Scientology, like many New Religious Movements, often faces questions of legitimacy. It seems that any modern spiritual movement is viewed with a certain sense of mistrust by the general public, something that older, more "established" religions automatically avoid. While even religions such as Christianity and Judaism have within their teachings prophecies of saviors still to come, the idea that any kind of modern-day holy figure could actually exist in Western society is met with incredulity from non-believers and the faithful alike. This kind of cynicism, while sometimes misplaced, is wholly deserved by Scientology and its founder, L. Ron Hubbard. Both Hubbard and this NRM have much less created a church than a business, and, even with their own members, often deal with deceit and lies rather than truths. For these reasons, Scientology should not be viewed as a religion and, hopefully, be seen as what it truly is.
Hubbard originally created Scientology, and its predecessor, Dianetics, with nothing in mind but the making of money. He is widely quoted as saying "you don't get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion," as well as many other variants of the same nature. (Heldal-Lund) This is, in essence, the most pertinent quote to the entire subject of this NRM. There is no question that Scientology is a money-making venture. People joining the NRM are required to pay membership fees, and have to purchase books written by Hubbard and other church materials. The religion also owns property in Hollywood and a number of other US cities, and contains several corporations within it's structure. One should also note the lengthy court battles between Scientologists and the US government over their status as a religion, which has allowed them to be exempt from paying taxes, an extremely large benefit to any company trying to make a profit, as well as the suspicious and sudden out-of-court conclusion of those proceedings. Many other...
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