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Ron Hubbard founded a religion in the 1950s called scientology. This faith celebrates individualism and mastery over one's own mind and will, establishing that all human beings are ultimately divine. It is unique in that it specifically targets celebrities, who are in a position to disseminate this faith among their followers. This is as it should be, for these individuals have proven through hard work and effort that they are the best and brightest that humanity has to offer. While the unwashed, foolish masses delude themselves into thinking that following the commandments or teachings of some false deity makes them deserving of salvation, only the truly worthy deserve enlightenment.

One advantage that Scientology has over other mainstream faiths is that it remains unified and hasn't broken up into sects, unlike christianity, islam, etc. The problem is that it has been labeled as a crackpot, fringe religion with a science fiction-like belief system. This is partly due to it being founded in the modern day 1950s, and doesn't have the grandfather clauses of other religions that are much older.

The plan is to establish scientology much earlier in the timeline, but as close to the modern day as possible. This is so it can market itself to celebrities and other upper class people around the world so it has a better opportunity to establish it's base much earlier. It can still target its evangelism to the super wealthy class and be able to compete against the big 3, albeit on a smaller scale.

How can i market Scientology to the upper classes as a mainstream faith? And what is the earliest time period closest to the modern world that can this be done?

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    $\begingroup$ Leaving aside the thorny issue whether the Church of Scientology is a religious organization or a for-profit service provider (opinions vary between the judicial systems of various countries), we may observe that (1) Scientology is very young, so the absence of declared sects would not surprising, but (2) actually there are a few separated sects, and, finally, (3) by stating that Scientology has "unjustly" been stereotyped as a fraudulent organization you may be flame-baiting. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Nov 3 '19 at 15:24
  • $\begingroup$ If you want good answers, perhaps you should avoid asking about specific, real-world faiths and make it a clean "how far back must the point of departure be for an alternate history with another major, generally accepted religion?" $\endgroup$ – o.m. Nov 3 '19 at 18:05
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    $\begingroup$ Please know your history. L Ron Hubbatd originally created a faux psycho-analysis called Dianetics. When that went bust, he rebranded it as a religion. Move its origin back further in time & do you get a new religion. You get another version of psycho-analysis, alongside Freud, Jung & Adler. Its marketing to celebrities is a sales gimmick. Scientology's real customer base is ordinary people, because that's where their main cash flow comes from. $\endgroup$ – a4android Nov 3 '19 at 22:21
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    $\begingroup$ You need to find the black marker off the coast of Mexico. Oh and rebrand from scientology to Unitology. But in all seriousness trying to market a religion that was fabricated from a science fiction writers failed project then turned religion (to make money) is a bit hard. $\endgroup$ – Celestial Dragon Emperor Nov 4 '19 at 14:25
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You can look at other...beliefs...for examples: Mormonism was established in the middle of the 19th Century and is generally accepted today as mainstream, at least in the US, but is still considered a cult by critics, but it had the advantage of tying in some of its founding mythology with mainstream Christianity. Same idea with the Jehovah's Witnesses. The Bahá'í Faith is similarly somewhat of an adaptation of Islam.

Sikhism is probably the youngest of the world's major religions and it started in the 15th Century. However, again, it wasn't that out there in terms of belief: you can see hints of Islam and Hinduism, so there'd be something people would be familiar with.

Scientology doesn't have that advantage. Leaving aside the science fiction aspect of its mythology as not being possible to understand before the relatively recent past ("What's an interstellar 707?" "It's like a flying train car." "What's a train?"), it doesn't have easily-seen connection with other mainstream beliefs. Based on other examples, you're looking at centuries before it would be accepted, however, again, there's the problem that it's founded very much on an understanding of 20th century American culture: aircraft/spacecraft, alien overlords and interstellar empires, lie detectors, psychology (and the supposed evils thereof), and so on. Scientology as it exists could not have arisen earlier than it did.

You could sub out aliens for demons and e-meters for magic truth-detecting sticks or something, and so on to swap out the SF for fantasy elements, but then it wouldn't be Scientology any more, would it?

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I'm assuming this is a joke. You could try and create mass hysteria then proceed to convince the population that Scientology is the only truth. I would recommend infecting the world's grain supply with Claviceps purpurea which is a fungus that causes Ergotism. This was most likely the cause of the Salem witch trials. This would be pretty hard to do in the modern-day. I wish you the best of luck! https://www.pbs.org/wnet/secrets/witches-curse-clues-evidence/1501/ https://www.vox.com/2015/10/29/9620542/salem-witch-trials-ergotism

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    $\begingroup$ This is a reasonable explanation of how OP could establish Scientology as a mainstream faith, but that's not what the're asking. They're asking how close to the modern day it would have to have been founded in order to become a mainstream religion, and you haven't addressed that. $\endgroup$ – F1Krazy Nov 3 '19 at 17:21

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