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Religious Studies Research Paper Example: Facts on the Church of Scientology

“The only time anyone has ever gotten into serious trouble was when he decided he could do nothing about something.”
–L. Ron Hubbard

Take Me To Church: A Sample Religious Studies Research Paper on Facts on Scientology

One of the world’s most fundamental practices is the practice of religion. Many have fought, died, and triumphed for its namesake. There are as many religions in the world, if not more, as there are colors in the rainbow. They each have their own sets of intricacies, mission statements, and requirements for clergy and membership. Some of the most practiced of these religions include:

  • Christianity
  • Hinduism
  • Shinto
  • Islam
  • Atheism (Infoplease)

The expert freelance writers at Ultius are routinely tasked with writing about religion for those needing a model essay or research paper on religious studies. Of all of these religions, Scientology seems to be one of the most curious and popular among celebrities, dignitaries, and individuals from all walks of life. Like other religions, it has it has a church affiliation, a set of unique beliefs, and even an association solely dedicated to ordaining its pastors. In order to understand this denomination that is gaining increasingly popular, all of these factors should be examined.

Religious Studies Research: What is the Church of Scientology?

Scientology is one of the most contemporary religions present in the Earth today because it is the only religion to have been founded in the Twentieth Century (Scientology.org, “Scientology Beliefs”). It is an intricately carved religion with a very specific focus. On the outside, it appears to be one of the most rigidly structured of the entire world’s denominations.

Developed by L. Ron Hubbard, 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. (Scientology.org, “What is Scientology”)

Operating on a certain set of “truths,” Scientology contains a body of knowledge that includes the beliefs upon which the religion was founded. And although more extensive writing and research is often done on just the “truths” of Scientology, this essay will address Scientology on a more broad level in consideration of our readers who might want to order a sample religious studies paper for their own reference.

Fundamental Beliefs of the Church of Scientology

  • Man is an immortal spiritual being.
  • His experience extends well beyond a single lifetime.
  • His capabilities are unlimited, even if not presently realized
  • Man is basically good.
  • His spiritual salvation depends on himself, his fellows and his attainment of brotherhood with the universe. (Scientology.org, “What is Scientology”)

“Scientology is not a dogmatic religion in which one is asked to accept anything on faith alone” (Scientology.org, “What is Scientology”). This separates it from many of the world’s other religions, which do require that faith be present.

The first church was incorporated in 1953 in New Jersey and has grown in size exponentially. The exact number of members seems to be a point of contention with the world due to the official organization being so tight-lipped, but some of the more concrete statistics seem to dictate 30,000 members or less (Rinder). Note that Scientology often falls under the category of UFO-based religions because of the numerous extra-terrestrial elements in Hubbard’s beliefs.

Structure of The Church of Scientology

The Church of Scientology has a vast and complicated structure. It relies heavily on a hierarchical organization that maximizes its clerical community. Its religious activities consist of five main objectives:

The Structure of the Church of Scientology

  1. Ministering Scientology religious services and practices
  2. Proselytization
  3. Ecclesiastical management
  4. Relay of communication
  5. Production of dissemination materials (Scientology.org, “How is the Church”)

At the lower levels of this hierarchy are individual field ministers, Scientology religious groups and Church missions involved in ministering beginning auditing and training. At the upper level are larger Church organizations that minister the advanced levels of auditing and training for religious services. (Scientology.org, “How is the Church”)

The churches are run separately, incorporate, and have a board of directors that oversee, dictate, and serve their own local communities (Scientology.org, “How is the Church”). The differences in world religions are usually overlooked when referencing their hierarchy – which typically has the same intent. Like most, the Scientology hierarchy provides support to each individual church with the help of the International Hubbard Ecclesiastical League of Pastors.

Religion Essay on Scientology: The International Hubbard Ecclesiastical League of Pastors

The International Hubbard Ecclesiastical League of Pastors, also known as IHELP, “was created to provide auditors who minister religious services outside organized churches and missions with the guidance they need” (Goodman).

IHELP provides:

  • Religious materials
  • Religious publications
  • Assistance and guidance for new pastors (Goodman)

Because Scientology requires its parishioners to follow a broad path through the auditing and study of materials, it was necessary for this organization to lend a helping hand (Goodman). IHELP also aids in the training of the Volunteer Ministers. The Volunteer Ministers places more of their focus and resources on the community as a whole.

The Scientology Volunteer Minister Program Source: VM.org

The Volunteer Minister program was launched more than thirty years ago, in response to an appeal by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard.

He said:

“If one does not like the crime, cruelty, injustice and violence of this society, he can do something about it. He can become a Volunteer Minister and help civilize it, bring it conscience and kindness and love and freedom from travail by instilling into it trust, decency, honesty and tolerance.”

Free Online Courses Offered by the Volunteer Ministers
 Answers to Drugs  Assists for Illnesses and Injuries  Course  The Cause of Suppression  Children
 Basics of Organizing  Communication  The Components of  Understanding  The Dynamics of Existence
 The Emotional Tone  Scale  Ethics and the Conditions  Fundamentals of Public  Relations  How to Resolve Conflicts
 Integrity and Honesty  Investigations  Marriage  Solutions for a Dangerous  Environment
 Targets and Goals  The Technology of Study  Tools for the Workplace

IHELP and the Volunteer Ministers play a crucial role in supporting Scientologists and their churches globally.

Model Religion Paper on L. Ron Hubbard and the Church of Scientology

As noted before, L. Ron Hubbard was the founder of Scientology. After becoming disabled in 1945, he published a paper titled, “Dianetics: The Original Thesis,” which later became a book that inspired his decision to start the church (Scientology.org, “L. Ron Hubbard”). He was an acclaimed author, philosopher, humanitarian, the Nation’s youngest Eagle Scout, a combat naval commander veteran, and a deep thinker and innovator (Scientology.org, “L. Ron Hubbard”).

L. Ron Hubbard on His Enlightenment Source: Scientology.org

L. Ron Hubbard led a full life that included many adventures, which exposed him to many variances of culture, parts of the world, and religions.

Upon his enlightenment after leaving George Washington University, he stated that:

“It was very obvious that I was dealing with and living in a culture which knew less about the mind than the lowest primitive tribe I had ever come in contact with. Knowing also that people in the East were not able to reach as deeply and predictably into the riddles of the mind, as I had been led to expect, I knew I would have to do a lot of research.”

He has left a legacy that many would soon follow.

Tom Cruise, Religious Studies, and the Church of Scientology

Aside from Scientology’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard, Tom Cruise has shown some pretty hefty ties with the religion. Cruise was introduced to Scientology by Mimi Rogers’ father, Phil Speckler in 1990 (Marcus). Amid controversy surrounding the church’s stance on holistic and non-medical cancer treatments, the church allegedly helped him overcome the horrible dyslexia that the actor suffered from. The public has condemned Cruise in many ways by some of his outlandish decisions that the Church of Scientology, through pure speculation, has influenced.

This speculation includes Tom Cruise’s three marriages and divorces from:

  1. Mimi Rogers
  2. Nicole Kidman
  3. Katie Holmes (Marcus)

Though Tom Cruise does not seem to hold an official position within the church, he is and has been the poster child for Scientology.

Religious Studies Paper: John Travolta and the Church of Scientology

Another prolific celebrity with close ties to the Church of Scientology is John Travolta. Travolta preaches nothing but accolades for the religion that he joined some forty years ago. Travolta made the decision to join the church after he was given a copy of Hubbard’s book, Dianetics, on the set of one of his films (Sieczkowski).

The actor attests that Scientology has helped him:

  • Cope with the loss of his son in 2009
  • Save lives
  • Save his own life
  • Maintain his family life (Sieczkowski)

All of the biographic or informal essays Ultius writers have written on Travolta mentions his association with the church. With the release of the HBO documentary, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, Travolta had a lot to say on how the film depicted Scientology and himself:

“I haven’t experienced anything that the hearsay has [claimed], so why would I communicate something that wasn’t true for me? It wouldn’t make sense, nor would it for Tom, I imagine,” he said, adding, “So, why would I even approach a negative perspective? That would be a crime to me, personally, to do that.” (Sieczkowski)

Conclusion to Ultius Religious Studies Paper on Scientology Example

Scientology is the most contemporary religion to date. It was created by an extremely intelligent man who was frustrated with the world’s view on religion and religious practices that sought change and ultimate spirituality. The structure, organization, and following of the Church of Scientology are complicated and often mysterious. Though the organization puts infamous celebrities and propaganda in plain view for the world to see, it remains private with certain aspects of its activities. Some believe that the religion has the ability to save lives, as John Travolta has testified on more than one occasion. Other religious specialists believe that the church is nothing but a radical cult capable of influencing and destroying the basic building blocks of personal decision, as with the case of Tom Cruise and his many divorces. The fact of the matter is that Scientology is not going anywhere; it has a pull that draws in the masses, and has influential people backing it up. It will be most interesting to see where the Church of Scientology’s future is headed in 2016 and the years to come.

Like what you read?Check out our post ontaxing churches for more!

Works Cited

Goodman, Leisa. “Individual Churches of Scientology and Their Congregations.” Ecclesiastical  Structure. 2001. Web. 15 June 2016. http://www.theta.com/goodman/eccstruc.htm.

Infoplease. “Major Religions of the World.” Religion. N.d.. Web. 15 June 2016. https://www.infoplease.com/world/religion/major-religions-world.

Marcus, Stephanie. “How Tom Cruise Was Introduced To Scientology: REPORT.” Celebrity. TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc., 11 July 2012. Web. 15 June 2016. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/11/how-tom-cruise-introduced-scientology_n_1664934.html.

Rinder, Mike. “10 Million Scientologists – Where Are They?” Mike Rinders Blog. 9 Nov. 2014. Web. 15 June 2016. http://www.mikerindersblog.org/10-million-scientologists-where-are-they/.

Scientology.org. “How Is the Church of Scientology Structured?” FAQ. 2016. Web. 15 June 2016. https://www.scientology.org/faq/the-organization-of-scientology/how-is-the-church-of-scientology-structured.html.

—. “Scientology Beliefs & Practices: What Is Scientology?” Scientology Beliefs & Practices: What Is Scientology? 2016. Web. 15 June 2016. http://www.scientology.org/what-is-scientology.html?link=side_wis#slide8.

—. “L. Ron Hubbard’s Life, Work, Research, Scientology & Dianetics: Official Church of Scientology.” FAQ. 2016. Web. 15 June 2016. http://www.scientology.org/faq/scientology-founder/who-was-lronhubbard.html.

Sieczkowski, Cavan. “John Travolta Says Scientology Is A Target Because It ‘Really Works Well.” Entertainment. TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc., 20 Apr. 2015. Web. 15 June 2016. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/20/john-travolta-scientology-target_n_7102682.html

 

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