Scientology is arguably the most persistently controversial of all contemporary New Religions. The church of Scientology has been involved in battles over tax issues, a ten-year battle with the Food and Drug Administration regarding the Electro-meters used in the Church's counselingactivities, and extended conflicts with the Australian and German governments. Negative publicity has not prevented the Church from experiencing remarkably steady growth. But despite its high public profile, recently enhanced by celebrity spokespersons like Tom Cruise, little has been publishedabout the Church, its history, theology, and mission. In this book a group of well-known scholars of New Religious Movements offers an extensive and evenhanded overview and analysis of all of these aspects of Scientology, including the controversies to which it continues to give rise. Part I of thebook gives a general introduction to the Church and discusses the problems associated with studying it. The essays in Part II represent sociological approaches to understanding the Church. Part III offers illuminating comparisons and contrasts with other religious systems. Part IV looks at theconflicts in which the Church has been, and continues to be, involved. In Part V, the subject is Scientology's overseas missions. Finally, Part VI examines some of the distinctive practices of the Church. This book will be the only comprehensive resource for scholars, students, and others interestedin this controversial and little-understood religious movement.