II. The Assignment

I have been asked to share my opinion, as a scholar of religion, on two questions. 1. Is Scientology a “religion?” and 2. Are Scientology churches “places of worship?” It is further my understanding that these questions are germane to questions pertaining to the exemption of Church of Scientology organizations from taxation in certain jurisdictions. In approaching these questions, I provide some background in the study of new religious movements and then turn to directly address the above questions. My analysis and response to the questions are based only on my status as a scholar of religion and not on any expertise in any legal or administrative field.

III. The “New Religions” and the Study of Religion