Lafayette Ronald Hubbard (March 13, 1911 – January 24, 1986) was a fiction writer who devised a self-help technique called Dianetics and philosophy known as Scientology, out of which grew a large organization later identifying itself as a religion: the Church of Scientology. In addition to fiction (most notably science fiction), Hubbard wrote a body of works comprising the Scientology doctrine and is perhaps best known for having written Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health in 1950.
Hubbard was a highly controversial public figure during his lifetime. Many details presented by Hubbard of his life and knowledge remain disputed by critics, media, scientists, and even governments. Official Scientology biographies present him as "larger than life, attracted to people, liked by people, dynamic, charismatic and immensely capable in two dozen fields". In contrast, unofficial biographies (some by former Scientologists) as well as some reports in the press paint a much less flattering picture which often contradicts official Church accounts.
The Hubbards moved first to Kalispell, Montana and then to Helena, the state capital. Church biographies have stated that during this period L. Ron Hubbard became the protegé of "Old Tom, a Blackfoot Indian medicine man ... [who] passe[d] on much of the tribal lore to his young friend" and that at the age of four, L. Ron Hubbard was "honored with the status of blood brother of the Blackfeet in a ceremony that is still recalled by tribal elders. Hubbard's interest in the Blackfeet took literary form in his 1937 novel, Buckskin Brigades, a "novel of one man's courageous struggle to save the Blackfoot Nation from destruction by the Northwestern fur traders". In 1985, Scientologists claimed that members of Blackfeet Nation, Montana, commemorated "the seventieth anniversary of [L. Ron Hubbard] becoming a blood brother of the Blackfeet Nation. Tree Manyfeathers in a ceremony re-established L. Ron Hubbard as a blood brother to the Blackfeet Tribe." Contemporary records do not record the existence of "Old Tom". The white Blackfeet historian Hugh Dempsey has commented that the act of blood brotherhood was "never done among the Blackfeet", and Blackfeet Nation officials have disavowed attempts to "re-establish" Hubbard as a "blood brother" of the Blackfeet. Former vice president of the tribe's executive committee, John Yellow Kidney has also said of the letter claiming to re-establish Hubbard as a blood brother, "You should not give [the document] very much credibility, I don't."
Harry's naval career led to the family moving several more times, first to San Diego, then to Oakland, California followed by Puget Sound, Washington, and finally to Washington, D.C.. During this period L. Ron Hubbard joined the Boy Scouts of America and allegedly became an Eagle Scout at age 13. Church biographies routinely state that he was "the nation's youngest Eagle Scout, a statement that is based on a March 25, 1930 article appearing in the Washington Evening Star. and Hubbard's Boy Scout Diary of March 25, 1924. According to the Boy Scouts of America, their documents at the time were only kept in alphabetical order with no reference to their ages and thus there was no way of telling who was the youngest. In addition, there have been other scouts who have achieved Eagle rank at the same age
Between 1927 and 1929, Hubbard traveled twice to the Far East to visit his parents during his father's posting to the United States Navy base on Guam. Church biographies published from the 1950s to the 1970s stated that with "the financial support of his wealthy grandfather" Hubbard journeyed throughout Asia, "studying with holy men" in northern China, India, and Tibet. Hubbard said that on several occasions he visited India. However, the Church of Scientology's current official account makes no mention of India or Tibet, and according to Jon Atack "a flight change at Calcutta airport in 1959 seems to have been his only direct contact with the land of Vedantic philosophy."
Hubbard sometimes displayed attitudes that were at odds with the picture his followers try to present of him. For instance, during his visit to China at the age of seventeen, he made diary entries such as: "As a Chinaman can not live up to a thing, he always drags it down." and "They smell of all the baths they didnt take. The trouble with China is, there are too many chinks here." Similarly, Hubbard described the Tibetan Buddhist temples as "miserably cold and very shabby . . . The people worshiping have voices like bull-frogs and beat a drum and play a brass horn to accompany their singing (?)" and called them "very odd and heathenish". He also wrote about colored people in Scientology: Fundamentals of Thought : "Unlike the yellow and brown people, the white does not usually believe he can get attention from matter or objects. The yellow and brown believe for the most part ... that rocks, trees, walls, etc., can give them attention and "...so we see the African tribesman, with his complete contempt for the truth, and his emphasis on brutality and savagery... . In the 2007 edition of the book, "African" is replaced by "primitive" in the above passage. Hubbard expressed support for creating townships in South Africa: "Having viewed slum clearance projects in most major cities of the world may I state that you have conceived and created in the Johannesburg townships what is probably the most impressive and adequate resettlement activity in existence.
While such attitudes might not be especially surprising for a white teenager born in 1911, they are vastly at odds with the stories he would later tell and his followers would repeat:
Hubbard said that he was made a lama priest himself by Old Mayo the Beijing magician. Hubbard's "ever-present diaries" were evidence in the Armstrong trial; they make no mention of Old Mayo or nomad bandits and no reflection on Eastern philosophy.
While in Guam, Hubbard was befriended by Commander Joseph "Snake" Thompson (1874-1943), who had recently returned from Vienna and studies with Sigmund Freud, and was stationed as a member of the Naval Medical Corps. Through the course of their friendship, the commander spent many afternoons teaching Ron about the human mind. Thompson is an important figure in official Church accounts of Hubbard's life and was referred to in many of Hubbard's works in support of Hubbard's assertions of possessing expertise in Freudian psychoanalysis.
Observers have questioned assertions that Hubbard and the Church of Scientology later made about his study at The George Washington University. In the preface for his 1951 book Science of Survival, Hubbard thanks "my instructors in atomic and molecular phenomena, mathematics and the humanities at George Washington University and at Princeton" (Hubbard attended a four-month course in military government at the Naval Training School, located at Princeton during the Second World War). According to the Church's official account,
Here he studies engineering and atomic and molecular physics and embarks upon a personal search for answers to the human dilemma. His first experiment concerning the structure and function of the mind is carried out while at the university.One of his classes was indeed among the nation's first schools offering curriculum in molecular and atomic physics, however he failed the course. Critics and government reports cite his poor performance when evaluating claims to have been a "nuclear physicist". The Church denies that he ever made that claim, however Hubbard asserted expertise in dealing with the problems posed by the effects of radiation exposure on the human body in the book "All About Radiation" (co-authored by Hubbard in 1957).
After leaving George Washington University, Hubbard worked as a writer and aviator. In June 1932 Hubbard headed the "Caribbean Motion Picture Expedition", a two-and-a-half-month, voyage aboard a chartered , four-masted schooner called "Doris Hamlin" with over fifty fellow college students. Its purpose was to collect floral and reptilian specimens for the University of Michigan and to film recreations of pirate activity and haunts. The voyage was a disappointment, with only three of the sixteen planned ports of call visited. Hubbard later called it "a two-bit expedition and a financial bust".
Hubbard's first wife was Margaret "Polly" Grubb whom he married in 1933, and fathered two children; L. Ron, Jr., known as Ronald DeWolf, (1934 – 1991) and Katherine May (born in 1936). They lived in Los Angeles, California and, during the late 1930s, in Bremerton, Washington. In a 1983 interview for Penthouse magazine that he later retracted, DeWolf said, "according to him and my mother", he was the result of a failed abortion and recalls at six years old seeing his father performing an abortion on his mother with a coat hanger. In the same interview, he said "Scientology is a power-and-money-and-intelligence-gathering game" and described his father as "only interested in money, sex, booze, and drugs. Later, in a sworn affidavit, DeWolf stated that he had "weaved" stories about his father's harassment of others, that the charge he had made about drugs was false, and that the Penthouse story was an example of statements that he deeply regretted and that had caused his father and himself much pain.
Hubbard was accepted as a member of the Explorers Club on 19 February 1940. In December of that year Hubbard was licensed by the United States Department of Commerce to legally operate steam and motor vessels.
In 1961 Hubbard carried the Explorers Club flag for his 'Ocean Archaeological Expedition' and in 1966 was awarded custody of the Explorers Club flag for the 'Hubbard Geological Survey Expedition'.
Hubbard's metafiction novel Typewriter in the Sky, published in 1940 in two installments in John W. Campbell's Unknown magazine, provides an amusing insight into the New York writing scene within which Hubbard worked. The novel is centered around a character named Horace Hackett, who is a hyper-productive, multi-genre hack writer desperately trying to finish his latest potboiler to an ever-approaching deadline while (unknown to him) his friend Mike de Wolf is trapped inside the potboiler's action. Two of Horace's author friends, in Hubbard's novel, are named Winchester Remington Colt and Rene Lafayette after Hubbard's own pseudonyms.
From the summer of 1941 to late 1945, during World War II, Hubbard served in the United States Navy. Based on the representations of his experience overseas and as a writer, he was able to skip the initial officer rank of Ensign and was commissioned a Lieutenant, Junior Grade for service in the Office of Naval Intelligence. He was unsuccessful there, and after some difficulty with other assignments found himself in charge of a submarine chaser. In May 1943, while taking the USS PC-815 on her shakedown cruise to San Diego, Hubbard attacked what he believed to be two enemy submarines, ten miles (16 km) off the coast of Oregon. The "battle" took two days and involved at least four other US vessels plus two blimps, summoned for reinforcements and resupply. After reviewing instrument data, battle reports, interviews with the various captains and taking into account the fact that Japanese submarines didn't regularly operate there, Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher, Commander Northwest Sea Frontier concluded; "An analysis of all reports convinces me that there was no submarine in the area. ... The Commanding Officers of all ships except the PC-815 state they had no evidence of a submarine and do not think a submarine was in the area. In June 1943, Hubbard was relieved of command after anchoring PC-815 off the Coronado Islands, which is Mexican territory. He further erred by conducting gunnery practice there. An official complaint from Mexican authorities, coupled with his failure to return to base as ordered, led to a Board of Investigation. It determined that Hubbard had disregarded orders, admonished him by letter to include in his records and transferred him to other duties. Since this was the third leadership position Hubbard had lost during his tenure, he was not given command authority on his next assignment. His service ended with an honorable discharge after resigning his commission in 1950. In all he had one promotion and six decorations to show for his service. However he would claim to have accomplished much more than that in the decades which followed. It would also come out that he was relieved of command twice, and was also the subject of negative reports from his superiors on several occasions.
After the war, Hubbard met Jack Parsons, an aeronautics professor at Caltech and an associate of the British Intelligence occultist Aleister Crowley. Hubbard and Parsons were allegedly engaged in the practice of ritual magick in 1946, including an extended set of sex magic rituals called the Babalon Working, intended to summon a goddess or "moonchild. The Church says Hubbard was working as an ONI agent on a mission to end Parsons' supposed magical activities and to "rescue" a girl Parsons was "using" for supposedly magical purposes. In a 1952 lecture series, Hubbard recommended a book of Crowley's and referred to him as "Mad Old Boy and as "my very good friend". Hubbard later married the girl he said that he rescued from Parsons, Sara Northrup. Hubbard also described Parsons as his friend in his Scientology lectures rather than a person he was investigating. Crowley recorded in his notes that he considered Hubbard a "lout" who made off with Parsons' money and girlfriend in an "ordinary confidence trick."
Sara Northrup became Hubbard's second wife in August 1946. It was an act of bigamy, as Hubbard had abandoned, but not divorced, his first wife and children as soon as he left the Navy (he divorced his first wife more than a year after he had remarried). Both women allege Hubbard physically abused them. He is also alleged to have once kidnapped Sara's infant, Alexis, taking her to Cuba. Later, he disowned Alexis, claiming he was not her father and that she was actually Jack Parsons' child. Sara filed for divorce in late 1950, citing that Hubbard was, unknown to her, still legally bound to his first wife at the time of their marriage. Her divorce papers also accused Hubbard of kidnapping their baby daughter Alexis, and of conducting "systematic torture, beatings, strangulations and scientific torture experiments."
Hubbard returned to writing fiction briefly for a few years, his best-remembered work from this period being the Ole Doc Methuselah series for Campbell's Astounding Science Fiction magazine. It was in the pages of this magazine that the first article on Dianetics appeared; while some fiction works appeared after that (including "Masters of Sleep," which promotes Dianetics and features as a villain "a mad psychiatrist, Doctor Dyhard, who persists in rejecting Dianetics after all his abler colleagues have accepted it believes in prefrontal lobotomies for everyone") most of Hubbard's output thereafter was related to Dianetics or Scientology. During Hubbard's transition from science fiction to Dianetics, his story The Professor was a Thief was adapted and aired on the Dimension X radio show, whose writers form a sort of who's-who of luminaries in the golden age of science fiction: Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Clifford D. Simak, Robert A. Heinlein and Fletcher Pratt, but also newer lights such as Kurt Vonnegut and Robert Bloch. Several of Hubbard's associates during this period have recalled that he made comments about starting a religion to make money rather than writing fiction. Hubbard did not make a major return to non-Dianetics fiction until the 1980s.
Beginning in late 1949, Hubbard sought to publicize Dianetics, the self-improvement technique. Unable to elicit interest from mainstream publishers or medical professionals, Hubbard turned to the legendary science fiction editor John W. Campbell, who had for years published Hubbard's science fiction. The first article on Dianetics was published in Astounding Science Fiction. The science fiction community was divided about the merits of Hubbard's offering. Campbell's star author Isaac Asimov criticized Dianetics' unscientific aspects, and veteran author Jack Williamson described Dianetics as "a lunatic revision of Freudian psychology" that "had the look of a wonderfully rewarding scam. But Campbell and novelist A. E. van Vogt enthusiastically embraced Dianetics: Campbell became Hubbard's treasurer, and van Vogt—convinced his wife's health had been transformed for the better by auditing—interrupted his writing career to run the first Los Angeles Dianetics center.
In April 1950, Hubbard and several others established the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation in Elizabeth, New Jersey to coordinate work related for the forthcoming publication of a book on Dianetics. The book, entitled Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, was published in May 1950 by Hermitage House, whose head was also on the Board of Directors of the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation. With Dianetics, Hubbard introduced the concept of "auditing," a two-person question-and-answer therapy that focused on painful memories. According to Hubbard, dianetic auditing could eliminate emotional problems, cure physical illnesses, and increase intelligence. In his introduction to Dianetics, Hubbard declared that "the creation of dianetics is a milestone for man comparable to his discovery of fire and superior to his inventions of the wheel and arch."
Dianetics sold 150,000 copies within a year of publication. Upon becoming more widely available, Dianetics became an object of critical scrutiny by the press and the medical establishment. In September 1950, The New York Times published a cautionary statement on the topic by the American Psychological Association that read in part, "the association calls attention to the fact that these claims are not supported by empirical evidence," and went on to recommend against use of "the techniques peculiar to Dianetics" until such time it had been validated by scientific testing. Consumer Reports, in an August 1951 assessment of Dianetics, dryly noted "one looks in vain in Dianetics for the modesty usually associated with announcement of a medical or scientific discovery," and stated that the book had become "the basis for a new cult." The article observed "in a study of L. Ron Hubbard's text, one is impressed from the very beginning by a tendency to generalization and authoritative declarations unsupported by evidence or facts." Consumer Reports warned its readers against the "possibility of serious harm resulting from the abuse of intimacies and confidences associated with the relationship between auditor and patient," an especially serious risk, they concluded, "in a cult without professional traditions."
Branch offices of the Foundation opened in five other US cities before the end of 1950. In August of that year, amid public pressure to show evidence of the book's claims, Hubbard arranged to present a Clear (the end product of Dianetics) in the Shrine Auditorium. He presented a physics student, Sonya Bianca, who failed to answer several questions testing her memory and analytical abilities. Many of the Dianetics practices folded within a year of establishment, and Hubbard abandoned the Foundation, denouncing a number of his former associates to the FBI as communists.
In March 1952, Hubbard moved to Phoenix, Arizona. Hubbard started the Scientology religion while he was living in Phoenix. In mid-1952, Hubbard expanded Dianetics into an "applied religious philosophy" which he called Scientology. That year, Hubbard also married his third wife, Mary Sue Whipp, to whom he remained married until his death (though separated by the early 70s, when Mary Sue was incarcerated for her involvement in Operation Snow White). With Mary Sue, Hubbard fathered four more children—Diana, Quentin, Suzette and Arthur—over the next six years.
Quentin Hubbard, born in 1954, was groomed to one day replace him as head of the Scientology organization. Quentin was uninterested in his father's plans and had preferred to become a pilot. He was also deeply depressed, allegedly because he was homosexual. Quentin attempted suicide in 1974, then in 1976 died under circumstances that might have been suicide or murder.
On February 10, 1953 Hubbard was awarded an honorary Ph.D. by Sequoia University, California, "in recognition of his outstanding work and contributions in the fields of Dianetics and Scientology." (This non-accredited body was closed by the California state courts 30 years later after it was investigated by California authorities on the grounds of being a mail-order "degree mill.) In December of that year, Hubbard declared Scientology a religion and the first Church of Scientology was founded in Camden, New Jersey. He moved to England at about the same time, and during the remainder of the 1950s he supervised the growing organization from an office in London. In 1959, he bought Saint Hill Manor near the Sussex town of East Grinstead, a Georgian manor house owned by the Maharajah of Jaipur. This became the world headquarters of Scientology. Hubbard says he conducted years of intensive research into the nature of human existence; to describe his findings, he developed an elaborate vocabulary with many newly coined terms. He codified a set of Scientology axioms and an "applied religious philosophy" that promised to improve the condition of the human spirit, which he called the "Thetan. The bulk of Scientology focuses on the "rehabilitation" of the thetan.
Hubbard's followers believed his "technology" gave them access to their past lives, the traumas of which led to failures in the present unless they were audited. By this time, Hubbard had introduced a biofeedback device to the auditing process, which he called a "Hubbard Electropsychometer" or "E-meter." It was invented in the 1940s by a chiropractor and Dianetics enthusiast named Volney Mathison. This machine is used by Scientologists in auditing to evaluate "mental masses" surrounding the thetan. These "masses" are said to impede the thetan from realizing its full potential.
Hubbard also said a good deal of physical disease was psychosomatic, and one who, like himself, had attained the enlightened state of "clear" and become an "Operating Thetan" would be relatively disease free. According to biographers, Hubbard went to great lengths to suppress his recourse to modern medicine, attributing symptoms to attacks by malicious forces, both spiritual and earthly. Hubbard insisted humanity was imperiled by such forces, which were the result of negative memories (or "engrams") stored in the unconscious or "reactive" mind, some carried by the immortal thetans for billions of years. Thus, Hubbard asserts, the only possibility for spiritual salvation was a concerted effort to "clear the planet," that is, to bring the benefits of Scientology to all people everywhere, and attack all forces, social and spiritual, hostile to the interests of the movement.
Church members were expected to pay fixed donation rates for courses, auditing, books and E-meters, all of which proved very lucrative for the Church, which paid emolument directly to Hubbard and his family. In a case fought by the Founding Church of Scientology of Washington, D.C. over its tax-exempt status (revoked in 1958 because of these emoluments) the findings of fact in the case included that Hubbard had personally received over $108,000 from the Church and affiliates over a four-year period, over and above the percentage of gross income (usually 10%) he received from Church-affiliated organizations. However, Hubbard denied such emoluments many times in writing, proclaiming he never received any money from the Church.
L. Ron Hubbard's philosophy, Scientology, and the Church of Scientology that he founded are controversial. Some documents written by Hubbard himself suggest he regarded Scientology as a business, not a religion. In one letter dated April 10, 1953, he says calling Scientology a religion solves "a problem of practical business," and status as a religion achieves something "more equitable...with what we've got to sell." In a 1962 official policy letter, he said "Scientology 1970 is being planned on a religious organization basis throughout the world. This will not upset in any way the usual activities of any organization. It is entirely a matter for accountants and solicitors. The allegation from his 1940s colleagues that he saw religion as a way to become rich has cast further doubt on his motives.
According to The Visual Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, ed. Brian Ash, Harmony Books, 1977: "... [Hubbard] began making statements to the effect that any writer who really wished to make money should stop writing and develop [a] religion, or devise a new psychiatric method. Harlan Ellison's version (Time Out, UK, No 332) is that Hubbard is reputed to have told John W. Campbell, 'I'm going to invent a religion that's going to make me a fortune. I'm tired of writing for a penny a word.' Sam Moskowitz, a chronicler of science fiction, has reported that he himself heard Hubbard make a similar statement, but there is no first-hand evidence." Hubbard himself was also quoted as driving his people toward financial results. For example, in one of his bulletins to officials Hubbard implored: Among the most damning testimonies is the 1994 affidavit of Andre Tabayoyon, who quit after 21 years of membership in Scientology from 1971 to 1992 and member of the Sea Organization ("Sea Org") from 1972 onward. During this time he had been Hubbard's butler and further held many more functions. Due to his former Marine training, he had been in charge of much of the security systems, and of the extreme coercive measures used by the church of scientology. He received training in, and witnessed, the deliberate misuse of the Hubbard Technique on many people. Further along the same lines, in 1991 he was ordered to set up the Hemet base so that in case of crisis it could be defended against being taken over by the authorities - upon which church money paid for various unregistered weapons (assault rifles, shotguns, a.s.o.), large quantities of gunpowder and all other elements of a high security systems. He makes it clear that this and more is in accordancee with Hubbard's thinking and wishes.
He was attended by "Commodore's Messengers," teenage girls dressed in white hot pants who waited on him hand and foot, fixing his shower and dressing him and even catching the ash from his cigarettes. He had frequent screaming tantrums and instituted brutal punishments such as incarceration in the ship's filthy chain-locker for days or weeks at a time and "overboarding," in which errant crew members were blindfolded, bound and thrown overboard, dropping up to into the cold sea, hoping not to hit the side of the ship with its sharp barnacles on the way down. Some of these punishments, such as imprisonment in the chain-locker, were applied to children as well as to adults. A letter Hubbard wrote to his third wife, Mary Sue, when he was in Las Palmas around 1967: "I’m drinking lots of rum and popping pinks and greys..." The author of an unauthorized Hubbard biography also says that "John McMasters told me that on the flagship Apollo in the late sixties he witnessed Hubbard's drug supply. 'It was the largest drug chest I had ever seen. He had everything!'". This was confirmed by Gerry Armstrong through Virginia Downsborough who said in 1967 Hubbard returned to Las Palmas totally debilitated from drugs.
We found him a hotel in Las Palmas and the next day I went back to see if he was all right, because he did not seem to be too well. When I went in to his room, there were drugs of all kinds everywhere. He seemed to be taking about sixty thousand different pills. I was appalled, particularly after listening to all his tirades against drugs and the medical profession. There was something very wrong with him... My main concern was to try and get him off all the pills he was on and persuade him that there was still plenty for him to do.|Virginia Downsborough"He was existing almost totally on a diet of drugs. For three weeks Hubbard was bedridden, while she weaned him off his habit." His drug use appears to pre-date the 1967 accounts. A letter written by Hubbard to his ex-wife was given special attention in the Church of Scientology v. Armstrong case,
In March 1969, the Greek Government branded L. Ron Hubbard and his group of 200 disciples "undesirables". The group had been living aboard the 3,300 ton Panamanian ship Apollo and had been docked in the harbor of Corfu island since August. On March 18th, local authorities issued a 24-hour ultimatum to the Scientologists, but Hubbard was granted an extension due to engine problems. The expulsion order was the result of mounting pressure from American, British, and Australian diplomats to examine the activities of the Apollo occupants. Most of the occupants were American, some were British, Australian, and South African.
In 1977, Scientology offices on both coasts of the United States were raided by FBI agents seeking evidence of Operation Snow White, a church-run espionage network. Hubbard's wife Mary Sue and a dozen other senior Scientology officials were convicted in 1979 of conspiracy against the United States federal government, while Hubbard himself was named by federal prosecutors as an "unindicted co-conspirator." At this time the IRS also had evidence that he had skimmed millions of dollars from church accounts and secreted the funds to destinations overseas. Facing intense media interest and many subpoenas, he secretly retired to a ranch in tiny Creston, California, north of San Luis Obispo.
In 1978, as part of a case against three French Scientologists, Hubbard was convicted of making fraudulent promises and given a four year prison sentence and a 35,000₣ fine by a French court. Hubbard was not in the country at the time of the trial, and didn't retain legal assistance. The case was subsequently appealed by one of the other convicts in 1980. During this appeal, the court indicated that all those who had been convicted could be pardoned, if they filed their own appeals against the original ruling. A second defendant did in 1981, and the fraud charges were canceled by judgment on November 9, 1981. Hubbard himself never took any action, and the fine was never enforced.
Hubbard's refusal to speak with British immigration officials about this conviction is said to have later caused the British Home Office to re-affirm an earlier decision to bar him from the UK. In 1989 however the then Home Office Minister of State, Tim Renton, confirmed in writing that from 1980 until the date of his death, Hubbard had been free to apply for entry to the United Kingdom under the ordinary immigration rules and that any ban had been lifted on July 16, 1980.
The accuracy of Hubbard's self-representations were challenged in court during a 1984 custody case of a Scientologist and his former wife about two of their children. The judgment of the High court of London (Family Division) quotes the single judge, Latey, that Scientology is "dangerous, immoral, sinister and corrupt" and "has its real objective money and power for Mr. Hubbard."
The 1965 Anderson Report, an inquiry on Hubbard and Scientology held in Australia, presented Hubbard as a man who made "pretentious and completely misleading pronouncements on scientific matters of which he is ignorant" based on knowledge that was "fragmentary and inaccurate and sometimes positively incorrect."
All that he writes and says is either accepted by his followers or, at the very least, it is not rejected. They are taught that they are entitled to question his pronouncements, but they are conditioned to the belief that whatever he says is right.A later finding in the report addresses his assertion of medical knowledge and ability by saying:
Hubbard's claims to have found the only known cure for atomic radiation effects is not only unsubstantiated, but, in view of its obvious military value, hardly likely to have been left uninvestigated by military authorities if it was of any value whatever.
"Fair Game" was introduced by Hubbard as a policy against people or groups that "actively seeks to suppress or damage Scientology or a Scientologist by Suppressive Acts." He defined it as: ENEMY — SP Order. Fair game. May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.
In July 1968, Hubbard revised this definition to a somewhat milder wording: ENEMY — Suppressive Person order. May not be communicated with by anyone except an Ethics Officer, Master at Arms, a Hearing Officer or a Board or Committee. May be restrained or imprisoned. May not be protected by any rules or laws of the group he sought to injure as he sought to destroy or bar fair practices for others. May not be trained or processed or admitted to any org. The use of the expression "Fair Game" was canceled altogether in October 1968, with Hubbard stating that Hubbard later explained that: While the number of incidents involving so-called dirty tricks or unethical actions dropped in the years that followed, several judges and juries have through their decisions or comments asserted that the tactics continued beyond Hubbard's order canceling use of the term Fair Game in 1968.
In the mid-1970s Hubbard decided to end his life at sea and covertly returned to the United States, living for a while in Florida.
Hubbard died at his ranch on January 24, 1986, aged 74, reportedly from a stroke. Scientology attorneys arrived to claim his body, which they sought to have cremated immediately per his will. They were blocked by the San Luis Obispo County medical examiner, who ordered a drug toxicology test of a blood sample from Hubbard's corpse. The examination revealed a trace amount of the drug hydroxyzine (brand name Vistaril). Vistaril is an antihistamine and mild sedative sometimes used for symptomatic treatment of anxiety, neurosis or as an adjunct in non-related diseases in which anxiety is apparent. It is also useful as an anti-emetic (to prevent nausea), and in treating allergic pruritus such as chronic urticaria and atopic and contact dermatoses. After the blood was taken, Hubbard's remains were cremated.
The Church of Scientology announced Hubbard had deliberately discarded his body to do "higher level spiritual research," unencumbered by mortal confines, and was now living "on a planet a galaxy away. In May 1987, David Miscavige, one of Hubbard's former personal assistants, assumed the position of Chairman of the Religious Technology Center (RTC), a corporation that owns the trademarked names and symbols of Dianetics and Scientology ("L. Ron Hubbard" is now a trademark of the RTC). Although Religious Technology Center is a separate corporation from the Church of Scientology International, Miscavige is also the ecclesiastical leader of the religion. Heber Jentzsch is the President of Church of Scientology International.
But during this same period, Hubbard was financially destitute, and suffered from feelings of depression as well as suicidal thoughts, according to a letter he wrote in 1947 requesting assistance from Veterans Affairs.
Hubbard was prone to self-aggrandizement and exaggeration, and in 1938, he wrote a letter to then-wife Margaret "Polly" Grubb reading, "I have high hopes of smashing my name into history so violently that it will take a legendary form, even if all the books are destroyed. That goal is the real goal as far as I am concerned." In 1984, during the Church of Scientology's lawsuit against Gerry Armstrong, Judge Paul G. Breckenridge Jr. described Hubbard as "charismatic and highly capable of motivating, organizing, controlling, manipulating and inspiring his adherents." However, the judge ruled against the Church, and in so doing said, "The evidence portrays a man who has been virtually a pathological liar when it comes to his history, background and achievements."
Hubbard was regarded as abusive by some family members and former associates. He married his second wife, Sara Northrup, on August 10, 1946, without revealing his existing marriage and children. This was one reason for her later divorce from Hubbard. During those legal proceedings, Northrup alleged abuse by Hubbard, and produced a letter she received from Margaret "Polly" Grubb during the proceedings recounting her treatment by him. It reads, in part,
Ron is not normal... I had hoped you could straighten him out. Your charges probably sound fantastic to the average person – but I've been through it – the beatings, threats on my life, all the sadistic traits which you charge – 12 years of it.
And several of those trusted to be near him say Hubbard was prone to emotional fits when he became upset, using insults and obscenities. Former Scientologist Adelle Hartwell once described such an outburst: "I actually saw him take his hat off one day and stomp on it and cry like a baby."
But the financial windfall that came with the success of Scientology allowed Hubbard to hide this and other aspects of his personality that contrasted with the image of himself currently celebrated by Scientologists, who regard Hubbard as "mankind's greatest friend". The few who worked at his side saw personality flaws and quirks not reflected in the staged photographs or in Hubbard's church-produced biographies.
Hubbard was an unusually prolific author and lecturer. Because the majority of Hubbard's writings of the 1950s through to the 1970s were aimed exclusively at Scientologists, the Church of Scientology founded its own companies to publish his works - Bridge Publications for the US and Canadian market and New Era Publications, based in Denmark, for the rest of the world. New volumes of his transcribed lectures continue to be produced; that series alone will ultimately total a projected 110 large volumes. Hubbard also wrote a number of works of fiction during the 1930s and 1980s, which are published by the Scientology-owned Galaxy Press. All three of these publishing companies are subordinate to Author Services Inc., another Scientology corporation.
Hubbard was awarded the 1994 Ig Nobel Prize in Literature (a parody of the Nobel -- the name derives from the word "ignoble") for "his crackling Good Book, Dianetics, which is highly profitable to mankind—or to a portion thereof.
In 2006, Guinness World Records declared Hubbard the world's most published and most translated author, having published 1,084 fiction and non-fiction works that have been translated into 71 languages.
A selection of Hubbard's best-known titles are below; a bibliography of Hubbard's more popular work is available in a separate article.
Fictional versions of L. Ron Hubbard have appeared in countless novels, motion pictures, television cartoons, video games and other media, particularly in the form of parodies. (See Scientology in popular culture.)