Scientology is a body of beliefs and related practices created by L. Ron Hubbard, starting in 1952, as a successor to his earlier self-help system, Dianetics. Hubbard characterized Scientology as a religion, and in 1953 incorporated the Church of Scientology in Camden, New Jersey.
Lafayette Ronald Hubbard was born on March 13, 1911, in Tilden, Nebraska. The son of a naval commander, Hubbard moved to Montana at a young age and traveled with his family over much of the country. His mother, who had attended teacher's college, tutored Hubbard at home, and he learned to read and write at a young age. In 1927, Hubbard embarked on the first of his many journeys to Asia. By the age of 19, he had traveled more than 250,000 miles - including China, Japan, Guam, and the Philippines. In the course of these travels, he befriended Old Mayo, a Beijing magician, spent time at Buddhist lamaseries in the Western Hills of China, and spent time with nomadic bandits of Mongolian descent.
Clearly, Hubbard learned and experienced much during his Asian travels, but he was left discouraged by what he observed: "For all the wonders of these lands and all his respect for those whom he encountered, he still saw much that concerned him: Chinese beggars willing themselves to die above open graves in Beijing, children who were less than rags, widespread ignorance and despair. And in the end, he came to the inescapable conclusion that despite the wisdom of its ancient texts, the East did not have the answers to the miseries of the human condition. It remained evident in the degradation and sorrow of its people."
In 1929, Hubbard returned to the United States and resumed his formal education. After graduating from the Woodword School for Boys in Washington, D.C., he enrolled in the mathematics and engineering program at George Washington University. In the course of this study, Hubbard theorized that subatomic particles might assist in understanding how the human mind worked, and recognized the great importance of keeping mankind under control in light of atomic studies. He also became keenly disappointed with the knowledge of the psychologists he consulted with. Thus, the result of Hubbard's many travels, experiences, and studies was a determination to discover how the human mind works. Hubbard left college before graduating and made the world his research laboratory. His research was financed by becoming one of the most famous authors of the 1930s. He wrote well over 200 novels and short stories in the genres of science fiction, western, mystery and adventure.
In 1938, Hubbard discovered what he believed to be the common denominator of existence, which was: SURVIVE. In 1949, Hubbard's first published article on Dianetics appeared in the Explorers Club Journal. He also presented his findings to the American Medical Association and American Psychiatric Association, but neither were interested in his work. Hubbard and his friends concluded that the medical establishment felt their way of life threatened by the simplicity of Dianetics and were motivated by greed rather than helping others. Hubbard therefore presented his findings directly to the public. In May 1950, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health was published, and went on to sell over 17 million copies. He wrote six books in 1951 on Dianetics technology and began lecturing all over the country. According to the Church of Scientology, over 750 groups were putting Dianetics technology into practice by the end of 1950.
In 1954, Scientologists, not Hubbard, founded the first Church of Scientology in Los Angeles. As Scientologists describe it, "L. Ron Hubbard founded the subject - early Scientologists founded the church." Hubbard then developed a step-by-step method for reaching higher spiritual awareness and ability, and trained Scientologists in this method. Hubbard also designed administrative principles for Scientology organizations.