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About that ‘threesome’ with L. Ron Hubbard and the Heinleins

Another vintage trio

Another vintage trio

A tip of the hat to Communicator I/C, who last night spotted something interesting at the New Republic. It was a review of a new book about science fiction giant Robert Heinlein which apparently contains a salacious detail about Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.

Reviewing William Patterson’s second volume of his huge Heinlein biography, New Republic writer Jeet Heer tosses out an aside that should have Scientology watchers doing a double-take.

The context is Heinlein’s gradual move from left-liberal to right wing loon (which destroyed his science fiction, Heer says). Along the way, Heinlein was apparently something of a freethinker when it came to relationships.

In this passage, Heer is describing Patterson’s book as it relates how Heinlein’s second marriage to liberal Leslyn gave way to his third marriage to conservative Virginia…

In 1944, Heinlein met Lieutenant Virginia Gerstenfeld, and after the war tried to bring her into his house as part of a ménage à trois. Gerstenfeld accepted but her stay with the Heinleins was brief and stormy. This wasn’t the first love triangle in the Heinlein residence (they had earlier been in a consensual threesome with L. Ron Hubbard), but Leslyn found Virginia threatening so the marriage collapsed in 1947. Heinlein and Gerstenfeld wed the following year, a marriage that would also be open.

Hubbard, in a threesome! Ouch, that’s an engram we’re never going to get rid of. Here’s the happy trio so you can get the visio…

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HubbardHeinleins

 
OK, calm down, calm down. How soon everyone forgets that Lawrence Wright already covered this territory in his book Going Clear only a year ago.

Like Patterson, Wright also mined Heinlein’s correspondence, and he also came up with some pretty interesting stuff about the Heinleins and Hubbard. Here’s what Larry said about it…

When he arrived in Princeton, in September 1944, Hubbard fell in with a group of science-fiction writers who had been organized into an informal military think tank by his friend Robert Heinlein. The Navy was looking for ways to counter the kamikaze suicide attacks on Allied ships, which had begun that fall as desperation took hold of the Japanese military planners. Hubbard would spend weekends in Philadelphia at the Heinleins’ apartment, along with some other of his former colleagues, including his former editor, John Campbell, gaming different scenarios for the Navy. (Some of their suggestions were actually tested in combat, but none proved useful.) Heinlein was extremely solicitous of his old friend, remarking, “Ron had had a busy war — sunk four times and wounded again and again.” The fact that Hubbard had an affair with Heinlein’s wife didn’t seem to affect his deep regard. “He almost forced me to sleep with his wife,” Hubbard later marveled.

Whew, OK. We can stop trying to imagine Heinlein and Hubbard in bed together with poor Leslyn. It’s bad enough that we have to imagine Heinlein farming out his wife to his old writing buddy, the Ginger Flash.

Of course, Patterson’s book might go into even more detail than Heer’s review indicates. But we don’t know that we care enough about Heinlein to purchase it (we really dug The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, didn’t really grok Stranger in a Strange Land, and couldn’t stand the authoritarian bullshit in Starship Troopers, so overall, we’re not huge Heinlein fans). If you happen to get a copy, let us know what Patterson says about the Great Thetan’s sexual adventures, will you?

 
UPDATE: It turns out Patterson did refer to this wife-swapping in his first volume, a portion of which is online. Here’s the relevant passage…

In none of the scant surviving correspondence of Leslyn (Heinlein) Mocabee does she refer to her own affairs, though in some rather unbalanced poison-pen letters written after a series of strokes in 1952 (the correspondence with Frederik Pohl is in his papers in the Red Bank, New Jersey, archive), she accuses Robert of sexual infidelities frequent and ongoing. In another context, Robert told Virginia Heinlein of just one affair of Leslyn’s — with L. Ron Hubbard (Virginia Heinlein, taped interview by author, First Series, Tape 2 [September 2000]). Forrest J. Ackerman recalls his shock at Leslyn’s accusation that Robert had a sexual affair with Hubbard — not completly impossible (as Heinlein implied in an essay in Expanded Universe that he had experimented widely with both drugs and unorthodox sexual practices) but improbable. As Ackerman went on to say, “Both of them were such womanizers that they wouldn’t have any time for the same sex! I don’t know if she was hallucinating, or what.” Forrest J. Ackerman, interview by Robert James, June 9, 2000.

So again, there’s a suggestion of Leslyn sleeping with Hubbard, but doubt about Hubbard and Heinlein ever doing the deed.

 
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Hearing set in Vance Woodward lawsuit

Our legal team has spotted a new development in Vance Woodward’s lawsuit against the Church of Scientology. Recently, we told you that the church had fired back at Vance’s claim that he was being denied a refund by filing a motion to force the case into arbitration. The church usually argues in these cases that such disputes should be handled internally, and not in a court of law. Vance had anticipated that move, and in his very detailed complaint he accused the church of running a sham arbitration system.

Now, a hearing has been set for June 24, and we only wish we could be there. Perhaps some of our LA friends could attend on our behalf?

 
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A special message from Surviving Scientology

 

 
Those e-mail addresses are karendelac@aol.com and scienowriter@gmail.com

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on June 10, 2014 at 07:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to tonyo94@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS (We read Scientology’s founding text) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25

UP THE BRIDGE (Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47

GETTING OUR ETHICS IN (Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING (Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43

PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer

 

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