Scientology: The Marks of Religion

Frank K. Flinn, Ph.D.

Adjunct Professor

in Religious Studies

Washington University

Saint Louis, Missouri




     I am currently self-employed as a writer, editor, lecturer and consultant in the fields of theology and religion. I also serve as Adjunct Professor in Religious Studies at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri.

     I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy (1962) from Quincy University, Quincy, Illinois; a Bachelor of Divinity degree (1966), magna cum laude, from Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts; and a Ph.D. in Special Religious Studies (1981) from the University of St. Michael’s College, Toronto School of Theology, Toronto, Ontario. I have also done advanced study at Harvard University, the University of Heidelberg, Germany, and the University of Pennsylvania. At the University of Heidelberg, I was a Fulbright Fellow in Philosophy and Ancient Near Eastern Religions, 1966-67. At the University of Pennsylvania, I was a National Defense Foreign Language Fellow, Title VI, in Semitic languages, 1968-69.

     Since 1962 I have devoted intense study to religious sectarian movements, ancient and modern. A portion of my doctoral studies was focused specifically on the rise of new religious movements in the United States and abroad since World War II. That study included the investigation of new religions in terms of their belief systems, lifestyles, use of religious language, leadership, motivation and sincerity, and the material conditions of their existence. At Washington University I regularly teach a course entitiled The North American Religious Experience, which contains a section on new religious movements. Besides a scholarly interest in religions I have had long-standing personal experience with the religious life. From 1958 to 1964 I was a member of the Order of Friars Minor, popularly known as the Franciscans. During this period I lived under solemn vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and, thus, experienced many of the disciplines typical of the religious life.

     Prior to my present position, I taught at Maryville College, St. Louis, Missouri, 1980-81; St. Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri, 1977-79, where I was Graduate Director of the Masters Program in Religion and Education; the University of Toronto, Ontario, 1976-77, where I was Tutor in Comparative Religion; St. John’s College, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1970-75, where I was Tutor in the Great Books Program; LaSalle College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Summers 1969-73, where I was Lecturer in Biblical Studies and the Anthropology of Religion; Boston College, Boston, Massachusetts, 1967-68, where I was Lecturer in Biblical Studies; and Newton College of the Sacred Heart, Newton, Massachusetts, where I was Lecturer in Biblical Studies.

     I am a member in good standing of the American Academy of Religion. I am a practicing Roman Catholic at All Saints Church, University City, Missouri.


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