How did Scientology start?

L. Ron Hubbard began his studies of the mind and spirit in 1923, resulting in a manuscript entitled “Excalibur” in 1938. It was in this unpublished work that the word Scientology first appeared to describe what Mr. Hubbard termed “the study of knowing how to know.” He decided against publishing the book for the fact, “‘Excalibur’ did not contain any therapy of any kind but was simply a discussion of the composition of life.” Consequently, “I decided to go further.”

That “going further” resulted in Dianetics, a subject which was introduced into the much broader field of Scientology to provide an actual “therapy” easily applied by the man in the street. Thus, in 1947, he wrote a manuscript detailing the core discoveries of Dianetics. Although not published at the time, the manuscript was circulated among friends and colleagues, who copied it and passed it on to others. (This work was eventually published in 1951 as Dianetics: The Original Thesis.)

As copies of the manuscript continued circulating, Mr. Hubbard began receiving a flood of letters requesting further information. Indeed, he soon found himself spending all his time answering letters and decided to write a comprehensive text on the subject—Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health.

Published on May 9th, 1950, it sparked a storm of popular enthusiasm and immediately hit the New York Times bestseller list, where it remained for 28 consecutive weeks. It has remained a bestseller for decades and is indisputably the most widely read and influential book ever written about the mind. Contained within was the discovery of the reactive mind—the hidden source of nightmares, unreasonable fears, upsets and insecurity.

Yet L. Ron Hubbard never considered Dianetics an end to his research but, rather, a steppingstone to the discovery and isolation of a long-illusive life source. And indeed, the techniques of Dianetics provided the means by which practitioners soon began discovering past lives. Pressing application and research even further came the accomplishment of what is known as exteriorization—demonstrating the spirit was indeed separable from the body and mind: The Scientology religion was born.

Thereafter, L. Ron Hubbard delved ever deeper into the spiritual nature of Man, documenting his discoveries in thousands of recorded lectures, films, articles and books.

While to present those discoveries, he literally circumnavigated the globe and so Churches of Scientology opened on four continents—headquartered at his long-term residence in southern England.

Through ensuing years, L. Ron Hubbard continued advancing the subject until his passing in 1986.

His legacy comprises tens of millions of published words, recorded lectures and films, while with over 250 million copies of his books and lectures in circulation, he has inspired a movement spanning all continents and all cultures.