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L. Ron Hubbard on the run: When the Daily Mail was hounding Scientology’s founder in ’66


Last week, we shared a treat with you that had been dug up by one of our helpful correspondents, a February 14, 1966 Daily Mail story that called Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s academic credentials bogus.

Hubbard, for example, claimed to have graduated with a degree from George Washington University, but records there showed he left with failing grades after three semesters and never took a degree. The article also pointed out that Hubbard was calling himself “doctor” based on a Ph.D. from a diploma mill.

A few weeks after that Daily Mail article and pretty clearly because of it, on March 8, 1966 Hubbard took out an ad in The Times renouncing the use of the title “doctor.”

Today, we have for you the Daily Mail’s coverage of that, as well as another piece from the same publication later that year recording Hubbard’s deportation from Rhodesia.


My word, the Daily Mail was all over the Hubster in 1966, wasn’t it!

And that may help explain why, that year, he began to formulate his plan to abscond from England and take his movement oceanward in 1967. For the next eight years, as “Commodore,” Hubbard ran Scientology from sea, keeping away from the long reach of the U.S. and British governments.

Thanks to our helpful researcher, here are these two fine pieces from 1966. We hope you enjoy them.


Don’t call me Doctor any more
Says the man The Mail exposed
By Richard Whitehead [March 9, 1966]

Lafayette Ron Hubbard, founder of the world-wide psychological cult called Scientology, stopped being a “doctor” yesterday.

He renounced the title in a 15-line advertisement in The Times Personal column, one month after the Daily Mail exposed it as bogus.

A Daily Mail Newsight article showed that his claim to another academic qualification was also a sham.

American-born Mr. Hubbard, 54, has won thousands of followers through the English-speaking world since he founded his cult in 1950. They pay from £2 to £360 for tuition courses.


For the past seven years he has been based at Saint Hill Manor, near East Grinstead, Sussex, formerly the home of the multi-millionaire Maharajah of Jaipur, which he has turned into his international headquarters with a staff of 200. Mr. Hubbard’s £15 15s. Times advertisement said:

‘I, L. Ron Hubbard…having reviewed the damage being done in our society with nuclear physics and psychiatry by persons calling themselves “Doctor,” do hereby resign in protest my university degree as a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.), anticipating an early public outcry against anyone called “Doctor”: and although not in anyway connected with bombs or “psychiatric treatment” or treatment of the sick, and interested only and always in philosophy and the total freedom of the human spirit, I wish no association of any kind with these persons and do so publicly declare, and request my friends and the public not to refer to me in any way with this title.’

In the past Mr. Hubbard claimed that his Ph.D. degree was awarded by Sequoia University. But there is no accredited university of that name in the U.S.

He has also claimed a Civil Engineering degree of George Washington University, and the letters C.E. are printed after his name on his stationery. He was a student at his university for 18 months, but did not graduate.

Another qualification he has claimed is that of Doctor of Scientology.

Mr. Hubbard was not available last night. His personal assistant, Mr. Reg Sharpe, said he was abroad on holiday, and not to be disturbed. He said: “In future we shall refer to him as Mr. Hubbard, or as Lafayette Ron Hubbard, or simply as Ron.”


As a Scientologist, Mr. Hubbard has made many claims in books and bulletins for followers. Among these are that he has twice visited Heaven, that it is possible to “process” the mind back to previous lives, and that he has succeeded in separating the human spirit from the body (“probably the greatest discovery of Scientology”).

Last December Scientology was outlawed by the State of Victoria, Australia, after an inquiry branded its methods there as “evil.”

In the Commons on February 7, the Health Minister, Mr. Kenneth Robinson, refused to order a similar investigation in Britain, though he said he would be prepared to consider “any demand” for an inquiry if he received one.



‘Trip to Heaven’ man told: Get out
By Peter Younghusband
Salisbury, Wednesday [July 14, 1966]

Lafayette Ron Hubbard, founder of the world-wide cult of Scientology, has been declared a prohibited immigrant in Rhodesia.

He has been ordered to leave the country by Monday, although he waged his own campaign in support of Mr. Ian Smith’s rebel Government.

The authorities believe he is using the current political situation to expand his movement.


Mr. Hubbard, 54, who has invested nearly £30,000 to show his “confidence” in the country and its Government, refused to comment on the expulsion order.

Last February, Mr. Hubbard’s activities in Britain were investigated by the Daily Mail.

Multi-millionaire Mr. Hubbard has thousands of followers in the English-speaking world who pay from £2 to £360 for his tuition courses.

He has made many claims in books and bulletins for followers, among them that he has visited Heaven twice, and has succeeded in separating the human spirit from the body.

Last September, Scientology was outlawed by the Australian State of Victoria after an inquiry branded its methods as “evil.”

In the Commons earlier this year, the Minister of Health, Mr. Kenneth Robinson, refused to order a similar investigation in Britain.

Mr. Hubbard arrived in Rhodesia early in May from Johannesburg, where he had flown in January 1966 after “a third bout of pneumonia following which my doctors advised me to leave Britain” — according to a newspaper interview in Salisbury.

After completing business in Johannesburg, he returned to Rhodesia, bought a large house in Salisbury’s most fashionable suburb for £16,500, and began to hold Scientology meetings in it.

He bought the Bumi Hills Hotel on Lake Kariba for a song — it had cost £30,000.

He planned to develop it into a game lodge.


Mr. Hubbard lost no opportunity to get publicity. Apart from issuing Scientologist literature to anyone interested, he made special efforts to ride the crest of the present political wave, apparently to ingratiate himself with White Rhodesians and their Government.

He never lost an opportunity to praise the Smith Government, to drive home the point that he was making substantial investment in Rhodesia, and to express his sympathy for the cause of White Rhodesians.

But the Rhodesian authorities watched him suspiciously, and were investigating his past and present activities.

Mr. Hubbard was restricted to a month-to-month resident permit which was due for review on July 18. It will not now be renewed.

Rhodesian authorities formed the view that Hubbard was playing on Rhodesian emotions to serve his own ends — to swell the membership of his Scientology cult.

Scientology had made striking progress in Rhodesia recently, in the city of Bulawayo, with a population of 45,000 whites, the cult netted an annual return of £10,000.

Rhodesia’s police investigators studied the methods used by the cult. Its lecturers played on the fears, emotions and beliefs of people here to bring them to membership.

In particular, the racial prejudices of Rhodesians were exploited. They were told, for instance, that Africans could not qualify for membership of the Institute of Scientology, because their IQ was too low.


The director of the Scientology Institute in Bulawayo, Mr. John Kennedy, was responsible for much of the cult’s success in Rhodesia.

All went well until Mr. Kennedy, probably impressed by the amount of money he was making for Mr. Hubbard, decided to branch out with a movement of his own — the Institute of Mental Health, headquarters of which he set up in Johannesburg.

The Scientologists were furious for Mr. Kennedy took with him a large slice of their paying members.

Mr. Kennedy died in a shooting incident. It was said he shot himself accidentally while cleaning his revolver. An open verdict was returned by the coroner.

“Apart from issuing Scientologist literature to anyone interested, he made special efforts to ride the crest of the present political wave, apparently to ingratiate himself with White Rhodesians and their Government.”

Sounds like our Ron!

As we pointed out last year, Scientology today has a very different take on Hubbard’s Rhodesian gambit.

But it’s nice to get some additional support for the real version of what happened. And wow, did the Daily Mail sort of not very shyly suggest that Hubbard had a breakaway leader bumped off?



3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on November 10, 2016 at 07:00

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Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated 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 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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