December 2014 Special Edition ‣ expansion
“Determine Never to Be Idle.”
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In West Africa, Ebola rages like a firestorm through impoverished nations that have only marginal resources to cope with the pandemic. In the Middle East, 2014 witnessed yet another bloody onslaught between cultures that, ironically, both revere the same ancient religious patriarchs. Russia and the Ukraine rattle arms at one another in a high-tech turf war. A torrent of refugees surges at the American southern border. Child labor, human trafficking, sweatshops and slavery are the lot of tens of millions of our fellow human beings. Personally and societally, it’s no surprise we are, all of us, overwhelmed.
None of this is new. Much of the tragedy of this modern age was predicted by forward thinkers in the 1940s and 1950s—among them L. Ron Hubbard, who realized that if something wasn’t done to change the toxic tide of history, humanity was doomed.
Out of that concern came his Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, the first popular work on the mind. He recognized that to heal the mind, the spirit too must be addressed, and thus emerged the Scientology religion.
L. Ron Hubbard also held that personal spiritual freedom was necessary if humanity was to overcome all that plagued it. From that belief came a plan, penned in 1963:
“The true story of Scientology is simple, concise and direct. It is quickly told: 1. A philosopher developed a philosophy about life and death. 2. People find it interesting. 3. People find it works. 4. People pass it along to others. 5. It grows.”
Testimony to his lasting impact, Smithsonian magazine, chronicler of American culture, recently named L. Ron Hubbard one of the 10 most influential religious figures in the nation’s history and one of the 100 most significant Americans overall.
And indeed, in its first six decades, the religion he founded has flourished. Scientology’s 11,000 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups have a presence in 167 nations. Each of its 60 years has witnessed exceptional events, but few have been so notable for the Church as 2014.
In this special edition, Freedom looks at how that ‘true story of Scientology’ continues to unfold.
We bring readers inside Scientology Churches around the world, and visit the religion’s spiritual home in Clearwater, Florida—a destination that draws thousands of Scientologists from around the globe each year.
Freedom also takes a trip aboard the Freewinds, a Scientology religious retreat at sea. In addition to its function delivering high-level Scientology services, the 440-foot vessel has forged enduring relationships at its many ports of call, where it carries out a wide range of humanitarian initiatives and charitable activities.
Freedom further gives readers a statistical overview of the social betterment and humanitarian work central to the Scientology religion. This includes initiatives in drug education and promoting human rights, programs that forward the cause of freedom for all humankind, empower individuals, and save lives.
Freedom itself has had a noteworthy year. Redesigned and recommitted to its 1968 founding principles, the magazine broke new investigative ground on issues such as the lethal drugging of America’s soldiers, the plight of people caught in the snare of human trafficking, the failure of education to give children the tools they need for success, and the racial divide underscored by the tragic events in Ferguson, Missouri.
This issue of Freedom, like all Churches of Scientology around the world, invites people in—to come and learn for themselves what Scientology is and what its practitioners do.
But there is only so much we can fit into these pages. A wealth of information on the religion and its social betterment work is available on www.scientology.org, and all are welcome to visit the local Churches and Missions of Scientology, where the curious may take self-guided tours and avail themselves of multimedia presentations designed to answer any and all questions about the Scientology religion and its Founder.
As always, Freedom welcomes your views, comments and letters.
— The Editors