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Another document trove on L. Ron Hubbard’s troubled son, Nibs, the Scientology flip-flopper


[Nibs and his grandson, Jamie DeWolf]

Last week, we told you we’d found yet more interesting and previously unseen documents about L. Ron Hubbard and his family in records that have been released lately by the FDA. Researcher R.M. Seibert has been doggedly pursuing the records with the help of the MuckRock website, prying out of the FDA an investigation it did in the 1960s as part of its litigation against the Church of Scientology.

Last time, we told you that as part of its investigation of Hubbard, in 1963 the FDA had tracked down and interviewed Hubbard’s first wife, Polly, as well as their two children, L. Ron Hubbard Jr — also known as “Nibs” — and Katy.

To our surprise, Katy turned out to be loyal to Scientology and criticized the FDA for its investigation, which was based on health claims made for Scientology’s “E-meter.” She denied that her father said that his machine cured anything, and she said that Scientology was a beneficial movement — even though she’d never finished a Scientology course, and hadn’t worked for the organization in several years.

Nibs on the other hand explained that he’d worked for Scientology in the 1950s as a young man but then had left in 1959 and was then, in 1963, happy to tell the FDA inspectors that they were right — Scientology did make plenty of health claims, and they were bogus claims. The FDA then discussed the prospect of using Nibs as a witness in its litigation.

Now, we have documents which showed that the FDA then came back to Nibs several years later — in 1970 — after losing track of him. The agency still was interested in having him testify for its litigation, which was still ongoing, but it found in the intervening years that Nibs had pulled a flip-flop.


In 1967, Nibs was asked by the government to testify in a trial that led to the IRS stripping Scientology of its tax-exempt status. The courts would continue to hold this position — that Scientology was a business that benefited its leader, rather than a non-profit organization with a religious purpose — until the IRS caved in 1991 and began a process that gave Scientology tax exempt status in 1993.

So that 1967 trial was rather crucial, and Nibs had been one of the people who helped the IRS make its case. In our collection of documents, we have a note from 1967 that shows the government asked for a bodyguard to be procured for Nibs to protect him during his testimony that year…

Mr. Ryan telephoned this morning and requested that we have an inspector present in court to serve somewhat as a bodyguard for L. Ron Hubbard Jr. during the Scientology trial. General Counsel seems to feel that Scientology radicals might try to molest and coerce Mr. Hubbard so he would change his testimony during trial.

(The note also mentions that one of the people involved on the government’s side in 1967 was assistant US attorney Nathan Dodell, who would become an important figure several years later as a target of Scientology’s Snow White Program — it was the targeting of Dodell in the summer of 1976 that led to the arrest of Gerald Wolfe and ultimately the unraveling of the Guardian’s Office, as we explain in our book.)

In 1970, when the FDA wanted to check in with Nibs again, he’d apparently vanished. So part of our document package today includes a letter describing that Nibs had been tracked down. And once they found him, they found that he had been hounded by Scientology after his 1967 testimony.

In 1970, he was saying that he was still on the government’s side, but in 1969, under pressure from Scientology, he’d signed a “counter-deposition” to benefit the church.

In other words, he’d flip-flopped, and he would again.

We have a copy of the 1969 affidavit that Nibs signed after being persuaded by Guardian’s Office official Bob Thomas. Nibs reported that in 1968, he’d moved to the Los Angeles area, and began getting messages from the Scientologists there. At one point, he’d been invited by someone he knew to a meeting, but when he got there, he was greeted by Thomas…

When Mr. Hubbard arrived at that office, Bob Thomas, Scientology Guardian for Los Angeles, was there and informed Mr. Hubbard that his IRS testimony had disturbed Mr. Hubbard’s father and upset others in the Scientology organization. Mr. Thomas told Mr. Hubbard that it would be beneficial to the Scientology organization and to Mr. Hubbard if the situation could be squared. Mr. Hubbard considered this a threat.

But Nibs was convinced to sign an affidavit Thomas had prepared for him, which said he’d had second thoughts about his 1967 testimony for the IRS.

After deep consideration I have reviewed my testimony given on July 10, 1967, before Trial Commissioner Lane of the Court of Claims in the case of The Founding Church of Scientology v. The United States. I feel that my aforesaid testimony was incomplete and, therefore, misleading and I now wish to of my own free will and in the interest of justice and without solicitation clarify such testimony.

He denied, for example, that Scientology had been formed as a church as a way to dodge paying taxes. Instead, he said, it was made a church “because its founder and followers sincerely believed it to be a religion.”

He said that his testimony about Scientology making health claims was misconstrued, and that Scientology didn’t claim to heal the body but was instead concerned with healing the soul.

Although I testified that I thought Scientology had very little validity, I made this statement vengefully at a time when I was undergoing a great deal of personal and emotional stress. Despite my personal state at the time which colored my testimony, I have always recognized that the founder and followers of Scientology sincerely believed in it as a religion. I now unequivocally feel that Scientology is a valid religion and that its spiritual practices as developed by my father, L. Ron Hubbard, are a truly effective method for helping Mankind.

The document was signed by Nibs, whose signature we found interesting to see…


So now, let’s catch up on where Nibs has been. In 1950 (according to what he told FDA inspectors) or 1952 (according to what he told Paulette Cooper), he had left high school in Washington State in order to join his father to help him set up and run Scientology. He had then become virtually second in command (even though he was still in his teens) until he walked away from the Washington DC church in 1959.

Then, in 1963, he’d been interviewed by the FDA and was eager to testify against Scientology.

In 1967, protected by a bodyguard assigned by the government, he’d testified on behalf of the government in a trial that led to Scientology losing its tax exempt status.

In 1968 he’d moved to the Los Angeles area, and in 1969 he’d been persuaded by Bob Thomas and the Guardian’s Office to sign an affidavit recanting his 1967 testimony and siding with the church.

And now, in 1970, he was telling FDA inspectors that he was back on their side and ready to testify in their ongoing litigation after their 1963 raid of the church.

Perhaps frustrated at the flip-flopping nature of Nibs, the 1970 interviewers really bore into him about his observations on Scientology. The result is a lengthy set of notes from the interview.

Some sample descriptions the FDA made of what Nibs told them in 1970…

First, they started asking, point by point, about the things he’d said in the “counter-deposition” that he’d signed for the church, and he denied each of the things he’d said.

“The final paragraph of the counter deposition concerns Mr. Hubbard’s statement that Scientology is a truly effective method for helping mankind. Mr. Hubbard stated to us Scientology is not an effective method for helping mankind.”

Nibs told them that the church had written the document, and he’d been coerced into signing it. He then began dishing on his father’s creation…

Mr. Hubbard explained the cross symbol in Scientology (Christian Cross with Buddhist Symbol) as signifying never ending life. Mr. Hubbard stated Scientology transcends and includes all other religions. Mr. Hubbard stated Christ would be considered an operating Thetan in Scientology. Mr. Hubbard stated this state of beingness can be produced on a routine basis. As an illustration, Mr. Hubbard stated that he was declared temporarily clear about 5 times. Mr. Hubbard said his first major break in Scientology occurred when he realized that those who were declared “clear” in Scientology did not demonstrate, through their philosophies and working and operating abilities, this particular spiritual level that they supposedly had attained. Mr. Hubbard believes that “clear” should be able to demonstrate, in all aspects of life, health, action toward others, etc., this spiritual level. Mr. Hubbard stated that he has never seen a “clear” deomonstrate such abilities.

Some additional gems…

“Mr. Hubbard explained that Roman Catholics, orthodox Jews, and others belonging to orthodox religions were very hard to audit or process. Mr. Hubbard stated that upon entering Scientology people are asked to sign waivers stating that processing is for religious purposes. Mr. Hubbard stated Scientology claims to be the only method known to man with answers to man’s illnesses…

“Mr. Hubbard stated that Scientologist only fool themselves and practice amateur psycho-therapy. Mr. Hubbard stated that L. Ron Hubbard, Sr. is strongly apposed to psychiatry because that group serves as a common enemy for Scientology. Mr. Hubbard believes it is a precept of group control that there be a common enemy as well as a common goal and psychiatry serves the purpose…

“Mr. Hubbard stated that there is really no God in Scientology, just individuals and that every individual is a god…

“Mr. Hubbard stated that he felt his father would take him back into the Scientology organization if asked. Mr. Hubbard stated that it is Mary Sue Hubbard, his father’s wife, who does the torpedoing in the Scientology Organization…

“Mr. Hubbard stated that he is not hostile to his father on a personal basis and considers his father legally sane. He stated his father can be reached through cable communications, (“LRH”) in Denmark, but he does not know the whereabouts of “The Ship Appolo”. Mr. Hubbard stated the only contact L. Ron Hubbard, Sr. has with him or his family is via Christmas cards that L. Ron Hubbard Sr., sends to his grandchildren…

“Mr. Hubbard stated he did not know Bob Thomas until he met him in Los Angeles in July of 1969. Mr. Hubbard feels that Thomas has neutralized him through the counter deposition…

“With respect to Scientology being a game, Mr. Hubbard concluded that the creator of the game, L. Ron Hubbard, Sr., now totally believes in the game. Although Mr. Hubbard does not fear physical violence from the organization, he does fear physical harassment, as in the form of the 15 to 20 letters he received from the scientology organization after testifying in the IRS trial.”

Two years after this interview, in 1972, Nibs suddenly showed up in the life of Paulette Cooper. As we explain in our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely, that year former Scientologist Robert Kaufman had come out with his book, Inside Scientology, and Nibs appeared in New York, hoping to help Kaufman get more attention for his book. Kaufman then asked Nibs to work with Paulette in the summer of 1972 to prepare a lengthy story that, Kaufman claimed, would be a foreword to a new edition of the book (which never happened).

But what did happen was that Paulette and Nibs spent the summer of 1972 together, hammering out a 63-page manuscript titled “A Look Into Scientology, or 1/10 of 1 percent of Scientology,” portions of which we revealed for the first time in our book. As we showed, it was a devastating indictment of L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology.

But after that summer, Paulette suspected that Nibs had once again switched sides, and had gone back to his father’s organization — which turned out to be true, as Nibs gave testimony for Scientology in November, 1972, and Paulette to this day suspects that Nibs was secretly working for the church that summer and may have been involved in her frame-up.

It seemed to be a habit of his, switching back and forth, sometimes supporting his father and Scientology, and at others proving to be a bitter enemy.

Now, with the help of the FDA documents, we have an even clearer picture of this. What a fascinating mess was L. Ron Hubbard Jr.

FDA 1963 affidavit from Nibs and 1967 document about a bodyguard for Nibs
FDA 1969 “counter-deposition” and 1970 interview of Nibs


Your proprietor on the airwaves

We had a couple of interesting interviews show up last night. In both cases, they were long-format with great interviewers, and we had a lot of fun. The first we recorded last week with Mandy Stadtmiller, whose podcast we’ve wanted to be a part of for a long time — and thanks to Mark Ebner for helping to make it happen.


Also, we returned to Chris T.’s show at WFMU, “Aerial View” yesterday and spent a rollicking hour talking about The Unbreakable Miss Lovely and other Scientology matters. This was really a good one.


Miss Lovely on parade





We didn’t get a chance to include photos in our book, so we’ve posted them at a dedicated page. Reader Sookie put together an index and we’re hosting it here on the website. Copies of the paperback version of ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely’ are on sale at Amazon. The Kindle edition is also available, and shipping instantly.

Our upcoming appearances (and check out the interactive map to our ongoing tour)…

June 20: Chicago (with Christian Stolte) The Annoyance Theater, 5pm: This event is SOLD OUT.

June 22: Toronto (with Paulette Cooper) Toronto Public Library, 40 Orchard View Blvd, 7:30 pm, sponsored by the Centre for Inquiry-Canada

June 23: Toronto (with Paulette Cooper) The “Getting Clear” conference

June 28: Clearwater, Florida (with Paulette Cooper) Clearwater Public Library, 2 pm, sponsored by Center for Inquiry-Tampa Bay

July 12: Washington DC, Drummond Hall, 2 pm Center for Inquiry (with Paulette Cooper)

July 14: Hartford, MARK TWAIN HOUSE (with Tom Tomorrow)

July 17: Denver, The Secular Hub, 7 pm (with Chris Shelton)

July 20: Dallas, Times Ten Cellar, 7 pm (with Robert Wilonsky)

July 22: Houston

July 24: San Antonio

July 25: Austin

July 29: Paris (with Jonny Jacobsen)

August 4: London, Conway Hall (with John Sweeney)

August 24: Boston, Boston Skeptics in the Pub, 7 pm

September 16: Arizona State University


Posted by Tony Ortega on June 17, 2015 at 08:30

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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 mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill
The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield


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