Is Scientology a cult?
No. It is a religion in the fullest sense of the word.
“Cult” is usually meant in a disparaging sense to imply a secret or closed group with limited membership and mysterious beliefs. Religious scholars point out that the term has become almost meaningless, since its modern use reflects a growing prejudice against all religions. For example, a government report in Belgium labeled Hasidic Jews and even the YWCA as “cults.” The French Parliament included Baptists on their list.
Religions that grow and endure do so to the degree they assist people in their spiritual lives. To fulfill this role, the scripture of Scientology is fully codified, broadly published and available to anyone. Furthermore, its Churches and missions are always open to the public.
Scientology is unique in that it does not force anyone to “believe” anything. Rather, Scientology maintains every individual should think for themselves. In Scientology, what is true for the individual is only what they have observed personally and know is true for them. Scientology is not authoritarian, but instead offers a technology one can use and then decide whether it works for them.