Ron in the Navy

Posted on October 21, 2010 by

Most of what Scientology has published over the years about the naval career of L. Ron Hubbard in WWII is either grossly inflated, contradictory, or untrue – lies in fact.

Does it matter? To anyone involved in Scientology it certainly does, not only because living a lie is deceitful, antisocial and immoral but because to teach that these stories about a well-known man, regarded as an infallible leader by thousands of cult followers, are the absolute truth is abusive and misleading. If Scientology lies about Hubbard’s naval career, what else does it lie about? If Hubbard told lies about this sensitive topic, what else did he say that was not true?

It matters that Hubbard claimed to be a war hero, when he was no such thing. It matters that he claimed to cure injuries received in combat by Dianetic techniques when he had no war wounds and was never in combat (and had not yet invented Dianetics). This is of concern since it is one of the fables which persuade the gullible that Dianetics works. Hubbard is presented as a master of great personal courage, honesty and genius. It matters that on all these points he was a consummate liar.

With FOI and the passage of time, the true facts, and also the many fictions, have been gradually assembled by a number of researchers, notably by Chris Owen, MBE, who published Ron the “War Hero” and was awarded his MBE for his services as a British military historian. Owen listed a wild variety of fictions, some more like plots for adventure stories. Before we start on the inventions, here are the real facts.

1938: Hubbard tried and failed to join the Air Corps.

1939: Hubbard tried and failed to join the US Army.

1941, 25 June: He received his commission in the Naval Reserves, as a Lieutenant junior grade. [Remember, his father, Harry Ross Hubbard, was a naval officer.]

1941-42: He talked himself into an intelligence post in Melbourne, Australia.

1942, 4 February: The US Naval Attaché in Melbourne reported: “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 notified 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.” This belief was ill-founded. (The USS YP-422 was originally a heavy beam trawler, the Mist, before the US Navy acquired and converted her into a gunboat.)

1942, 1 October: Hubbard was 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 believed the sonar showed one or two enemy submarines off the coast of Oregon. He attacked them with depth charges and also fired many rounds of ammunition at his imaginary target. Other ships joined in. 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. Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher, the hero of Midway, concluded in a written investigation that Hubbard had waged war on a known undersea magnetic deposit. Nevertheless he stayed in command, for the moment.

1943, 28 June: Alleging target practice, the crew of the USS-PC 815 fired four 50-caliber artillery rounds at a floating object. Unfortunately, this object was right in front of the inhabited island of South Coronados, which belongs to Mexico, and at least two shells landed on the island…

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 of USS-PC 815 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.

In verifiable truth, Hubbard never saw combat and never had any combat injuries. At the end of the war he was admitted to Oak Knoll Naval hospital with an ulcer, malaria, back pains and eye problems. 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, causing temporary blindness which he cured himself using Dianetic principles – all inventions.  According to his eldest son, Ronald DeWolf (born 1934) his father ended the war in a mental hospital.

It is certainly not surprising that he attempted to cover up this abysmal story. Several more palatable versions of the facts have been published over the years by the Scientology organization or by Hubbard himself.  If he did not write the articles himself, he  certainly approved of their content.

Chris Owen has summarised a few of the fictions.

It is alleged that L. Ron Hubbard was commissioned into the Navy before the war (“A Brief Biography of L. Ron Hubbard”, 1960) or, at its outbreak as a lieutenant (junior grade) (“What Is Scientology?”, 1992 edition). He was ordered to the Philippines on the entry of the US into the war (“What Is Scientology?”, 1978 edition) or he was landed from the USS Edsall, on which he was the Gunnery Officer, on the north coast of Java on the same day as Japan attacked Pearl Harbor; then cut off near Surabaya by invading Japanese forces in February 1942, and after a trek through the jungle to the south coast, scrambled into a rubber raft and sailed across the Timor Sea to within a hundred miles of the Australian coast before being picked up by a friendly destroyer (Church of Scientology v. Armstrong, 21 May 1984; also Dan Sherman, LRH Biographer, quoted in Freedom magazine, Spring 1997). [This is a great yarn; if only a word of it were true…]

Or he first served in Australia where he coordinated naval intelligence activities and was Senior Officer Present Ashore (“L. Ron Hubbard – A Chronicle”, 1990). Or h

He went to Java as a counter-intelligence officer to organise relief for beleaguered American forces on Bataan (“Ron The Poet/Lyricist”, 1996). While escaping from the Japanese on Java, he suffered severe injuries after being machine-gunned in the back (Church of Scientology v. Armstrong, 21 May 1984), or he fractured an ankle while evading the Japanese (“Ron The Poet/Lyricist”, 1996). He was flown home in the Secretary of the Navy’s private plane as the first US casualty returned from the Far East (Hubbard, “The Story of Dianetics & Scientology”, taped lecture of 1958). [His intelligence duties in Australia are outlined above.]

Or he served during 1941-42 in Brisbane as a mail officer manning the only anti-aircraft battery in Australia (“An interview granted to the Australian Press on January 10th 1963 at Saint Hill Manor … by L. Ron Hubbard”). His posting ended when he was relieved by fifteen officers of rank (“Mission into Time”, 1973). [This is pure fiction.] Or he commanded a gunboat in the Pacific, once sailing right into the harbour of a Japanese occupied island in the Dutch East Indies without being recognised. He claimed that if you took your flag down the Japanese would not know one boat from another, so he tied up at the dock, went ashore and wandered around by himself for three days (A.E. van Vogt, interview of July 22, 1986). [This may be a joke.]  Or, in 1941 he rewrote the Hydrographic Office Publications for the US Navy (Hubbard, “Autobiographical notes for Peter Tompkins”, 6 June 1972).

Arriving back in the US in March 1942, the shortage of skilled officers was such that after a week in hospital he was ordered at once to the command of a North Atlantic corvette (Hubbard, “The Story of Dianetics & Scientology”, taped lecture of 1958). This was the former British corvette, Mist. [Mist was neither British nor a corvette and his command of her was cancelled; see above.] He saw service for the remainder of that year with British and American anti-submarine vessels in the North Atlantic (“A Brief Biography of L. Ron Hubbard”, 1960) (see above). Ultimately he rose to command the Fourth British Corvette Squadron (“A Short Biography of L. Ron Hubbard”, The Auditor magazine, issue 63) [there was no such body]. Or he commanded the subchaser USS YP-422 (aka USS Mist) and turned its crew – every man a hardened criminal transferred from Portsmouth Naval Prison – into the finest crew in the fleet (L. Ron Hubbard: The Humanitarian, 1996). [This is pure fabrication and a slur on his crew.]

In 1943, he was transferred to the North Pacific where he was made Commodore of Corvette Squadrons (“Facts About L. Ron Hubbard – Things You Should Know”, Flag Divisional Directive 69RA of 8 March 1974, revised 7 April 1974). He fought and sunk one or, alternatively, two enemy submarines off the Oregon coast in May 1943 (“L. Ron Hubbard – A Chronicle”, 1990; “Ron The Poet/Lyricist”, 1996; “L. Ron Hubbard as a Naval Officer”, factsheet circulated by Church of Scientology of unknown but recent date). [See above for the submarine fiasco.]

The following years, 1944-45, he worked as an instructor at the Small Craft Training Center in San Pedro, California (“L. Ron Hubbard – A Chronicle”, 1990). He subsequently served with amphibious forces (“A Report to Members of Parliament on Scientology”, 1968) as Navigation Officer aboard the USS Algol (“L. Ron Hubbard – A Chronicle”, 1990), a ship which he described as having “about 700 men aboard it… in the middle of the Pacific Ocean” (“The Story of Dianetics & Scientology”). While aboard he wrote a revolutionary textbook on navigation, greatly simplifying the art (“L. Ron Hubbard: Master Mariner/Yachtsman”, 1996). Some of his adventures aboard the USS Algol were later made into a Hollywood film, Mr Roberts, by his screenwriter friends (“A Brief Biography of L. Ron Hubbard”, 1960; also Hubbard, “Autobiographical notes for Peter Tompkins”, 6 June 1972).

He later attended Princeton University as a post-graduate (“A Report to Members of Parliament on Scientology”, 1968). Or he attended the US Navy’s School of Government at Princeton as a student (“Who’s Who in the South and Southwest”, ca. 1963 – entry on Hubbard; also “L. Ron Hubbard – A Chronicle”, 1990). Or he saw action aboard a destroyer in the Aleutians in late 1944 (Jack Williamson, Wonder’s Child: My Life in Science Fiction, 1984).

Hubbard claimed to have ended the war crippled and blinded after an unexploded shell, which had landed on the deck of his ship and which he was heroically throwing overboard, exploded in his face (letter to Hubbard family, quoted by L. Ron Hubbard Jr. in letter of 26 January 1973).  Or, he had suffered flash-burn injuries to his eyes while serving as Gunnery Officer aboard the USS Edsall earlier in the war, resulting in him being declared “legally blind” (Church of Scientology v. Armstrong, 21 May 1984; also “Ron – Letters and Journals”, 1997). Or, he had been left lame by shrapnel fragments in hip and back (“Ron – Letters and Journals”, 1997) [He had no combat injuries]. He spent time in Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in California where he was treated for injured optic nerves and physical injuries to his hip and back. He was officially assessed as having “no neurotic or psychotic tendencies of any kind whatsoever” (Hubbard, “My Philosophy”, 1965). [He was treated for an ulcer and for psychiatric problems.]

Hubbard’s service allegedly took him to all five theatres of World War II, for which he gained 21 medals (“Facts About L. Ron Hubbard – Things You Should Know”, 1974), or 27 decorations (Flag Operations Liaison Memo of May 28, 1974) or even 29 (“The Church of Scientology: 40th Anniversary”, 1994)!! [In fact he was entitled to four (4): the American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, and World War 2 Victory Medal – which just about everyone got.]

By applying his own revolutionary mental therapies, which later became the basis of Scientology, he recovered so fully that he was reclassified for full combat duty, to the amazement of the Naval authorities (“Mission into Time”). Or, he spent a full year in Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in California and was fully recovered by 1947 (“Research & Discovery Series” vol. 1, 1980), as a result of which he lost his retirement pension (Hubbard, “All About Radiation”, 1979). Or, his final post in the US Navy was as Provost Marshal in Korea in 1945 (“A Report to Members of Parliament on Scientology”, 1968). Or, according to his son, he ended the war in a mental hospital.

According to his own myth, Hubbard was not a man who enjoyed war and had seen enough killing to last him a lifetime (“What Is Scientology?”, 1992 ed.) but according to fact he had seen no active service, no combat, no killing. He resigned his commission rather than assist government research projects and instead published, in 1948, his “original thesis” on his discoveries about the mind (FSM magazine, vol. 1 no. 1, 1968). [Utter hooey]

Chris Owen, who compiled all this information asks “Confused? The Church of Scientology certainly is. This improbable and contradictory account was assembled from no less than twenty-seven different sources, twenty-four of which were published by the Church of Scientology itself. Scientology’s own websites present at least three different versions of Hubbard’s service career. As this shows, Hubbard’s followers have been chronically unable to present a coherent picture of what exactly he did in the war. This is remarkable, since every official account credits Hubbard’s experiences in the war as being the catalyst for the development of his “science of the mind”. Considering the fundamental importance of this period to Scientology’s origins, it is most peculiar that the organization which Hubbard founded has been unable to settle on a consistent account.”

It is not clear whether Hubbard actually wrote all of these accounts – the only ones directly attributable to him are “The Story of Dianetics & Scientology” lecture, “My Philosophy”, his “Autobiographical notes for Peter Tompkins” and the “Interview granted to the Australian Press”, plus also probably the accounts cited by Thomas Moulton in Church of Scientology v. Armstrong, 21 May 1984 and Jack Williamson in Wonder’s Child. The latter two have never been disowned (indeed, Moulton was acting as a witness for Scientology and the claims which he reported as having been made by Hubbard have been reiterated and amplified in recent years by Scientology). Although the Scientology books and publications quoted are in most cases copyrighted to Hubbard, this was standard Scientology practice, even where someone else was credited as the author. According to former Scientology archivist Gerry Armstrong, Hubbard may also have written some of the third-person accounts not formally attributed to him.

There can, however, be little doubt that Hubbard approved most if not all of them. All were published by the Church of Scientology. The draconian penalties imposed for publishing unauthorised (“squirrel”) material on Scientology would have ensured that executives at the highest levels would have had to approve their publication, probably clearing them via Hubbard himself. He was certainly the original source of the information. There was, quite simply, no other source – it was not until 1979 that the US Navy released his service record to an outside agency (the Church itself). The claim that he received 21 medals definitely came from him, as shown by a letter sent on his behalf in May 1974. His private papers have yielded a US Navy form which purports to show that he really did receive those medals.

As the compilation of accounts above shows, the Church of Scientology (which effectively means Hubbard himself) was careless about consistency in published biographical accounts. That did not really matter so long as people could not access his service records, which the US Navy guarded zealously from all enquirers. Without the benefit of those files, Scandal of Scientology author Paulette Cooper, for instance, found herself writing in 1971 that “he was severely injured in the war (and in fact was in a lifeboat for many days, badly injuring his body and his eyes in the hot Pacific sun).” She simply did not have any better information.

The passage of the Freedom of Information Act in 1973 (for which, ironically, the Scientologists had campaigned) began to open the floodgates. Although Hubbard’s personnel record remained sealed to the general public until his death in 1986, other documents – such as his ships’ log books and previously classified Action Reports – became publicly available. An amateur researcher, Michael Shannon, had by 1979 amassed “a mountain of material which included some files that no one else had bothered to get copies of – for example, the log books of the Navy ships that Hubbard had served on, and his father’s Navy service file”. Copies of Shannon’s documents reached official Scientology archivist Gerry Armstrong.

The rosy picture of Hubbard’s heroic wartime service ultimately was shattered in the US courts. Gerry Armstrong had by this time been declared a “Suppressive Person” and was expelled from Scientology for his insistence that Hubbard’s life story had been grossly misrepresented over the years. He took with him a large number of highly sensitive documents, including material from Hubbard’s Navy and Veterans’ Administration files. He was subsequently taken to court by Scientology in a case that came to trial in May 1984. A keystone of Armstrong’s defence was his contention that he was right about the incorrectness Hubbard’s of publicised life story. In defence, Scientology put Hubbard’s sometime second-in-command, former Lt. Thomas Moulton, in the witness stand to testify on Hubbard’s war years. The subsequent cross-examination proved devastating for the Church of Scientology, which lost the case. The judge found that Hubbard had lied systematically about his past. The records themselves ended up either being read into the proceedings or were entered as exhibits in the case. Either way, many of the more damaging documents were now part of the public record.

The death of Hubbard in January 1986 finally enabled the public release of his service record. The Los Angeles Times apparently was the first to obtain the full record, closely followed by British author Russell Miller, who published a withering account of Hubbard’s naval career in his 1987 book, Bare-Faced Messiah. Another British author, Jon Atack, published a slightly expanded account in A Piece of Blue Sky (1992). His website aims to be the definitive account, bringing together an online copy of the most significant parts of his US Navy and Veterans’ Administration files plus a detailed analysis of Hubbard’s career, his subsequent claims, and related aspects.

From Hubbard’s Admissions it is quite clear that his career in the Navy was nothing short of a disaster.

“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.

At the end of 1942 he was training in Miami, Florida, where he contracted V.D. : “I carried this fear of the disease to sea with me. 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. During my Princeton sojourn I was very tired and harrassed (sp?) and spent week-ends with a writer friend in Philadelphia. He almost forced me to sleep with his wife. Meanwhile I had a affair with a woman named Ferne. Somehow, perhaps because I had constantly wet feet and no sleep at Princeton, I contracted a staphloceus (sic) infection. I mistook it for gonnhorea (sic) and until I arrived at Monterey, believed my old illness had returned. I consulted a doctor there who reassured me. This affair again depressed my libido.”

He tells himself: “You have no urge to talk about your navy life. You do not like to talk of it. You never illustrate your point with bogus stories. It is not necessary for you to lie to be amusing and witty.

“Writing puts you into an ecstatic state of mind almost as high as intercourse. You love to write. The Navy had no influence upon your writing. The Navy never stopped you writing. On the 422 what you wrote were not stories. You love to write. Your writing has a deep hypnotic effect on people and they are always pleased with what you write.

“Your eyes are getting progressively better. They became bad when you used them as an excuse to escape the naval academy. You have no reason to keep them bad and now they can get well and they will become eventually starting now as keen as an eagle’s with clear whites and green pupils. Sunlight does not affect them. Lack of sleep does not affect them.

“Your stomach trouble you used as an excuse to keep the Navy from punishing you. You are free of the Navy. You have no further reason to have a weak stomach. Your ulcers are all well and never bother you. You can eat anything.

“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.”

Judge Breckenridge has often been quoted: “The evidence portrays a man who has been virtually a pathological liar when it comes to his history, background and achievements. The writings and documents in evidence additionally reflect his egotism, greed, avarice, lust for power, and vindictiveness and aggressiveness against persons perceived by him to be disloyal or hostile.

“At the same time it appears that he is charismatic and highly capable of motivating, organizing, manipulating, and inspiring his adherents. He was referred to during the trial as a ‘genius’, a ‘revered person’, a man who was ‘viewed by his followed with awe’.”


Did Hubbard lie? Here we come to a central question. Did Hubbard tell the truth about his service with the US Navy? The answer is that he did not. Three specific claims, all from the same source, will suffice to illustrate this.

Hubbard refers to his naval career in his 1958 lecture, The Story of Dianetics and Scientology (which is still required listening for Scientologists – they will play it for visitors on request). He claims that he “flew in from the South Pacific in the Secretary of the Navy’s plane”, that his broken ankle made him “the first [US] casualty returned from the South Pacific,” and that after a week’s stay in hospital, “they ordered this casualty to duty in command of a corvette in the North Atlantic”.

All of these statements are directly disprovable. Hubbard’s orders from the Naval Attache to Australia instruct him to return to the United States via the USS Chaumont, not the Secretary of the Navy’s private plane. Hubbard was hospitalised for conjunctivitis and is not recorded as having suffered any broken bones during his entire service career. And Hubbard never commanded a corvette in his life. The defunct name “corvette” was resurrected by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to define a class of small British warships. Corvettes were built and operated by other nations of the British Empire, and the United States leased some to build up its own anti-submarine fleet. Hubbard’s North Atlantic command was not a corvette but a gunboat. Hubbard claimed to have commanded a corvette simply because that sounded better than saying he commanded an armed trawler.

Hubbard’s motives for lying about his naval service are a matter for speculation – he is now dead and he never publicly acknowledged that he might have misstated the facts. Critical biographies of Hubbard have quoted former aides and colleagues of Hubbard (as well as statements by the man himself) portraying him as a man with a big ego and small regard for literal truth. This is not, of course, a picture which the Church of Scientology recognizes.

Is The Church of Scientology Lying? Chris Owen is in no doubt.

“Scientology likes to dismiss any dispute about Hubbard’s past as a mere detail of history. “Any controversy about him is like a speck of dust on his shoes compared to the millions of people who loved and respected him,” a Scientology spokesman told the Los Angeles Times in 1990. “What he has accomplished in the brief span of one lifetime will have impact on every man, woman and child for 10,000 years.

“However, there is absolutely no doubt that Scientology has issued numerous inaccurate accounts of Hubbard’s military career. It has claimed that Hubbard fought on islands which he never visited; was awarded medals which he never won; commanded formations which never existed; and suffered injuries which he never sustained. Some of this can be put down to faulty research. Someone with no nautical knowledge might not know the difference between an armed trawler and a corvette or subchaser, for instance, though this does not excuse a failure to check.

However, since 1979 the Church has been in possession of a complete copy of Hubbard’s personal file. Some of the more outre claims (such as that he was a Provost Marshall in Korea in 1945) have disappeared from recent biographical accounts. Others have been modified – his ships have all now been named, for instance. But other wholly untrue claims continue to be made, such as that he saw action in the North Atlantic or that he conducted secret operations ashore in the Dutch East Indies.

“The problem for Scientologists is that they taught to believe that Hubbard was a paragon of honesty and truthfulness. But it is clear that he said different things to different people at different times – and contradicted himself. Imagine the dilemma for Dan Sherman, the Scientologist given the task of writing Hubbard’s official biography. Hubbard says two directly contradictory things. Both are “true”, according to official Church policy. But the statements are contradictory, so logically one or both cannot be accurate.

“How can one resolve such a conflict between logic and dogma? Scientology’s attempts to reconcile the irreconcilable has generated some amusing wriggling. It has now accepted the assertion of the Boston Herald in March 1998 that the USS YP-422 was “a converted fishing boat” which saw no action during the war (though its Internet site, produced in 1996, still insists that the vessel was a subchaser which made dozens of depth charge runs). But because Hubbard said explicitly in that 1958 lecture that he was “in command of a corvette in the North Atlantic” and claimed to have been wounded in that theater, Scientology now says that “Mr. Hubbard never claimed to have seen action aboard the YP-422. He did see action in the North Atlantic, but aboard a different vessel.” This is the first time that we have heard of a second North Atlantic vessel, but what ship, where, when? Scientology has not publicised any of these very basic and, one would imagine, easily obtainable details.

“Scientology cannot claim that it does not know any better, as the reality of Hubbard’s service career has featured heavily in court cases involving the Church such as the Armstrong case in 1984 and unsuccessful attempts to block publication of the unauthorized biographies Bare-Faced Messiah and A Piece of Blue Sky in Britain, Canada and the United States between 1987 and 1990. Church lawyers went through the books in close detail for anything against which they could raise an objection, while Church public relations staff prepared and distributed “false report corrections” for the assertions made in the books. The latter is standard Church practice and the issue of Hubbard’s naval career was specifically addressed by Church PRs when the Boston Herald newspaper raised it in a March 1998 article.

“The Church’s claims that Hubbard’s records were falsified is also highly unconvincing. The only document presented in support of the “true” naval career of Hubbard turns out to be a probable forgery itself. The only outside “expert” supporting its claims has a reputation for inaccuracy and, sure enough, makes speculative and provably inaccurate claims about Hubbard’s career. And even though the Church claims that the record is falsified, it has nonetheless accepted most of the significant events recorded in that record. The exceptions are Hubbard’s three removals from duty, the adverse comments made upon him and his medical records. It simply does not mention these at all in official accounts of Hubbard’s war years, though if specifically queried it explains that the record is falsified so the adverse or contradictory material cannot be trusted. In which case, why does it accept everything else? Another interesting point is that the Church has never actually said which records are supposedly falsified. Is the record largely or entirely falsified, as L. Fletcher Prouty has claimed? Or are only certain parts of it, maybe only individual documents, fabrications? We do not know; the Church has not told us.

“The reader can judge for himself whether the Church of Scientology has repeatedly (though not consistently) lied about Hubbard’s service with the US Navy. What is beyond dispute is that it has and continues to promote counterfactual information on the subject, that it is in possession of documentation contradicting its and Hubbard’s accounts, and that it has completely failed to document most of its statements, even those verified in Hubbard’s record. For an organisation which stresses the importance of truthfulness, honesty and the accurate evaluation of data, this is not an impressive performance. Hubbard’s naval career is not a religious question subject to theological debate, but a simple matter of well-documented history. Others may guess at the reasons for the Church’s behaviour; I have confined myself to documenting it.

“I do not know whether this work will have any effect on Scientology’s presentation of Hubbard’s war years. But at least one significant benefit has been realised – the truth, as somebody once said, is now out there. Whatever else Lieutenant L. Ron Hubbard USNR might have been, he certainly was not a distinguished war hero.”