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L. Ron Hubbard, would-be conqueror: Scientology’s fable about Rhodesia is a riot


We’re grateful to our source who has been supplying us rare looks at the Maiden Voyage celebration of 2006. As we’ve said previously, these videos are exceedingly tough to find, and it has been illuminating to see David Miscavige lead his “OT Summit” on Scientology’s private cruise ship, the Freewinds, over successive nights that June. And now, we’ve save the best for last.

Yes, we have the final night of Maiden Voyage 2006, which featured the Silver Mullet himself, official church biographer Dan Sherman, telling a whopper of a tale about L. Ron Hubbard that we hope you find as enjoyable as we do!

We’ve marveled at Sherman’s skills in the past. His yarns about Hubbard saving the world against an evil cabal of atomic scientists, presented at the LRH birthday event of 2012, is still one of our all-time favorite Scientology event videos ever.

This time, Sherman chooses the fortieth anniversary of Hubbard’s ill-fated 1966 trip to Rhodesia to tell that tale, and it’s wrapped up in hagiographic hilarity.


Before we get into the yarn itself, we just want to point out how we really can’t get enough of Shermanspeak, the distinctive form of English that comes from Dan’s pen, with its loop-de-loop sentences and stilted diction, and which is also the source of Miscavige’s speeches. You just have to let this stuff flow over you…

“singly, and all alone”
“in point of fact”
“and, I might add”
“the whys and wherefores”
“For the record, and still more to the point…”

We could listen to him all day.

So what tall tale is Dan telling the loyal troops in this video? It seems that in February 1966, L. Ron Hubbard was enjoying himself at Saint Hill Manor in East Grinstead, England, even having his Coca-Colas served to him by his proper English butler, Charles. We do love the photo that Dan posted to capture the scene…


But while he was solo-auditing to complete the Clearing Course, Hubbard was cognizant of the great conspiracy always pressing in on him, a backlash that went all the way back to Book One in 1950, Dan tells us. “Black propaganda campaigns in the wake of Whole Track discoveries,” he calls it. So Hubbard suddenly vamoosed, spending a month in the Canary Islands before heading for Salisbury, Rhodesia in search, Sherman tells us, for a place to create an “OT Base.” Hubbard judged the country to be one that was a refuge from the grand psychiatry conspiracy that was going to throw the rest of the world into a nuclear holocaust.

Sherman tells a glowing tale of how Hubbard, seemingly within days, turned himself into the toast of Rhodesia after he purchased a home at 31 John Plagis Avenue in the Alexandria Park section of Salisbury. Here’s a shot of him with his staff at the swinging estate…


And single-handedly, Hubbard began to improve the economy of the country by opening a resort on Lake Kariba, carting fish out on Land Rovers, and opening a furniture factory. He was a one-man industry!

But that’s not all. Hubbard took to the airwaves to warn Rhodesians about Communism, submitted his own constitution to prime minister Ian Smith, and within weeks was being talked about as a possible successor or replacement to Smith. Hubbard was a juggernaut!

Until, that is, a nefarious plot cooked up by the Daily Mail, England’s spy service, and the CIA conspired to get Hubbard kicked out of the country. Why, the nerve! Still, he came home in July to a hero’s welcome in London, and Rhodesia went to shit, so it’s all good.

Here, soak up Dan’s version of events, and then we’ll tell you what actually happened…


For the less bullshitty version of what happened, we turn to Russell Miller and his consummate 1987 biography of Hubbard actually based in fact, Bare-Faced Messiah.

…Prime Minister Ian Smith had recently signed a Unilateral Declaration of Independence in defiance of the British Government…[Hubbard] chose Rhodesia firstly because he thought he could create a favourable climate by helping to solve the UDI crisis and secondly because he believed he had been Cecil Rhodes in a previous life. He told Reg Sharpe that he hoped to be able to recover gold and diamonds he was convinced Rhodes had buried somewhere in Rhodesia.

Almost from the start, Rhodesian authorities were wary of Hubbard, and cabled the CIA in the US for information about him. A reply said that “Individuals who have been connected with the organizations headed by Hubbard or who have had contact with him and the organizations, have indicated that Hubbard is a ‘crackpot’ and of ‘doubtful mental background’.”

Hubbard’s reputation preceded him, in other words.

But to the locals, he played down his controversial past with Scientology and highlighted his plans to pump money into Rhodesia’s economy. And as for his political ideas, Miller tells us…

In early May, Hubbard produced, uninvited, a ‘tentative constitution’ for Rhodesia which he felt would satisfy the demands of the blacks while at the same time maintaining white supremacy. It embodied the principle of one man one vote for a lower house, while real power was vested in an upper house elected by qualified citizens with a good standard of English, knowledge of the constitution and financial standing verified by a bank. Hubbard was apparently convinced that Rhodesia’s black population would welcome his ideas, even though it was patently obvious that the qualifications required to cast a vote for the upper house would exclude most blacks.

Hubbard then tried to win over Prime Minister Smith and his wife, to the consternation of both, and he was shocked to learn that they wanted nothing to do with him. Meanwhile, his private thoughts about blacks weren’t very generous. “Blacks were so stupid, he told John McMaster, that they did not give a reading on the E-Meter,” Miller writes.

As for Hubbard’s speeches, so celebrated by Sherman, Miller tells us that they were “rambling” and “hectoring,” telling Rhodesians how they ought to run their country, and so Smith’s government simply refused to extend his visa. He was told go home by July 18.

Hubbard was stunned. Up until that moment he had believed himself to be not just a prominent personality in Rhodesia, but a popular one…The Rhodesian Government refused to make any comment on the expulsion order, but Hubbard had few doubts about who was behind it — it was obviously a Communist plot to get him out of the country because he was the man most likely to solve the UDI crisis.

Sherman, meanwhile, wants us to believe that Smith needed to kick Hubbard out of the country because Hubbard was a threat to replace him! You have to admire the unselfconscious bombast of Hubbard, who actually believed, just a couple of months after showing up in a new country, that he was being considered to take over the government: “Now, about the fourth or fifth time somebody says to you that you ought to be PM [Prime Minister], you know very well they’ve said it to the PM,” Hubbard uttered.

Ah, what an imagination.

As Sherman says, Hubbard returned to Saint Hill and soon had completed OT 1 and 2. And then he was on to even greater adventures, as the next year Hubbard took to sail, the Sea Organization was born, and it became the “OT Base” he was looking for, which would get ethics in on this planet. Hail, the Great Thetan!



An excellent overview of Scientology versus the Internet

We had no idea this was coming, but we appreciate the amount of ink given to our work and our book. Check out this excellent plunge into Scientology’s contentious relationship with the Internet by Jesse Hicks over at the Daily Dot site.

We really appreciate the look at Tory Christman and her fascinating defection from Scientology, which we wrote about 15 years ago. Great stuff.

Hicks digs into a suspicious increase in “Likes” at Scientology’s Facebook page that almost all seems to be coming from Indonesia:

Via email, Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw explained the increase.“There is no surprise in the increase of ‘Likes’ coming from Indonesia,” she wrote, “after all, our humanitarian aid in the region can be counted in the thousands. 600 Scientology Volunteer Ministers from 28 nations responded to the 2004 tsunami in the Indonesian region bringing help to 300,000 people.” She did not explain why the church’s laudable humanitarian work resulted in a sudden spike in Facebook fans nearly 11 years later.

Oh, Karin.


Alex Gibney exposes a Scientology shill

Many of you saw this tweet filmmaker Alex Gibney posted last night. It sounded familiar. We’ve run into numerous occasions when Scientology’s “reporters” for its Freedom magazine, or out-of-work reporters from other publications, were posing as legitimate news gatherers as they worked on a smear job for the church…


Meanwhile, you’ve no doubt heard that a Clearwater theater backed out of its commitment to run Going Clear as the documentary begins another theatrical run. That Gibney, did he know what he was getting in for? Heh.



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 a complete 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.

Tony Ortega’s upcoming appearances (and check out the interactive map to our ongoing tour)…

Sept 23: Cleveland, Parma Heights Library, 7pm sponsored by Center for Inquiry – Northeast Ohio

Sept 24: Minneapolis, Grumpy’s Bar & Grill, 2801 Snelling Ave, Roseville, 7 pm, sponsored by Minnesota Atheists

Sept 27: Portland, Friendly House, 1737 NW 26th Ave, 12:45 pm, sponsored by Humanists of Portland

Sept 28: Seattle, Razzi’s Pizzeria, 7 pm, with Seattle Skeptics and Seattle Atheists

Sept 29: Vancouver, BC, Seven Dining Lounge, 7 pm

Oct 23: Sydney, Giant Dwarf Theatre (with Sen. Nick Xenophon)

Oct 25: Melbourne, venue secured (announcement coming later)

Oct 28: Adelaide (with Sen. Nick Xenophon)

Oct 30: Perth

Past dates: Santa Barbara (5/16), Hollywood (5/17), Orange County (5/17), San Diego (5/20), San Francisco (5/22), New York (6/11), Chicago (6/20), Toronto (6/22), Clearwater (6/28), Washington DC (7/12), Hartford (7/14), Denver (7/17), Dallas (7/20), Houston (7/22), San Antonio (7/24), Austin (7/25), Paris (7/29), London (8/4), Boston (8/24), Phoenix (9/15)


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

E-mail your tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT 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 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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