L.Ron Hubbard is famously known for founding scientific religion. He was also an author, a philosopher and humanitarian. He was born in 1911 and died in 1986.His road to discovery started early in his life. He had a very educated mother under which he read beyond his years at a very young age. Some of the writing he was reading was those of Shakespeare, Greek philosopher and materials of later classics. Ron Hubbard is known to be a very inquisitive person from his youthful years, particularly regarding American West. At age 13, he had already distinguished himself as the youngest Eagle Scout of the nation and represented American Scouting to President Calvin Coolidge. The unique and observable feature was his strong desire to better the human condition. Ron Hubbard was a student of Sigmund Feud’s and the only American Naval to study psychoanalysis in Viema.Upon recognizing his qualities and potential, Commander Joseph Thompson introduced him to Freudian theory.
Ron Hubbard got an opportunity to travel the world when his father was appointed the US naval commander. By 19 years old, Rob Hubbard had traveled most of the world’s places including China and India. He witnesses lots of wonders including Tibetan lamaseries in the western hills of China. His experience drove into concluding that legendary wisdom of the east did nothing to ease condition of poverty and suffering in those populated and under populated places. Upon returning to the US he continued his education and enrolled at George Washington University where he studied mathematics, engineering and atomic and molecular phenomena. Those subjects gave him a foundation for pursuing his desire for the human mind and life. In the university, he entered the category of American aviation pioneers. From his study and understanding of science of mind in the university labs, he was convinced that Western academia did not have any answers as he wrote, “It was very obvious that I was dealing with and living in a culture which knew less about the mind and the lowest primitive tribe I had ever come in contact with. Knowing also that people in the East were not able to reach as deeply and predictably into the riddles of the mind, as I had been led to expect, I knew I would have to do a lot of research” (Christensen 237).
His research took about twenty years. In the duration of this research, Ron Hubbard traveled to twenty-one races and cultures including Philippines and Caribbean isles. His researcher was focused on two fundamental questions. First, it focused on the experimented he conducted at the George Washington University that sought to get to the root of human consciousness. Secondly, linking to his first focus, he sought to find the common denominator in life that would help him determine what was true and workable regarding the human condition. In 1938, he came up with a manuscript called “Excalibur”. This manuscript proposed a view of life as driven by some definable urge controlled by behavior and not a process of some series of chemical reactions. Ron Hubbard was interrupted by the Second World War and from such interruption he was able to come up with another discovery that unmitigated horror of global conflict was something that hindered the philosophical research that aimed at resolving the human condition. He was referring to world wars. From this, he came up with another conclusion and wrote: “man has a madness and is called war” (Hirshbein e12).
His twenty years research was an intense discovery and publishing of science fiction and fantasy genres. Hubbard returned from the Navy in the World War II in the late 1949, and that is the point he began publishing articles in the magazine of ‘Astounding Science Fiction.’ This is where he created a text called ‘Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health.’ Hubbard published his Book, Dianetics in 1950.The book quickly got famous, and it revolutionized into a belief system that was able to attract millions of subscribers. It is a book that would change his life.
In this book, Hubbard explained memories which he referred to as ‘engrams,’ as the cause of all the psychological pain which harmed the physical and mental health. He, therefore, went ahead and proposed a reverse situation stating that people could set their minds clear by consulting a listener acting as a therapist or try to attain an exquisite state of clarity that would liberate their mind. Hubbard’s friends and associates credited the book. There were hundreds of testimonies from people that had studied and used the book, Moreso, there were thousands of requests of people who wanted to know more. From this rapid popularity and interest of more of his works, Hubbard decided to go directly to the public with the handbook and teach people of his discoveries and techniques. It was the first such test of mind in the history of man.The national newspaper and magazine columnist had predicted righty when it wrote on January 31, 1950, “There is something new coming up in April called Dianetics…A new science which works with the invariability of physical science in the field of human mind. From all indications, it will prove to be as revolutionary for humanity as the first caveman’s discovery and utilization”( Raine 74).
On September 9th, 1950, the American Psychological Association (APA) strongly advocated for the abandonment of using the book with claims that there was no evidence it was beneficial. Hubbard responded to APA’s claims promising to provide evidence that would prove his case. John W.Campbell, the editor of ‘Astounding,’ had put his reputation under examination. He hoped that Ron Hubbard would give good prove about the truth of the Dianetics therapy. He responded cautiously to Hubbard’s statement saying that Hubbard had made it clear not to publish dianetics articles until he responded as promised. It took time to make publication in 1951 and magazines were typed, printed and distributed manually. In this duration, a letter commending Hubbard’s work way back in 1950 appeared on the issue, and Campnel did not take this opportunity to comment in support of Dianetics.Another corresponded appeared commending Hubbard’s work and this time he responded that Dianetic institute would eventually gather evidence and publish it.They were all waiting for Hubbard to respond though he was taking time.
Hubbard wrote through New York Times that he had submitted proof of claims to several scientists and associations and added that the public and interested organization were entitled to the same and was ready and willing to provide it in details. In Dianetics, Hubbard had promised that readers could improve their eyesight, IQ, and perfect memory. The fact that Dianetics Institute did not proof these tests suggested they knew Dianetics would fail. Even though, the mental and scientific establishment discredited his book, it did not prevent selling over 100,000 copies of it within the first two years of publication. Soon, he was lecturing across the country and continued writing books totalling to seven books in 1951.He gained significant followers and further established the Dianetics Research Foundation in New Jersey. Hubbard faced several troubles including financial troubles and going through a divorce which almost cripples his success. However, with the help of some cooperative Scientologist, he was able to perform the IQ test. Hubbard was able to rebound back in 1953 and introduced Scientology. By the time Dianetics Institute took bankruptcy, Hubbard had already founded Scientology.
The birth of Scientology
As the Institute of Dianetics was been declared bankruptcy, Hubbard had grown an interest in a type of a lie detector called “electropsychometer” which he believed would be a good auditing instrument (Raine 87). After obtaining a franchise for this new devise, he began using it on patients and from it created a new subject which he called Scientology. Scientology was all about freeing souls which were trapped in the physical or material world and restoring supernatural powers that were allegedly lost. Hubbard set the Scientology headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, awarded himself Doctor of Scientology and in 1952 incorporated the Hubbard Association of Scientologist as guided by his third wife and himself. Even though the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association had continued to oppose him all the while, Hubbard was able to regain control of Dianetics in 1953 after succeeding in the legal process and was able to incorporate the church of Scientology. In 1954, he established the Church in California which became the mother church, and it was exempted from the federal tax by the US government. Scientology was an expansion of Dianetics and particularly had grown from the lie detector popular version that Hubbard had brought into philosophy and eventually religious. The version was psychotherapy.
The Church of Scientology
As people continued to discover his breakthrough, churches continued to be established in the US and also other places Canada, Europe, and South Africa. He also continued to make his discoveries known to those that sought answers. In 1959, Hubbard together with his family moved to England where they spend their lives for the next seven years. This was the worldwide headquarters of the Church of Scientology. While in England, he continued to write and lecture people and started to train Scientologists around the world to teach others and establish the church at their home places. In the mid-1960s, he was intensely involved in activities that sought to reach states of higher awareness. He also designed principles that wood operate the Scientology churches. All these works expanded the church of Scientology on almost every continent. In 1966 the first of September, at the time when Scientology had already been established as a worldwide religion, Mr.Hubbard resigned from the Executive Director of the church. He wanted to fully commit his time to doing researches that would help him attain the highest level of spiritual awareness and ability. He decided to do his research on a different environment and chose the sea. He bought three ships and boarded with few of his followers.
From 1967 to 1975, Hubbard did his research on Scientology from the sea. He was wondering in the seas of Mediterranean, Atlantic, and Caribbean (Baker 118). His ship would be boarded by young people of his sea organization every day. Each day, they would issue a document they called “Order of the Day” which the former crew today pronounce the culture as “oods”.Teenage girls dressed in bathing pants waited for him, dressed him and even caught ash from his cigarettes.The people that did not follower the orders of the day were brutally punished for example through incarceration on the ship’s chain locker for days or even weeks. The crew members could be blindfolded and thrown up to 40 ft deep in the cold sea hoping they would not hit by the side of the ship that had blades as they went down. These punishments applied to both children and adults.
During his trip, he attempted to take over Morocco and Rhodesia and was banned from getting to Britain. He started a sea organizations (SO) where, members would wear naval uniforms and adopt naval ranks. Members were forced to have abortions because he claimed children interfered with the organization. He created an abusive Rehabilitation Project Force for punishing the organization’s members that did not follow the orders, or who failed to deliver in the achievement of production goals. Meanwhile, in the 1970s, the IRS produced the claim that Hubbard was skimming a lot of money from the church and laundering it to corporations in Panama and storing them in the Swiss bank accounts. Further, the US federal courts in 1971 claimed that Hubbard’s medical claims were fake and that his E.meter instrument was not a scientific instrument. The Scientology organization responded and sought First Amendment protection. They built chapels, the franchise became missions fees became donations, and the Hubbard’s, book became’ sacred scriptures.’
After his sea trip, Hubbard continued to travel. He traveled to Washington D.C and Loss Angeles and eventually settled in the southern California near Palm Springs, which was his home. He settled here until 1979.During his stay there, he embarked on making Scientology and Dianetics more accessible. He wrote dozens of films which basically trained on his subjects and visually demonstrated the application of the technical skills. He was the director of most of the films. In 1980, he wrote a non-religious moral code which he based on common sense. The book was titled, ‘The Way to Happiness.’ He explained this work by saying, “Reading the papers and wandering around in the society, it was pretty obvious that honesty and truth were not being held up to the standards they once had. People and even little kids in schools have gotten the idea that high moral standards are a thing of the past. Man has in his hands today a lot of violent weapons. He does not have the moral standards to go with them” ( Wolfe 95) The book spread through the society and people responded positively in large number and used the book to uplift the decency and integrity of money. About 62 million have been sold so far, and millions of copies are demanded every year.
In 1980, Hubbard resumed to studying fiction. He wrote the fiction novel, ‘Battlefield Earth.’ He wrote another novel called ‘Mission Earth opus.’ All those books became NYT and international bestsellers. In the early 1980s, he traveled throughout California taking residence in Creston town where he completed his research finalizing the Scientology technical materials( Christensen 26).Today, those material are recorded in different words on the subject of the human spirit in Dianetics and Scientology philosophy. There are over 25 million words of his lectures on tapes which have the capacity to fill more than 100 volumes of text. Hubbard’s works are collectively said to be literature, recorded research, and material that exceed any subject of philosophy. Anyone that needs them can access them easily and already there are more than 150 million books in circulation.
Hubbard died in 1986 while a criminal case by IRS was in court. The IRS had accused Hubbard of stealing more than $200 million from the church and also tax fraud. The powers struggle led to many people leave the church as other established their independent organizations which were based on Hubbard independent. The cooperation of Scientology intensively began copyrighting all Hubbard’s material and took legal stops to stop the independents. In 1991,alt.religion.Scientology, an anti-Scientology Internet group emerged. Cooperation of Scientology lost its tax-exempt status in 1967 and there after declared war. For continuous 26 years they attacked IRS for many occasion, they pulled them down. They sued them and set investigations on IRS agents. They did this thorough any methods including,anti-IRS advertisements,offering rewards for IRS whistleblowing and publishing anti-IRS articles among others.This attacks eventually worked.
In 1993, the IRS and the cooperation of Scientology signed an international agreement on what was to be kept a secret and what was to be exposed to The Wall Street Journal. The church also gained its federal tax-exempt status and was paid for its losses. Until today the two organizations have kept the provisions of their agreement confidential.
Today the Scientology church relies on celebrity spokespeople to attract and recruit members from the public. Various organizations who work in a number of areas including literacy, drug counseling, human rights, management techniques and business promote the church and Hubbard’s philosophy and recruit members to the church. Some of the targeted people are mentally disturbed people. The US troops returning from Iraq have also been targeted. In the recent years, most of the long-time members of the church have quit with claims that the cooperation harasses critics.Though some have continued to practice Scientology outside the cooperation, others have sued it and won. For example, Lawrence Wollersheim who accused the church of nearly driving him to suicide was paid him $8 million in by the church 2003.In the same year, Fox News reported that the church had started giving requirements to its members to sign a release form which agreed that they would not be held against their will or isolated from their close ones or denied access to medication. The church, however, continue to exist and extend its roots. There is a 380,000 square headquarters been constructed across the street from the Fort Harrison Hotel. It is called the “Super power” building which according to Hubbard, “consist of 12 separate high power rundowns which are brand new and enter realms of the tech before approached…giving Scientologists the super powers of infinity” (Lewis 47).
Ron Hubbard is the reason of the popularity and the significance of the Church of Scientology in America and in other parts of the world. Hubbard throughout his history is seen as a focused and very passionate individual who worked towards his goals with hard work, commitment, and sacrifice. Even though some of his deeds were abusive and judgmental, he was full of desire to study and grow awareness of the human mind. Today, people are using principles of Hubbard’s work and they are working. People like Hubbard are those that rise and take steps towards a better life and culture. In his process of discovery, Hubbard faced accusations of governments of several nations that he was brainwashing his followers. Even so, Hubbard continued to build his religion that grew into a huge movement and until today still has considerable presence in the public eye with a high profile in Hollywood. Scientology is a journey into the mind of Hubbard, and the more one gets onto it, the more of Hubbard he becomes.
- Baker, Kelly J. “The Church of Scientology: A History of a New Religion.” Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions 17.3 (2014): 116-119.
2.Christensen, Dorthe Refslund. “Inventing L. Ron Hubbard: On the Construction and Maintenance of the Hagiographic Mythology of Scientology’s Founder.” Controversial New Religions (2005): 227-58.
- Christensen, Dorthe Refslund. “Rethinking Scientology: A Thorough Analysis of L. Ron Hubbard’s Formulation of Therapy and Religion in Dianetics and Scientology, 1950–1986.” Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review (2016).
- Hirshbein, Laura. “L Ron Hubbard’s science fiction quest against psychiatry.” Medical Humanities 42.4 (2016): e10-e14.
- Lewis, Robyn. “Religion’s Changing Face: Science Fiction Based Faiths.” (2013).
6.Raine, Susan. “Astounding history: L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology space opera.” Religion 45.1 (2015): 66-88.
7.Wolfe, John H. “Common Sense Scientology.” (2016).