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You'll be so happy, you'll puke rainbows!
The Church of Scientology has a reputation for being very protective of its public image, and of being extraordinarily sensitive to what it considers defamation. This has been demonstrated by the church breaking out the lawyers to suppress any potential source of mockery by lawsuit, along with private investigators to dig up dirt on them (or in the past, even framing critics for various crimes).
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Naturally, this just makes them easier to mock.

Lampooning this religion directly, or even uttering its name and a word against it, may expose unwary parodists to severe civil penalties. Parodies therefore frequently use a "Church Of Happyology", a stand-in religion that is well enough veiled to stave off lawsuits, but still transparent enough to allow clued-in people to identify the actual target.

You can tell a Happyology-style parody religion from another Parody Religion by the presence of celebrity characters trampolining on couches, an evil alien overlord, and devices that are sort of like lie detectors being used for counseling sessions.

See also Cult, Religion of Evil, Path of Inspiration, Corrupt Church, and Scam Religion. Compare Church of Saint Genericus. Compare and contrast Scout-Out and other forms of Writing Around Trademarks.

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Examples:

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    Comics 
  • Ultimate Marvel has the Church of Shi'Ar Enlightenment, a Happyologist-like religion with many rich and famous members. They assist the Ultimate X-Men. Turns out they, and their offshoot sect the Hellfire Club, actually believe that Jean Grey is the reincarnation of their alien Phoenix God. Gee, what are the odds?
  • The Path of Prosperity from Witchblade bears some suspicious resemblances to happyology.
  • In The Far Side, a door-to-door proselytizing cow hands another cow a "Cowentology" pamphlet and suggests she ask herself, "Am I a happy cow?"
  • The E-Man comic had the "Church of Technolography," led by Elrod Flummox, who talks almost entirely in bizarre psychological jargon. See for yourself.
  • The Superman Elseworlds story Last Family of Krypton features a positive portrayal of a Church Of Happyology; Raology, founded by Kal-El's mother Lara. The positivity of the portrayal is helped by the fact that Kryptonians have been worshiping Rao for thousands of years, so it isn't a newly-designed-by-one-man phenomenon like most other churches of happyology, but rather an immigrant bringing their old religion to their new home and then going for converts.
  • The 2006 volume of Mystery in Space had the "Eternal Light Corporation," a profit-driven religion. As the Weird notes after throwing off their brainwashing, "any religion that insists you sign a non-disclosure agreement should be considered suspect".
  • The Simping Detective has the Church of Simpology, a cult that takes money from its members and brainwashes, whilst also encouraging Simping, Mega City One's clown trend.
  • In the DC Comics Countdown to Final Crisis tie-in Lord Havok and the Extremists, Dreamslayer (a Captain Ersatz of Marvel Comics' Dread Dormammu) is the leader of the Church of Dreamology. Since she's an ex-nun, possessed by a demon, who does evil things for good reasons, it's not clear how good or evil the religion itself might be.
  • In Earth 2, a Superman clone named Brutaal, who identified himself as the original Superman but now working for Darkseid, begins destroying all the shrines and places of worship on Earth (including one whose sign read SCIENTOL... with the rest being cut off by the panel), with the villain declaring all religions "fiction".

    Film 
  • In Bless the Child we have The New Dawn. It pretends to be a self-help organization but is really a religion. At the same time, it pretends to be an honest religion but is really an evil scam with leader-worship and a secret hatred of Christianity. It also harasses defectors and has an army of lawyers. Their propaganda and centers also look just like Scientology's and claims people are actually possessed by countless demons (thetans in Scientology).
  • Mindhead from Bowfinger plays with the trope. On the surface, they are most definitely a parody of Scientology. However, when the audience sees that Kit Ramsey is a powder keg of paranoia and rage just waiting to explode, it turns out that Mindhead is a comparatively positive influence on his life that is just barely keeping him grounded. Sure, they're controlling his life and are implied to be milking him for money, but without their help Kit probably would have been locked away years ago.
  • Eventualism from Steven Soderbergh's Schizopolis: "Eventualism isn't designed to answer all questions. It's designed to question all answers. It's not about healing pain. It's about the pain of healing." Also, the book is written by T. Azimuth Schwitters and features a volcano on the cover. The creators are adamant that it's most certainly not a parody of any real religions.
  • Rock Slyde has the Church of Bartology. Its leader, Bart, has taken over or infiltrated many businesses and office buildings, brainwashing his followers with mind-controlling cookies and fast food. His cult involves a lot of pyramid-themed imagery, fitness programs, and pilfering your bank account. It doesn't recruit people off the streets because the Average Joe can't afford his "religion".
  • In The Master, Lancaster Dodd is the charismatic leader of a California cult called "The Cause". Director Paul Thomas Anderson admitted to drawing on the early history of Scientology for the movie but also said The Cause is just the backdrop for a character study. Much of the doctrine of The Cause is clearly lifted from Scientology and Dodd resembles L. Ron Hubbard.

    Literature 
  • Children of the Revolution from the short story collection Zombies vs. Unicorns features a cult/religion founded by a science fiction offer that requires a lot of money to progress and is quite popular among rich famous people... but with zombies.
  • In Greg Bear's Heads, one of the eponymous frozen heads is that of none other than K. D. Thierry, the founder of a creepy Space Opera religion called Logology. At the end of the novel, the protagonist ends up being infused with the frozen final thoughts of the heads, Thierry's being an acute knowledge of the hoax he created and abject terror in the face of the hell he believes awaits him.
  • In Stranger in a Strange Land, both the Fosterites and the religion founded by Valentine Michael Smith carry strong Happyology overtones. (Perhaps not too surprising; Heinlein and Hubbard knew one another well enough that there's a semi-apocryphalnote  story about Scientology having been founded as a result of a bar bet in which Hubbard contended that he could invent a successful religion from scratch.)
  • The Philip K. Dick short story "The Turning Wheel" included a religion whose messiah was known as The Bard Elron Hu. At no point is he ever referred to as Elron Hu, Bard. This is a particularly early reference, as it was originally published just a few years after Dianetics.
  • In Snow Crash, media and business magnate L. Bob Rife funds a church of this kind to literally take over the world. Rife's church is, at least on the surface, a Christian sect, rather than a brand-new invention, but when the title of one of its tracts is "How America Was Saved From Communism: Elvis Shot JFK", it gives you an idea of just how far from reality they are. Oh, and they're a part of Rife's drug distribution network, to boot.
  • Repairman Jack takes on one of these that is not even really thinly veiled, the "Dormentalist Church", in Crisscross, though the text makes a pointed reference to that other church as a distraction for the cyber ninja lawyers.
  • Kim Newman's Anno Dracula short story "Castle In The Desert" has L. Keith Winton, the vampiric author of Plasmatics: The New Communion, and founder of the Church of Immortology.
  • Norman Spinrad's novel The Mind Game is about Transformationalism, another example of a not-so-thinly veiled reference.
  • Clive Cussler's Plague Ship has Responsivists, the big bad organization of the novel. While they don't worship any aliens, they go to great lengths to preserve their public image, react violently to members leaving their movement and have a lot of Hollywood celebrity endorsement.
  • The short story "Pango and the slave souls" by German author Gisbert Haefs has the "SciOntoLogen". The mentor of the protagonist points out that this is just Gratuitous Latin / Gratuitous Greek for "the teaching about knowledge about being" and that they should rather be called "SciOntoLiars".
  • In the novel Martian Rainbow, by Robert L. Forward, Gen. Alexander Armstrong organizes a globe-girdling cult as a pyramid scheme, featuring himself as next messiah and Lord of the Church of the Unifier. He enforces his rule with a doomsday device made from an orbiting asteroid that will destroy the Earth unless he activates a safety switch with his handprint once every 24 hours. His identical twin brother Augustus saves the Earth by taking Alexander's place when he dies of a heart attack, cutting off their right hands with a band saw and getting his brother's hand surgically attached to his arm so he can operate the switch on the doomsday device. Then he rolls up the organization, buying out the leadership for cash and ordering them to disperse. Naturally, he can't admit to any of this and has to pretend to be his brother from then on. This goes well beyond Happyology, but you can see where Forward got most of the idea.
  • On the anarchist planet of Bakunin in the Hostile Takeover (Swann) series, Communes based on an extreme cult of personality are called 'hubbards' as an obvious reference to L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology.
  • The Rosicrusophists and their screenwriter/prophet Dr. Frank Wood (or Ubiquitous Lothar Fitz-Chang, depending on your mood) of the comic neo-noir Get Blank, with their Misguided Enemies, their Ladder to Fulfillment, and their expensive and insane courses, are clearly not in any way based on a highly litigious religious group from Los Angeles.
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    Live-Action TV 
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: In season 5, Jake accidentally signs himself up on Nutri Boom, a clear Pyramid Scheme. When he tries to cancel it, it turns out that not only it is impossible to leave without paying at 10.000, the inside of the company works as a cult to their CEO.
  • In Peep Show, Jeremy and Super Hans briefly join a cult at the end of series 5. The mythology revolves around "negative orgones" that cause human unhappiness. The cult takes personality tests and forbids thinking.
  • 30 Rock:
    • The show frequently makes reference to the "Church of Practicology", which was supposedly created by Stan Lee. Or, as its members believe, by an "alien king living inside Stan Lee". At one point, Tracy Jordan wants to switch religions and is shown being interviewed by the Church of Practicology. But his ramblings are so insane, even they won't have him.
    • One obscure reference is when Jenna, talking about school reunions, says "I would have gone to my school reunion, but the boat I was educated on sank". In the same vein, she makes several references to owning a house in Clearwater, Florida. A certain religion is not just headquartered there but may have pretty much taken over the local government.
  • In season 4 of Ugly Betty, Daniel Meade joins "The Community of the Phoenix," which recruits high-profile followers and has several similar parallels to Happyology. After allowing the Church to make decisions in his personal and professional life, he's saved by Betty just as he reaches Level 7.
  • Selfosophy from the Millennium episode "Jose Chung's Doomsday Defense." Chung (Charles Nelson Reilly) had actually been a friend of the founder.
  • Dinosaurs: Has the book "Dino-Netics: The Science of Selling Books," by L. Mother Hubbard.
  • In season 2 of The 4400, the "4400 Center" was a thinly veiled takeoff of Scientology. Members were charged more and more money, with the promise of gaining an ability. In the 4th season, Jordan actually starts giving them out.
  • Wild Palms prominently features a thinly disguised Hubbard figure, accompanied by thinly disguised Sea Org members in naval uniforms, and "Synthiotics," at the center of its plot.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus had an early (if broad) reference in the "Crackpot Religions Ltd." sketch. (Scientology was run from England in the 1960s.)
  • Stephen Colbert is more likely to just call out the real Scientology but did once start his very own Church of Happyology: The Faith-Based Faith of Stephen with a PH. Colbert has declared himself the religion's New Galactic Overlord. He wears a shiny cape.
  • A very thinly veiled Scientology-like religion appears in Law & Order, complete with extensive member files, celebrity members, and stalkers, who are accused of driving a woman to suicide. This is played with in the episode "Bogeyman". In this case, while the group in question is paranoid and does keep dossiers on their critics, it turns out that they're not actually guilty of any crime, and that the murder under investigation was committed by one of their critics to set them up.
  • In one episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit A mentally unstable girl was advised to stop taking psychiatric meds by a very famous rock star who rails against psychiatry on TV (sounds very familiar?). She proceeds to falsely accuse two boys of rape and then mow down a bunch of people in the car. Then said rock star uses her as a soapbox to preach against psychiatric drugs.
  • The Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode "Con-Text" features Scientology-esque self-help group called "GraceNote". Members of GraceNote fork over tons of cash to take classes and spout psychobabble like "transforming your context" and "optimizing your psychic drive". There's even a bit where one of the suspects tells the detectives they don't understand because they're "not clear."
  • UK kids' show Byker Grove had the Psychandrics, a cult crossed with a pyramid scheme; the goal was to try to convert as many new members as they could. Main character Duncan (Declan Donnelly) was ensnared when he fell for one of the girls already in the cult, and almost got dragged away to their main compound in Mexico, never to return. He escaped (with the girl), but they returned a couple of years later, saying that they had ditched their old Leader and reformed (though they still behaved like cult members), and dragged the girl ended up going off with them anyway.
  • An episode of Boy Meets World dealt with a suspicious person who was gathering teens into his cult of personality:
    Cult leader: We're all equal here.
    Cory (or maybe Eric): Cool. What's this room?
    Cult leader: That's the Celebrity Room. You can't go in there.
  • An episode of Monk featured an otherwise standard cult whose members would disseminate their leader's literature on the street while wearing distinctive uniforms. Monk's friends are worried that the constantly-depressed Monk will be susceptible to the cult, and they're right (though he gets over it).
  • The IT Crowd has Beth Gaga Shaggy's Spaceology, though this seems to be a parody of the book The Secret and also a parody on Cosmic Ordering with 'space-star ordering'.We have a Suspiciously Specific Denial: "Spaceology is a religion, not a cult."
  • The Mentalist: Some episodes involve a cult called Visualize that threatens legal trouble if any of their secrets get out. Its role gets more important as the story progresses; the leader might even know how to catch the Big Bad. Or know the Big Bad. Or be the Big Bad. Or have been an evil Obi-Wan to the Big Bad in the past... Your guess is as good as anyone else's at this point.
  • One episode of Everybody Loves Raymond started off with Robert joining something similar to a Church Of Happyology group, and acting like he was lobotomized. Then he invited Raymond, and it was accidentally revealed that the only reason that Robert was invited in the first place was to get to Ray. Robert, naturally, was crushed. However, both of them used the group to stage an intervention in order to get Marie and Debra back on speaking terms.
  • A Diagnosis: Murder episode has Earthonomy, a cult with ridiculous mafia-like connections. They kill a reporter who was investigating them and attempt to kill another reporter. One suspect is even a closeted gay actor obviously based on... a certain actor. It turns out the killer was a hitman hired by the head of Earthonomy, who was having a homosexual affair with the gay actor.
  • Lie to Me: "Beyond Belief" features a self-help phenomenon/cult called Scientific RePatterning, or SPR. Among other less-than-friendly aspects of the organization, an initiate of SPR spies on Lightman's house and members break into Lightman's locked house while his daughter is home to deliver a pamphlet for their organization. Also, a fairly large part of the plot revolves around sexual misconduct with younger initiates.
  • The church of Spirentology in Made in Canada. The cult claims their goal is to help their members become "transparent", but they seem more interested in making money.
  • Reasonablism in Parks and Recreation. The founder started by writing a book to help people organize their offices, called "Organize It." Then he had another interesting thought. Maybe there was a twenty-eight-foot tall lizard with a volcano for a mouth, who controlled the universe.
    Chris: Why does the cult call themselves the Reasonablists?
    Leslie: Well they figure if people criticize them it will sound like they're attacking something very reasonable.
    Ben: That's weirdly brilliant.
  • On Friends, when Rachel gets the phone numbers of some of the actors at Joey's soap opera party, he discourages her from calling one because he's in a cult.
    Joey: This guy is in a cult, okay? It'll cost you $5,000 to get to level 3, and I don't feel any different.
  • In The L.A. Complex, the Church of Scienetics (a portmanteau of Scientology and Dianetics) gets involved at one point. There's a reference to "Nexu" (pronounced knee-zoo, which is similar to Xenu).
  • The Arrangement centers around the Institute of the Higher Mind. The titular arrangement is the marriage of IHM member and superstar movie actor Kyle West and unknown actress Megan Morrison.
  • Community has Reformed Neo-Buddhism. Among their other beliefs, someone outside the church questioning your rank is enough for your rank to fall, higher-ranked members can see the colour blurple, have psychic powers, and can eat ghosts.

    Music 

    Radio 
  • In the I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue Mockumentary In Search Of Mornington Crescent, Barry Cryer suggests that Mornington Crescent is connected to a cult based around cooking and cleaning. Domestic Scientology, founded by L. Ron Hubbard's mother to get him to help around the house.
  • The Eightfold Truth in Big Finish Doctor Who.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Assassins expansion to Illuminati New World Order includes a card for the "Church of Violentology".
  • Mage: The Awakening has "Panography," a church full of Banishers (mages whose Awakenings went very wrong and who view other mages as evil sorcerers) dedicated to hunting down the "alien entities" that possess certain people (that is, mages). It's essentially a straight name switch - their slightly unbalanced movie star member "John Maverick" even looks like Tom Cruise. The fact that the abbreviation for the specific group that contains the Banishers is M.A.D (Militant Auditing Division), only adds to the hilarity. Though Happyology appears to exist in the WoD as well, being mentioned in Hunter: The Vigil: Compacts and Conspiracies.
  • The climactic adventure in the Call of Cthulhu sourcebook "Delta Green" is ... unsubtle.
  • Wizards of the Coast decided to cut out the middle man and make (a sect of) the Church of Happyology an evil conspiracy in d20 Modern led by a psychic alien.
  • Inverted in the Shadowrun game's Universal Brotherhood, a cultish movement that did not warn its members against evil alien entities that could manipulate or possess them, because that's precisely who was running the cult.
  • One Warhammer 40,000 Dark Heresy adventure features a religious cult named the Joyous Choir, which subjects its followers to tests of spiritual and mental functioning using "Harmony Meters" until they become "true," as in this pamphlet. Surprisingly NOT run by Chaos; it's just checking for psykers to sell, to make drugs with them... A Slaneeshi cultist is, in fact, a possible ally.
  • From Magic: The Gathering there's the Orzhov Syndicate in the Ravnica plane. It poses itself as a church but it's really a fantasy-version Mafia. From the same plane, the Selesnya Conclave as well; though much better intentioned, they are still fundamentally a cult, that deals with dissenters via quietmen and actually brainwash the populace, unlike the Orzhov.
  • Pathfinder has Razmiran, a country religion, founded by a conman who claimed he passed the test of the starstone. Everything about the country and religion is a rather creepy reflection.

    Video Games 

  • Prismatologist Hugh Bliss from the episodic adventure game Sam and Max: Season 1 peddles a book called 'Emetics', pictured above. Then it turns out Bliss is actually a sentient bacteria colony that feeds on endorphins, and is plotting to turn everyone on Earth into blissed-out drones so he'll have an unlimited food supply. Therefore, in order to "save" the world, Max has to personally punch everyone in the face.
  • In Sam & Max Hit the Road, Lee-Harvey, the aide of a country-western singer, reads a book called Dialenics, by Elrod Hubbel, which he says is changing his life. Since he's in the entertainment industry, it makes sense.
  • In Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, there's a book in the Phatt Library called Dynanetics, by L. Ron Gilbert (Ron Gilbert being the creator of the series). Guybrush's comment: "Who does this guy think he is, anyway?"
  • The Chzo Mythos series has Optimology, a religious organization that serves as a front for cultists who worship a pain elemental.
  • The "Hubologists" from Fallout 2. This series actually went so far as to having the Hubologist 'celebrity spokespeople' "Juan Cruz" and "Vikki Goldman" tell you that their religion was not, in fact, connected or based in any way, shape or form upon any group in the real world.
  • The Church of Unitology in Dead Space. According to the developers, Unitology is not specifically based on Happyology, but rather religious cults in general, but there are still plenty of things that should sound familiar: it enlists wealthy and high-ranking members of society, and one's standing in the church is directly proportional to how much money and power they give to the church. They're extremely secretive about their methods and are often described as cultish. Prequel comics feature the Church (several times referred to as a "cult") as a major plot point. They are directly responsible for unleashing the alien threat featured in the game by transporting a mysterious "marker" they believe is directly related to their beliefs to a human colony, then the mining ship where the game takes place, and are hinted to have been aware of its effects all along.

    According to the background information you can collect throughout the game (including a log you get by beating it), Unitology is the only major religion to survive the expansion of humanity beyond Earth. This is partly the result of the church's massive movement to undermine and infiltrate the Earth Government after their leader was assassinated. They now have enough pull to have anti-Unitology books officially banned on Earth and her colonies. Furthermore, it turns out the cult was right in a lot of their tenets, though it's kind of hard to have your tenets be "wrong" when they're basically painting a shiny coat on the instruction manual for the Eldritch Abominations that your founder played a key part in discovering and translating. Of course, a lot of people would consider an "afterlife" of becoming a mutilated corpse controlled by alien/genetically-engineered parasites that are connected to a Hive Mind that exists only to kill and absorb all other living creatures to be worse than mere nonexistence.
  • Ultima VII: Oooooh boy, where to start here. Practically every single thing about the Fellowship mirrors Happyology in some form or other. Batlin is a spitting image of L. Ron. The Fellowship have practices similar to Fair Game and Disconnection. Hell, The Avatar is given a bloody Personality Test early on, which, as you can see here, is obviously rigged against him. See where this is going? As if Electronic Arts wasn't painted evil enough by The Fellowship.
  • The Epsilon Program in the Grand Theft Auto series. In the words of their leader Cris Formage, they're not a cult, but "a fellowship of like-minded adults who tithe money in exchange for salvation and merit badges," and their success may be partially attributed to their leader's charismatic, James Earl Jones-esque voice. Their headquarters is located in the Cayman Islands (a notorious tax shelter), and their holy text, the Epsilon Tract, has never even been written. They were first introduced in San Andreas on Lazlow's radio talk show, where Formage is interviewed alongside another self-help huckster, Darius Fontaine. GTA IV also features Brandon Roberts, an Epsilonist and egotistical actor who is interviewed on Public Liberty Radio in a parody of Tom Cruise's incoherent interviews; while he never mentions the Epsilon Program by name, he does toss out a "Kifflom", their go-to greeting. Grand Theft Auto V has an entire sidequest in which Michael joins the Epsilon Program, allowing a deeper insight into the cult than ever before. They convert you from an "antithesis" to a "thesis" through illicit favors, inane brainwashing rituals, and hefty, hefty donations (starting at $500 and escalating to $50,000!). Conversely, people who are looked down upon are referred to as "Objectionable Persons" instead of "Suppressive Persons". The real kicker, however, comes in GTA Online, where we get the ultimate look at just how much of a Crapsack World the GTA universe really is: the first time you get killed, you find out that Cris Formage really does have magical powers, which he uses to resurrect you (which explains how respawns and Passive Mode work) while gloating about both his sexual conquests and how all the naysayers were wrong. In other words, in the GTA universe, the one true faith is an exploitative weirdo cult.
  • Seeing as how it's a shameless ripoff of GTA (and proud of it), Saints Row 2 features an even more blatant parody of Happyology: the Church of Philosotology, run by an "R. Lon Hibbard," whose beliefs are almost carbon copies of various Happyology tenets. They also run the Forgive and Forget stations, which let you lose any unwanted heat from police or gangs, for a price (in true Happyology tradition).
  • The particularly crass MMORPG Forum Warz gives us a two-for-one deal with the Church of Saiyantology - and that's just the sixth or seventh of all the bizarre subcultures they've declared Acceptable Targets.
  • The Order from Deus Ex: Invisible War.
  • One of the monuments spouting INKT propaganda in de Blob is the Church of Inktology.
  • Warcraft III :
    Kel'Thuzad: I always wanted to start my own religion... So I did!
    • Several other Scourge units (the more intelligible ones, at least) do the same.
  • In the fourth Destroy All Humans! game, the Lunarian cult parodies this, run by S. Scott Calvin.
  • As part of the '80s satire of the Syndicate in Red Alert 3: Paradox, the Church is implied to be a part of the Syndicate's hierarchy, and its navy is manned by members of Sea Org.
  • In The Secret World, the Morninglight has shades of this; for example, a "personality test" obviously rigged to tell anyone who takes it that he or she belongs in the Morninglight. Oh, also Loki is one of the leaders. And let's not even get into where the name came from.
  • The Church of the New Dawn in Watch_Dogs 2 is a cult that demands exorbitant amounts of money from its followers, kidnaps members who doubt their teachings (including their celebrity spokesperson) and keeps them in a reeducation camp, and bases its teachings around fake ancient Sumerian tablets.

    Web Comics 
  • Last Res0rt:
    • The Star Org / Endless take it from a different angle, running with a starfaring naval branch that's curiously powerful for something that's just supposed to be part of a church. At least two of the players (White Noise and Xanatos) are ex-Star Org soldiers; White was left for dead after he was caught hacking into a space station's life support (supposedly on orders) and has since become a "heretic" and renounced his faith, while Xanatos is implied to have mutinied. Xanatos still talks in some of the Star Org's slang though, regularly calling the fans "cogs" among other things. They also consider psychiatry a "black art".
    • Xanatos eventually confides in Addy that he had never left the Org, and his "mutineer's ear" and the associated story behind it was a plot to try and win White's confidence in order to assassinate him.
  • Subnormality, amazingly, hits this one out of the park in only three words.
  • Jack devotes an arc to this. The name of the arc is a give-away.
  • In Insecticomics, A priest of Unicron starts his own religious show, "The Hour Of Devour," which presents worshipping the Chaos Bringer as this. Fallen finds out and is pissed because he actually has some respect for his job as Unicron's herald, and sees the priest's show as a mockery of service to the forces of chaos. Eventually, he mellows out and lets the priest go on as he pleases.
  • In Penny and Aggie, the crazed Cloudcuckoolander Xena is a devotee of this religion. Although the comic avoids mentioning the church by name, she's been known to slam the field of psychology (including parroting Tom Cruise's denial of chemical imbalances), make reference to engrams and souls imprisoned in volcanoes, and note that her name is similar to that of a certain galactic dictator central to the religion's foundational myth. She's even been known to moan "Mr. Hubbard" in her sleep.

    Web Original 
  • The Hymn of One from lonelygirl15. A religion that posts several vague happy-sounding YouTube videos to the internet while being rumored to be much more terrifying behind the scenes.
  • In KateModern, Gavin even refers to the Hymn of Oner Steve as "L. Ron" at one point.
  • Hackles had the Squidentologists.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series just came right out and said it.
  • P.S.I. - Paranormal Security Institution alleges that L. Ron Hubbard was an intergalactic performance artist who wanted to see if anyone would buy into the most idiotic religion ever devised. And he found that it worked too well. [1]
  • Although the Church of the Immortal Robot Reagan is more or less an outright parody of the aforementioned sect, its creators claim that it's just a "more honest" version since it's a cult that's really a moneymaking scam that openly admits it's a moneymaking scam.
  • The somewhat infamous ScientLOLojyuuichi, a Happyology-themed version of a very popular Animutation called Hyakugojyuuichi.
  • One of the fan songs on the Dr. Horrible DVD mentions them by name. "That was a joke: I'm evil, not crazy!"
  • Smosh has "Religiotology"
  • In a side short of the Parle Productions series The Marauders, James Potter convinces Peter Pettigrew that there is a "Church of Potter," then renamed to "Pottertology".
  • The SCP Foundation has the Fifth Church, who once almost destroyed reality with a self-help book.

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama
    • Despite the name, the Temple of Robotology is more a loose (very loose) parody of Christianity: you promise to be good, and if you don't the Robot Devil takes you to Robot Hell, however this didn't stop "concerned citizens who weren't Happyologists" from complaining. In the DVD Commentary Matt Groening says he received a call from a Happyologist about it; he apparently just decided to say it was the 'church', not the 'temple' rather than point out there are no other similarities.
    • In "Where No Fan Has Gone Before," there is also the Church of Trek, with a sign saying 'The sci-fi religion that doesn't take all your money.'
  • Rex The Runt: An episode had the "Church of Chemicalology," preached by celebrity talking sausage Johnny Saveloy. He lures in converts with promises of fame and fortune, then sucks out their life force to prolong his own life.
  • Sealab 2021 has a meta-episode where the actor who plays Sparks is asked why he took the part:
    Sparks: "I think the main impetus was... my Gundam told me to."
    Interviewer: "Gun... what?"
    Sparks: "Gun-dam. He's my mentor in Astrotology."
    Interviewer: "Right... the Hollywood cults."
    Sparks: (furious) "It's not a cult!" (calms) "It's a religion."
    Interviewer: "Not according to the IRS..."
    Sparks: (furious, with fanatic fervor) "Ho, there will a day of reckoning for you, non-believer! A totalling of sums! And a snapping of necks! And you will count yourself among the damned!"
  • South Park:
    • The trope is played straight with the Season 5 episode "Super Best Friends". Their depiction of "The Church Of Blaintology," though obviously making fun of David Blaine, has a few very accurate jabs at Happyology, in addition to sneaking a visual representation of The Prophet onto the screen.
    • Several seasons later, South Park attacked the religion head-on, by name, in the episode "Trapped in the Closet". This episode included several famous [Happy]ologists (one of whom threatened Stan with "I'll sue you in England!"). The episode also included a depiction of a key event in [Happy]ology belief, with the caption "THIS IS WHAT [HAPPY]OLOGISTS ACTUALLY BELIEVE."
    • Several episodes after "Trapped In The Closet", after [Happy]ologist Isaac Hayes said he was quitting (not because of the Happyology episode, he claimed, but because of the show's "general disrespect for religion" — which had never bothered him in the previous seasons), they did an episode where Chef was brainwashed by the "Super Adventure Club" - a child-molesting group who travel the world to do so and parody the episode mentioned above. Then he was promptly McLeaned. Er...he was McLeaned right BEFORE this episode, apologies.
    • And yet, much like the unobscured depiction of Muhammed was ignored by Muslims (unlike when a European newspaper depicted him a few years later), there was no response from [Happy]ologists to "Super Best Friends".
    • Inevitably, the South Park episode spawned a new meme on 4chan, in which all manner of bizarre photos are captioned with "THIS IS WHAT [HAPPY]OLOGISTS ACTUALLY BELIEVE."
    • So (in)famous was that episode that a Rolling Stone magazine article on Parker and Stone featured a picture of them painting graffiti on a Happyology center sign (sadly it was Photoshopped).
  • Superjail! devoted an entire episode, "Don't Be A Negaton," to a space cult that looked suspiciously like Happyology. Many of the references though were just obscure enough that only those familiar with Happyology would get the joke.
  • The Simpsons
    • The Movementarians. Devote all your money and labor to them and they will (eventually) take you to Blisstonia, noted for its high level of bliss. It ends with a double subversion. Plus "the Leader" is the spitting image of LRH, and laments "I should have stayed with the Promise Keepers" after the whole cult falls apart. However, the Movementarians also drew from other controversial religious groups, such as the Unification Church (the mass wedding), Osho (the leader driving around in a Rolls Royce), and Heaven's Gate (riding on a spaceship to another planet).
    • Likely also an example of Getting Crap Past the Radar, at least Nancy Cartwright's, voice of Bart Simpson and a Happyologist.
  • The Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers episode "Case of the Cola Cult", which features a cult centered around the worship of soda, could be a critique of Happyology, or of religion in general. There certainly are eerie parallels to Happyology in the episode (such as very rich mice giving all of their riches to a phony religion, only to have those riches embezzled by the cult leader's corrupt second-in-command). It's unclear what the writers were really going for, but it was certainly something pretty deep for a television cartoon made by Disney. All of which was likely to shoot right over the heads of the target audience.
  • Ugly Americans had Randall join a Zombieology cult. He left because they wanted him to pay to join.
  • The Flame Keepers Circle from Ben 10 started as this, but the nature of their god Diagon and their relationship with him makes them more like a Cult of Cthulhu.
  • In The Venture Bros. episode "Spanakopita!", it's revealed that the Original Team Venture fought "L. Ron" himself. Or rather his ghost possessing a robot.


 
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Religitology

Founded by Com Truise, Religitology worships Herman, the creator of the universe. They apparently regularly practice brainwashing and needless mass-killing for conversion, brainwashing Anthony and turning him into a Manchurian agent.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / ChurchOfHappyology

Media sources:

Main / ChurchOfHappyology

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