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Talk:Church of Scientology

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 Definition Controversial religion based on the teachings of American author L. Ron Hubbard. [d] [e]

Article names

I'll be filling this article out, probably today. Combined with a disambiguation page, we'll probably arrive at: Scientology (disambiguation), Scientology (the philosophy), Scientology (the religion) and Scientology (the controversy). Terry E. Olsen 09:13, 1 May 2007 (CDT)

Perhaps a change it title to Church of Scientology would be in order?—Nat Krause 19:47, 1 May 2007 (CDT)
Good idea. Then this article can become a redirect to that article. Terry E. Olsen 21:18, 1 May 2007 (CDT)
Good work. In the future, you can just use the "move" button to create the same result (I'm going to do that for the talk page). Cheers, Nat Krause 00:04, 2 May 2007 (CDT)


The AP report clearly names Udo Nagel, who is the interior minister for the state of Hamburg only. see [1] Richard Jensen 05:11, 12 December 2007 (CST)

  • I put here an AFP report that mentions Wolfgang Schäuble, who is the federal minister. --Paul Wormer 05:42, 12 December 2007 (CST)
Paul -- is it just Germany or are other EU countries also very hostile to Scientology? Richard Jensen 05:47, 12 December 2007 (CST)
Richard, I don't know for certain. As far as I'm aware, no. I know it is an issue in Germany and I probably would have known it if it had been an issue in France or the UK. Most definitely it hasn't been much of an issue in Holland, which is why I wasn't much interested until I read the draft of Steven Ferry (shiver, shiver). --Paul Wormer 05:54, 12 December 2007 (CST)


Scientology wasn't even granted tax-exempt church status until the 80s or 90s; I'm not sure it's accurate to say that it was started as a "religion" but rather it has apparently become one since. --Robert W King 10:53, 12 December 2007 (CST)


I don't think the controversy is covered well enough. There is a lot of information out there and no one here is fully researching the controversy. Fortunately, the forums at have compiled a nice information packet. This includes information from Alt.Religion.Scientology, Mark Bunker, Tory Magoo, Arnie Lerma, Kendra Wiseman, and Anonymous... all of them have been involved in the research of the controversy of scientology at these forums.

I'm just an avid reader. It's better than any sports on TV. Really.

Here's the packet:

(they are apparently still finding grammar and spelling problems.)

Mark Anthony Collins 19:22, 2 April 2008 (CDT)

Combine pages

Please be sure to combine this with [Talk:Scientology (doctrine)]. --Larry Sanger 10:56, 12 December 2007 (CST)

Done below. Stephen Ewen 11:36, 12 December 2007 (CST)
Moved material archived to Talk:Church of Scientology/Archive 2, and reunited with its history. J. Noel Chiappa 20:49, 20 April 2008 (CDT)

Revision Comments

Not sure what some of this means and possibly they could be revised

  • “He founded the Church of Scientology to teach his doctrines, many of which are very tightly guarded from the general public by church officials.”

Guarded as in dogma set in stone and irrefutable to the believers or guarded as in secret and not known to any but a few?

  • “Scientology does not descend from any of the major world religions.”

Descend as in not derived or influenced or descend as a completely original concept with absolutely nothing in common with any other religion? --Thomas Simmons 17:46, 13 December 2007 (CST)

good questions. Guarded = both senses. The Church files lawsuits like crazy against any publication or unauthorized use of Hubbad's works, and claims to keep 500,000 pages of them inviolate. Members have to pay $$$ to get to read them. The Church seems to have no origins or ties to any known religion--it most resembles in my opinion Christian Science, but that is probably a coincidence. Richard Jensen 18:23, 13 December 2007 (CST)
Wrong, Scientology is nothing like Christian Science. --Robert W King 18:37, 13 December 2007 (CST)

Editor needed

Currently this article is listed under the Religion workgroup. An editor would be appreciated here. --D. Matt Innis 20:38, 12 December 2007 (CST)

And now I see Politics has joined in.. how about Psychology? Or Healing arts? --D. Matt Innis 22:00, 12 December 2007 (CST)
Politics is added because it's a political issue in Germany of some importance. Otherwise "religion" does the job just fine. Hubbard thought of himself as a philosopher! Richard Jensen 22:05, 12 December 2007 (CST)

I removed the workgroup. See here for why. Richard, I tend to think you'll agree. Stephen Ewen 22:12, 12 December 2007 (CST)

I'm not sure if it shouldn't be in a political group; there have been individuals who came out a few years ago (it was on 20/20, multiple (one in 1998 "Scientology Unmasked"; and there was another on ABC news but I don't know the year.) who admitted that they worked as (more or less) spies for the Church against members who spoke against them (either because they are ex-members or work with those who try to break free of the church) in order to do things as destroy their public reputation, damage their credit etc. That sounds kinda political. --Robert W King 22:20, 12 December 2007 (CST)
I put the workgroup back in. The fact that the German government has made it a political issue is very well known--headline news last summer when a movie got censored. There is no controversy about the fact it's a political issue; indeed the US government got involved too. Richard Jensen 22:28, 12 December 2007 (CST)

Maybe the way to work these controversial ones is to add a new workgroup "Controversial" (or something like that) and let Gareth Leng practice his new role as arbitrator/neutrality editor (if that is part of our vision for his role). --D. Matt Innis 22:30, 12 December 2007 (CST)

That's a snazzy idea! --Robert W King 22:33, 12 December 2007 (CST)
the list of noncontroversial political topics is rather short. I don't think there is much controversial about this article. Richard Jensen 22:39, 12 December 2007 (CST)
As I have always have told my students, everything is political. My thesis adviser e.g., [review of one of his books here, specialized in religion and politics.

Text here was removed by the Constabulary on grounds that it is needlessly inflammatory. (The author may replace this template with an edited version of the original remarks.) That's just needlessly inflammatory and I'd like to try to keep things cool here, yes, be political in an appropriate way to facilitate the best possible articles while reducing needless conflict. Additionally, his insertion of the recent material on Germany is ill-advised at this point. This is because it takes up an undue weight in the article which tabulates to bias. I understand the need to draft things as they come, however, so I am arguing that this article needs to be drafted in draft space and not article space. Stephen Ewen 00:32, 13 December 2007 (CST)

The article has minimal bias one way or the other. The fact is the German (and Belgian) governments have made the Church a political issue (and the US State Department opposes those governments on this issue). The issue is alive right now in late 2007--and the article is based on linked AP news reports and State Department reports. Stephen wants to introduce new criteria in CZ about inflammability. So far no one has burst into flames. Richard Jensen 01:30, 13 December 2007 (CST)
My comments weren't really directed at you, Richard. With all due respect, I can't recall any instance where you've conceded a point to another, either on CZ or WP,

Text here was removed by the Constabulary on grounds that it is needlessly inflammatory. (The author may replace this template with an edited version of the original remarks.). Stephen Ewen 04:10, 13 December 2007 (CST)

I think the point Stephen is making (and I somewhat agree with him here) is that to focus on the politically controversial actions of the CoS is highly premature at this point because it will draw attention mostly to the politics surrounding the CoS, and thus destroy the "consider all angles" rule of thumb that we try to strive for.
I think we should consider ignoring the political aspect for now and stop "building a case" in that department. --Robert W King 17:31, 13 December 2007 (CST)
the idea of suppressing correct, important, timely well-sourced information so as to keep readers ignorant does not seem to be a mission for CZ. People get the same info in snippets from the media and can expect to get a solid, unbiased treatment in an encyclopedia. Richard Jensen 18:38, 13 December 2007 (CST)

Text here was removed by the Constabulary on grounds of civility. (The author may replace this template with an edited version of the original remarks.) I'm am not proposing that we censor material. My point is that the political issues shouldn't be the focus of the article, as you seem to be making them. --Robert W King 18:47, 13 December 2007 (CST)

watch the language, please. If anyone wants to add fresh information on theology, say, please go right ahead. I already added a bibliography and material on the sociology of the church. Richard Jensen 18:55, 13 December 2007 (CST)

Revamp of the article direction


My apologies for not stepping in earlier to offer some input, but for some reason I was not notified of the ongoing discussion, or of the premature postings to the article page. My revision is a quick effort to put some overview statement upon which we can build.

While one person felt anyone in Scientology could not write an article on Scientology, I fail to see how anyone who knows nothing about it, or only what can be gleaned from the media, or people's theories gleaned from other people's ideas, gleaned from other people's opinions, could do a better job.

I have four decades of experience in Scientology and have been through the ropes on it, even being thrown out of the Church for 5-6 years. The subject is so vast that even I have trouble trying to communicate succinctly what it is to an enquiring yet open mind. The original approach to this apparently contentious subject, and which I felt would be workable, was for me to provide a basic description of Scientology and the church, and then have other writers and editors play devil's advocate and input the side that I might not see or feel comfortable about discussing. In this way, as a team of professionals, we could achieve the desired result. However, if one is to talk of Scientology, one has to say what its axioms and philosophy and techniques state, otherwise one is pontificating into a vacuum that gives the readership no data of comparable magnitude, no reference point upon which to evaluate the data offered concerning Scientology in society.

In the article that I just edited, there was a strange focus on misquoted Bavarian officials expressing dislike of the Church. This is not the first time German authorities have so made their opinions known in the last century.

If someone has a dim opinion about Scientology, they can certainly express it, but Citizendium is not the forum. I wonder why an article that is meant to explain what Scientology is to an open mind, begins with various inaccurate statements and then dives straight away and almost exclusively into a recent political issue? If they really wanted to review the current German pronunciamentos, then why not also consider the history of suppression of Scientology in Germany, which the US State Department has denounced several years in a row. Why not also mention the fact that in all its years of intrusive and unconstitutional investigations, wiretapping, intimidation and Human Rights abuses of Scientologists, the German government has failed to find any illegal activities or wrong-doing. Why not mention that the IRS did exactly the same and found no wrong doing for decades on end, and in 1994, finally ended its harassment and acknowledged the Church to be a bona fide church and religion (something numerous religious scholars have pronounced upon, by the way). Why not also mention the recent acceptance of Scientology as a religion by Spain and England (and I think South Africa)? Why not, for that matter, trace back the governmental suppression around the world that began in the office of the AMA editor in May 1950, following a classic Black PR campaign against Dianetics that grew into a worldwide effort to suppress it. That would actually be a quest for the facts that leads us back to the misreported statements by the German authorities and puts these trivial statements into perspective. And why not include the tangible assistance the Church has provided the UN, for instance, in forwarding its Declaration of Human Rights? Focusing on a couple of recent spats in an effort to show how bad Scientology is, will not provide a reader with any kind of an understanding of Scientology, but merely perpetuate prejudice and misconceptions. I had thought this was the problem with Wikopaedia that Citizendium was established to reform.

The same goes for the reference to a sociological study that is not based on actual study of the parishioners and which betrays no understanding of the actual philosophy, techniques, and results attainable with them; yet the reference provides pejorative monikers (cult) and frankly unhelpful attitudes and opinions.

The direction this article was taking can be compared to Citizendium offering a text on the Roman Catholic Church that says it is "a religion that is under attack for pedophilia and being sued for hundreds of millions of dollars." What about the Catholic Church's history? Its triumphs? Its tenets? Its social programs? Etc etc etc. What a sad epitaph that would be for two millennia of dedicated, passionate, thinking men and women.

So, please, it is hard to write about something of which one knows little, or has pejorative ideas or leanings. May we revert to my providing the basic material which is then whittled down and built up into an overall accurate statement so that the readership can be well served?

I had posted an outline to give direction to the article, which I took down as I was told it would seem that I was hijacking the article. While I enjoy the freedom and creativity of writing without an outline, I know that in matters of fact versus fiction, especially in a subject as vast as is Scientology, that an outline gives foundation and structure upon which one can build. I would like to propose that I post this outline again, and that we make the first point of business, agreeing on the outline. Then we will have a collaborative effort in progress, instead of a Hydra that will take a Herculean effort to put to rest.

I apologize, I realize I forget to add my signature to the recent edits in the article .Steven Ferry 22:20, 8 January 2008 (CST)

I have reasserted my edits over Aaron Schultz' removal of those edits and reinstatement of the earlier version, for the reasons given in my comments on the discussion page. Perhaps if he reads these before removing my edits. Thanks Steven Ferry 22:36, 8 January 2008 (CST)

If I'm not mistaken, Steven Ferry has replaced the existing article with one of his own; there's very little common text. Let me inform you, Mr. Ferry, that this is not permitted on CZ, not without a lot of advance discussion and agreement; probably, it would require an editor's decision. If you persist in simply replacing the article, a constable may ban you on grounds explained at CZ:Constabulary Blocking Procedures. (See "Offenses which will result in a warning first, then a ban": "Deleting significant amounts of content (50 words or more) without explanation; or deleting Citizendium-sourced content in order to start a new article, without first fully discussing the matter and getting broad agreement, or a positive decision from appropriate editorial staff." --Larry Sanger 23:18, 8 January 2008 (CST)


Hi all, generally, we don't revert editing at Citizendium, except in rare instances. If there is text that is not to your satisfaction, please bring it here to the talk page and discuss it with those that are concerned. Do keep you discussion professional. Remember this is a collaborative effort with the Religion and Politics workgroups. If there are any disputes, please bring it to those workgroup editors. At this point I would consider this article in its infancy and expect it will make several transformations over time, so take your time and give everyone a chance to digest your edits. --D. Matt Innis/Constable 23:00, 8 January 2008 (CST)

Text here was removed by the Constabulary on grounds of civility. (The author may replace this template with an edited version of the original remarks.)

As Matt says, Ferry's edits should go through this page first. An encyclopedia is an "outsider-looking-in" resource and has to be acceptable to enemies of the Church as well as members, according to our standard [2] policy, which says is our job to speak for the other side, and not just represent our own views.Richard Jensen 23:42, 8 January 2008 (CST)

Steven Ferry, as a constable, what I am seeing is an editor from the Politics workgroup asking you to bring your edits here to the talk page first, before editing the article. He has the right to ask that according to our policy. I would suggest that you start slow and allow others to comment as well and when we are all finished we should have a neutral and thorough article. Though I do not expect this to happen overnight, it should be possible. --D. Matt Innis 23:58, 8 January 2008 (CST)

I think some of Mr. Ferry's issues are to be listened to. "I wonder why an article that is meant to explain what Scientology is to an open mind [should be: "in neutral terms"] begins with various inaccurate statements and then dives straight away and almost exclusively into a recent political issue?", which is an issue I've felt was not neutral to place into the article until it became more developed, and stated so, and predicted it would produce problems later,[3] as has happened, but was overulled[4] by an editor who added himself as an authority here against my protests.[5][6] Steven has stated in his edits, which I assume are intended to correct current inaccuracies in the article, that Scientology is not foremost a religion as the article currently states it is, but a "religious philosophy" and that it "was declared a religion and the Church founded in 1953 (rather than the current "1950s") at the suggestion of some Californians involved in early Scientology". Maybe he's right, I don't know. Other of his edits just were not neutral.[7] I hope Mr. Ferry might read up on the fact that we are trying to write neutral encyclopedia articles here, and I hope that we all realize that we very much need a Scientologist or two who can get a good handle on writing neutrally (which some of us here also need to get a better handle on!), to help make this article acceptable to all, or as Larry recently said, at least makes us all pretty equally angry. :-) Stephen Ewen 02:00, 9 January 2008 (CST)


We cover the politics (in Germany, Belgium, US) because church-state issues are main topics in politics. Most of the info comes from a mildly pro-CofS source (the US State department official report), and from standard press services. An encyclopedia has to be able to cover a big topic like Confucianism, or the Papacy, say, in a few thousand words. A much smaller religious group with less than 1% of the membership and less than 1% as much history will not get equal space, even though it means everything to its adherents.Richard Jensen 23:56, 8 January 2008 (CST)

Just to clarify: It is incorrect to say that this article is limited to just "a few thousand words," of course. CZ has no such policy, and editors cannot make up such policies themselves. We can and should have plenty of information about the Church of Scientology in this article, far more than there is now. The fact that there is a lot of information about the politics of Scientology in the article at present does not mean that we cannot (or should not) augment that information significantly. We definitely should, I think, as the Steves above maintain. In fact, I'm quite sure that Richard is not saying that we should make this article only about the politics of Scientology. (That would be, of course, completely absurd.)

Therefore, the way to proceed is to assume that we all want to article to be expanded and improved--just not replaced wholesale. --Larry Sanger 08:32, 9 January 2008 (CST)

Thank you gentlemen. I appreciate the voices of reason.

I would like to point out that I had an awful lot of text on the discussion board for comment and received none for several months. I still did not post it on the articles page, hoping for some feedback, and yet, without any discussion or alert to me, flagrantly political and one-sided and actually incorrect information was posted on the article page instead. So I posted my original words finally in place of those.

I am not insisting that my text be in the article page,of course, but why is someone insisting the existing text about Germany in the article page when it has not been discussed and agreed upon as the definitive statement?

I agree that we need to have the text discussed and ironed out and agreed upon before posting, so can we please hold to this, starting with a blank page right now?

And can we please, as mentioned earlier, as a first point of business, agree upon an outline, so that we can ensure all desired angles will be covered? I am happy to provide the first iteration for us to consider.

Steven Ferry 09:02, 9 January 2008 (CST)

-Voluntary redaction made (poor judgement on my part).--Robert W King 10:41, 9 January 2008 (CST)

Any editorial judgement on approving this article must involve the questions of whether its content is accurate and fair; to judge the first needs sources; unsourced material that is potentially unreliable must at some stage be deleted. Conversely any content that is well sourced, accurate and interesting deserves inclusion somewhere on Citizendium. If it relates to Scientology; one place is here or it might be better moved to a specialist article in the interests of balancing the article as a whole, but fine judgements can be left till later. I'd suggest you start with an inclusionist outline to begin with, and decide on balance at the end.Gareth Leng 10:50, 9 January 2008 (CST)

Thank you for expressing your views, Mr. King, I am glad we are honing in on the considerations being held concerning this article.

There are 25 million of Mr. Hubbard’s words available for public viewing and hundreds of hours of counseling available on different topics to experience the technology in action. There is any number of Scientologists willing to answer questions and countless books and studies on the bona fides of Scientology as a religion. If 1% of the Church’s teachings are for release to individuals as part of a spiritual journey when they are ready for it (in the same way that one saves postgraduate materials for postgraduate-level students), there are 99% of the materials available for public scrutiny and discussion. To focus in on the 1% and claim that this then means one cannot describe Scientology is a wee bit of a stretch. How much could one write about the US government, then, or a current administration, with the screeds of records sealed from public scrutiny?

If one expose oneself to the fairly numerous diatribes on the Internet of what is a very small percentage of apostates, one then derives a highly inflammatory and in most cases inaccurate idea of Scientology. There is the old adage, “never try to reason with an angry man.” This is not to say that apostates do not have some valid points, but believing the relative few’s skewed concepts and views, one then falls into the misconception that Scientology be a controversy instead of a serious and voluminous body of work. One starts to call it a cult, in contravention to the published findings of numerous religious scholars; one buys into the idea that Scientology is a closed, secretive and vindictive group bent on world conquest, separating families, etc. etc. etc, the same tired lines that were originally, actually, put out by the CIA during its campaign of misinformation during the 60s. I, for instance, being a Brit, had my parents visited secretly in 1974 by MI5 (or was it MI6?) and warned against my being in this secretive cult that split up families. I say this only to illustrate my point, not because I thought it was anything other than amusing.

Anyway, to respond to other comments by other authors, I will write what I know of Scientology as factual, and I am looking to others to take the edge off what they may consider partisanship. This will come off as a team effort so that we can all be equally angry! As someone else pointed out, if we stick to the facts and let the opinions look after themselves, it will work. Steven Ferry 12:31, 9 January 2008 (CST)

TOC proposal

Thank you, Mr. Leng, for agreeing that we need an agreed-upon outline. I offer the below as a starting point for comment and editing.

I also request that the current inaccurate and biased posting on the article page be removed, so we can start with a blank slate that can be filled with content following agreement on the outline.

1 Overview of the different components of Scientology

  • Philosophy
  • Religion
  • Science
  • Church

2 Overview of the tenets

  • Theta-MEST theory
    • The Three Parts of Man
      • Spirit
      • Mind: Analytical, Reactive, and Somatic
      • Body and the Genetic Entity
    • Other...

3 Dianetics—the breakthrough that led to Scientology

  • Description of the Path to Discovery
  • Description of the Basic Principles, including
    • Past Lives
    • Silence during Injury, Birth, etc.

4 Research leading to Scientology the Philosophy and Religion

  • Fundamental Tenets
    • Supreme Being
  • Religious Practices
  • Religious Ceremonies

5 Epistemology, Logic, and Scientific Method

  • Axioms
  • Factors

6 Some of the Basic Components of the Doctrine and its attendant Technology

  • ARC
  • Emotional Tone Scale and Predicting Human Behaviour
  • KRC Triangle
  • The Dynamics
  • Auditing
    • Use of Electronic Technology, including the E-Meter
  • The Bridge
  • Ethics
  • Training
    • Emphasis on Maintaining Standard Procedures
  • Materials of the Church

7 Application of Scientology Knowledge and technology to Social Issues and Living (describing in each subject the technology, the organization promulgating it, metrics and results of application, endorsements, and any opposition).

  • Education
  • Drug Prevention and Rehabilitation
  • Criminal Rehabilitation
  • Morality
  • Human Rights
  • Disaster Response and Succor to Those in Need
  • Mental Stress and Irrational Thought or Action
  • Economics and Business
  • Psychiatric and Pharmaceutical Influence in Society

8 L. Ron Hubbard

  • Overview of his life as an individual
  • Hubbard’s Influence in Developing Scientology as a subject
  • Hubbard’s Influence in Developing Scientology as a Church.
  • Author Services Inc.

9 The Church and It’s Parishioners

  • History of the Church
  • Structure
    • International Association of Scientologists
    • Management
    • Churches, missions, groups
    • Social Program organizations

10 Controversy

  • Psychiatric Community and Dianetics
    • Basic Issues with Dianetics and then Scientology
    • History and scope of the Conflict
  • Apostates
    • Basic Reasons for, according to the Scientology Technology
    • Basic Issues for the Apostates

11 References

12 External Links

Steven Ferry 12:43, 9 January 2008 (CST)

we will not be removing the politics and sociology material on the page. It is thoroughly sourced and highly relevant. If Mr Ferry thinks a particular sentence is mistaken he should identify it. Richard Jensen 19:45, 10 January 2008 (CST)
The major problem I see with this TOC is the presentation of Scientology/Dianetics as science. The only research of merit on this subject strongly opposes them as being scientific, and yes, there are sources to back that up. --Richard Pettitt 12:24, 4 February 2008 (CST)
Agreed. I think CofS uses "science" in its own theological fashion. (similar to "Christian Science" of Mary Baker Eddy). Richard Jensen 12:46, 4 February 2008 (CST)

To reiterate

I am sorry, Mr. Jensen, did I miss something? Who are you speaking for when you say "we" are not removing the "solidly sourced social and political" one-sided information? I am part of this process and I do not agree with leaving it in (not putting it in in the first place) for the reasons I have given above and which have not seen addressed yet by you. Mr. King covered one of the reasons, as I quote below:

"I think the point Stephen is making (and I somewhat agree with him here) is that to focus on the politically controversial actions of the CoS is highly premature at this point because it will draw attention mostly to the politics surrounding the CoS, and thus destroy the "consider all angles" rule of thumb that we try to strive for. I think we should consider ignoring the political aspect for now and stop "building a case" in that department. --Robert W King 17:31, 13 December 2007 (CST)"

DO NOT quote me out of context. That was when the article was solely about the politics behind the CoS and not about anything else. (Circa mid-December). --Robert W King 08:40, 11 January 2008 (CST)

The other key reason is that I am proposing (as above, and agreed to in principle by Mr. Leng), a TOC so we can approach this whole article in an organized fashion, from the top down, rather than randomly thrown-in pieces of highly selective and unevaluated snippets of information taken from newspapers. Does one believe everything one reads in newspapers? I certainly do not. Does one believe something and consider it true just because it has been published? It's certainly a risky proposition.

You earlier in this discussion stated: "the idea of suppressing correct, important, timely well-sourced information so as to keep readers ignorant does not seem to be a mission for CZ. People get the same info in snippets from the media and can expect to get a solid, unbiased treatment in an encyclopedia. Richard Jensen 18:38, 13 December 2007 (CST)" Well, the information provided (Germany) is not correct, how well sourced it is is open to debate, given that the report was immediately corrected the next day. And if we are to talk about "keeping readers ignorant," then exactly what effect does the current page re Germany and Belgium have when it omits the timely and relevant religious acceptance of Scientology in England and Spain? If you want to leave in the political and social information, then how about publishing some of the numerous studies by religious scholars in the most prestigious of institutions, showing that Scientology is a religion? And informaton that shows the social programs of Scientology? And if so, why make these the first point of business if people don't even know what Scientology is? I agree with you that we need "solid, unbiased treatment" and suggest we will achieve this noble end by being unbiased and balanced. It is not a question, therefore, of identifying specific statements that are incorrect, even though I could do it, but of providing balanced and fair coverage of the political and social events. And more importantly, not altering the importance of the article by focusing on negative minutiae at the expense of the big picture.

So, I don't know what your position is, but I am asking that someone who does not have a specific existing view on the subject of Scientology, take over monitoring or editing this piece so that we can move ahead in creating a balanced article with the purpose of educating the readership on what Scientology really is, not what someone wants to make them think it is or is not. To this end, I look forward also to some enlightened discussion on the draft TOC. Steven Ferry 23:05, 10 January 2008 (CST)

Steve, I'm a politics editor at CZ and made a policy decision according to CZ procedures to include important information about the Church, which is a major issue in Germany and other countries. Major issues like that have to be covered, as well as the sociology of the membership. If you spot a statement you think is incorrect, please point it out and provide a suitable reference to a good source. If you make a good case we will change the text. Let me stress the need to provide good sources (via footnotes) for all your statements. I was brought in by the editor in chief because I have written widely on religion and politics. Personally, I do not in fact have any position whatever on the Church of Scientology. ...said Richard Jensen (talk) (Please sign your talk page posts by simply adding four tildes, ~~~~.)

Referee statement

The Citizendium Executive is discussing proposals for a Dispute Resolution process. These are not yet finalised but will involve a system of “referees” for disputes.

A referee will be an uninvolved member of the project who will play no significant active part in a disputed article, but will be empowered to make certain types of decisions about a disputed article that will be provisionally binding on contributors to that article. The purpose of such decisions will be to call a ::halt to disputes with a decision that enables article development to continue. The decisions will be on the basis, where appropriate, of Citizendium policy, and there will be an appeal mechanism if decisions are thought to be in breach of this. The referee will not make judgments on matters of expert knowledge that lie outside their expertise, but may make judgments on style, tone, balance, neutrality etc. The referee will attempt to make a swift decision that is fair and reasonable and in the best interests of the Citizendium project; swiftness means that decisions will be imperfect, but authors will be expected to abide by them rather than extend a dispute. The referee has no disciplinary powers, a flagrant breach of his or her guidance will be a matter for the Constabulary.

As this article is the subject of apparently heated dispute, Larry as Editor-in-Chief has asked me to act as referee here as part of a trial of the process.

At present I intend to stand well back here. If there is any specific issue that needs my attention, please state it in a message on my Talk page.Gareth Leng 08:31, 11 January 2008 (CST)

One piece of information that appears somewhat in contention, is a ratio. The quantity of Church published information, says the Church, is in the area of 35 or 40 million words. But critics say, in addition, there is "secret" information, revealed only to the advanced. The quantity of "secrets" that critics present is much less than 1/100th of the Church's publicly available information. Therefore, introducing Scientology as an organization based on secret teachings doesn't stand up to examination. Terry E. Olsen 22:45, 5 March 2008 (CST)
Terry Olsen seems to say that every word is of equal importance and therefore the half-million words of secret texts are under 1% in terms of importance. Surely he does not believe that. In other churches, and organizations, the highly protected secrets are rather important. (99% of the US Army's materials are public--the 1% that are secret are probably kept so for a reason.) Richard Jensen 17:32, 6 March 2008 (CST)
Sorry I wasn't clear. My comment is about the quantity of the two kinds of information. 40 million published words (anyone can purchase) 1% (just a guess) of unpublished words. Frankly I don't know the actual ratio, but judging from online, critical webpages, it is much less than 1%. I meant to address quantities. Commenting on 'importance' would be more difficult because almost all of the Church's organizations are dedicated to the published information. Only the Advanced Organizations (there might be 6 of them ?) use unpublished, confidential information. Terry E. Olsen 02:40, 8 March 2008 (CST)
If nobody actually knows (except high-ranking church members) what percent is unpublished then how can we possibly say how many actually are without knowing? I think this whole debate is assuming too much. Terry doesn't even know; after all he's guessing. And neither I, nor Richard knows either. Given this, it's impossible to even estimate the "importance" of the information either. --Robert W King 07:23, 8 March 2008 (CST)
it's not the %. Five thousand words is enough to be extremely critical and central to the religion. Does Terry know? if he does he's sworn to secrecy. Richard Jensen 10:37, 8 March 2008 (CST)
It's not even the number. My argument is that this whole point is moot since there is no real significance to the amount of information that is kept secret--only that there is information that is secret. --Robert W King 10:42, 8 March 2008 (CST)

New Yorker

Article in New Yorker --Paul Wormer 04:09, 17 January 2008 (CST)

Recent undoing of the sentence and its source that I had added

I just posted a sentence or two concerning the definition of Scientology, together with a reference it was based upon. This was removed in its entirety an hour or two later without explanation. Please explain upon what basis this was removed. Thank you. Thanks, --Steven Ferry 15:03, 6 April 2008 (CDT)

Because the sentence is promotional and relies on a source within scientology for its validation; thus making it improper and biased. --Robert W King 15:08, 6 April 2008 (CDT)

Hmm, can't say I agree with this stance, Robert. If we cannot rely upon words from the person who originated a subject to define the subject, then what basis do we have for making any accurate statements? Why does some third party, who has no familiarity with a subject, become an authority on that subject? Something skewed in the logic here, no?--Steven Ferry 15:25, 6 April 2008 (CDT)

It's a question of removing what sounds like a true-believer's faith in a religion. that's fine for church pamphlets but CZ' article has to be neutral regarding CS's validity.Richard Jensen 16:09, 6 April 2008 (CDT)

Agreed, thanks. I believe what is there is phrased in a way that aligns with this required neutrality, because the statement is expressed as what Hubbard says Scientology is.--Steven Ferry 00:15, 7 April 2008 (CDT)

good point. The solution is perhaps to say that "Hubbard taught X" or "Scientology teaches Y" Richard Jensen 02:11, 7 April 2008 (CDT)
I concur; in addition I would make the point that our Scientology article cannot say, in its intro paragraph, only what its proponents want to say of it - any more than we would let, say, members of the Christian religion only write the intro to the Christianity article). So the intro para might say something like 'Scientology is an X which its founder, EH, says "<mumble>"; others maintain that is a "<moremumbleage>".' J. Noel Chiappa 09:32, 7 April 2008 (CDT)

Scio vs scientia

Please stop reverting it. It's been changed multiple times to its correct root. --Robert W King 15:56, 18 April 2008 (CDT)


Also, Stephen, whether you like it or not, many people do brand it as a "cult". You should be aware of this; declaring it as having opposition is just not satisfactory to what the truth is. --Robert W King 16:03, 18 April 2008 (CDT)

  • Thanks for that, Robert. Steven Ferry's edits seem to be heavily biased in a pro-Scientology direction. This article needs a heavy rewrite to be the quality I have seen in articles like DNA. I'd almost suggest we delete it and start with the one on Wikipedia. --Tom Morris 16:09, 18 April 2008 (CDT)

I deleted the cult reference because it was already covered in a section further down. Why say the same thing twice with no supporting information in either mention? What is the truth, by the way? I see apostates in opposition to Scientology. They call it a cult and many other things. I would not call the article in Wikopaedia a quality article if it is meant to give a fair and balanced view of the subject of Scientology. Scientology is a definite subject that only a Scientologist can provide information on accurately. Those who are anti Scientology are best qualified to give their own view on what is wrong with it. And those with no real views, would really have to study both camps to be able to comment on either. Maybe there should be two articles: one, the unbiased and definitive statement of Scientology, the other the opposite point of view. If the subject be so controversial, maybe it is better to let each side create its own page without let or hindrance from the other side, but moderated by completely independent editors? at the moment, the reader really has no idea what Scientology is because we are all caught up in the politics of the subject.--Steven Ferry 16:30, 18 April 2008 (CDT)

'Cult' is merely a pejorative word for 'religion', implying that it's a bit on the small side compared with the longer-established cults. That is the current status of scientology, and this should be mentioned in the introduction. As for having two articles, that'd be against the spirit of the Citizendium, the point of which is to find words both sides can live with. Ro Thorpe 17:18, 18 April 2008 (CDT)
Without taking a position pro or con as to whether Scientology is a cult (I'm close to being in the middle on that, for reasons that will become apparent in a second), I disagree with your seeming contention that a 'cult' is a 'small religion'. There are people who study these small groups, and you can survey them and place them along an axis, based on observable, objective traits like the power of a charismatic leader, detachment of members from outside contacts, etc.
Having said that, when the nation's premier news magazine labels Scientology 'A Thriving Cult of Greed and Power', I think it would be entirely appropriate to say, in the introductory section, that "many of their critics describe them as a cult". It's not like it's one guy in Peoria who's calling them that. J. Noel Chiappa 18:27, 18 April 2008 (CDT)
There are smaller cults and larger ones. Scientology is larger than many, it's taken seriously as a religion by many people. The word is a diminutive-pejorative, that's my point. Ro Thorpe 18:42, 18 April 2008 (CDT)
OK, leave the size out of it. My point remains, that there are a number of objective criteria that people who study belief-systems/organizations use to place things along the 'cult/non-cult' axis (to temporarily use that word, since I don't have a better one off the top of my head), such as the degree to which members are cut off from the rest of the world. I don't believe "cult" is a purely pejorative word, it also says something about where an organization/belief-system is on that axis.
If you have another word to suggest, one which categorizes things according to where they are on that axis, but does not have the pejorative connotations of "cult", that would be good. J. Noel Chiappa 21:13, 18 April 2008 (CDT)
Hmm, I looked up 'cult' in a thesaurus & it led me to 'church' as in 'of Scientology'. Ro Thorpe 09:54, 19 April 2008 (CDT)
Only a Scientologist can provide accurate information about Scientology? There seem to be plenty of good scholarly sources on Scientology in scholarly journals on sociology, religious studies, theology and related disciplines. Non-Christians can be experts on Christianity, non-Marxists can be experts on Marx. Scientology isn't special in this regard. And there are plenty of people who are not apostates who are critical of Scientology. What you are proposing is an article which allows the Church free rein to say anything they like. They already have that - their website. Here we need to have facts, not spin. --Tom Morris 17:21, 18 April 2008 (CDT)


There seems to be plenty of specific language used by Scientology. I've started a Glossary subpage to track it all. No doubt, this will be fair-and-balanced (some claim that 2+2=4 and others claim that 2+2=6, so to be fair to both sides we'll say that 2+2=5), but I think it may be a useful addition to Citizendium. Sorry I haven't followed procedure - I was Being Bold. --Tom Morris 04:35, 19 April 2008 (CDT)

I like the concept of a Glossary. Scientology does have a lot of jargon, and terms that an average reader wouldn't understand. J. Noel Chiappa 10:37, 19 April 2008 (CDT)

Note that there is a terminology FAQ [8] from some of the critics, and an official FAQ from the Scientology organisation.[9] Sandy Harris 03:18, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

Controversy and Criticism

I hope it is not just me but I personally despise "Controversy and Criticism" sections as amateurish. Better to narrate them in without a special section. Stephen Ewen 21:15, 21 April 2008 (CDT)

I would like to do so, but not sure how. Feel free to refactor. Unfortunately, I think on this particular article, what with the fact that some may wish to edit it to fit certain ideological positions, such a section will be very necessary. --Tom Morris 03:01, 22 April 2008 (CDT)
I am also very displeased with having a "Criticism" section. I would like to see it axed or renamed, and instead of just having "Critics also say" or "Critics say" I would like to know which critics; what bodies have said what, who has said what and why, etc. We can't just blanket cover this and say it's okay, that is too wikipedian and we can do better. --Robert W King 09:27, 28 April 2008 (CDT)
(Cross-reference for readers: User talk:Tom Morris) I've been meaning to sit down and rewrite the whole article. I'm going to redraft the whole article this evening to try and roll the criticism into the rest of the article. Perhaps we could all get together on IRC and try to make it better. --Tom Morris 11:09, 28 April 2008 (CDT)
If the article is getting yet another re-write, it should be done carefully with as much community input as possible to avoid any accidental bias, or stance. --Robert W King 11:14, 28 April 2008 (CDT)
I have started work on the History section. I'm hoping that if we can flesh out the history section, we can roll critical perspectives into the history, rather than having a Wikipedia-esque section. --Tom Morris 12:08, 28 April 2008 (CDT)
The whole section is weak. WP has some good material at [10] and [11]. Sandy Harris 02:00, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

Not psychological counseling

I made a change at Scientology#Practices; "Scientologists practice a form of psychological counseling called auditing." to "The Church practices a form of counseling called auditing."

The Church's counseling is not psychological because psychology pertains to the mind or to mental phenomena. None of the Church's counseling is addressed to the mind or to mental phenomena. Auditing is addressed to the individual himself. Whereas a psychologist might insist an individual is a mental phenomena. But the Church would insist the individual exists and is aware, with or without any mental phenomena or indeed, without even a body. The counseling addresses the individual. Terry E. Olsen 11:13, 6 July 2008 (CDT)

Wikipedia ban

Wikipedia has blocked some of the "church" IP addresses in an effort to control biased edits.

Editors should probably be alert for similar problems here. Sandy Harris 04:14, 2 June 2009 (UTC)


Scientology is not recognized as a religion in Austria. I used strike out to indicate that other items might be incorrect as well. Peter Schmitt 12:37, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

Scientology vs the net, again

New controversy: Blogger: Scientology group asks followers to censor Web comments.

Our coverage of the whole Scientology vs. the net series of battles is entirely inadequate. WP has an incomplete summary[12]. The controversy about alt.religion.scientology was mainly about robot posting of the "party line" and other attempts to destroy discussion, not merely the presence of scientologists. Our article on Anonymous does mention that they were founded in response to what many Netizens saw as severe provocation by the "Church", but that controversy is not discussed here.

Summaries of the early controversy include a Wired article and a reference page. Much of this should be in the article, but I am not likely to do it anytime soon. Sandy Harris 02:51, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

Belgian charges

Belgian authorities "charge the Church of Scientology and its leaders as a criminal organization on charges of extortion, fraud, privacy breaches, and the illegal practice of medicine." [13] The article has lots of references to previous cases and some discussion of differences this time "The Belgian government won't charge Scientology for being a cult — authorities are focusing on prosecuting it as a criminal organization. Which is a new twist, ..."

Found via Rational Wiki Sandy Harris 16:04, 30 December 2012 (UTC)