18 February 1954

The first Church of Scientology is established in Los Angeles.

The Church of Scientology is a controversial religious organization founded in the 1950s by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. The church’s teachings are based on Hubbard’s book “Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health,” which outlines a self-help system aimed at achieving spiritual enlightenment and self-improvement.

Scientology believes in the existence of a supreme being, known as the “Eighth Dynamic,” but it does not require adherence to a specific deity. Instead, it focuses on the individual’s spiritual journey and the attainment of higher levels of awareness, or “Operating Thetan” levels, through a process called auditing.

Auditing involves a series of one-on-one counseling sessions in which a trained auditor uses a device called an E-meter to measure the electrical resistance in a person’s body while discussing emotional or traumatic experiences. The ultimate goal of auditing is to clear the individual of negative experiences, or “engrams,” and achieve a state of spiritual purity.

The Church of Scientology is known for its strict hierarchy and centralized control under the leadership of the “ecclesiastical leader,” currently David Miscavige. Members are expected to adhere to strict rules and codes of conduct, and criticism or dissent within the organization is often met with harsh consequences, including excommunication or expulsion.

Critics of Scientology have raised concerns about its practices, including allegations of financial exploitation, manipulation, and abuse of its members. The church has also faced legal challenges and controversies around its tax-exempt status, treatment of former members, and aggressive tactics against critics and journalists.

Despite its controversies, the Church of Scientology claims millions of members worldwide and operates numerous churches, missions, and affiliated organizations in countries around the world. It continues to be a subject of public interest and scrutiny due to its secretive nature and the controversies surrounding its beliefs and practices.