Scientology is a body of religious beliefs and practices created in 1954 by American author L. Ron Hubbard (1911-86). After he developed Dianetics, the Dianetics Foundation entered bankruptcy and Hubbard lost the rights to his seminal publication Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health in 1952. He then re-characterized the subject as a religion and renamed it Scientology, retaining the terminology, doctrines, the E-meter, and the practice of auditing. Within a year, he regained the rights to Dianetics and retained both subjects under the umbrella of the Church of Scientology.
Hubbard's groups have encountered considerable opposition and controversy. In January 1951, the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners brought proceedings against Hubbard's Dianetics Foundation on the charge of teaching medicine without a license. Hubbard's followers engaged in a program of covert and illegal infiltration of the US government.
Hubbard-inspired organizations and their classification are often a point of contention. Germany classifies Scientology groups as an "anti-constitutional sect" (verfassungsfeindliche Sekte). In France, Scientology groups have been classified as a cult by some public authorities.