Scientologists are taught that L Ron Hubbard was “possibly the only officer in the US Navy to see action in every theater of WWII. He was also the authority on drug and criminal rehab, mental illness, administration,organization, finance, ethics, justice, nutrition, photography, music, film making, PR, intelligence, literature, seamanship, philosophy, child raising and education.”
His son, Ron DeWolf, said that 99.9 per cent of what his father said about himself was not true: “The stated representations are all false. He never obtained degrees from those universities, or ever served in combat. He was relieved of duty three times as being unfit, and ended up in a psychiatric hospital at the end of the war. He is a fraud and has always been a fraud.” His fantastic yarns about his early life were on a par with the fantastic yarns he dreamed up as a writer of pulp fiction. Creating stories was his daily business. His fertile invention did not stop working when he wanted to promote his great discoveries in the field of the human mind.
In the Admissions which he wrote to encourage his ego he said: “You can tell all the romantic tales you wish. You will remember them, you do remember them. But you know which ones were lies. You are so logical you will tell nothing which cannot be believed. But you are gallant and dashing and need tell no lies at all. You have enough real experience to make anecdotes forever. Stick to your true adventures. Tell nothing discreditable but tell them well. Or if you wish, as you will, tell adventures which happened to others. People accept them better. You can recall in detail tales of adventure from all you ever heard or read.”
Hubbard at school Hubbard claimed to be a nuclear physicist, a Ph.D., to have spent thirty years researching mankind to uncover his “science of the mind”. His only consistent study was demonology or black magic and his only achievement was as a writer of acceptable science fiction. DeWolf: “My father wrote his books off the top of his head based on his imagination. There were no case studies. He is not a nuclear physicist and flunked nearly all of his science related courses in high school and college.”
In an official account, he returned to the United States in 1929 to pursue a career in mathematics and engineering and enrolled at George Washington University. To judge by his grades he never grasped the elements of mathematics or science. If he conducted “his first experiments dealing with the mind’ they were extracurricular. He enrolled in the civil engineering program in September 1930 and over two years earned six D’s (General Chemistry, Differential Calculus, Integral Calculus, Plane Analytic Geometry, Electricity and Magnetism) and four F’s (First Year German, Differential Calculus, Molecular and Atomic Physics).
1st semester 1930-31: English 1/2, Rhetoric C, General Chemistry D, Mechanical Engineering 3/4 B, Analytical Geometry F, Physical Education C, First Year German E, Civil Engineering B.
2nd semester 1930-1931: General chemistry D, Mechanical Engineering C, Physical Education A, First Year German F, Differential Calculus F.
1st semester 1931-1932: Physics, Dynamics of Sound and Sight E, Differential Calculus D, Plane Analytical Geometry D, English, Short Stories B.
2nd semester 1931-1932: Integral Calculus D, English, Short Stories B, Physics, Electricity and Magnetism D, Nuclear Physics F.
In two years his best grades – almost his only passing grades – were for English, Short Stories.
Barbara Kaye, the pseudonym of Hubbard’s PR assistant and mistress, 1950-1951, had majored in psychology. “At that time I had been through university with a major in psychology – he bounced ideas off me because he had no background whatsoever in psychology. He told me that before he wrote Dianetics, because he had no background in psychology, he went to the University of Chicago library and asked for the latest book on psychology and read this book – that was the only thing he had ever read on the subject.”
Like L. Ron Junior, she concluded that the casework on which Dianetics is said to be based was invented: “I think he probably made up a lot of the case histories in the first Dianetics book. He was not academic and never did any research.”
In July 1931 he earned his Commercial Glider Pilot Licence #385 after 116 flights. This may be a rare factual achievement.
More in character, in June 1932 he headed the “Caribbean Motion Picture Expedition”, a college expedition of fifty students on the Doris Hamlin, a four-masted schooner based in Baltimore, which had been chartered for the purpose of making a film about Caribbean pirates, directed by Hubbard himself. They made only three of their sixteen planned landings: Bermuda, Martinique and Puerto Rico, before returning prematurely to Baltimore. The Captain, F.E. Garfield, said it was the worst trip he had ever made. Even Hubbard could not entirely hide the scale of the disaster – too many others were involved – but in later accounts of his formative years this abortive expedition became an in-depth study of primitive Caribbean tribes.
His alleged survey later in 1932 of mineral resources in Puerto Rico appears to be an outright fraud, based on earlier work done by someone called Bela Hubbard in 1923. This was described, by himself, as “pioneer exploration in the great tradition, opening up a predictable, accurate body of data for the benefit of others. Later, in other, less materialistic fields, this was to be his way many, many times over.” If we line up this statement with the truth, the pretence was certainly repeated many, many times over. A caption in a contemporary photograph shows Hubbard prospecting for gold. “It is possible (says Jon Atack) that Ron fled to Puerto Rico to avoid the legal claims brought against him by members of his Caribbean ‘expedition’.”
In the summer of 1934 Hubbard met Frank Gruber, another aspiring pulp writer, in New York. In his book, The Pulp Jungle, Gruber told this story:
During one … session Ron began to relate some of his own adventures. He had been in the United States Marines for seven years, he had been an explorer on the upper Amazon for four years, he’d been a white hunter in Africa for three years… after listening for a couple of hours, I said, “Ron, you’re eighty-four years old, aren’t you?” He let out a yelp, “What the hell are you talking about? You know I’m only twenty-six.”…
“Well, you were in the Marines seven years, you were a civil engineer for six years, you spent four years in Brazil, three in Africa, you barn-stormed with your own flying circus for six years… I’ve just added up all the years you did this and that and it comes to eighty-four years …. ” Ron blew his stack.
Hubbard in hospital In official lives of L. Ron Hubbard they claim that he cured his blindness by Dianetic methods, and “ended his service in a military hospital where he was treated for wounds suffered in combat!”
He probably did end his service career in a military hospital, but in the psychiatric ward. In addition to his son’s statement this can be deduced from the letter Hubbard wrote in 1947 to the Veterans Administration requesting psychiatric help. According to this he had already had psychiatric treatment “back east”. Barbara Kaye, mentioned above,diagnosed him as manic depressive with paranoid tendencies. “My feeling was that he got a medical discharge from the Navy and I think it was because they knew he was crazy. I think they tried to give him electric shock in the hospital because he had very strong feelings against that treatment and I felt it had a personal reference. He must have been recognised at one time as a disturbed individual.” His second wife Sara alleged in her divorce complaint that Hubbard was a paranoid schizophrenic.
Re: LaFayette Ronald HUBBARD
Lt. USNR 113392
October 15, 1947
Los Angeles 25 Calif.
This is a request for treatment. …
I was placed on certain medication back east and have continued it at my own expense.
After trying and failing for two years to regain my equilibrium in civil life, I am utterly unable to approach anything like my own competence. My last physician informed me that it might be very helpful if I were to be treated psychiatrically or even by a psycho-analyst. Toward the end of my service I avoided out of pride any mental examinations, hoping that time would balance a mind which I had every reason to suppose was seriously affected. I cannot account for, nor rise above, long periods of moroseness and suicidal inclinations, and have newly come to realize that I must first triumph above this before I can hope to rehabilitate myself at all.
I cannot leave school or what little work I am doing for hospitalization due to many obligations, but I feel I might be treated outside, possibly with success. I cannot, myself, afford such treatment.
Would you please help me?
L. Ron Hubbard
This sits oddly with his later view of the mental “technologies” used by psychiatrists and psychologists as “barbaric, false subjects – no more workable than the methods of jungle witch doctors.”
Hubbard at war The CoS also claims that “…he was highly decorated for duties under fire…”. He claimed a total of seventeen medals. This question has been thoroughly investigated: he was entitled only to the four that everyone got. He never saw combat, not in any of the five theaters of war.
We can track his naval career through official sources. They are uniformly unfavorable.
1942, 4 February: The US Naval Attaché in Melbourne reports: “By assuming unauthorized authority and attempting to perform duties for which he has no qualifications, he became the source of much trouble. […] This officer is not satisfactory for independent duty assignment. He is garrulous and tries to give impressions of his importance. He also seems to think he has unusual ability in most lines. These characteristics indicate that he will require close supervision for satisfactory performance of any intelligence duty.” Hubbard was sent back to the USA.
1942, 25 September: the Commandant of Boston Navy Yard notifies Washington that L. Ron Hubbard is ill-suited to run a ship: “Lt. L.R. Hubbard is in command of YP 422 completing conversion and fitting out at Boston, in the opinion of the Commandant he is not temperamentally fitted for independent command. It is therefore urgently requested that he be detached and that order for relief be expedited in view of the expected early departure of the vessel. Believe Hubbard capable of useful service if ordered to other duty under immediate supervision of a more senior officer.”
1942, 1 October: Hubbard is summarily relieved of his command of the USS YP-422.
1943, 18 May: He is put in command of a corvette, USS PC-815. On the very first day of its maiden voyage, Hubbard detects one or two enemy submarines off the coast of Oregon, attacks them with depth charges and also fires many rounds of ammunition at what was probably a known magnetic abnormality. No sign of any submarine was ever found. A postwar search of IJN records confirmed that the Imperial Japanese had conducted no submarine operations off the coast of Oregon at that date and time. No less of an authority than Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher, the hero of Midway, concluded in a written investigation that Hubbard had waged war on a known undersea magnetic deposit.
1943, 28 June: Feeling like some impromptu target practice, the crew of the USS-PC 815 fires four 50-caliber artillery rounds at a floating object. Unfortunately, this object is right in front of the inhabited island of South Coronados, which belongs to Mexico, and at least two shells strike land…
1943, 7 July: “Consider this officer lacking in the essential qualities of judgment, leadership and cooperation. He acts without forethought as to probable results. He is believed to have been sincere in his efforts to make his ship efficient and ready. Not considered qualified for command or promotion at this time. Recommend duty on a large vessel where he can be properly supervised.”
1943, 15 July: Lt LaFayette Ron Hubbard is relieved of his command for conducting an unauthorized gunnery practice and violating the territorial waters of the nation of Mexico.
1944, 27 September: Navigation Officer Lt. Hubbard is inspecting a load of cargo being brought aboard the SS Algol when he notices a molotov cocktail made out of a Coke bottle. Hubbard is detached from the ship a few hours later.
1945-46: Admitted to Oak Knoll Naval hospital not as a student of mankind but as a patient complaining of an ulcer, malaria, and back pains. He told his family and friends in letters that he had been injured when he threw an unexploded shell off his ship and it exploded. He was temporarily blinded but cured himself using Dianetic principles. This was totally untrue.
At about this time, Hubbard wrote in his Admissions: “My service record was not too glorious. I must be convinced that I suffer no reaction from any minor disciplinary action, that all such were minor. My service was honorable, my initiative and ability high. I have nothing to fear from friends about my service. I can forget such things as Admiral Braystead. Such people are unworthy of my notice.
“I was reprimanded in San Diego in mid-43 for firing on the Mexican coast and was removed from command of my ship. This on top of having sunk two Jap subs without credit, the way my crew lied for me at the Court of Inquiry, the insults of the High Command, all combined to put me in the hospital with ulcers. I returned to sea as navigator of a large ship and was subsequently selected for the Military Government School at Princeton whither I went in 1944-45 for three months.
From the same source: “You did a fine job in the Navy. No one there is now ‘out to get you.’ You are through with its Navy and will utterly forget any derogatory instances.”
At this low ebb Hubbard got more seriously involved in black magic. In August 1945, he had joined the Agape Lodge of the Ordo Templi Orientis (Crowley’s secret society) in Pasadena. When Aleister Crowley died on 1 December 1947, Hubbard saw this as a signal. The way was now clear for him to become the most powerful being in the world.
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