Among their beliefs:
What they do:
- A "Supreme Being" exists. The church is not Christian and does
not worship any god.
- Humans are reincarnated, spiritual beings.
- Ever-higher states of spiritual enlightenment can be attained
through courses and "auditing," which is done with the use of a lie
detector-like device called an E-Meter.
- People are weakened by harmful experiences engraved in mental
pictures called "engrams." Through auditing, this "reactive mind" can
be eliminated. Past lives are audited, too.
- Disembodied spirits implanted with false memories and sent to
Earth 75 million years ago by Xenu, an evil galactic warlord, cling to
humans and create unhappiness and strife.
- Seventy percent of illnesses - including arthritis, migraines,
asthma and ulcers - are psychosomatic and curable without doctors.
But critics say:
- Fight illiteracy through "study technology," a practice of
reading and study advanced by founder L. Ron Hubbard.
- Encourage people not to use drugs through education, drug
treatment and work with youth.
- Encourage the use of Hubbard's work in business settings through
the work of the World Institute of Scientology Enterprises, an
international organization which promotes Hubbard's approaches in
business and management.
- Campaign against psychiatry and psychiatric drugs.
The money behind Scientology
How much money does Scientology collect each year?
No one except top members knows for sure, since the church's
tax-exempt status allows its financial resources to be shielded from
public scrutiny. Church officials won't discuss Scientology's gross
income or net worth.
But a look at some of the numbers shows:
$398 million: Assets of the worldwide church in 1993, the last year
the church had to declare income.
$300 million: Amount the church earned worldwide in 1993 from
investments, counseling fees and book sales.
$300,000 and up: Potential cost to individual members to take all the
church's courses and auditing sessions in order to climb the "Bridge
to Total Freedom."
9 million: Number of members the church claims to have worldwide,
about half in the United States. Critics and former members assert the
number is closer to 150,000 to 200,000.
500: Number of Scientologists in Buffalo, according to church
$2 million to $2.5 million: Amount spent on renovation of the Buffalo
Church of Scientology building, according to its primary financial
Unknown dollar amount: Value of the church's extensive land holdings
around the world, plus the dollar value of the generous donations made
to the church by Hollywood stars and other wealthy members.
- Scientology is an authoritarian, money-making cult that
masquerades as a religion.
- The organization uses "training routines" that employ classic
- Scientology is based on faulty or outdated psychology and medical
- Scientology-related entities around the world are front groups
designed to hide the church's involvement and mask its controversial
- The organization breaks up families by pushing individuals to
sever contact from relatives and friends critical of Scientology.