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The Story Behind the Controversy
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What is Scientology?

Scientology Publications
As part of the Church’s public information service, two encyclopedic volumes were published: What is Scientology? which provides a complete description of the religion, its many organizations and activities, and The Scientology Handbook, which contains fundamental principles of the religion and describes their practical application.

uch has been said in Germany about the religion of Scientology, particularly by the media. But for all of the words that have been printed or broadcast, very few have been said about what Scientology actually is, and virtually none of those words have come from the only truly reliable source of the information—the Founder of the religion, L. Ron Hubbard, or materials published by the Church itself.

One of the most basic tenets in Scientology is that one does not have to just believe or agree with anything in Scientology if it is not true for one personally. “What is true for you is what you have observed yourself. And when you lose that you have lost everything,” wrote Mr. Hubbard.

Apparently the media is not only unable to observe for itself, but it does not want the public to do so either. Why is it that the media relies exclusively on hostile persons as their source of information on Scientology? Are they doing you a service by not presenting factual information from reliable sources?

Certainly you have the right to know what the Church says. And certainly you have the right to make up your own mind, once you have all the facts.

Scientology introductory lectures
Thousands of people every day find out about Scientology through introductory lectures given at Scientology organizations.

Why is it that the media refuses to present these? Is their regard for their readers so low that they believe you cannot think for yourself?

We disagree.

We want citizens in Germany to get the facts about Scientology for themselves. As a result, the Church of Scientology has made a large effort over the past several years, and continues with such an effort, to make information about the Scientology religion available to the public, through informative publications, magazines, books, radio shows, videos, interviews and the like.

Scientology religious ceremonies
Religious ceremonies, including weddings, are an integral part of the services of the Scientology religion available to all parishioners.

As part of the Church’s international public information effort, an encyclopedic reference work about the Scientology religion entitled What is Scientology? was published in German and many other languages. The most comprehensive source of facts about the Scientology religion, it has informed tens of thousands of people what Scientology really is and who Scientologists really are.

The Church also published The Scientology Handbook, an equally comprehensive volume based on the works of Mr. Hubbard. It contains many of the fundamental principles of the religion and describes their practical application to aid one’s fellow man. Through the use of this work, tens of thousands of individuals have helped family, friends, acquaintances and even strangers to live happier, less troubled lives.

Scientology Volunteer Ministers
Scientology Ministers and Volunteer Ministers perform a wide range of services in the community.

The editors of Freedom want to make the contents of these books available to the people of Germany so that readers can have the true facts from a reliable source. After all, if you wanted to find out about the practice of medicine, you would ask a doctor, or consult a medical text, not just read the newspaper or ask a witch-doctor.

And if you wanted to learn more about Catholicism, you would consult the Bible, the catechism, or a priest. You would not ask an atheist or even the clergy of a non-Catholic faith, such as a Protestant minister or a rabbi. The same is true for Scientology.

To provide you with what you want to know, many chapters of these books will be printed as a series of articles in Freedom. In this way, you can find out what the subject really is. For yourself. At the least, you will certainly gain an accurate, new view of what Scientology is—a view the press is not giving you. And you will be able to judge it for yourself.

We want to help people. That, as you will discover, is our mission. To do that, it is necessary to clear away misconceptions. And that is why we are bringing this information to you.

Introduction to the Scientology Religion
An excerpt from What is Scientology?

Church of Scientology, Hamburg
Church of Scientology, Hamburg

Thanks to scientific and technical advances over the last hundred years, most people are today materially wealthier than their forebears. Yet, by their own accounts, the quality of their lives has not kept step. In fact, it may be argued that people were once happier and more fulfilled. For some, material affluence breeds anxiety, a gnawing fear that if someone doesn’t take away their hard-earned acquisitions, the end of their days will prematurely arrive to finish the job. Others find death easier to face than a lifetime of assembly-line slavery, while most, in a less dramatic fashion, simply buckle down to lives of quiet desperation.

Church of Scientology, Frankfurt
Church of Scientology, Frankfurt

As the twenty-first century dawns, most have no real grasp of those factors governing their existence. And yet, simply stated, had they a greater understanding of themselves and their fellows they would be able to improve conditions and thus live happier lives. This, then, is the function of Scientology: to enable man to improve his lot through understanding.

Before Scientology, the tremendous scientific advances of this era were not matched by similar advances in the humanities. Man’s knowledge of the physical universe had far outdistanced his knowledge of himself. The resulting pressures from such an imbalance account for much that has unsettled society and threatens the future. In part, therefore, what Scientology represented to many when it appeared in the early 1950s, was a restoration of the balance.

Founding Church of Scientology in Washington, DC
The Founding Church of Scientology in Washington, DC, just blocks from the White House

Despite its many successes, science has not provided answers to questions man has been asking himself since time immemorial: Who are we? What do we consist of? Where do we come from? Where are we going? What are we doing? Indeed, these questions have always been the province of philosophy and religion, but traditional answers seemed immensely inadequate in the face of the H-bomb. Scientology, however, drawing on the same advances in knowledge that led to nuclear physics, supplied modern answers to these questions. And it supplied workable methods of application which made it possible for man to reach the ancient goal he has been striving toward for thousands of years: to know himself and, in knowing himself, to know and understand other people and, ultimately, all life.

Scientology is an applied religious philosophy. It holds in common many of the beliefs of other religions and philosophies, and considers man to be a spiritual being, with more to him than flesh and blood. This, of course, is a very different view to that espoused by prevailing scientific thought which views man as but a material object, a complex combination of chemical compounds and stimulus-response mechanisms.

What is Scientology? continued...
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