Scientology is a system of beliefs, teachings and rituals, originally established as a secular philosophy in 1952 by science-fiction author L. Ron Hubbard, then recharacterized by him in 1953 as an "applied religious philosophy."

Scientology is officially represented by the controversial Church of Scientology. The Church presents itself as a non-profit religious organization dedicated to encouraging development of the human spirit. Providing counseling and rehabilitation programs, the Church offers itself as an alternative to psychiatry, which Scientologists believe to be a barbaric and corrupt profession.Church spokespeople attest that Hubbard's teaching (called "technology" or "tech") has freed them from drug and alcohol addictions, depression, learning disabilities, mental disorders and other problems. Scientology, however, has been the object of many allegations that sharply contradict the Church's self-description. Critics—including officials of several governments—have characterized the Church of Scientology as an unscrupulous commercial organization; it has often been described as a cult that harasses its critics and exploits its members. Many of the Church's most controversial actions are, critics argue, a direct reflection of Hubbard's Scientology teachings.

Despite the similarity of names, there is no historical, doctrinal, or organizational connection between Scientology and the Church of Christ, Scientist, better known as "Christian Science".

Beliefs and practices
Scientology's doctrines were established by Hubbard over some 33 years from 1952 until his death in January 1986. Most of the basic principles were set out during the 1950s and 1960s. The Church states that the goal of Scientology is a world without war, criminals, and insanity, where good decent people have the freedom to reach their goals.

Scientology was expanded and reworked from Dianetics , an earlier system of self-improvement techniques set out by Hubbard in the 1950 book, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. By the mid-1950s, Hubbard had relegated Dianetics to a sub-study of Scientology. The chief difference between the two is that Dianetics is explicitly secular, focused on the individual's present life and dealing with physical and mental or emotional problems, whereas Scientology adopts a more overtly religious approach dealing with spiritual issues spanning multiple past lives as well as the present day.

Scientology beliefs are structured in a series of levels, with new initiates working their way up by steps to the more advanced strata of esoteric knowledge. This is described as the passage up "the bridge to total freedom," or simply "the bridge." The more advanced teachings are kept strictly confidential from those who are not sufficiently "spiritually prepared" to learn about them. The model is similar to that practiced by gnostic or mystery religions.

Central beliefs
The central beliefs of Scientology are that:

1.a person is an immortal spiritual being (termed a thetan) who possesses a mind and a body, accompanied by a lesser "genetic entity";
2.the thetan has lived through many past lives, stored memories of which can cause problems in the present day;
3.a person is basically good, but is "aberrated" by the memories of past traumas.

Scientology claims to offer an exact methodology to help a person achieve spiritual and ethical education, awareness, and improvement, so that he or she may achieve a level of spiritual purity as well as greater effectiveness in the physical world. The ultimate goal of Scientology is to "rehabilitate" the thetan, restoring its superhuman abilities to control "matter, energy, space and time" (MEST).

The Structure of the Mind
Scientology holds that the human mind consists of two parts: the "analytical mind" and the "reactive mind". Hubbard described the analytical mind as the positive, rational, computing portion, while the "reactive mind" operates on a stimulus-response basis. Scientologists believe that the reactive mind has a malignant effect, causing irrational behaviour and creating individual weaknesses as well as undermining efforts to create lasting, prosperous and sane societies. Compare the "analytical mind" and the "reactive mind" to Freud's id and superego.

The central practice of Scientology is called "auditing," (from the Latin audire,"to listen"), which is one-on-one communication with a Scientology-trained counselor or "auditor." The auditor follows an exact sequence of commands, as set out by Hubbard, to "clear" the reactive mind. Utilizing a biofeedback machine known as an "E-meter", the process is intended to help a person to unburden himself of specific traumatic incidents, prior ethical transgressions and bad decisions that collectively restrict the person from achieving their goals.

Past lives
In Dianetics, Hubbard proposed that the cause of "aberrations" in the human mind was the accumulated unconscious memories of traumatic incidents and guilty feelings dating back, in some cases, to before the moment of birth. He extended this view further in Scientology, declaring that thetans have existed for tens of trillions of years. During that time, they have been exposed to vast numbers of traumatic incidents.

For instance, Hubbard claims that a previous state of existence as a wave-battered clam may produce a present-day inability to cry: "[the person] is about to be hit by a wave, has his eyes full of sand or is frightened about opening his shell because he may be hit" (Hubbard, A History of Man, 1952). On other occasions, traumas may have been deliberately inflicted in the form of "implants" used by mostly defunct extraterrestrial civilizations to brainwash and control thetans. These included such tortures as the Obscene Dog, "a sort of a brass dog in a sitting position and anybody who got around to the front of the dog got caught in some electronic current and passed through the dog to the dog's rear end and spat out" (Hubbard, "Assists," lecture of 3rd October 1968).

Scientology doctrine includes a wide variety of beliefs in extraterrestrial civilizations and alien interventions in Earthly events, collectively described by Hubbard as "space opera". For a detailed overview, see Space opera in Scientology doctrine.

Operating Thetan Levels and the Xenu incident
The "Hidden Truth" about the nature of the universe is taught to the most advanced Scientologists in a series of programs known as the Advanced Levels or Operating Thetan levels (eight in all), for which the initiate needs to be thoroughly prepared. These are the levels above "Clear," and their contents are held in strict confidence within Scientology. The highest level, OT VIII, is only disclosed at sea, on the Scientology cruise ship Freewinds. However, since being entered into evidence in several court cases beginning in the mid-1980s, synopses and excerpts of these secret teachings have appeared in innumerable publications.

In the OT levels, Hubbard describes a variety of traumas commonly experienced in past lives. He explains how to reverse the effects of such traumas by "running" various Scientology processes. Among these advanced teachings, one key episode that is revealed to those who reach OT level III has been widely remarked upon in the press: the story of Xenu, the galactic tyrant who stacked hundreds of billions of his frozen victims around Earth's volcanoes 75 million years ago before blowing them up with hydrogen bombs and brainwashing them with a "three-D, super colossal motion picture" for 36 days. The traumatised thetans subsequently clustered around human bodies, in effect acting as invisible spiritual parasites known as "Body Thetans" that can only be removed using advanced Scientology techniques.

Scientologists argue that accounts such as the Xenu story are pulled out of context and published for the purpose of ridiculing their religion. Journalists and critics of Scientology counter that Xenu is part of a much wider Scientology belief in alien past lives, some of which has been public knowledge for decades. For instance, Hubbard's 1958 book Have You Lived Before This Life (ISBN 0884044475) documents past lives as described by individual Scientologists during auditing sessions. These included incidents such as being "deceived into a love affair with a robot decked out as a beautiful red-haired girl", being run over by a Martian bishop driving a steamroller, being transformed into an intergalactic walrus which perished after falling out of a flying saucer and being "a very happy being who strayed to the planet Nostra 23,064,000,000 years ago".

Although reliable statistics are not available, it is fair to say that most Scientologists are not at a sufficiently high level on "the bridge" to learn about Xenu. Therefore, belief in Xenu cannot be regarded as amongst the beliefs commonly espoused by the majority of Scientologists. On the other hand, Scientology literature does include many references to extraterrestrial past lives and internal Scientology publications are often illustrated with pictures of spaceships and oblique references to catastrophic events that happened "75 million years ago" (i.e. the Xenu incident).

The ARC triangle
Another basic tenet of Scientology is that there are three interrelated (and intrinsically spiritual) components that makeup successful "livingness": affinity (emotional response), reality (an agreement on what is real), and communication (exchange of ideas). Hubbard called this the "ARC triangle", (pronounced A. R. C.). Scientologists utilize ARC as a central organizing principle in their lives, primarily based upon the belief that raising one aspect of the triangle increases the level of the other two.

The Tone Scale
Scientologists organize their personal relationships around the concept of the "Tone Scale", devised by Hubbard in 1951, which classifies people according to their emotional outlook and worth to society. They aim to be at the top end of the scale at a tone level of 40.0, at which level they will have an ability to issue commands to any object that exists in "matter, energy, space and time". This is claimed to extend to being able to control the physical environment on Earth, even down to fine-grained molecular and atomic levels.

Toward the low end of the scale are what Hubbard calls "suppressive persons", those whose destructive actions can directly impede the progress of Scientology and individual Scientologists. The suppressive persons par excellence are said to be psychiatrists, for whom Hubbard had a special dislike. He claimed that they had been agents of repression for billions of years and were responsible for inventing pain and sex, both of which were "artificial wavelengths" on "exact frequencies that can be manufactured".

Beliefs regarding traditional religions
Initially, newly recruited Scientologists are indoctrinated into the belief that Scientology is fully compatible with all existing major religions. However, due to the fact that Scientology is essentially a mystery religion, the core teachings of the organization are not immediately revealed to new recruits. As a typical Scientology practitioner eventually advances through the various stages and levels of admission to the core teachings of the organization, some teachings which may not be entirely consistent with what was initially taught at the entry level are eventually released. Allegedly this is because entry level practitioners "may not yet be ready" for such teachings.

One controversial document exists which contains one such core teaching, according to several former Scientologists. Active members of the Church of Scientology have both acknowledged this controversial document as its own copyrighted material, yet also denied that it is a part of its teachings, contrary to the claims of former members. This is the document that was released in US Court as the Fishman Affidavit in 1993. According to former Scientologists, the teachings reflected in the affidavit are only released by the Church of Scientology to the very small percentage of upper level practitioners who have achieved the upper level of OT VIII.

The reason for the highly secretive treatment of this information becomes apparent once this information is studied in the Fishman affidavit. This affidavit describes Hubbard's actual belief that all major religions, except for Buddhism, were "instruments (designed)... to bring about the eventual enslavement of mankind". It goes on to claim that Jesus was actually a "lover of young boys and men, he was given to uncontrollable bursts of temper and hatred", stating essentially the Scientology belief that Jesus was a homosexual pedophile.

The Church's denial that this document is still used in their OT VIII training program is consistent with the same types of denials the Church has made previously regarding the Xenu material. Based upon this document, and based upon the confirmations of numerous former members that the Church continues to teach the materials described in this document, it would appear that Scientology may not be fully compatible with all major world religions, which this document appears to malign.

Origins of Scientology
Immediately prior to his first Dianetics publications, Hubbard was involved with the occultist Jack Parsons in performing rites developed by Aleister Crowley. Some investigators have noted similarities in Hubbard's writings to the doctrines of Crowley , though the Church of Scientology denies any such connection. An influence that Hubbard did acknowledge is the system of General Semantics developed by Alfred Korzybski in the 1930s. Scientology also reflects the influence of the Hindu concept of karma, as well as the less metaphysical theories of Sigmund Freud and William Sargant.

Hubbard was repeatedly accused of adopting a religious facade for Scientology in order for the organization to maintain tax-exempt status and avoid prosecution for false medical claims. These accusations have dogged the Church of Scientology to the present day, bolstered by numerous accounts from Hubbard's fellow science-fiction authors that on various occasions he stated that the way to get rich was to start a religion.

The word scientology has a history of its own. Although nowadays associated almost exclusively with Hubbard's work, it was coined by the philologist Alan Upward in 1907 as a synonym for "pseudoscience". In 1934, the Argentine-German writer Anastasius Nordenholz published a book using the word positively: Scientologie, Wissenschaft von der Beschaffenheit und der Tauglichkeit des Wissens, or Scientology, Science of the Constitution and Usefulness of Knowledge.Nordenholz's book is a study of consciousness, and its usage of the word is not greatly different from Hubbard's definition, "knowing how to know". However, it is not clear to what extent Hubbard was aware of these earlier usages. The word itself is a pairing of the Latin word scio ("know" or "distinguish") and the Greek ????? lógos ("reason itself" or "inward thought"). Hubbard said, in a lecture given on the 19th of July 1962 entitled "The E-meter":

So Suzie and I went down to the library, and we started hauling books out and looking for words. And we finally found "scio" and we find "ology". And there was the founding of that word. Now, that word had been used to some degree before. There had been some thought of this. Actually the earliest studies on these didn't have any name to them until a little bit along the line and then I called it anything you could think of. But we found that this word Scientology, you see–and it could have been any other word that had also been used–was the best-fitted word for exactly what we wanted.

The Church of Scientology
The Church of Scientology was first incorporated in Camden, New Jersey as a nonprofit organization in 1953. Today it forms the center of a complex worldwide network of corporations dedicated to the promotion of L. Ron Hubbard's philosophies in all areas of life. This includes:

drug treatment centers (Narconon);
criminal rehab programs (Criminon);
activities to reform the field of mental health (Citizens Commission on Human Rights)
projects to implement workable and effective educational methods in schools (Applied Scholastics);
a campaign to return moral values to living (The Way to Happiness)
an organization to educate and assist businesses in the use of Scientology management techniques (World Institute of Scientology Enterprises, or WISE)
a consulting firm based on Hubbard's management techniques (Sterling Management Systems)
and a campaign directed to world leaders as well as the general public to implement the 1948 United Nations document, "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights" (with particular emphasis on the religious freedom elements).
The Church of Scientology has been, and remains, a controversial organization. Countries have taken markedly different approaches to Scientology. In the United States, Scientology declares itself to be a religion and regularly cites religious protection under the First Amendment. In Canada the Church of Scientology is legal but has the unique distinction of being criminally convicted as a corporation of two counts of breach of the public trust (for an organized conspiracy to break into government offices) following a trial by jury.

Other countries, notably in Europe, have regarded Scientology as a potentially dangerous cult and have significantly restricted its activities at various times, or at least have not considered that the branches of the Church of Scientology met the legal criteria for being considered religion-supporting organizations. In Germany for instance, Scientology is not seen as a religion by the government but as a commercial business with potentially anti-democratic tendencies, and has been subjected to state surveillance as a result. The United Kingdom government does not recognize Scientology as a bona fide religion, and it has been subjected to considerable pressure from the state in Russia.

Scientology has also been the focus of criticism by anti-cult campaigners and has aroused controversy for its high-profile campaigns against psychiatry and psychiatric medication (see opposition to psychiatry, below).

The many legal battles fought by the Church of Scientology since its inception have given it a reputation as an extremely litigious organization. (See also: Scientology and the legal system)

Independent Scientology groups
Although "Scientology" is most often used as shorthand for the Church of Scientology, a number of groups practice Scientology and Dianetics outside of the fold of the official Church. Such groups are invariably breakaways from the official Church and usually argue that it has corrupted L. Ron Hubbard's principles or has otherwise become overly domineering. The Church takes an extremely hard line on breakaway groups, labeling them "apostates" (or "squirrels" in Scientology jargon) and often subjecting them to considerable legal and social pressure. Breakaway groups avoid the name "Scientology" so as to keep from being sued, instead referring to themselves collectively as the Free Zone.

Free Zone groups are extremely heterogeneous in terms of doctrine—very unlike the official Church. Some Free Zoners practice more or less pure Scientology, based on Hubbard's original (Church-published) texts and principles but without the supervision or fee system of the official Church. Others have developed Hubbard's ideas into radically new forms, some of which are barely recognizable as being related to Scientology.

Controversy and criticism
Of the many new religious movements to appear during the 20th century, Scientology has been one of the most controversial almost since its inception. The Church of Scientology has come into conflict with the governments and police of several countries (including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany) numerous times over the years, though supporters point out that many major world religions have found themselves in conflict with civil government while in their early years.

The nature of Scientology is hotly debated in many countries. Scientology is considered a religion in the United States and Australia, and thus it enjoys the constitutional protections afforded to religious practice (First Amendment to the United States Constitution; Australian Constitution, s 116). In the United States, the church obtained "public charity" status (IRS Code 501(c)(3)) and the associated preferential tax treatment after extended litigation. Some European governments (including Germany) do not consider the Church of Scientology to be a bona fide religious organization, but instead a commercial enterprise, or a totalitarian cult (see the list of alleged cults).

The Church of Scientology pursues an extensive public relations campaign arguing that Scientology is a bona fide religion. The organization cites numerous scholarly sources supporting its position, many of which can be found on a website the Church has established for this purpose.

Critics dismiss many of these studies as biased, contending that the studies were commissioned by Scientology to produce the results that Scientology desired. Academic papers that conclude that Scientology is a not a legitimate religion have also been published (some are available online in the Marburg Journal of Religion).

In the U.S., in October of 1993 the Internal Revenue Service, after reviewing voluminous information on the Church's financial and other operations, recognized the Church as an "organization operated exclusively for religious and charitable purposes." The Church offers this tax exemption as proof that it is a religion.

In 1982, the High Court of Australia ruled that the State Government of Victoria could not declare, as they had, that the Church of Scientology was not a religion on grounds of charlatanism (Church of the New Faith v. Commissioner Of Pay-roll Tax (Vict.) 1983, 154 CLR 120).

"Charlatanism is a necessary price of religious freedom, and if a self-proclaimed teacher persuades others to believe in a religion which he propounds, lack of sincerity or integrity on his part is not incompatible with the religious character of the beliefs, practices and observances accepted by his followers."
Another point of controversy is Scientology's infiltration of the United States Internal Revenue Service in what Scientology termed "Operation Snow White". Eleven high-ranking Scientologists, including Hubbard's wife Mary Sue Hubbard, served time in federal prison for their involvement in this infiltration.

The ongoing controversies involving the Church of Scientology and its critics include:

1.Scientology's harassing and litigious actions against its critics and "enemies."
2.Differing accounts of L. Ron Hubbard's life, (critics charge Scientology with being a cult of personality, with much emphasis placed on the alleged accomplishments of its founder). Scientologists claim that government files, such as those from the FBI, are loaded with forgeries and other false documents detrimental to Scientology.
3.Deaths of Scientologists due to mistreatment by other members.
4.Scientology's disconnection policy, in which members are encouraged to cut off all contact with friends or family members critical of the Church.
5.Criminal activities by some members of the Church of Scientology.
6.Claims of brainwashing and mind control.
7.The use of high-pressure sales tactics to obtain money from members.
8.Accounts of L. Ron Hubbard discussing his intent to start a religion to make money.

Opposition to psychiatry
Scientology is publicly, and often vehemently, opposed to psychiatry and psychology. According to the Church of Scientology, this opposition is focused on psychiatry's practices:

What the Church opposes are brutal, inhumane psychiatric treatments. It does so for three principal reasons:

1) procedures such as electro-shock, drugs and lobotomy injure, maim and destroy people in the guise of help;

2) psychiatry is not a science and has no proven methods to justify the billions of dollars of government funds that are poured into it; and

3) psychiatric theories that man is a mere animal have been used to rationalize, for example, the wholesale slaughter of human beings in World Wars I and II.

This theme also appears in some of Hubbard's literary works. In Hubbard's "dekology" Mission Earth, various characters praise and criticize these methods; and the antagonists in his novel Battlefield Earth are called Psychlos, a similar allusion.

L. Ron Hubbard was bitterly critical of psychiatry's citation of physical causes for mental disorders, for instance chemical imbalances in the brain. He regarded psychiatrists as denying human spirituality and peddling fake cures. He was also convinced that psychiatrists were themselves deeply unethical individuals, committing "extortion, mayhem and murder. Our files are full of evidence on them." The Church of Scientology claims that psychiatry was responsible for World War I , the rise of Hitler and Stalin, the decline in education standards in the United States , the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo , and even the September 11th attacks .

Scientology's opposition to psychiatry has also undoubtedly been influenced by the fact that a number of psychiatrists have strongly spoken out against the Church of Scientology, resulting in pressure from the media and governments. Additionally, after Hubbard's book on Dianetics was published, the American Psychological Association advised its members against using Hubbard's techniques with their patients. Hubbard came to believe that psychiatrists were behind a worldwide conspiracy to attack Scientology and create a "world government" run by psychiatrists on behalf of Soviet Russia:

Our enemies are less than twelve men. They are members of the Bank of England and other higher financial circles. They own and control newspaper chains and they, oddly enough, run all the mental health groups in the world that had sprung up ...
Their apparent programme was to use mental health, which is to say psychiatric electric shock and pre-frontal lobotomy, to remove from their path any political dissenters ... These fellows have gotten nearly every government in the world to owe them considerable quantities of money through various chicaneries and they control, of course, income tax, government finance — (Harold) Wilson, for instance, the current Premier of England, is totally involved with these fellows and talks about nothing else actually. (Hubbard, Ron's Journal 67 )
In 1966, Hubbard declared all-out war on psychiatry, telling Scientologists that "We want at least one bad mark on every psychiatrist in England, a murder, an assault, or a rape or more than one." He committed the Church of Scientology to the goal of eradicating psychiatry in 1969, announcing that "Our war has been forced to become 'To take over absolutely the field of mental healing on this planet in all forms.'" Not coincidentally, the Church of Scientology founded the Citizens Commission on Human Rights that same year as its primary vehicle for attacking psychiatry. Around the same time, Hubbard also decided that psychiatrists were an ancient evil that had been a problem for billions of years. He cast them in the role of assisting Xenu's genocide of 75 million years ago. In a 1982 bulletin entitled "Pain and Sex", Hubbard declares that "pain and sex were the INVENTED TOOLS of degradation", having been devised eons ago by psychiatrists "who have been on the [time] track a long time and are the sole cause of decline in this universe." (Hubbard, HCO Bulletin of 26 August 1982)

Scientology celebrities, notably Tom Cruise, have been extremely vocal in attacking psychiatric medication. Their position has attracted considerable criticism from supporters of psychiatry and individuals with mental illnesses, but has been defended and promoted by other Scientologists.

Scientology vs. the Internet
Leaders of Scientology have undertaken extensive operations on the Internet to deal with growing allegations of fraud and exposure of unscrupulousness within Scientology. The organization states that it is taking actions to prevent distribution of copyrighted Scientology documents and publications online by people whom it has called "copyright terrorists". Critics claim the organization's true motive is an attempt to suppress free speech and legitimate criticism.

In January 1995, Church lawyer Helena Kobrin attempted to shut down the Usenet discussion group alt.religion.scientology by sending a control message instructing Usenet servers to delete the group on the grounds that

(1) It was started with a forged message;

(2) not discussed on alt.config;

(3) it has the name "scientology" in its title which is a trademark and is misleading, as a.r.s. is mainly used for flamers to attack the Scientology religion;

(4) it has been and continues to be heavily abused with copyright and trade secret violations and serves no purpose other than condoning these illegal practices.
In practice, this rmgroup message had little effect, since most Usenet servers are configured to disregard such messages when applied to groups that receive substantial traffic, and newgroup messages were quickly issued for those servers that did not do so. However, the issuance of the message led to a great deal of public criticism of Scientology by free-speech advocates.

The Church also started suing people for posting copies of its copyrighted scriptures on the newsgroup and the World Wide Web, and pressed for tighter restrictions on copyrights in general. This effort was spearheaded by Sonny Bono, a Scientologist, who introduced the controversial Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. The even more controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act was also strongly promoted by the Church and some of its provisions (notably the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act) were heavily influenced by Church litigation against US Internet service providers over copyrighted Scientology materials that had been posted or uploaded through their servers.

Beginning in the middle of 1996 and for several years after, the newsgroup was attacked by anonymous parties using a tactic dubbed "sporgery" by some, in the form of hundreds of thousands of forged spam messages posted on the group. Although the Church neither confirmed nor denied that it was behind the spam, some investigators claimed that some of the spam had been traced to Church members.

Celebrity practitioners
The Church of Scientology has made a concerted effort to attract and serve artists and entertainers -- they have special facilities in Hollywood and elsewhere that are designated "celebrity centers." Public awareness of Scientology has been promoted by Scientologists in the entertainment industry, including such well-known celebrities as John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Tom Cruise, and his recently converted fiancée Katie Holmes. Cruise in particular has made a reputation as an outspoken Scientologist, publicly criticizing Brooke Shields on national television for her use of anti-depressants in recovering from postpartum depression. Cruise has also publicly attacked psychiatry and the use of Ritalin.

Popular culture references to Scientology
Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.
The 1999 satirical film "Bowfinger" includes an organisation called "Mindhead" as a thinly-veiled reference to the Scientology movement. The Mindhead organisation features a wealthy, charismatic figurehead and its adherents include prominent film celebrities.

Steven Soderbergh's Schizopolis (1996) also parodies Scientology in the guise of a self-help corporation called Eventualism.

The computer game Fallout 2 has a "religion" named "The Hubologists". Much of the Hubologist teachings are similar to Scientology's teachings. By and large, actions that hurt the Hubologists are considered good things for the world of Fallout, and those that aid them are considered bad things for the world of Fallout. However being "scanned" and cleansed by Hubologists (a jab at the belief in Thetans and Xenu) can increase the protagonist's luck and intelligence.

In the computer adventure game Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, the Phat City Public Library features a book titled "Dynanetics by L. Ron Gilbert", to which Guybrush Threepwood, the main protagonist of the game, quips, "Who does this guy think he is, anyway?" The book is an obvious spoof of both Scientology and the Monkey Island series creator Ron Gilbert.

Frank Zappa's concept album Joe's Garage talks about L. Ron Hoover's 'Appliantology.'

On Tool's album Ænima, in the song Ænema the lyrics include "Fuck L. Ron Hubbard and fuck all his clones."

Alex Cox's film Repo Man features a character telling another character to read 'Diaretics - The Science Of Matter Over Mind'.

In the TV series Millennium, the episode "Jose Chung's Doomsday Defense" involves a Scientology-like religion called "Selfosophy," formed by a science-fiction writer named Onan Goopta. Selfosophy boasts of its celebrity adherents and employs a device called the "Onan-o-graph," similar to Scientology's E-meter.

The TV series The 4400 contains a cult-of-personality organization that promises special powers to people following its course of study, courts celebrities, including advancing them more quickly than non-celebrities, encourages its members to disassociate from people opposed to the organization, uses technological devices during therapy-like sessions, and confiscates psychiatric drugs from its members. Also, one former member of the organization accuses it of bankrupting him through payments for endless courses and ejecting him from the organization once he no longer had any money to pay.

The computer role-playing game (by Origin Systems and Richard Garriot, aka Lord British) Ultima VII also contains references to Scientology with its own religion called "The Fellowship." Early on in the game in Britannia, players are given the option to join the Fellowship and, in order to do so, subjected to a personality test by the leader, Batlin. Of course, any answer to any of the questions posed is interpreted as some flaw in your character; there are no "correct" answers that do not ultimately lead to the conclusion that you, the Avatar, need the Fellowship. The Fellowship also believes in a basic tenet, which is called the Triad of Inner Strength: "Strive for Unity," "Trust Thy Brother," and "Worthiness Precedes Reward." In the end, the Fellowship is shown to be one of the ploys of the Guardian (a powerful, but evil red extraterrestial) to corrupt and destroy Britannia, with Batlin being in on the plan.

The PlayStation 2, Xbox, and computer video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas features a cult called the Epsilon Program that heavily parodies Scientology's symbols and activities.

Crisscross by F. Paul Wilson involves a corporation/religion/cult called the Dormentalists, which teaches converts how to awake their 'inner, personal Xelton' and is obviously based upon the beliefs of Scientology.

Neal Stephenson's cyberpunk novel Snow Crash (1992) includes a major character called L. Bob Rife, who is intent on brainwashing the world's population with an ancient Sumerian mind virus.

Norman Spinrad's novel The Mind Game (1980) is a story about a film director whose wife becomes involved in a religion/cult called "Transformationalism" created by a science fiction author. The cult maintains a Celebrity Center, and the Transformational enlightenment uses a process that may be similar to auditing.

In The Simpsons episode titled "The Joy of Sect," originally aired on 2/08/98, Homer and his family join a cult called Movementarianism. Many aspects of this cult appear similar to descriptions of Scientology, including nutritional deprivation, group humiliation, indoctrination movies, brainwashing techniques, and alien cosmology. Also parallel is the extremely litigous nature of the Movementarians. The reddish-haired guru of the cult lives a lavish lifestyle using the money of his adherents.