New Book on Scientology


Patron with Honors
Just saw a new book on Amazon called "The Church of Scientology: A History of a New Religion" - release date Aug 11.

Product Description
Scientology is one of the wealthiest and most powerful new religions to emerge in the past century. To its detractors, L. Ron Hubbard's space-age mysticism is a moneymaking scam and sinister brainwashing cult. But to its adherents, it is humanity's brightest hope. Few religious movements have been subject to public scrutiny like Scientology, yet much of what is written about the church is sensationalist and inaccurate. Here for the first time is the story of Scientology's protracted and turbulent journey to recognition as a religion in the postwar American landscape.

Hugh Urban tells the real story of Scientology from its cold war-era beginnings in the 1950s to its prominence today as the religion of Hollywood's celebrity elite. Urban paints a vivid portrait of Hubbard, the enigmatic founder who once commanded his own private fleet and an intelligence apparatus rivaling that of the U.S. government. One FBI agent described him as "a mental case," but to his followers he is the man who "solved the riddle of the human mind." Urban details Scientology's decades-long war with the IRS, which ended with the church winning tax-exempt status as a religion; the rancorous cult wars of the 1970s and 1980s; as well as the latest challenges confronting Scientology, from attacks by the Internet group Anonymous to the church's efforts to suppress the online dissemination of its esoteric teachings.

This book demonstrates how Scientology has reflected the broader anxieties and obsessions of postwar America, and raises profound questions about how religion is defined and who gets to define it.

Interesting to see how balanced it is. Sometimes when academics try to be balanced, they write off exes as biased and having an axe to grind.

Petey C

Silver Meritorious Patron
He's from Ohio State University. His web page sets out his interests (below). The book is published by Princeton University Press so at the very least has been vetted a time or two. I'll definitely be reading it, regardless of the Amazon blurb.

"Teaching and Research
Comparative Religions, Religions of South Asia, New Religious Movements, Colonial and Post-Colonial Studies, Secrecy, Sexuality, Religion and Politics.

Hugh B. Urban is interested in the study of secrecy in religion, particularly in relation to questions of knowledge and power. Focusing primarily on the traditions of South Asia, he is author of Tantra: Sex, Secrecy, Politics and Power in the Study of Religion (2003) and Magia Sexualis: Sex, Magic, and Liberation in Modern Western Esotericism (2006), among other books. He has a strong secondary interest in contemporary new religious movements, and has published articles on Heaven's Gate, Scientology and modern Western magic."