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Monday, November 7, 2011

How long does it take for a new religion to become established?

We have excellent examples of new religions developing in front of us. Mormonism and Scientology.


The Mormon church was founded when Joseph Smith, considered a prophet by Mormons, said that in 1827 an angel gave him golden plates inscribed in an unknown language that were buried near Palmyra, N.Y. He said the plates told the history of ancient ancestors of American Indians, who migrated to the New World from Israel and were visited by Jesus. Smith said God miraculously empowered him to understand the language and dictate the sacred Book of Mormon. The angel then retrieved the plates. Currently, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly known as the LDS Church, or the Mormon Church) reported 13,824,854 worldwide members on record in October 2010.


In 1950, pulp writer L. Ron Hubbard published an essay on achieving perfect mental health in Astounding Science Fiction magazine. Dianetics, as he called his program, became one of the first pop-psychiatry fads. It teaches that every mental aberration neurosis, compulsion, repression and most common physical ailments are caused by subconscious mental images of past trauma.
In more than 500,000 pages of writings, including books and lectures, Hubbard laid out a complex belief system that became the foundation for the Church of Scientology.

In 1993, the IRS declared Scientology a tax-exempt religion.

It is difficult to provide an accurate number of members. I have seen reports that range from 25,000 to 100,000. The Church says there are over 8 million members, but that seems grossly inflated.

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