Upcoming book - Free Zone Scientology: Contesting the Boundaries of a New Religion

Discussion in 'Independent Scientology' started by COS and NOI News, Sep 7, 2020.

  1. Upcoming book - Free Zone Scientology: Contesting the Boundaries of a New Religion.


    By: Aled Thomas

    Published: 03-06-2021

    Format: Hardback
    RRP: £85.00
    Save £8.50 (10%)

    Format: EPUB/MOBI eBook (Watermarked)
    RRP: £76.50

    Format: PDF eBook (Watermarked)
    RRP: £76.50.


    Regarding the author, Aled Thomas.

    Religious Studies Project: Aled Thomas

    * * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *


    Aled J. Ll. Thomas is a PhD candidate at the Open University, UK. His thesis focuses upon the auditing process of Scientology, the transition it has made from psychiatric therapy to religious praxis, and its nuanced nature in contemporary Scientologies. He holds an MA in the Study of Religions: Religious Experience at the University of Wales: Trinity Saint David, during which he researched non-Scientologist perceptions and media representations of L. Ron Hubbard’s auditing technology, in addition to presentations of Western and Eastern religious experiences in popular culture. Aled has delivered papers on his research at several conferences in the UK and Belgium, including ‘”The End of the World is at Hand!” Religious Experience and Mental Illness in The Adventures of Tintin’ and ‘Scientology Beyond the Church: The Practice of Auditing in the Free Zone’.

    Current projects include a forthcoming chapter, ‘Scientology Inside Out: Religious Belonging in the Free Zone’ (with Stephen E. Gregg), for ‘The Insider/Outsider Debate: New Perspectives in the Study of Religion’ (edited by George D. Chryssides and Stephen E. Gregg).

    * * * * * END EXCERPT * * * *
  2. Incredulicide Member

  3. John P. Member

    It is interesting that at this late date even a junior religious studies scholar looking for an entry into the "big time" of his field would decide to study the Free Zone. How many people went to the most recent Free Zone Global Convention? Maybe 30? Maybe? I know that there may be a couple Free Zone defenders out there who will argue that things are going great (I've had a couple 4-5 years ago try to convince me), but I just can't find any evidence that they're getting "straight up and vertical" expansion recently. The whole freak show with small-time crook Justin Craig trying to convince people he's "Ron 2.0" certainly hasn't helped.

    Can you really make an impact on the world of religious studies if you're studying a "new religion" that's fast disappearing and that was maybe 2% at best (400-500) of the membership of the original cult it split off of (which is probably no more than about 20,000 today)? You might as well study the Muggletonians, a cult that existed in England for a surprisingly long time (1650 to the 1970s) but never had a membership of more than a couple hundred. If they were even known to their neighbors, it was as mildly eccentric pains in the ass. Net impact on the world of 300+ years of Muggletonianism: zero.

    It's probably also the case that the "arrival rate" of new Free Zoners is dropping, as the people that are leaving main Scientology these days are so disillusioned and broken that they want no part of any of it. And the "churn rate" of that declining number of people who show up is probably pretty high, since I suspect a lot of people see it as a way station out of Scientology, trying to keep the good, but they eventually figure out the truth: even the best parts aren't really worth much.

    Odd that the publisher's web site doesn't have a blurb about the book. I'm wondering if this because this guy is just publishing his thesis, which is sometimes done for really good scholarship, but that is not likely for this. I'm not sure who is going to drop £76.50 on this waste of paper.
  4. Incredulicide Member

    I wonder if that was the inspiration for the term Muggle referring to a non-magic person in the Harry Potter universe?
  5. Aardwolf Member

    I think the word Muggle is actually an Old English term for an idiot or a fool.
  6. The book "Free Zone Scientology: Contesting the Boundaries of a New Religion" is now available.

    Kindle $82.80
    April 8, 2021
    252 pages

    Hardcover $115.00
    April 8, 2021
    200 pages



    Product Description

    In this novel academic study, Aled Thomas analyses modern issues surrounding boundaries and fluidity in contemporary Scientology. By using the Scientologist practice of 'auditing' as a case study, this book explores the ways in which new types of 'Scientologies' can emerge. The notion of Free Zone Scientology is characterised by its horizontal structure, in contrast to the vertical-hierarchy of the institutional Church of Scientology. With this in mind, Thomas explores the Free Zone as an example of a developing and fluid religion, directly addressing questions concerning authority, leadership and material objects.

    This book, by maintaining a double-focus on the top-down hierarchy of the Church of Scientology and the horizontal-fluid nature of the Free Zone, breaks away from previous research on new religions, with have tended to focus either on new religions as indices of broad social processes, such as secularization or globalization, or as exemplars of exotic processes, such as charismatic authority and brainwashing. Instead, Thomas adopts auditing as a method of providing an in-depth case study of a new religion in transition and transformation in the 21st century. This opens the study of contemporary and new religions to a series of new questions around hybrid religions (sacred and secular), and acts as a framework for the study of similar movements formed in recent decades.

    “A major work on the lives of Scientologists beyond the Church of Scientology is long overdue. Aled Thomas has produced a timely and insightful book. The work moves scholarship forward from the study of Scientology to the study of Scientologies.” ―Stephen E. Gregg, University of Wolverhampton, UK

    “Aled Thomas gives us an ethnographic look into a fascinating phenomenon on the alternative religious landscape: Scientology as interpreted and practiced among those who left the Church of Scientology or were never members in the first place. This book is highly recommended for scholars of new religions and is a welcome addition to the growing body of scholarship on Scientology and Scientologists.” ―Donald A. Westbrook, San Jose State University, USA

    About the Author

    Aled Thomas is a Lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Wolverhampton, UK, Visiting Fellow at the Open University, UK and co-founder of

    Bettina E. Schmidt is Professor in the Study of Religions and Director of Graduate Studies at the School of Theology, Religious Studies and Islamic Studies at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, UK.

    Steven J. Sutcliffe is Senior Lecturer in the Study of Religion in the School of Divinity at the University of Edinburgh, UK. He is the co-editor (with Carole Cusack) of The Problem of Invented Religions (2016) and (with Ingvild Gilhus) of New Age Spirituality: Rethinking Religion (2014) and is the author of Children of the New Age: A History of Spiritual Practices (2003).

    Will Sweetman is Professor of Asian Religions and Head of the School of Social Sciences at the University of Otago, New Zealand.






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