The church’s plush 500-acre Gold Base reportedly contains a lake, a nine-hole golf course, swimming pools and a full-sized theatre. Here are your questions about Scientology answered…
What is Scientology?
Scientology is based on the teachings of American science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard.
According to their official literature: “Scientology is a religion that offers a precise path leading to a complete and certain understanding of one’s true spiritual nature and one’s relationship to self, family, groups, Mankind, all life forms, the material universe, the spiritual universe and the Supreme Being.”
But what does Scientology mean in practice?
Scientologists basically believe in a form of reincarnation.
The fundamental principles can be broken down into three beliefs.
- Man is an immortal spiritual being
- His experience extends well beyond a single lifetime
- His capabilities are unlimited, even if not presently realised
Traumatic incidents in previous lives can impact on a person’s current life, causing illnesses and impairing their abilities.
But through a process known as “auditing”, Scientology claims to be able to cleanse people of these hidden traumas, returning them to a state of unlimited ability.
Who was L. Ron Hubbard?
Lafayette Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, came from New Jersey, US and wrote a book on "dianetics" in 1950.
Four fans – a solicitor, a publisher, a doctor and an engineer – then formed a Hubbard Dianetics Research Foundation.
The first Church of Scientology was founded in February 1954, with more than a dozen churches opening up over the next ten years.
Former science fiction write L. Ron Hubbard died in 1986.
His ex-assistant David Miscavige has taken over the leadership.
Do Scientologists believe in aliens?
It has been said that when members reach level OTIII, they are told about Xenu – an alien dictator who brought billions of people to Earth in a spacecraft 75million years ago before killing them.
The essence of these people remains, causing spiritual harm to those in the modern day, it is claimed.
But the church officially denies this.
A statement quoted by the Telegraph in 2012 said: “Scientology holds no such belief.
“Any suggestion otherwise is as absurd as asserting that those of the Christian faith believe themselves descended from aliens because they believe there is a Heaven."
Where is Scientology based?
A 500-acre plot about 100 miles from Los Angeles, California is known as the "Gold Base".
The site was bought by the church in 1978 and at least £30million has been spent redeveloping it.
Incredible drone footage revealed the scale of the massive headquarters.
The church also has a 60-acre base in the UK – the former home of L.Ron Hubbard – in East Grinstead, Sussex.
Are there any famous scientologists?
There are many famous Scientologists, including Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley and Lisa Marie Presley.
The church also counts Elisabeth Moss, who stars in The Handmaid's Tale and Top of the Lake, among its followers.
In November Michelle Keegan and Mark Wright denied they are joining Scientology in an effort to boost fame.
My Name is Earl actor Jason Lee and his wife announced last September they had quit the church.
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