Lafayette Ronald Hubbard was born in 1911. His father worked for the Navy which meant Hubbard moved quite often during his early years.
Hubbard attended college at George Washington University for 2 years. Later in life, Hubbard would make claims about his educational background which were at great odds with his college records.
Hubbard supported himself by writing fiction. He gradually began to specialize in science fiction for pulp magazines and books but also wrote westerns, fantasies and adventure stories.
Writing for the pulps was neither prestigious or profitable. The magazines paid a penny a word for their stories, perhaps contributing to the excessive verbiage of Hubbard’s writing style.
Near the end of his service Hubbard was at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital, suffering from ulcers and minor pains. Hubbard enhanced this to being “crippled and blinded” and later claimed to have healed himself using the precursor practices to dianetics.In World War II he had an undistinguished career in the Navy, later severely inflating his accomplishments. Scientology perpetuates many of the myths about Hubbard’s military involvement.
Was Hubbard machine-gunned in the back while escaping the Japanese on Java? Was he flown home in the Secretary of the Navy’s private plane as the first US casualty from the Far East? Find out more at Chris Owens excellent site, “Ron, the War Hero.”
After the war Hubbard settled in for a time with Jack Parsons, a follower of occultist Aleister Crowley. Hubbard would later call Crowley his “dear, old friend” in a Scientology audiotaped lecture. Jon Atack (author of the book, “A Piece of Blue Sky“) wrote about “Hubbard and the Occult.”
Hubbard left Parson’s estate with Parson’s girlfriend, Sara Northrup. Hubbard married Sara in 1946, making Hubbard a bigamist having not bothered to divorce his current wife Margaret who was unaware of these new adventures.
While many of the events of Hubbard’s life seem too wild to be true, they are all documented. Much of the documentation can now be seen on the web.
To fellow writers, Hubbard once reportedly stated that “writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wanted to make a million dollars, the best way to do it would be start his own religion.” Soon Hubbard was to do just that as his self help book, “Dianetics, the Modern Science of Mental Health” gave way to Scientology.
“There is a difference between the Church of American Science and the Church of Scientology.The Church of American Science is a Christian Religion. It believes in the Holy Bible, Jesus is the Savior of man and everything that’s necessary to be a Christian religion. People who belong to that church are expected to be Christians.These two churches fit together.
We take somebody in as a Church of American Science. It doesn’t disagree with his baptism or other things like that, and he could gradually slide over into some sort of better, wider activity such as the Church of Scientology and a little more wisdom and come a little more close to optimum.
Then if he was good and one of the people that we would like to have around he would eventually slide into the HASI. So we have provided stepping stones to Scn with these organizations.”
– (L. Ron Hubbard, 1954 “Hypnotism” audiotape #5410C04)
Part of the Church of Scientology’s goals were delineated as “to train and indoctrinate ministers and brothers in the principles and teachings of the Church of American Science.” With this, Hubbard became the founder and leader of what he therein called a religion.
Hubbard consolidated his control over Dianetics and Scientology and began opening new centers around the world. He published many more books such as Science of Survival, Have You Lived Before This Life? and Scientology 8-8008.
In 1959 Hubbard, who was now claiming a PhD and a degree in nuclear physics, moved to Sussex England and opened a school of Scientology.
Problems kept plaguing his creation, however. In 1963 the FDA raided the Scientology office in Washington D.C. and took away all their e-meters. In 1965 an Australian Board of Inquiry published a scathing review of Scientology and recommended banning the organization. After being kicked out of Rhodesia in 1966, Hubbard returned to England, where there were calls for inquiry into Scientology as well. Hubbard chose to purchase three ships and headed to the high seas in 1967, with his ships manned by Scientologists who had signed billion year contracts to be a part of the Sea Organization.
Hubbard continued to write and “research” prolifically. He wrote books, policy letters, advices, and management directives. In 1968 Hubbard’s alleged research into man led him to a discovery that he claimed nearly killed him. Operating Thetan level 3 is a restored accurate history of mankind, according to Hubbard. This involved incidents from 75 million years ago that were previously hidden until Hubbard’s brave efforts once again uncovered our actual past.
As Hubbard’s paranoia about a cabal of psychiatrists taking over the world grew and different countries began denying port rights to his ships, Hubbard began looking for a “land base.” He chose Clearwater, Florida in 1975. As his crew settled into new properties purchased in Clearwater under the name United Churches of Florida.
Hubbard lived quietly in nearby Dunedin, still very much in control of the organization. From this time forward Hubbard was generally either in hiding or at least avoiding public scrutiny.
In 1977 the FBI raided Scientology in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles. From this raid 11 Scientologists, including Hubbard’s wife Mary Sue, went to federal prison for infiltrating government offices and theft of documents. Hubbard, in hiding, never came to his wife’s defense despite being complicit in the offenses.
From Dunedin Hubbard had moved to La Quinta California to a ranch. There he passed his time making training and other movies for Scientology. In 1979 he lived for a time in Hemet after fearing his La Quinta location would be exposed.
By 1980 Hubbard’s direct control of Scientology had been gradually diminished due to his isolation. Those who controlled his communication lines, including David Miscavige, inherited the power and authority within the organization. Miscavige wrestled control from Mary Sue Hubbard and from then on has been the authority behind Scientology.
In 1982 Hubbard’s fiction work Battlefield Earth hit the stands with little applause. His 10-volume Mission Earth followed with even less enthusiasm by the public.
In 1983 Mary Sue Hubbard went to prison for her role in the Operation Snow White breakins, and L. Ron Hubbard, Jr. filed suit in court claiming his father was either dead or too incapacitated to manage his own affairs. Hubbard Sr. did not show up in court but filed signed and fingerprinted handwritten papers that demonstrated he was still alive and functioning.
On January 24, 1986, L. Ron Hubbard died in his final hideout in Creston California. Those attending his body claimed Hubbard’s religious beliefs precluded an autopsy. An initial examination of the body found that despite his anti-psychiatric stand throughout his life, the prescription drug Vistaril was found in his system. L. Ron Hubbard’s body was cremated and his ashes sprinkled in the Pacific Ocean.
In a letter Hubbard had written to his first wife, Polly, back in 1938 Hubbard had vowed:
Foolishly perhaps, but determined none the less, I have high hopes of smashing my name into history so violently that it will take a legendary form even if all books are destroyed.
Hubbard had achieved his goal. His name and legacy lives on. What he hadn’t counted on was the internet. Now it isn’t a matter of destroying some books. Information is free and the truth will always prevail. Hubbard told many bald-face lies about his history which the Church of Scientology continues to spread. Once they could attempt to silence a lone critic but now that is impossible. Gerry Armstrong was one of those brave individuals who spoke out about Hubbard’s lies and found himself targeted by the group for doing so. In this brief clip of the interview I did with Gerry for my feature film about Scientology, he talks about discovering the truth about Hubbard while working as Hubbard’s personal archivist.
In 1981 Gerry left the Church of Scientology. Many of Hubbard’s personal biographical papers were admitted into evidence during a 1984 L.A. Superior Court trial against Gerry. The Scientologists and their collaborators have never stopped their black PR campaign against Gerry Armstrong.