Scientology is one of those things that everyone has heard of but no-one really knows anything about. It's one of those elusive cults that appears to have captured the hearts of half of Hollywood. If you've been keeping up to date with celebrity gossip, you'll prob know that there has been a lot of press recently on Katie Holme's and Tom Cruise's break up and the involvement of the Church of Scientology to which Tom Cruise is a devotee. According to one article I read, if their daughter Suri was admitted into the Church of Scientoloy, she would face being "audited" with an "e-meter", which measures responses to questions such as "Have you ever lied to a teacher?" and "Have you ever gotten yourself dirty on purpose?" She could also face joining the subgroup Sea Org, in which the most dedicated Scientologists sign a billion-year pledge of allegiance and wear maritime-style uniforms.!? Who wants that for their six year old daughter?!
If you're as fascinated and curious by the whole thing as I am then here's a bit of background info and some documentaries to watch. And I'll leave you to form your own conclusion about it all (but to me it sounds like an extreme form of mind control).
Scientology was founded in 1952 by L. Ron Hubbard, an American science fiction writer who launched a popular self-enhancement movement which became the Church of Scientology. The name Scientology means "knowing how to know," Scientology asserts it is not merely a belief system but a mode of action and a way of living. It's developed its own rules and and vocabulary.
The basic belief is that experience, in this or in previous lives, is recorded in the brain as a series of "engrams." . Scientology's goal is to "process" or clear these engrams and become more self-determining. The church has ministers who perform religious rites and sacraments, but their main function is individual counseling. It's tightly organized from the top down, with a close-knit inner circle and many highly committed adherents, (think John Travolta and Tom Cruise). The belief in a God or gods is something personal and the nature of the Supreme Being is revealed personally through each individual as s/he becomes more conscious and spiritually aware. All humans are immortal spiritual beings (thetans) capable of realizing a nearly godlike state through Scientology practices.