Author: Stephen A Kent
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May 3, 1998 [corrected November 13, 2001]. Revised Version of a Paper Presented at the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, November, 1991; Subsequent version published in Religion 29 (1999): 147-169.
Locating itself within a sociological perspective that analyses religiously ideological organizations as transnational corporations, this study examines the global activities of Scientology. It summarizes the organization’s resolution of its international conflict with Interpol, its take-over of its internationally influential opponent, the Cult Awareness Network, and its heightened rhetoric against psychiatry. It also highlights its international marketing strategies that attempt to further the teachings of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, and gain political and social influence. Despite Scientology’s efforts to adjust its approach to fit the cultural realities of the countries that it enters, its apparent successes in some formerly Iron Curtain nations is counterbalanced by its growing opposition in Western Europe.