Once-lost Hubbard writings now available for purchase
January 8, 2010 7:21 AM   Subscribe

More than 1,000 unreleased recordings of lectures by L. Ron Hubbard and reams of corresponding writings have been unveiled in the culmination of a 25-year project to locate, restore and transcribe lost pieces of the Scientology founder's work. ... "It would be like discovering that Buddha, unbeknownst to anybody, had sat down and wrote down the entirety of his discoveries and it could be verified that he wrote it," said Tommy Davis, the church's top spokesman. ... They're also available for sale to members for about $7,500...
posted by Joe Beese (84 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Dear Tommy Davis: please don't equate Hubbard with the Buddha. Thank you very much.
posted by aught at 7:24 AM on January 8, 2010 [26 favorites]


Battlefield Earth II: Electric Squeakquel.
posted by box at 7:26 AM on January 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


My check for $7,500 to the Buddha bounced. Sorry about that Buddha.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:26 AM on January 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Now I can learn about Scientology straight from the horse's ass!
posted by DU at 7:27 AM on January 8, 2010 [26 favorites]


If you meet L. Ron Hubbard, ignore L. Ron Hubbard
posted by found missing at 7:28 AM on January 8, 2010 [7 favorites]


I'll just wait for a torrent.
posted by anazgnos at 7:28 AM on January 8, 2010 [8 favorites]


...and the subsequent remixes.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:29 AM on January 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm sure they left all the interesting meth-fueled thoughts completely untouched
posted by Telf at 7:31 AM on January 8, 2010


If only they had some real, juicy, unabridged stuff. Like: "I'd like to start a religion. That's where the money is."
posted by deacon_blues at 7:34 AM on January 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


A thousand lectures from ol' chinless himself for 7,500 bucks? They must be hard up for cash.
posted by Pragmatica at 7:34 AM on January 8, 2010


The Hubbha? Bubbard? Hubbuddha?
posted by Phanx at 7:37 AM on January 8, 2010 [7 favorites]


NYT needs to be careful about which stories they pick up from the AP feed. In five years' time this wire story will be rebranded by Scientologists as "the NYT article praising L. Ron Hubbard, man's greatest friend!"
posted by contessa at 7:38 AM on January 8, 2010


"It would be like discovering that Buddha, unbeknownst to anybody, had sat down and wrote down the entirety of his discoveries and it could be verified that he wrote it"

Yeah, unbeknownst to anybody... who knew L. Ron Hubbard was a writer!?!!?!?!?!
posted by haveanicesummer at 7:38 AM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


unreleased recordings of lectures by L. Ron Hubbard (feat. T-Pain)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:39 AM on January 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


His cover of Hi-Heel Sneakers is not to be missed.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:41 AM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


4chan is going to have a field day with that material.
posted by foggy out there now at 7:42 AM on January 8, 2010


It would be like discovering that Buddha, unbeknownst to anybody, had sat down and wrote down the entirety of his discoveries and it could be verified that he wrote it

*looks at flower, smiles*
posted by pyramid termite at 7:43 AM on January 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


It would be like discovering that Buddha, unbeknownst to anybody, had sat down and wrote down the entirety of his discoveries and it could be verified that he wrote it a fossilized turd and trying to flog it off to the sadly deluded as a gemstone.
posted by eatyourcellphone at 7:44 AM on January 8, 2010 [8 favorites]


The comparison is deliciously ironic; Buddhism is the one quasi-religion I'm really, really sure wasn't started as a scam. There are plenty of modern Buddhist scam artists, many corrupt so-called "masters", but the core of the teachings really were intended to help humanity.

So of the possible religious figures, of course they choose that one as the point of comparison for their huckster.

The thought occurs that this is probably because they know Buddhists won't hunt them down and kill them for blasphemy.
posted by Malor at 7:45 AM on January 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


"I did it for a bet."
posted by Artw at 7:46 AM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I listened to a few. It's mostly Hubbard doing renditions of Louie, Louie.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:48 AM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's time to stop criticizing and speculating about the motives of the Church of Scientology. We need to start analyzing the people who would pay seven-and-a-half thousand dollars to hear a guy bullshit about nonsense.

Why are people signing up for this? Don't give me the stock answers like "lonely people looking for meaning/validation". If that were true CoS would get no more members than any other goofy religious cult. (Anyone remember the Urantia Foundation?) But CoS rakes it in, which means they are pulling something very specific but also very widespread, and that they pull in a way that is substantially more credible than everyone else.

I want to know what CoS knows about people that makes them so confident and certain that they can charge $7500 and not be laughed out of business. Does anyone know people who joined, or have any of you been members yourselves? What do you hear in the message that attracts you, what are you seeing in the church - what symbols or visual cues - convince you to take the leap? Is the high production values coupled with the mysterious/scifi nature of the organization? Is it that it represents a dramatic life change compared to joining a more conventional church?

I promise we'll be polite and fair. I just want to understand what people out there are thinking and feeling.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:49 AM on January 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


Yeah, unbeknownst to anybody... who knew L. Ron Hubbard was a writer!?!!?!?!?!

Fear is actually fairly well regarded in some circles.
posted by Artw at 7:50 AM on January 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'll be fair, but the polite thing is something you're going to have to carry yourself, Pastabagel.
posted by The Ultimate Olympian at 7:53 AM on January 8, 2010


LOLSCIFIIANS!!!
posted by ob at 7:55 AM on January 8, 2010


eatyourcellphone : a fossilized turd and trying to flog it off to the sadly deluded as a gemstone.

Except, fossilized turds actually have some value, in that they can tell us what the long-dead critter ate.


Malor : The thought occurs that this is probably because they know Buddhists won't hunt them down and kill them for blasphemy.

Damn... Any way to rile up the Buddhists so they do go all fatwa on Scientology?
posted by pla at 7:56 AM on January 8, 2010


All this material is supposedly available to the general public at your local temple. I don't believe there will be any Xenu material because that will make the unprepared general public go bat shit insane.
posted by njohnson23 at 7:57 AM on January 8, 2010


ah, ye of little faith. they mocked Jesus too.
posted by Postroad at 7:59 AM on January 8, 2010


Yeah, unbeknownst to anybody... who knew L. Ron Hubbard was a writer!?!!?!?!?!

Fear is actually fairly well regarded in some circles.
posted by Artw


Really? That's intriguing. Have you read it?

My intent (which I now notice wasn't clear) wasn't even to criticize his writing actually (which I've never read any of) but that I thought it was an incredibly stupid line since the author of all of their religion's texts also was a fiction writer with many, many books. Doesn't seem he was really writing "unbeknownst" to anyone.
posted by haveanicesummer at 8:03 AM on January 8, 2010


L. Ron Hubbard is the Tupac Shakur of prophets.
posted by brundlefly at 8:08 AM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why are people signing up for this?

Lonely people are looking for validation/meaning. No, really. Who says Scientology does get more new members than any other? Membership numbers in the US are estimated between 25 to 50,000, that's about as many as Ekankar, a cult religious group most people have never heard of. Compare that also to the 10,000 Fundamentalist Latter-day Saints (of the @4 million Mormons nationwide).
posted by Pollomacho at 8:09 AM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


No reason to go insulting Tupac.
posted by stoneweaver at 8:09 AM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


brundlefly: "L. Ron Hubbard is the Tupac Shakur of prophets."

Only Hubbard Can Judge Me

I actually tried thinking of a Tupac joke for the post's title, but I couldn't come up with one.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:13 AM on January 8, 2010


.daed si uneX
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:14 AM on January 8, 2010


^^ LOL I was thinking the same thing, stoneweaver. Tupac was the real deal.

Scientology is a soapbox of mine, but the word is out about it finally. I cast no aspersions on what Scientologists choose to believe; after all, any exchange of philosophy for money is what it is, and the CoS is no different fundamentally from any other religion. The difference is what the CoS organization does to heretics and critics.
posted by Xoebe at 8:16 AM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fear is actually fairly well regarded in some circles.

I haven't read Fear, but what I find to be problem with this argument is that the literature of any individual with a cult following (literally, in this case) will always be "well regarded" not for literary merit, but for its insights into the author and their personal experiences and philosophies -- Atlas Shrugged is widely read, and for good reason, but I've never heard anyone except proselytizers of her philosophy to regard it as a good work of fiction.
posted by griphus at 8:17 AM on January 8, 2010


(Derail: Can we make ratify a Galt Amendment to Godwin's Law which may be brought out when someone mentions Rand in the same manner?)
posted by griphus at 8:20 AM on January 8, 2010


the CoS is no different fundamentally from any other religion.

I can't think of a single mainstream religion where you have to pay any money. You can walk into any catholic church this sunday, take communion, go to confession, etc. And the bible is free.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:21 AM on January 8, 2010


It would be like discovering that Buddha, unbeknownst to anybody, had sat down and wrote down the entirety of his discoveries and it could be verified that he wrote it

It's actually like someone shat in your cornflakes.

Anyhow, I look forward to listening to these 1000+ recordings to better understand and evaluate the intriguing theories put forward by these volcano dwelling, space opera participating, hydrogen bomb detonating disciples of the tyrant ruler of the Galactic Confederacy, Xenu.
posted by fire&wings at 8:23 AM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


When I was a teenager I read Battlefield Earth to see what all the fuss was about.

Nothing.
posted by srboisvert at 8:26 AM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Damn... Any way to rile up the Buddhists so they do go all fatwa on Scientology?

They can get in line behind Brit Hume.
posted by mkultra at 8:27 AM on January 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


srboisvert: The entire stated reason for Battlefield Earth was to write the longest SF novel ever. No kidding.

Hubbard, as I recall, devoted most of a page to his protagonist figuring out how to unscrew the bolts correctly to take off a metal hatch. (ie, unscrew each one a little at a time so the others wouldn't freeze.)

It was, indeed, very long.
posted by Malor at 8:35 AM on January 8, 2010



I can't think of a single mainstream religion where you have to pay any money. You can walk into any catholic church this sunday, take communion, go to confession, etc. And the bible is free.


Churches that demand tithing (such as LDS, and a lot of the fundie-protestant splinter groups) would qualify, in my mind.
posted by deadmessenger at 8:37 AM on January 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Really? That's intriguing. Have you read it?

Yeah, it was okay, if a bit dated and with some odd metaphysical stuff at the end. And though i say dated, if I had to guess I would have said it was 50s or 60s and not 40s.
posted by Artw at 8:42 AM on January 8, 2010


I'd like to take this opportunity to mention another important Scientology story, about the Denver OT7 who shot his non-Scientologist business partner 3 times in the head execution-style then fired a fourth shot under his own chin up into his brain in an unsuccessful attempt at suicide, on New Year's Eve. It is unknown whether the shooter had yet purchased the newly-discovered Hubbard tapes.
posted by scalefree at 9:01 AM on January 8, 2010


(Derail: Can we make ratify a Galt Amendment to Godwin's Law which may be brought out when someone mentions Rand in the same manner?)

But Godwin's Law exists because people take arguments and stretch them to an extreme, using Hitler and Nazis to prove whatever point they're trying to make. ("You think that blind pride in America is good? I'm certain the Germans thought blind pride in Hitler was good. See? Perhaps patriotism isn't necessarily a good thing.")

Point out where and how people use Ayn Rand the same way. The fact that Rand happens to have a lot of parallels to Hubbard has been noted before, so that mentioning Rand here makes logical sense.

[/pedantry]
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:03 AM on January 8, 2010


I want to know what CoS knows about people that makes them so confident and certain that they can charge $7500 and not be laughed out of business.

I believe blackmail is a key factor.

the CoS is no different fundamentally from any other religion

One key difference is that CoS will do literally anything to silence and punish those who have left the church, up to and including murdering them.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:05 AM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


...1984 began for Scientologists with a taped message from Ron Hubbard, the first in a year. It was called "Today and Tomorrow: The Proof," and retailed to Church members at $22 per cassette. Hundreds were sent free of charge to Independents (paid for by "donations" from Church members, in fact). The tape was a departure from the usual Hubbard procedure. The talk was scripted, and there were interruptions throughout, where Hubbard was asked questions, given answers, even corrected on some slight underestimation of a statistic, or assured of the enthusiasm generated by his recent bland issues....Hubbard showed none of his usual loud humor on the tape. He sounded cheerful, but somehow the power was gone, if indeed it was Hubbard's voice. By this time the Messengers had very sophisticated sound equipment, and some Independents insisted that a Fairlight synthesizer had been used to generate a voice similar to Hubbard's. The solution was probably far simpler: the tape was processed with Hubbard's "Clearsound," a rather primitive filtering system, which would have reduced the impingement of Hubbard's gasping breathing, giving the voice its slightly artificial feel.

posted by anazgnos at 9:05 AM on January 8, 2010


Churches that demand tithing (such as LDS, and a lot of the fundie-protestant splinter groups) would qualify, in my mind.

So you've got a problem with Muslims then? How about Buddhism? Hinduism got you down? What did the Jews ever do to deserve this?
posted by Pollomacho at 9:06 AM on January 8, 2010


I was in a fraternity in college, and we would get junk mail from the Scientologists for a member who got into it after college. It was striking the amount of stuff they had for sale, and the amount they were asking for it. I remember a gilt-edged thirty-volume set of LRH's collected works was around thirty grand.
posted by atchafalaya at 9:13 AM on January 8, 2010


Fear is actually fairly well regarded in some circles.

So is Dianetics.
posted by DU at 9:17 AM on January 8, 2010


970 CDs!!?! That makes the Merzbox looks like a 7".
posted by stinkycheese at 9:18 AM on January 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


I can't think of a single mainstream religion where you have to pay any money.

If you want to go into an LDS temple, you need to be current with your tithing.

So you've got a problem with Muslims then? How about Buddhism? Hinduism got you down? What did the Jews ever do to deserve this?

Well, all of your links speak about giving to the needy. The LDS church uses a lot of their money to buy real estate and run businesses (that operate on Sunday and sell caffeinated beverages). Also, as I note above, the LDS church specifically holds out certain religious services to their members unless cash is paid.
posted by effwerd at 9:20 AM on January 8, 2010


ah, ye of little faith. they mocked Jesus too

Was that before or after He made each of the five thousand pay a month's salary for a bread and seafood appetizer (gratuity not included)?
posted by normy at 9:22 AM on January 8, 2010


PastaBagel:I want to know what CoS knows about people that makes them so confident and certain that they can charge $7500 and not be laughed out of business.

What they have on their side is the slow boil. They don't throw COS newbies onto the Xenu/Space Opera crazytrain from day one. You spend years and many thousands of dollars taking courses, auditing, and working your way to becoming "clear" and ready to receive this life-changing information.

With so much of themselves and their resources invested, not to mention heavy pressure from those alongside them at the church, chances are small that OT-insert-number-here initiates will cry "bullshit" and head for the door. Nobody wants to admit that they've been duped. They'll shovel even more time and money going higher up the chain hoping that what they've been seeking is in there somewhere.

In short, there is a built-in and rabid market that will gladly pay this 7500 or more.
posted by dr_dank at 9:26 AM on January 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


Jesus reached out the destitute and sick.

L. Ron Hubbard could've given two shits about people without money and told people to stop seeking psychiatric help.

Outside of a religious context, Jesus was a rad guy. At best, Hubbard merely tailored some expensive new clothes for the emperor.
posted by giraffe at 9:30 AM on January 8, 2010


"On a boat, motherfucker!"
posted by Artw at 9:35 AM on January 8, 2010


My favourite Scientology-related YT video.
posted by stinkycheese at 9:41 AM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I read _Fear_ in junior high before I knew anything about Scientology. I enjoyed it. I've never really been "scared" by anything I read, but it did a good job of being unsettling and eerie, which is a good stand in. I'm glad I read it before I was exposed to his criminal insanity, because I don't think I could have enjoyed it going in with that knowledge. Now, though, it's gets grandfathered in and I like it despite Hubbard's essentially monstrous nature.

So, that's... sort of a recommendation.
posted by absalom at 9:41 AM on January 8, 2010


@Pastabagel

I've met one scientologist in my life. She's a rude, aggressive, boring woman, who decided she would control the TV remote during a super bowl party at my friend's house. She repeatedly turned down the volume during the commercials because, as she explained "I think it's funny you guys wanna watch the commercials more than the game."

Awful, unlikable woman without redeeming qualities. It was not at all difficult to see why she would be attracted to the CoS.
posted by Mechashiva at 9:41 AM on January 8, 2010


IT gets grandfathered in. I'm addicted to edit windows.
posted by absalom at 9:41 AM on January 8, 2010


I think I figured it out - if you watch L Ron's mouth when he talks, his disturbingly creepy creepy lips hypnotize you. Don't look for too long or you'll fall under his spell!

Holy Moly is that guy freaking CREEPY.
posted by smartypantz at 9:45 AM on January 8, 2010


Man, just like Buddha!
posted by Theta States at 9:45 AM on January 8, 2010


I'll just wait for a torrent.

After the recent metafilter discussion on the death of books, I started doing some investigation, curious at just how much book piracy was going on. I can find txt files people have made from obscure authors I barely remember, by the thousands, books I was for sure I'd have to scan by hand myself, because surely no one else would take the time to scan in a book with an amazon sales rank of #4,306,894, and so far, the only author that no one seems to want to take the time to pirate is Hubbard. Oh sure, there's a dozen versions of Battlefield Earth out there, but not a single book from the Mission Earth series.
posted by nomisxid at 9:57 AM on January 8, 2010


If they're resorting to selling his "unearthed" writing, I guess they've already sold the "unearthed" T.P. from the septic tanks in the compounds El Ron frequented. Because, really, what clear wouldn't want to have a sheet of tissue paper with the shit of The One True Leader on it?
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:04 AM on January 8, 2010


I gotta go with Rollins.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:06 AM on January 8, 2010


So you've got a problem with Muslims then? How about Buddhism? Hinduism got you down? What did the Jews ever do to deserve this?

There is a difference between developing charity as a virtue, and a church organisation demanding 10% (or similar) of your income. The hindu Biksha is the only one of your examples that is in any way close, and that only because it can be payment for religious services given, and even that is a trade rather than an inherent, continuing, obligation to a particular institution.
posted by Sparx at 10:12 AM on January 8, 2010


Rory - Well, that's why I mentioned it as a derail. I hoped bringing her up in my previous comment was appropriate (and I appreciate the confirmation.) But I think there is a non-zero chance that (no pun intended) objective scholarship on Rand can be used to defend the 'quality' of Hubbard's fiction, missing the point of the scholarship entirely.
posted by griphus at 10:22 AM on January 8, 2010


I want to know what CoS knows about people that makes them so confident and certain that they can charge $7500 and not be laughed out of business.

As I understand it, the auditing process actually causes others in the CoS to know a fair deal about the individual Scientologist. It's basically unlicensed psychotherapy after all, and unlike in a religion like Catholicism, it's pretty standard to keep records of what is discussed. And there are confessions as part of the auditing process. So they pretty much have psych profiles and dirt on all of their members.

Now, you might believe that the CoS is totally above board and well-intentioned with all of this information. But that would also make you pretty damn naïve.
posted by graymouser at 10:23 AM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why are people signing up for this?

I think part of what attracts people to Scientology is wish fulfillment or rather the promise of wish fulfillment. They've developed a system of tests to help them determine where people feel they are deficient, then they offer them the "technology" to fix those deficiencies. People pay their money and get just enough satisfaction from it to want to pay more. Meanwhile the brainwashing process actually reinforces their bad opinions of themselves, elevating the importance of the technology to fix them, until eventually their whole identity is wrapped up in what the "church" tells them and they'll pretty much believe anything.

But that's just my impression of how it works.
posted by wabbittwax at 10:28 AM on January 8, 2010


What do you hear in the message that attracts you, what are you seeing in the church - what symbols or visual cues - convince you to take the leap? Is the high production values coupled with the mysterious/scifi nature of the organization?

I am not at all a Scientologist, but I'll take a stab at this:

1. The auditing thing actually sounds like it can be helpful in a way. Not in any sort of "now I have superpowers" fashion as the church claims, but in the same sense that any sort of meditation or therapy can help someone get their head clear and examine why they make certain choices in life. That empty state that meditation practicioners try to get to sounds like it can be induced easily via the constant repetition that is a part of auditing (or so I understand). Plus, there's always something to be gained from knowing/forgiving yourself... I can understand this Scientology practice the same way I can understand the role of confession in the Catholic faith. And I wouldn't be surprised if Scientologists have moments of transcendent experience from time to time, as some people who meditate do. The problem, of course, is that the folks running the church say that these positive effects are the result of "the tech," not the mind-emptying techniques.

2. When you live really close to the Los Angeles Scientology HQ, you get to hear Scientologists have conversations in public from time to time. My partner was in a clothing boutique in the neighborhood once, and heard a customer tell the owner (who I guess just picked out a perfect dress), "Wow, you're so perceptive!" The owner cheerfully replied, "Scientology really helps with that!" You'll occasionally see actors (famous and not) who say that auditing has really helped them with their craft. I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that there's something in the practice that positively influences intra-/interpersonal skills to some extent (although I would definitely stop short of saying that these positive effects are a result of e-meters, or can only be acquired through Scientology).

3. There is kind of a Neo-Platonic core to Scientology: the evil creator god, the body as a prison for the soul, the emphasis on self-knowledge as a means of salvation, and so forth. These very Gnostic tropes have been around for millenia and show up in plenty of religions (and occult practices as well... if you don't know the story of L. Ron Hubbard's association with Jack Parsons, it's fascinating reading), so I can see how they'd have a lot of resonance for Scientologists as well.
posted by the_bone at 10:39 AM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Errr. Yikes.
Mentally unstable and delusional people follow strange anti-psychiatric care author as new Messiah = why humanity scares me.

Here's the thing. L. Ron Hubbard was actually an early pioneer of a movement that sought to prove that the psychiatric field of medicine was populated by people who did not care or really want to understand the human psyche and were doing more harm than good for people who really needed help with their mental problems. There was a great "experiment" that happened in the 1970's called the Rosenhan Experiment where a psychologist set out to prove (and did prove) that psychiatric hospitals of the day were run exceedingly badly and were not actually doing anything to help mental patients.

Also, something I always wondered about but wasn't sure of. During WW2, conscientious objectors had 2 options. Go to prison or sign up for non-military civil service duties. One of the things that they were assigned to do was to work in mental institutions, as orderlies, and "take care" of those institutionalized patients. Here a google search on the subject linky
So my question is, was L Ron Hubbard a conscientious objector? Or maybe he was good friends or knew some of the people who were and that served in these institutions, and thus, his opinion of psychiatry and the current state of practice was heavily influenced by this situation. This might explain a whole lot about Scientology and how anti-psychiatry they are.

Anyway.
posted by daq at 10:47 AM on January 8, 2010


There is a difference between developing charity as a virtue, and a church organisation demanding 10% (or similar) of your income.

I certainly agree that these things are not the same, but the original claim was that there is not "a single mainstream religion where you have to pay any money".

Required charity, as in some of the religions Pollomacho mentioned, pretty clearly counts toward being "a mainstream religion where you have to pay money".
posted by vorfeed at 10:59 AM on January 8, 2010


More than 1,000 unreleased recordings of lectures by L. Ron Hubbard

From before, or after, he passed away?
posted by Skygazer at 11:15 AM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Scientology is, at its heart, a self-help program engineered to extract maximum profit from the customer. It's actually kinda brilliant in a way. You start off doing innocuous activity that is pretty close to talk therapy. As time goes on, you get more invested in the teachings, and divulge more personal details to the Church, making you more vulnerable to personalized appeals and possibly threats. The deeper levels also reveal alleged secrets of the universe, putting the Scientologist who's paid a ton of money into esoteric and supposedly elevated circles of knowledge. All along this track they're taking money from the member – or getting free labor, in the case of members who go to work for a Sea Org. All starting from, most likely, a free personality test.
posted by graymouser at 11:26 AM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


So my question is, was L Ron Hubbard a conscientious objector? Or maybe he was good friends or knew some of the people who were and that served in these institutions, and thus, his opinion of psychiatry and the current state of practice was heavily influenced by this situation. This might explain a whole lot about Scientology and how anti-psychiatry they are.

No, L. Ron Hubbard was not a conscientious objector. He had a highly unsuccessful Naval career during World War II, with the supposed highlight coming when the ship under his command led an "attack" on a submarine that none of the other ships in the area saw. He spent a good deal of time on sick leave and applied to get psychiatric care after the war.

Hubbard's attitude toward psychiatry was initially positive. Dianetics was basically a loose adaptation of Freudian ideas into self-help. He expected to be enthusiastically embraced by the psychiatric field, and when they generally snubbed him and he nearly failed financially, he turned viciously against them. Scientology, as a product of that turn, is naturally laden with the anti-psychiatry stuff – not to mention the fact that psychiatrists are best qualified to debunk Scientology's methods.
posted by graymouser at 11:34 AM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Now if only they would publish these writings via an open protocol for distributed publish/subscribe, we could have PubSubHubbubHubbard.
posted by signalnine at 11:53 AM on January 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Not that I'm a big fan of religion, but it seems rather different to require a percentage of your income to go to charity rather than having set prices (for which people go bankrupt) in order to advance in your "religious" practice.
posted by stoneweaver at 1:38 PM on January 8, 2010


but not a single book from the Mission Earth series.

That's actually to bad. I red the entire decalogy right around the time that Hubbard died (the final books hadn't been released at that point and I wasn't certain that I was ever going to find out how it ended.)

It wasn't all that bad, at least to what was my 15 year old mind. As I recall, it was my first real experience with a character that was an unreliable narrator. The entire thing was very over the top and satirical. I do remember enjoying the idea that the entire works were translated to English by a prude robot who would tolerate obscenities, so every place where someone would have said a dirty word, it was replaced with (bleep). There was fun had with this device.

I'd read it again, but I'm afraid that my memory is much kinder to it than it deserved.
posted by quin at 2:48 PM on January 8, 2010


Too bad. (bleeping) rookie mistake.
posted by quin at 2:49 PM on January 8, 2010


Pastabagel I can't think of a single mainstream religion where you have to pay any money. You can walk into any catholic church this sunday, take communion, go to confession, etc. And the bible is free.

Well yes, but it wasn't always that way. The Scientologists had their own Protestant Reformation a while back - the Free Zone.

Often when people are charged money for a thing it makes them value it more, and defend their purchase of it, even when they could have gotten it cheaper or free. Religion isn't the only thing to tap into that phenomenon.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 3:17 PM on January 8, 2010


Well yes, but it wasn't always that way. The Scientologists had their own Protestant Reformation a while back - the Free Zone.

The Free Zone doesn't disseminate "the tech" for free, I feel it must be noted. Free Zone auditors charge money for their services -- to be fair, not at the same bank-account-emptying prices that the official Co$ does. Some have a set fee schedule, and some ask their clients to pay what they feel the service was worth to them. Perhaps a small handful will audit clients on some or all services for free. "Free" really means more that they are free from the insanity of the lockstep, top-down organization of the mother church, as it were.
posted by contessa at 5:44 PM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's nothing really surprising in the ACCs the cult is releasing, it's all Hubbard auditing people & making them believe they're flying out of their bodies or reliving past lives; it's weird as hell but standard Scientology fare.

There is, however, something truly unique & shocking being made available to the public for the first time ever: the Babalon Working Documents, L Ron Hubbard's journal of his explorations into sex magick with noted rocket pioneer & Aleister Crowley disciple Jack Parsons. Now available for viewing by appointment at the Warburg Institute Library in London England as part of the Gerald Yorke collection.
posted by scalefree at 6:27 PM on January 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's time to stop criticizing and speculating about the motives of the Church of Scientology. We need to start analyzing the people who would pay seven-and-a-half thousand dollars to hear a guy bullshit about nonsense.

Well, in fairness, a lot people out there are paying this sort of money (or their companies are) for useless conferences and motivational speakers, and are getting a lot less material, quantity-wise.
posted by Jimbob at 2:06 PM on January 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


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