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Scientology and kids: L. Ron Hubbard talks about small children as ancient beings

On occasion here at the Underground Bunker we’ve brought you examples of L. Ron Hubbard’s lectures. We think it’s important to hear the source material for this thing called Scientology and not to rely only on published accounts or interviews about it.

Part of the reason we do that is that we’re told often by former members or even other journalists that Hubbard had so much success because he had supernatural skills as a speaker, and cast a spell with charisma that was off the charts. We find those descriptions interesting, because when we listen to his lectures, we agree with an ESMB wag who said that you’re more likely to hear a bad after-dinner speaker at the local Elks lodge, yukking it up for a small but entirely bought-in audience. But maybe that’s just us.

We were reminded of that assessment when Mark “Marty” Rathbun, former top Scientology official, in his most recent video criticized Going Clear author Lawrence Wright for playing fast and loose with Hubbard’s lectures, excerpting more than he printed from a particular passage in order to make the point that Hubbard’s lectures were generally a mess.

Here’s the Wright quote that Rathbun reads from Going Clear, describing what a Hubbard lecture was like: “He would just open his mouth and a mob of new thoughts would burst forth, elbowing each other in the race to make themselves known to the world. They were often trivial and disjointed but also full of obscure learned references.”


Rathbun says, “This didn’t sound like Hubbard to me.”

Well, we’ll let you decide.

We more or less chose a lecture from random, one he gave in 1957 entitled ‘Evil.’ It was part of something called the “16th American Advanced Clinical Courses,” and we chose from it a Fair Use segment specifically about children.

Hubbard wanted his followers to believe that each of us is a thetan, an immortal being that was 76 trillion years old, or quadrillions of years old (cosmologists tell us the universe itself is only about 13.8 billion years old, but whatever). After you die, you as a thetan then jump into a new baby and begin a new life, over and over again. So an infant, Hubbard decided, must also be an ancient being, with the memories of millions and billions of years of experiences. But that raises the question: If an infant is really an ancient being, why can’t he or she talk?

Hubbard deals with that problem, and makes a few more claims about kids — including his own — in this wonderful excerpt of tall-tale telling. Please give it a look and let us know if you think Larry Wright was really so far off.


We’re sure you can think of many more Hubbard lectures that fit with Larry Wright’s description. But more importantly we have to wonder, what, at this point, is Rathbun expecting that his criticisms are going to produce? In our comments, we’ve seen real experts — longtime former Scientology members — take apart Rathbun’s criticisms one by one.

And we’re reminded of a couple of things Rathbun posted on his blog in the past. In 2011, under siege from the Squirrel Busters, a Church of Scientology goon squad that was hounding him at his south Texas home, Rathbun wrote…

The cult has two weapons and two weapons only: a) harassment to a degree unprecedented in a civilized society, and b) money to buy the victim of “a” when he is put into an amenable frame of mind. Just so everybody knows, as Miscavige just won’t seem to get it through his head, I will never fold to any pressure no matter how intense, and I am not for sale – at any price.

And in February 2015, after years of trying to separate what was good and usable in Scientology from what was toxic, he decided that he’d wasted his time. He wrote that Hubbard had produced a “pop psychology and hypnotism” that ” never achieved even the scientifically recognized 20 to 30 percent placebo effect in terms of long-term satisfaction.” In order to hide that ineffectiveness, he says, the rest of Scientology’s superstructure was constructed, which church members were “led to believe” — Xenu, body thetans, that Earth was a prison planet, and that Hubbard was Earth’s only salvation.

Rathbun seemed pretty dismissive of Hubbard and his ideas at that point.

But now, what a turnaround.

While Rathbun throws weak jabs at a terrific book, he’s avoiding the only question that really matters. How about answering the question, Marty?



Wow, we’re getting close to the start of HowdyCon 2017 in Denver. And we had a slight change in logistics from our caterer for our dinner on Saturday night, June 24. If you plan to go, make sure you have confirmed with Kim O’Brien, our coordinator, and visit our HowdyCon website where she has instructions for how you can pay for the dinner fee that night. You need to do that right away to make sure you’ll be included in the Saturday night festivities, which include:

— London-based Australian journalist Steve Cannane talking about his book Fair Game
— A spoken-word performance from former Sea Org official Claire Headley
— Cathy Schenkelberg performing for us scenes from her one-woman show, “Squeeze My Cans”

You don’t want to miss out, so please visit the convention page and get in contact with Kim.

HowdyCon 2017: Denver, June 23-25 at the Residence Inn Denver City Center. Go here to start making your plans.


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,779 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,536 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,882 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,376 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,416 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy in 1,128 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 654 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,743 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,883 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,203 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,178 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 534 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin in 4,836 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 943 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,345 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,218 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 799 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike in 1,304 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,548 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,657 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on June 12, 2017 at 07:00

E-mail 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. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

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.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

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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