Daily Archives: March 29, 2011

So Hubbard lied – so what?

We’re seeing a shift in the arguments from Independent Scientologists, those folks who are stuck somewhere between the organized Church and true out-of-Scn freedom. Since it’s been pretty well established that Scientology cannot be proven to deliver the “OT Abilities” as promised by LRH, they are now attributing other miscellaneous phenomenon to their OT levels.

I’ve heard a similar argument about Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. It’s been well established that Hubbard lied about much of his past, including his Navy records, his war injuries, even how many times he was married and how many children he had. So Hubbard apologists supporters have taken a new tactic:

“So what if LRH lied about his past? If his ‘tech’ works, does it really matter?”

I happen to think honesty and integrity are the most important traits a person can have – but let’s face it, lying isn’t always the end of the world.

Let’s say you have a great plumber, and as he’s quoting you a job, he tells you all about his wonderful childhood in Bali, swimming across the bay to school each day and fishing for his dinner. Later, you find out he grew up in a trailer park in New Jersey. All those stories he enthralled you with? All fake. So what? As long as his prices are reasonable and he does a good job, where he grew up really doesn’t matter much.

Now, let’s say you hire an investment counselor, and he tells you that his average growth rate for his clients is 230%, and provides letters from past clients talking about how his stock recommendations made them huge amounts of money. You later find out that he’s done nothing of the sort. He spent the last five years doing taxes at H&R Block, and before that he worked in a car wash. The letters were fake, although he did give some stock tips to his parents – tips that he read about online and claimed as his own.

Do his lies matter? You bet your ass they do, because you’re basing your decision to do business with him on his past experiences.

Based on that reasoning, yes, the fact that LRH lied about his past does matter.

Key to LRH’s story is his assertion that he had severe injuries in World War II, including blindness, and he was able to cure himself. That is the basis for his claims that Dianetics can heal the human body (a claim he later had to back down on when the FDA came after Scientology). Dianetics is key, because it’s the first step most people take into Scientology. (And logically so – if you told even the most susceptible person about Xenu or body thetans right off the bat, they’d run away and never look back. That’s why Hubbard used the concept of the gradient, which he redefined as “a gradual approach to something, taken step by step, level by level, each step or level being, of itself, easily surmountable.” He billed this as a key concept in learning, but it’s also a key element in luring people into Scientology.)

As we now know, Hubbard’s claims about his injuries were false. He was never blinded in the Navy, and the closest he came to real action was when he mined a submarine that didn’t exist – unless you count the time he fired on an island belonging to Mexico and nearly caused an international incident.

In fact, the self-styled Commodore of Scientology’s navy once was evaluated as “lacking in the essential qualities of judgment, leadership and cooperation” by the U.S. Navy.

LRH wrote a book on the effect of radiation, referring to himself a nuclear physicist, when in fact he took one class in atomic and molecular phyisics from George Washington University (which he failed – check out Hubbard’s GWU transcript). He has written books on how to have a good marriage, despite being a bigamist and lying about the number of times he was married. He wrote books about raising children, even though he refused to acknowledge two (and later three) of his own children, one of whom was estranged from him and another who took his own life.

Hubbard’s supporters and apologists say that LRH’s lies don’t matter because “his tech still works.” But if you can’t take Hubbard’s word on his past, how can you take his word that his tech is actually his tech?

The truth is that much of early Dianetics – the bits that many people agree does produce noticeable “gains” – is taken directly from proven psychotherapeutic techniques. Hubbard has said his methods have their basis in Freud and Eastern philosophy, implying that he somehow improved on them. That’s an understatement (rare for Hubbard). In truth, he stole them outright, changed and re-defined the terms, and then set about doing what he did best: Going into long, rambling detail about the most trivial subjects. And his followers make a mistake that is all too common: Mistaking verbosity for intelligence.

So yes, Hubbard’s lies matter.

Even if you’re one of those people who doesn’t claim to be a Scientologist but simply someone who believes that Hubbard’s “technology” helped you, ask the question: Is the “tech” really Hubbard’s? If you’re talking about Dianetics, especially the bits that involve bringing past incidents out into the light for closer examination, bear in mind that this “tech” actually comes from the field of psychiatry and psychotherapy – you know, the folks that Hubbard tried to paint as the root of all evil. (They aren’t evil. But to L. Ron Hubbard, they were competition for Scientology.)

Let’s go back to our mythical stockbroker, who got his stock tips from a web site. Are they good tips? Yes. Will they make you money? Yes. But if you’re looking for the best possible advice, who would you rather to go – the actual source of the advice, or a known liar who simply read someone else’s work and claimed it as his own?


More about Hubbard’s military record