Scientology has been an extremely controversial movement for decades, plagued by accusations from ex-members, legal cases, and the view of the public about their practices and beliefs.
Jenna Miscavige Hill, niece of Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige, released the autobiographical book Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology. In it she describes numerous forms of abuse suffered by herself, her family, and others, as well as giving a glimpse of everyday life within the Church.
Operation Snow White is the term commonly used to describe a widespread conspiracy within the Church of Scientology's Guardian Office to infiltrate multiple government offices. Several high-ranking members of the Church spent time in prison for the crimes.
The Fair Game policy enacted in 1967 allowed suppressive persons to "be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed." The policy was officially rescinded the following year, but critics have repeatedly accused the Church of continuing Fair Game practices against them.
Scientology practices can be extremely expensive, and the Church urges believers to regularly engage in these practices for their spiritual fulfillment. The Church argues that gaining such services from the Church is merely one way of practicing Scientology. They also equate the costs of such services to the costs of higher education.
5. Silent Birth
When Katie Holmes, wife of high-ranking Scientologist Tome Cruise, gave birth to their daughter, Suri, the media gave considerable attention to the practice of silent birth. The result was many people gained the impression that, among other things, a Scientology mother in labor was expected to do so without making a sound, a highly unreasonable expectation.
The Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF) is presented as a voluntary practice to bring an unethical Scientologist back into correct behavior through education and labor. Ex-Scientologists have reported inadequate housing and food, forced confinement, systematic humiliation, and backbreaking labor.
The existence of Galactic Overlord Xenu is taught to Scientologists of level OTIII. Xenu has been used by various critics to mock the Church for involving extraterrestrial life in their religious beliefs.
The Fishman Affidavit introduced the teachings of Operating Thetan (OT) levels to the public, including the existence of Xenu.
Scientology publicly denounces the psychiatric profession as junk science and a tool of oppression. Their alternative treatments have earned great criticism from the medical community.
Our culture has a tendency to label religions – particularly modern religions – that deviate significantly from what is seen as the religious norm as “cults” and presumes them to be dangerous. See how Scientology stacks up.