Scientology Studies 2.0, Utopia or Opportunity?
Keywords:Scientology, Church of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, New Religious Movements, philomandarinism, cult controversies
To explain why my experience of studying Scientology both parallels, and differs from, what other scholars reported in this discussion, I first offer some autobiographical notes on my career as a scholar of new religious movements. Second, I elaborate on the notion of ‘Scientology Studies 2.0;’ i.e., an approach discussing L. Ron Hubbard’s writings on their own merits, rather than focusing on his controversial biography only, and how they inspire the daily life of ordinary Scientologists, quite apart from court cases and sensational media coverage. Third, I mention how a possible dialogue between scholars of different opinions about Scientology is torpedoed by a gatekeeping activity by professional anti-cultists who strive to make this dialogue impossible. In conclusion, I integrate the suggestions offered in this issue by Bernard Doherty with some of my own.
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