One of the most controversial of the wave of new religions that appeared in the West after the Second World War, the Church of Scientology was founded in 1954 by a popular science fiction writer, Lafayette Ronald Hubbard (1911–1986), generally referred to as L. Ron Hubbard. Four years earlier, Hubbard had written a book titled Dianetics, in which he expounded his theory of the mind and how to clear the engrams or blockages that prevent people from realising their potential. The basic practice for Scientologists is known as ‘auditing’, when the auditor takes one through a series of set questions, observing the individual’s reactions on an e-meter, which is connected to two cans that are held in his or her hands and which indicates the ...

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