The Scientology Story
by Joel Sappell and Robert W. Welkos — a six-part series in the Los Angeles Times, June 24-29, 1990.
What is Scientology?
Not even the vast majority of Scientologists can fully answer the question. In the Church of Scientology, there is no one book that comprehensively sets forth the religion’s beliefs in the fashion of, say, the Bible or the Koran.
Rather, Scientology’s theology is scattered among the voluminous writings and tape-recorded discourses of the late science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, who founded the religion in the early 1950s.
Piece by piece, his teachings are revealed to church members through a progression of sometimes secret courses that take years to complete and cost tens of thousands of dollars. Out of a membership estimated by the church to be 6.5 million, only a tiny fraction have climbed to the upper reaches. In fact, according to a Scientology publication earlier this year, fewer than 900 members have completed the church’s highest course, nicknamed “Truth Revealed.”