroad. These agencies had also urged foreign governments to take action against the church. The motives for these actions were not explained. The cover letter requested removal of the false data from foreign government files, but it is unknown if this request had any effect."(Revision as of 08:57, 26 November 2001)(also 10 October 2001)
First Wikipedia edit: "religion" changed to "cult" by anon at 63.20.33.xxx
19 November 2001 Lee Daniel Crocker --> (note: this is one of our best carefully-polished well-debated articles; changes to content should not be made lightly.)
Wikipedia Operation Snow White
"the original Snow White plan, written by L. Ron Hubbard himself on 20 April 1973"
The document ("PROJECT HUNTER") shown says, "Any action taken against this area must also be very polite and not abusive". It outlines a plan to ask US government agencies to correct false information or face law suits.
- "Scientology's Relationship With Eastern Religious Traditions" by Stephen A. Kent in Journal of Contemporary Religion (1996) Vol. 11, No. 1, page 21.
- "Faith and the Academy: Religious Communities and the Academic Study of Religion" by Ed Cottrell. (online).
- Church of Scientology entry in the Religious Movements website at the the University of Virginia; by Craig W. Hirsch et al.
- 1996 archive of the original report by Craig W. Hirsch.
- Scientology: Milestone One an audio lecture in Wichita, Kansas on 3 March, 1952 with transcript, 1952 Pub by Golden Era Productions, Hollywood CA
- 'Church of American Science' (incorporation papers); 'Church of Scientology' (incorporation papers); 'Church of Spiritual Engineering', (incorporation papers); 18 December, 1953
- Remember Venus?, TIME, 22 December, 1952
- "The Creation of 'Religious' Scientology". Religious Studies and Theology. Retrieved 2006-05-08.
- Hubbard Communications Office Bulletin (HCOB) 18 Apr 67 (HCOB of 21 June 1960 Revised) “Religious Philosophy and Religious Practice”
All of the scientology-related Wikipedia articles seem to contain unverifiable sources of low quality. Many are attack websites that to not cite verifiable sources, and sites of the Church of Scientology are also of low quality concerning Hubbard's life or the founding of the church.