Cults: Meddling with Minds

Not many modern religions can claim the distinction of being denounced by a major European government as "socially harmful ... a potential menace to the personality" and "a serious danger to health." Yet those were the words chosen by Britain's Health Minister Kenneth Robinson when he took the floor of the Commons last month to censure the little-known and less understood Church of Scientology.

Dreamed up by L. Ron Hubbard, a onetime science-fiction writer, Scientology originally surfaced as "Dianetics," a pseudopsychological fad that flourished briefly in America in the early 1950s. Dianetics purported to be a quick way to mental health...

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