Two books provide the most comprehensive information to date about the principles of the Scientology religion and its churches, membership and activities around the world.
n this city with the largest population of Scientologists in the world, Los Angeles residents are finding answers to their questions about Scientology — in droves. The book What is Scientology? soared to the top of the Los Angeles Times’ best seller list after its release at the end of 1998 and has continued to be in demand. The book has met with similar response in other American cities and countries around the world.
What is Scientology? is one of two books released in response to what Church of Scientology officials term the “greatest demand in Scientology’s history” for information about the religion.
What is Scientology? is available in fine bookstores and in public libraries throughout Los Angeles. The second book, Scientology – Theology and Practice of a Contemporary Religion, is available in college and university libraries. Both books are also available at any Church of Scientology in Los Angeles.
Both volumes were published by Bridge Publications, Inc. in Los Angeles and were released as a feature at the 14th anniversary convention of the international membership organization of the Church of Scientology. The books are part of the broadest public information effort undertaken to date by the Church of Scientology.
What is Scientology?
What is Scientology?, the most complete and up-to-date book about the religion and its membership, has been a bestseller since its release in late 1998. The book is published in 14 languages.
What is Scientology? was published as part of the Church’s effort to make is easier for people to find out about any aspect of the Scientology religion.
The book came about after a project was begun to translate the previous reference book about Scientology, of the same title, into a total of 13 languages. When editors began a pre-translation review, they realized just how much had occurred within the Church since the text was last published in 1992.
Not only have Scientology congregations all over the world grown enormously, churches and missions of Scientology are now flourishing in countries where the subject was relatively unheard of in 1992. In Russia, for example, more than 40 new Missions of Scientology have opened since the last book was published; Hungary has seen similar expansion, with more than 30 new Scientology Missions. Strong growth has been realized in other European as well as Asian regions — including Kazakhstan, Moldova and the Ukraine in the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, India, Pakistan, Taiwan — and across Central and South America.
And in 1993, the United States Internal Revenue Service announced its landmark conclusion that all Churches of Scientology are public benefit organizations established solely for religious and charitable purposes. While this was not news to Scientologists, it was of significant interest to other governments around the world.
Many new Scientology educational films and materials have been produced, church facilities have been expanded and renovated, including churches in Washington, D.C., Florida and California, and individual Scientologists have been acknowledged for making major contributions in many areas of society.
The conclusion was obvious; no “update” would be adequate. Another project was begun to find out from individuals who used the first edition what should be added to make the volume even more valuable as a comprehensive reference of the Scientology religion.
The result incorporated six entirely new chapters, more than 100 additional pages of text, and over 500 new photographs and illustrations; the book was also published in 15 languages.
And the result was a book that hit U.S. best-seller lists almost immediately.
Available in bookstores throughout the United States, complimentary copies of What is Scientology? are available to officials, media, scholars and teachers, and libraries.
The book is receiving similar response overseas, especially in Europe where its release has been followed by a What is Scientology? exhibit tour.
Information presented at the exhibit included displays, video recordings, live demonstrations, historical photographs, and statistical information about the Church and its members.
The Europe-wide tour began in Copenhagen in February and will have toured major cities in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy and England by the time it ends in late summer.
Theology and Practice
Scientology – Theology and Practice of a Contemporary Religion is grounded in the expertises of leading religious scholars internationally. The book, published in 13 languages, is the leading authoritative work on the subject around the world. Above, the Greek edition of the book is announced to the media in Athens.
The second book released, Scientology — Theology and Practice of a Contemporary Religion, is a completely new text written to fully explain the doctrines of the religion and the activities of those who adhere to them. As a foundation, the book begins with a scholarly review of the subject of religion itself.
“Most people think they already understand the definition of religion,” said the president of Church of Scientology International, Reverend Heber Jentzsch. “They simply examine their own personal religious heritage and experience. That, to them, is religion. Anything else is not. That not only opens the door to discrimination, but the result is that even well-meaning religious people are divided by dogma.”
This book analyzes and explains what religion is — providing a workable, complete and authoritative definition, grounded in international law and the conclusions of the world’s foremost authorities on religion. Among the American scholars the work was drawn from are Lonnie D. Kliever of Southern Methodist University in Dallas and Frank K. Flinn of Washington University in St. Louis, some of whose work is also included in the book. The book also draws upon the expertise of scholars from England, France, Canada, Argentina, Spain and Japan.
Scientology — Theology and Practice of a Contemporary Religion contains the most comprehensive, international view compiled to date on the religion of Scientology and, appropriately, is published in 13 languages.
“The book does a good job in presenting the ecclesiastical elements of Scientology,” said Bert Beach, an international director of the Seventh-Day Adventists and President Emeritus of the International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA). “I appreciate your understanding that man/ woman is a living soul, rather than has a soul. That is good and basic insight.”
Dr. Lonnie Kliever, head of religious studies at Southern Methodist University, described the book as a “serious work that will be of considerable use to a broad audience.”
The book is being placed in the collections of university libraries and religious institutions throughout the world.
Complimentary copies of “Scientology — Theology and Practice of a Contemporary Religion” are available to public and private libraries as well as to government officials, media, scholars, and others with a professional interest.