Church of Scientology

   Scientology is a religio-scientific movement developed in the USA in the 1950s by the science fiction author L.Ron Hubbard (1911–86). Its members, who include John Travolta, Tom Cruise and Priscilla Presley, believe that only through understanding themselves as spiritual beings can they come to understand the ‘supreme being’. They practise psychotherapy via an electrical machine, in to which the subject speaks. Movements of a dial indicate whether or not the talker is suppressing emotion. The church claims 100,000 members in Britain, and has been allowed to advertise on television since 1996. It is better known by the general public for charges of false imprisonment made by former disillusioned members, who regard it as a cult.
   See also: Christian Science; evangelism

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.

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