L. Ron Hubbard – the founder of Scientology
Lafayette Ronald Hubbard (L. Ron Hubbard) was born March 13, 1911 in Tilden, Nebraska. In the 1930’s and 1940’s he became a popular science fiction writer. He publicly announced at a science fiction convention…’if a man really wanted to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion. Eventually, he would become the founder of the religion of Scientology. In 1950, he released the book Dianetics: A Modern Science of Mental Health. He incorporated the Church of Scientology of California in 1954.
Hubbard was notorious for his exaggerations and outright lies. He told people that he was in Asia, when he was actually attending high school in America. He claimed to have been wounded, crippled, blinded, and pronounced dead twice in World War II. None of this happened. He claimed to have received higher education that he never received. He referred to himself as a nuclear physicist, but failed his one and only class in physics. He claimed a degree from Columbian College, but this degree has never been confirmed.
Hubbard was a bigamist, marrying his second wife while still being married to his first wife. He was accused by his second wife of beatings and strangulation. He kidnapped their child and fled to Cuba, and counseled his wife to commit suicide. She had met him when both of them were involved with a Pasadena occult group led by Jack Parsons. Jack Parsons was a follower of Alister Crowley, who was a leading Satanist, sorcerer, and black magician.
When writing his book Dianetics, Hubbard said he used the following resources: the medicine man of the Goldi people of Manchuria, the shamans of North Borneo, Sioux medicine men, various cults of Los Angeles, and modern psychology. (Martin 352-355) Hubbard said he had a beautiful guardian angel with red hair and wings who he called ‘the Empress.’ He claimed that she guided him through life and saved him many times (Miller 153).
Hubbard told people that he had received twenty-one medals from his time in the navy; however, he had only received four routine medals (Miller 144). He was known for being authoritarian, and suspicious of everyone around him. He was paranoid and suspected that the CIA was following him (Miller 216). In 1951, the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners instituted proceedings against him for teaching medicine without a license (Miller 226).
Hubbard created a cosmology that claimed that the true self of an individual was an immortal, omniscient, and omnipotent entity called a ‘thetan,’ which had been in existence before the beginning of time, and picked up and discarded millions of bodies over trillions of years (Miller 214). Similar to other cults or sects; Scientology offers salvation through occult or secret knowledge. Hubbard himself dominated Scientology, and claimed to have a monopoly on the source of the secret knowledge (Miller 269). To Scientologists, Hubbard is ‘the world’s most influential author, educator, researcher, explorer, humanitarian, and philosopher.’ However, most people understand clearly that he was a con man who lied to and took advantage of many people (Rhodes 154).
Martin, Walter. The Kingdom of the Cults. Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2003.
Miller, Russell. Bare-Faced Messiah. London: Sphere Books Limited, 1987
Rhodes, Ron. The Challenge of the Cults and New Religions. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001.