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L. Ron Hubbard as sad, oversexed schlub: The very personal writings his admirers never discuss


[L. Ron Hubbard, circa 1946]

Hey, gang. We spent all day yesterday reading two manuscripts from people who were kind enough to give us advance looks at their upcoming books. It was great stuff, and we’re glad we got to see it, but it meant we blew the whole day without a chance to make any phone calls. So please don’t be too disappointed with us if we start off the weekend with something we threw together pretty quickly.

We were reminded, never mind how, of one of L. Ron Hubbard’s most fascinating bodies of work, perhaps the most revealing pieces of writing he ever did. But it’s nothing the Church of Scientology has on sale. And you never hear Hubbard’s ardent admirers ever mention it.

We’re talking about “The Admissions,” a document that Gerry Armstrong was good enough to put online in the year 2000. Gerry, you’ll recall, had access to an incredible trove of Hubbard’s personal writings, and he found the Admissions, or “Affirmations” among them.

In 2012, Ohio State University professor Hugh Urban wrote about the Affirmations as a key document for understanding how Hubbard’s affinity for Aleister Crowley and the occult had informed Scientology itself, and he encouraged us to publish some of the document at the Village Voice. Here’s what he said about the strange and very personal material…

One of the most important documents for making sense of the Crowley-Hubbard link and the occult roots of Scientology is a curious text called the “Affirmations” (or “Admissions”) of L. Ron Hubbard. Composed in 1946 or 1947, “Affirmations” appears to be Hubbard’s own personal writings, meant to have been read into a tape recording device and then played back to Hubbard himself. No church official has ever publicly denied that “Affirmations” is an authentic Hubbard document, and Scientology’s own legal position indicates that it does consider the document to be church property and clearly wants to keep control of the text.


Expanding on that point, Urban said…

According to a mutual release and settlement agreement between the Church of Scientology of California and former member Gerald Armstrong in 1986, Armstrong agreed to return a number of confidential documents to the church, including all copies of Hubbard’s “Excalibur manuscript” and “all originals and copies of documents commonly known as the ‘Affirmations’ written by L. Ron Hubbard.” Here the church clearly indicates that the text was written by L. Ron Hubbard, and it is difficult to understand why the church would file suit to retain ownership of the text were it not an authentic document.

In other words, there’s very good reason to believe that the Affirmations is an authentic document that was written by L. Ron Hubbard. And it’s also good to remember that it was written post-demobilization after his adventures in the Navy, but a few years before Dianetics was published in 1950 and changed Hubbard’s fortunes permanently. For today’s exercise, we’re going to randomly select just a few items from the Affirmations in the name of Fair Use, and then supply a thought or two about them.

And yes, seriously, L. Ron Hubbard really wrote this stuff. We’re not kidding. OK, here we go…

You will live to be 200 years old, both because you are calm and because of modern discoveries to be made in your lifetime.

Hey, we can’t blame the future Commodore for pepping himself up with this sort of mantra. Who doesn’t hope some kind of anti-aging pill comes on the market while we’re still kicking around? In Hubbard’s case that didn’t happen, and he fell 126 years short of his goal. Bummer.

Snakes are not dangerous to you. There are no snakes in the bottom of your bed. Snakes are wise beings. They are your friends.

This guy was like 34 years old, and he still got spooked by the idea of monsters under the bed? Doesn’t seem very guru-like.

My service record was not too glorious. I must be convinced that I suffer no reaction from any minor disciplinary action, that all such were minor. My service was honorable, my initiative and ability high. I have nothing to fear from friends about my service. I can forget such things as Admiral Braystead. Such people are unworthy of my notice.

Can you imagine the Church of Scientology acknowledging that Hubbard himself admitted (at least to himself) that he was no war hero? But sure, it still must have stung that Rear Admiral Frank A. Braisted, Commander of the Fleet Operational Training Command, Pacific, led an investigation of that time Hubbard ordered his ship, on its maiden voyage, to shell a Mexican island for target practice and caused an international incident. Hubbard was relieved of command and never made it to a combat zone. But despite urging himself that he had nothing to be ashamed about, he would go on to tell preposterous tales about his war service, including the howler that he’d been machine-gunned by Japanese and was the first American casualty in the Pacific theater. That card.

You can sing beautifully. Your voice can imitate any singer. Your tones are round and true. You have no superstitions about singing at any time. Your oratory is magnificent. Your voice tones perfect, your choice of words marvelous, your logic unassailable.

All evidence to the contrary.

By hypnosis I must be convinced…That I am not bad to look upon. That my posture is straight and excellent. That Sara likes my looks.

Sara is Sara Northrup, the woman Hubbard married in 1946 while he was still married to his first wife, Polly. And the truth is, Sara did like his looks. We’ll repeat that the man who wrote this was just 34 years old and hadn’t begun his long slide into decrepitude. But hypnosis was already a big part of his way of impressing other people, as his friends later testified. And from this and so many other statements in the Affirmations, it becomes clear how much Hubbard was consumed with using his hypnotic skills to convince himself and others that he was larger than life. Or at least not the moral troglodyte he knew in his heart of hearts that he actually was, and feared that it showed in his physical appearance.

I returned to sea as navigator of a large ship and was subsequently selected for the Military Government School at Princeton whither I went in 1944-45 for three months. During my Princeton sojourn I was very tired and harrassed (sp?) and spent week-ends with a writer friend in Philadelphia. He almost forced me to sleep with his wife. Meanwhile I had a affair with a woman named Ferne. Somehow, perhaps because I had constantly wet feet and no sleep at Princeton, I contracted a staphloceus infection. I mistook it for gonnhorea and until I arrived at Monterey, believed my old illness had returned. I consulted a doctor there who reassured me. This affair again depressed my libido. The staphloceus infection has not entirely vanished, appearing as rheumatism which only small doses of stilbestrol will remove. The hormone further reduces my libido and I am nearly impotent.

A self-medicator who had outsmarted himself and now couldn’t get it up. Well, at least he’s honest with himself.

You have no fear if they conceive. What if they do? You do not care. Pour it into them and let fate decide.

Hubbard ended up with seven children by three different women. That we know of.

Gosh, this is kind of fun. Go over to Gerry’s site, choose one of the Affirmations from the full list, and come up with your own observation of what it says about Hubbard. After reading these, does he seem likely to be the sort to outsmart the world’s scientists to discover the actual nature of the universe? You tell us.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on July 30, 2016 at 07:00

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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 L.A. 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

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | 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 | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | 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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