Scientology 101

ByABC News
July 1, 2005, 2:21 PM

Aug. 23, 2006 — -- A definition of Scientology is hard to pin down. Basically, it's a system of beliefs, teachings and rituals originally established as a secular philosophy by L. Ron Hubbard. His 1950 book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, provided the core principles of what would later become Scientology.

Scientologists regard the publication of the book as a seminal event, and celebrate its publication date -- May 9, 1950 -- as a religious holiday.

A central belief of Scientology is that a person is a mortal, spiritual being (called a "thetan"), basically good, and has lived through many past lives.