Scientology – Research Resources: Articles

Note: We have started the process of reorganizing our research resources on Scientology, the Church of Scientology, and its related entities, front groups, and issues. When this project is complete, all Apologetics Index research resources on Scientology can be accessed in this Scientology topic. Until then, most of the resources will still be located here


Best Overall Introduction and Overview Articles

  • The Apostate: Paul Haggis vs. the Church of Scientologyoffsite Investigative journalist Lawrence Wright’s profile of Scientology defector Paul Haggis. New Yorker, Feb. 14, 2011 issue. This article has created a fire-storm of negative publicity for the cult, in large part due to the claim that the FBI is investigating human trafficking and physical abuse with the Church of Scientology. An excellent look at the cult. Wright is working on a book about the controversial church and Haggis’s lengthy involvement.
  • Cult Frictionoffsite [Contra] John Cook, Radar Online, Mar. 17, 2008. Excellent look at the problems the Church of Scientology is experiencing from having its behavior and practices exposed by a worldwide group of activists known as ‘Anonymous.’ Includes references to the hate- and harassment tactics the Church of Scientology uses against its critics.

    Note: the link points to the article as archived at the Internet Archive. Retrieving the text can be slow.

    After an embarrassing string of high-profile defection and leaked videos, Scientology is under attack from a faceless cabal of online activists. Has America’s most controversial religion finally met its match?

  • The Decline of Scientologyoffsite PDF file by Stephen A. Kent. This is a chapter in Dialog in Konfrontation . . . und die Wahrheit wird euch frei machenoffsite, published by Jenaer Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft, 2011.

    Scientology is declining, and probably is on that slow path to extinction that so many ideologies travel. It is difficult for us to recognize this trend because we are so close to events, so I will identify some causes and indicators in this chapter. The long term prognosis, however, seems clear. Now I doubt that I will live sufficiently long to see the group disappear completely, since other ideologies linger for decades, and occasionally centuries, after they have lost their vitality. Nevertheless Scientology will likely only become a chapter in a history boo when someone in the future writes about the cults, ideologies and ideologies of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. That chapter will comment on how and why it was declining, if not dying, some 60 years after it began.

    I reach this conclusion about its demise and eventual death by comparing the reality of Scientology in Europe and the United States today with a model of religious success developed several years ago (and later refined) by sociologist Rodney Start (1987; 2003), based upon research that included the Mormons. Whatever we may think of Mormonism, it is one of the world’s most successful newer religions, now with over fourteen million members worldwide (if official statistics are accurate). Scientology will never reach that level of success. Globally, a high estimate of its membership may be 100,000, but probably there are far less than 75,000 or less, with numbers dropping.

  • Is Scientology self-destructing?offsite Alex Klein, BuzzFeed, Jan. 16, 2013. This is a good overview article that will bring you up to speed on where the ‘Church’ of Scientology currently — January, 2013 — is at.

    Scientology leader David Miscavige has been trumpeting his church’s “milestone year,” but the mysterious religion is alienating scores of its most faithful followers with what they call a real estate scam. With anger mounting and defectors fleeing, this may be more than a fleeting crisis; it may be a symptom of an institution in decline.

  • The Thriving Cult of Greed and Poweroffsite [Contra] Landmark article by Richard Behar, TIME Magazine, May 6, 1991.
    • The cult mercilessly pursued Behar with its signature pattern of hate- and harassment activities also reported by others who have critized Scientology
    • The Church of Scientology sued TIME Magazine and Richard Behar for libel over this article. The lawsuit was dismissed, and the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Time was not guilty of writing its article with actual malice, which is the standard for libel cases involving public groups or people. Scientology ultimately lost when the Supreme Court refused to hear its case
  • Inside Scientologyoffsite [Contra] “Unlocking the complex code of America’s most mysterious religion” by Janet Reitman, Rolling Stone, Feb. 23, 2006. Excellent, in-depth overview of Scientology. Reposted online after publication of a New Yorker article resulted in a fire-storm of bad publicity for the Scientology cult. Reitman’s publisher also announced publication of her book, scheduled for July 5, 2011, Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religionoffsite
  • Is Scientology Compatible With Christianity? by John Weldon

    Although the church claims its beliefs are not incompatible with Christian faith, an evaluation of what Scientology teaches in the areas of God, man, the creation, salvation, and death proves this is not so.

  • Scientology’s First Celebrity Defector Reveals Church Secretsoffsite Tony Ortega, Village Voice, Apr. 8, 2008

    Veteran television actor Jason Beghe tells the Village Voice that the Church of Scientology will be feeling blindsided by the YouTube video of him that hit the Internet on March 14.

    Long-held frustrations with the church motivated Beghe to leave Scientology seven months ago, after he had spent about 12 years in the organization as one of its most celebrated success stories. Over the course of about a year, he negotiated his “disassociation” with the church, trying to give every indication to church officials that he was parting on good terms.

    In reality, he says, he was already planning to go public with damning allegations about L. Ron Hubbard’s controversial religion.

  • The Scientology Storyoffsite [Contra] Los Angeles Times, June, 1990. Six-part in-depth report.
  • Scientology Unmasked [Contra] Boston Herald, March 1-5, 1998. 11-part hard-hitting series of reports.
  • What is Scientology?offsite by Tony Ortega, The Village Voice

Other Articles Of Interest

  • The Church of Scientology’s friends in Washingtonoffsite, “The embattled religious organization has allies in Congress, though it lobbies quietly” Alex Pareene, Salon, Feb. 10, 2011
  • How to read a tabloid magazine story about the Church of Scientology: A primer On a regular basis tabloids report that Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kirstie Allie, or another Scientology follower has seen the light and is leaving the destructive cult. Scientology watcher Tony Ortego explains what you should already know.
  • Scientology’s Hollywood Real Estate Empireoffsite Daniel Miller, Hollywood Reporter, July 20, 2011

    The Church of Scientology owns, by most accounts, more historic buildings in Hollywood than any other entity and is one of the community’s biggest property owners. […]

    “The fact they are buying all of these expensive and historic properties — it is not surprising people are going to be a little bit alarmed by that,” says Hugh Urban, a comparative religions professor at Ohio State University who studies the organization. “When you couple that with statements Hubbard and Scientologists have made about building a new civilization, it is not surprising that people would be at unease.”

    Among the hot-button points: Scientology’s designation as a religion exempts the group from paying some property taxes on buildings used for spiritual purposes (affording the church an annual savings of at least hundreds of thousands of dollars); the belief by Urban that the group has purchased the historic properties simply to imbue itself with historical significance; the claim by defectors that the historic-building program is simply part of a public relations and marketing campaign designed to bolster the church’s ranks of celebrity adherents (there are many) and distract from the group’s controversies; and issues raised by defectors about Scientology’s labor practices as they relate to the restoration of historic buildings.

  • The Truth Rundownoffsite Multi-part, ongoing investigative report by the St. Petersburg Times (now named The Tampa Bay Times). Includes information from high-ranking defectors who provide an unprecedented inside look at Scientology, its leader and the Lisa McPherson case. Among the issues covered by the report:

    • Some of the defectors describe bizarre behavior and physical beatings inflicted by Scientology leader David Miscavige.
    • Former Scientologists are stepping forward — from Dallas and Denver, Portland, Las Vegas, Montana — talking about what happened, to them and their friends, during their years in the Church of Scientology.
    • Leaders feared that those who left Scientology without permission might reveal church secrets. So they went after them.
    • Larry Anderson, the star of Scientology’s recruiting film, has left the church. He says the church failed to deliver the spiritual gains it promised and wants $120,000 returned to him.
    • Former members of Scientology’s Sea Org say the religious order pressured them to have abortions they did not want.

    The St. Petersburg Times has a long history of Scientology coverage.

See also:
See our Scientology news tracker & news archive

• While we are reorganizing our Scientology section, additional articles can be found here.

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This post was last updated: Jul. 3, 2015