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Scientology’s first ‘Clear’: L. Ron Hubbard intended to return as his daughter Diana’s son

John McMaster

John McMaster

We have more fascinating documents recently unearthed by a researcher who is a friend to the Underground Bunker as well as a mainstay at As we said on Friday, her Freedom of Information Act request with the Food and Drug Administration (made with the help of the MuckRock website) is yielding some interesting new insights into Scientology’s early history.

The FDA intensively researched Scientology and its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, because it was concerned about the health claims Hubbard was making about the “e-meter,” the crude electronic device used in Scientology “auditing.” Hubbard claimed that nearly all human ailments were psychosomatic in nature, and so his auditing with e-meters could rid a person of virtually any illness.

On January 4, 1963, the FDA, with the help of 14 federal marshals, raided Scientology’s “Founding Church” in Washington DC, and confiscated about a hundred of the e-meters. The ensuing legal battle eventually resulted in a settlement requiring Scientology to put a disclaimer on each e-meter about how it was not to be used in the diagnosis of illness.

Records show that the FDA continued investigating Hubbard and Scientology well after the raid occurred and as the legal battle continued. Today, we have some documents resulting from interviews done by FDA investigators in 1970 that we thought you’d want to see.

On November 3, 1970, a woman who lived in Los Angeles named Melody Horner sent a letter to President Richard Nixon. She included with her short note to the president a copy of a longer letter she had written days earlier to the International Court of Justice in the Netherlands. She explained that she and her husband, Jack Horner, were former members of Scientology, and they wanted L. Ron Hubbard investigated. (At the time, Hubbard was running Scientology from the ship Apollo in the Mediterranean.) From her letter to the Hague, Netherlands…

Scientology in its theory and much of its technology is valuable to man. The technology directs a person, as a spirit, to gain better control over his mind, emotions, body, and communication with others. My husband and I used to be Scientologists, but we left in 1965 after Mr. Hubbard put the policy into effect that we and other had to write letters of disconnection (excommunication) to former friends who somehow had fallen out of favor with Mr. Hubbard. In my opinion, Mr. Hubbard’s administrational policies, over the past six years, have cancelled out a lot of the value of the subject. His personality has grown more and more destructive, and I feel sorry for the staff he traps aboard his ship.


She also mentioned that a man who had been Hubbard’s chief spokesman, John McMaster, had left Scientology the previous November and returned to his native Durban, South Africa. But for the next few weeks, he was staying with the Horners in Los Angeles and might have information that the government would want to hear.

The FDA decided to take Mrs. Horner up on her offer, and on November 19, FDA inspector James P. DiGrazia visited the Horners at their home and sat down to talk with them.

Melody explained that she was originally from South Africa and had met Jack, an American, there as they were both doing courses in Scientology and went to work for the organization. They moved to Dallas, and after 1960 she stopped working for the church in order to raise their kids, but Jack remained a staffer. Then, as she had explained in her letter to the Hague, they grew dissatisfied in 1965 with Hubbard’s new system of “ethics,” which included declaring people “suppressives.” Several years later, they were now living in Los Angeles, and Jack Horner had a business teaching his own brand of Scientology.

At this point, John McMaster entered the room, and became the focus of the interview. In 1966, McMaster had been declared Scientology’s first actual “Clear.” (Hubbard had claimed in 1950 that his process of “Dianetics” could make a person “Clear” — free of memories that were holding him or her back from nearly superhuman abilities — but in August of that year he endured an embarrassing disaster when he introduced a young woman as the first Clear at a demonstration that failed spectacularly at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. It took another 16 years before Hubbard announced that he’d finally produced an actual Clear in the form of McMaster.)

We’ve written about McMaster with the help of Jon Atack, who portrayed the South African in his book A Piece of Blue Sky. After being declared the world’s first Clear, McMaster became Hubbard’s worldwide ambassador. He was a charming speaker, and for a few years he was very effective at raising Scientology’s public image. He was also gay, and Hubbard treated him shabbily, as Atack explained to us. By November 1969, McMaster, thoroughly disillusioned, quit the organization.

Much of what McMaster told the FDA inspector in 1970 is pretty well known, but we found DiGrazia’s notes compelling anyway. We’re going to quote from the first portion of them in full here. (And we’ve corrected the spelling of McMaster’s name in this excerpt.)

Mr. John McMaster is a native of South Africa and appears to be about 40 years old. At the age of 26, he had his stomach removed because of cancer. He was told that he had five years to live. He decided to attend medical school. In 1960, while in his third year of medical school, he encountered Scientology for the first time. He felt that Scientology had tremendous medical application and so informed the Dean of his medical school. He discontinued his formal medical education to pursue Scientology, intending at a later date to bring back what he had learned to the medical profession.

Mr. McMaster stated that ever since his operation, he had tremendous pain in his stomach. After joining Scientology, he was processed using an E-Meter, and discovered that ever since his mother died of stomach cancer (he was five years old at the time), he had subconsciously attempted to assume his mother’s role. He was now experiencing his mother’s death. Once this was revealed to him during processing, the pain disappeared and has never returned. He believes his cancer was related to a psychosomatic cause and was cured through Scientology. Mr. McMaster stated that he, himself, has helped through processing, his own father’s failing eyesight and arthritis, in addition to other people with migraine headaches and other corporal afflictions.

In 1966, Mr. McMaster was the first member of Scientology to be considered “Clear.” He has performed many lectures and appeared on many radio and television shows for Scientology. All proceeds for these appearances and his many world tours went to L. Ron Hubbard. Mr. McMaster stated that while working for Scientology in New York, he received $10.00 per week food allowance and no other financial income, from the organization. Mr. McMaster stated that all paper monies earned by Scientology are kept by Hubbard aboard ship, while notes and checks are kept in a Swiss bank.

Mr. McMaster stated that each time he returned to Hubbard after completing a mission of speaking engagements, L. Ron Hubbard would publicly repudiate, embarrass and punish McMaster, demonstrating to all that he (Hubbard) was still the only “source” and voice of Scientology. Mr. McMaster stated that his hands and legs were bound on several occasions, and we was thrown overboard. I asked him how he survived. He replied he “swims like a fish.” Mr. McMaster stated the last time this happened, he sustained a left shoulder injury which paralyzed his left arm for some time.

Mr. McMaster related incidents of child abuse aboard Hubbard’s ship. He stated that children from the age of 3 years old were locked up in chain-lockers aboard ship because of childish misbehavior. He related an incident where a deaf-mute little child was put in a chain locker for 10 days. He stated that Hubbard considered these children “Suppressive Beings.” Mr. McMaster continued that parents of these children, aboard ship, for training, were in a state of terror and issued no objection to such treatment. Mr. McMaster condemned this behavior as spiritual tyranny on the part of Hubbard. Mrs. Horner added at this point, that such practice was sadism. Mr. McMaster stated that he has learned through the grapevine of a local chain-locker and gagging treatment of Charles Allan, a Scientology member who was labeled a “Suppressive and Betrayer” at the American Saint Hill Organization, Los Angeles.

McMaster said he had decided to come to Los Angeles from South Africa to help Jack Horner teach Scientology independently. But when he arrived in New York, he was detained by authorities who had been tipped that he was an LSD smuggler. He could imagine who had phoned that tip in.

McMaster was asked his views about the e-meter (he endorsed its use) and why he thought Scientology called itself a religion. He said it “probably is described as a religion because a religious organization is less vulnerable, money-wise, than other organizations. He stated that when appointed the First Pope of Scientology by Hubbard, he laughed at Hubbard for such an idea.” McMaster added that he thought Hubbard was attempting to gain control of the planet through “telepathy.”

Jack Horner then described some rough incidents that had happened to him and his Los Angeles business that he believed were the result of attacks by Scientology. McMaster added that he’d been the victim of the organization’s dirty tricks as well. “He stated Scientology groups have forged his signature to a recent letter espousing ‘Greek Love,’ and he feared such intimation of him as a homosexual might prevent his admission to the United States.”

On December 9, Inspector DiGrazia returned for another conversation, this time with another FDA inspector, Bud Loftis. They talked to Jack Horner about his background in Scientology, and his growing frustration with the organization.

Mr. Horner stated his final break with Scientology came in 1965 when he received a fair game letter and a shooting letter (refer to as R2-45) from the Scientology organization. The former letter informed Mr. Horner he was subject to any or all actions from Scientologists and the latter suggested he use a 45 caliber pistol to exteriorize himself. Mr. Horner stated he was never shot at by the Scientology organization but believes a Bob Beck did have shots taken at him by Scientologists.

McMaster then spoke about the violence in the group that he’d seen, specifically the overboarding in Greece that he’d witnessed and that had also happened to him.

Mr. McMaster stated L. Ron Hubbard Sr. is a chronic hypocondriac and that he is in constant need of medical attention from the nurses and a doctor aboard the ship. Mr. McMaster stated Hubbard has a medicine cabinet full of drugs which he is always taking.

McMaster also indicated that he had recently signed an affidavit saying that Scientology was “workable” in order to make peace with the organization.

“Mr. McMaster stated L. Ron Hubbard Sr. turned totally anti-medical in 1964 when a Bill Parsons, a Scientologist at Saint Hill was given a total blood transfusion with blood of the wrong type and subsequently died.”

We hadn’t heard that one before. Any oldtimers out there remember hearing anything about that? And how about this assertion: “Mr. Horner stated a Millen Bellknap of Ireland designed the cross used in Scientology. Mr. Horner explained this as an exploding cross symbolizing all of men’s religion.” (We’re still partial to the interpretation by Ohio State University professor Hugh Urban.)

And finally, there was one more statement from the conversation that we thought was the most interesting of all: “Mr. McMaster states L. Ron Hubbard Sr. is forcing his daughter Diana into the role of successor in Scientology and Hubbard intends to return as the first son of Diana in the perpetuation of Scientology.”

Wow! Hubbard told McMaster he planned to run Scientology after starting a new life as his own grandson! The imagination on this guy.

Well, that didn’t work out as LRH planned, did it. Diana left the Sea Org in 1980 and didn’t return until after David Miscavige had taken over the reins. To this day she lives at the secretive International Base near Hemet, California, the last member of the Hubbard family still in Scientology. She did have a child, but it was a daughter, Roanne Horwich, who was born in 1978, eight years before LRH dropped his body to do upper-level research elsewhere. We reported in 2012 that Roanne had escaped from Int Base and has reportedly stayed out of Scientology ever since.

Gosh, it’s fun going through these old documents that aren’t already online. We can already predict that a certain indie Scientologist is going to criticize us for posting the reference to “R2-45.” For some, who still hold L. Ron Hubbard in high esteem, it’s unfathomable to think that his reference to exteriorizing with the use of a pistol was anything but a joke. Sure seemed like Jack Horner took it seriously, however.

The documents:
FDA conversation with Horners/McMaster part 1
FDA conversation with Horners/McMaster part 2

And speaking of fun historical documents, a reader at Facebook pointed out that you can hear L. Ron Hubbard talking about the FDA raid in one of his lectures. On January 8, 1963, five days after the raid, Hubbard opens a lecture during the “Saint Hill Special Briefing Course,” given at his England estate, Saint Hill Manor, with several minutes about what had happened in Washington DC. Hubbard doesn’t disappoint, boasting about offering to educate President Kennedy about Scientology, accusing the FDA of messing up its raid and now finding itself in legal trouble. He’s very entertaining here.


Next time: A year later the FDA comes back to John McMaster, who wants them to know about a shadowy Scientology intelligence division that places moles in offices in order to dig through file cabinets. The very idea!


Bonus photos from our tipsters

Neither of the people who posted these two photos to Instagram gave a location, but we’re pretty sure this is work being done at the KCET studios. As one of the photographers noted, it was late on a Sunday night, and young Sea Org workers were painting the bars on windows. (The other was taken a few days before.)



Meanwhile, another of our tipsters noticed that the new “Hollywood Life Improvement Center” — a/k/a the old Hollywood Test Center, Christie Hotel, or Hollywood Inn — has finally opened. Our source, not wanting to be recognized by former colleagues, had to take photos on the sly, so they’re at a bit of a distance…



The glamorous and mysterious Meghan Fialkoff is at it again, this time starting an Indegogo page to raise money so the New York chapter of the Foundation for a Drug-Free World can hand out awards at an annual gala.


Meanwhile, up in Quebec City, folks for Foundation for a Drug-Free World are spreading L. Ron Hubbard’s good news!



A trip to the Getty? Is that really part of the EPF these days? Or is Arthur Ehrlich the quickest Sea Org dropout ever? Maybe we better not draw too many conclusions from this photo which Arthur posted just minutes ago…


Scientologists are using social media more than ever. Drop us a line if you spot them posting images to Instagram or Facebook!



5 days until Alex Gibney’s film Going Clear: Scientology & the Prison of Belief opens at the Sundance Film Festival at 2:30 pm on Sunday, January 25 in Park City, Utah


Posted by Tony Ortega on January 20, 2015 at 07:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to 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 cover to cover with the help of LA attorney and former church member Vance Woodward

UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists

GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice

SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer
The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ


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