Storming Zion: Government Raids on Religious Communities

By Stuart A. Wright; Susan J. Palmer | Go to book overview

8
The Church of Scientology

SINCE THE 1960s the Church of Scientology has been the subject of countless investigations in various countries and the target of many state-sponsored raids. These raids have been launched in at least seven countries and have covered a span of almost 50 years. While most of the other minority religions featured in this study were raided as parts of investigations involving one or two specific criminal allegations such as child abuse or sexual abuse, in the case of Scientology claims have extended over a wide variety of charges. Indeed, the Church of Scientology has the dubious distinction of being the most raided NRM in modern history. Scientology presents a more complex and challenging case than the others we have studied. The raids on Scientology cover a much greater time span, take place in a greater array of countries, involve more diverse charges, and occur with more frequency than any other new religion. For this reason it is important to examine the entire scope of raids on the church.

The raids on Scientology are divided into two periods, the early raids (1963–1989) and the later raids (1990 to the present). We focus in this chapter on the early raids principally because almost all the government raids on Scientology after 1990 occurred in France and coincide with the heightened transnational mobilization of the ACM. Since we devote a separate chapter to raids in France exclusively in the next chapter, which includes an analysis of the Scientology raids in the later period, we concentrate here on the early raids in the United States, Australia, and Canada. We think the raids on Scientology in the early period inform a more comprehensive understanding of government actions toward the church, setting the stage for the surge in the later period. What our investigation shows is that the unique aspects of Scientology, its use of the E-meter, its

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Storming Zion: Government Raids on Religious Communities
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface and Acknowledgments vii
  • 1 - Government Raids on Religious Communities 1
  • 2 - Countermovement Mobilization and Government Raids 25
  • 3 - The Twelve Tribes 47
  • 4 - The Family International/Children of God 73
  • 5 - The Branch Davidians 99
  • 6 - The United Nuwaubian Nation 129
  • 7 - The Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints 153
  • 8 - The Church of Scientology 176
  • 9 - Raids in France 198
  • 10 - Exploring the Causes and Consequences of Raids on Nrm Communities 225
  • Notes 249
  • References 261
  • Index 283
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