Truth & Fiction: Scientology

Claims about L. Ron Hubbard's career as founder of Scientology

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Green means that the claim is verifiable and can be treated as factual.

Hubbard was a man of considerable means completely independent of Scientology.

'Report to Members of Parliament on Scientology' (Church of Scientology, 1969)
Accounts and tax returns from various Dianetics and Scientolology organisations in the late 1950s - early 1960s show that Hubbard and his family were each year creaming off huge sums (literally hundreds of thousands of dollars) from the Church. Anecdotal accounts and evidence entered in Armstrong v. Church of Scientology of California (1984) show that LRH appropriated very large sums from Scientology proceeds, estimated at up to $15,000 a week in the 1970s. In September 1966 he "forgave" a "debt" of $13 million supposedly owed to him by the Church of Scientology; in 1980, the Church was severely disrupted by a bizarre effort to raise $80 million to give to Hubbard as a birthday present.

Claims that his fortune came from writing are clearly disingenuous: he published nothing labelled as 'fiction' between 1949 and 1980, everything in between relating instead to Dianetics and Scientology. Of his output between those years, only Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health has been widely sold outside of the Church of Scientology. The Church is the sole publisher and the chief retailer of the 'millions of words' which he wrote on his 'science of the mind', even training its staff to sell Hubbard books (including fiction) as part of their 'religious duties'. Scientologists are expected to buy at least one copy of all of Hubbard's Scientology books, and preferably of his fiction works as well.

In effect, Scientology offices act as a worldwide chain selling Hubbard books, principally to Scientologists. Hubbard's considerable literary income was only made possible by the existence of the Church of Scientology; apart from Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, none of his works reached bestseller status without the Church's assistance. (The sales of Battlefield Earth are thought to have been greatly inflated by a well-documented Church-run campaign to get members to purchase multiple copies.)

Corroboration: 'A Piece Of Blue Sky' (Jon Atack, 1992)
Bare-Faced Messiah (Russell Miller, 1987)
Report into the Practices and Effects of Scientology
(Sir John Foster, 1971)