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L. Ron Hubbard’s son was troubled, but don’t discount him entirely: few knew his father better

[Ron DeWolf at the 1982 Clearwater hearings]

Earlier this week, we wrote about a 15-page 1985 letter written by Ron DeWolf to the IRS that was released by the FBI and became public for the first time. DeWolf was the name adopted by L. Ron Hubbard Jr., who was known as “Nibs” to the Hubbard family. We asked Jon Atack for his thoughts on Nibs and the new letter, and he sent us this piece.

I was in touch with Nibs – L. Ron Hubbard Jr. – through an intermediary in 1984. I would write questions, my friend would phone Nibs, and have long and elaborate conversations with him. Nibs sent me a recorded talk at this time.

I knew that Nibs had admitted to perjury, so I was very careful of any information he gave me. I resolved to use only material that had a second, independent source.

I read Nibs’ testimony at the 1982 Clearwater Hearings and his legal claim against his father’s estate. I also read his 1983 interview with Penthouse magazine. It seemed to me, back then, that Nibs was a chip off the old block: he told far-fetched stories without concern for the truth. But, as his father said, “When you become too incredible, you become invisible,” and so over the decades my view of Nibs has changed: Hubbard’s activites were so deplorable that it is hard to give anything the man said credence.

Where Nibs speaks of his own experience, I tend to trust him; where he speaks of his father’s claims, I treat them as his father’s claims (for instance, the statement that his father was given the magical materials by the same man who had given them to Hitler). Hubbard senior’s claims should all be treated carefully, given his propensity for lying.


Nibs was born on May 7, 1934. He was premature and weighed only 2 lb., 2 oz. He was Ron Hubbard’s first born, the son of his first wife Margaret Louise Grubb (also known as “Polly,” or “Skipper”). Hubbard abandoned Polly and their two children when he joined the US Navy in 1941. He paid nothing towards the support of the family. Nibs accompanied his grandparents on a visit to his father in Phoenix, Arizona in the summer of 1951. Once he had graduated high school, in Washington State, in June 1952, Nibs joined his father, who had sold off his interest in Dianetics and moved to Phoenix to run his new Scientology operation. As Nibs put it, “Within a few short weeks I found myself head of the newly formed ‘Hubbard College’ as Director
of Training and Chief Instructor.”

There is no doubt that Nibs held a high position in the Scientology organizations. On December 22, 1953, when Hubbard secretly registered the first “Church” of Scientology, Nibs was one of the
incorporators (along with registrations for the “Church of American Science” and the “Church of Spiritual Engineering”). By his own account, he helped his father to devise Scientology techniques, and also worked to scare off critics (at times with the threat of violence).

Four years after he had joined the family business, Hubbard senior wrote a Hubbard Communications Office Bulletin in which he called his son “one of the best auditors in the business." (HCOB Jul 22,1956) Nibs said that his father asked him to push attendees of their “congresses” to the limit, to see how far they would go. He claimed that the Upper Indoctrination Training Routines – which feature in most Scientology “major” courses – were developed to quiet rowdy students. The original bulletins are signed “L. Ron Hubbard, jnr”. The “junior” was removed after Nibs’s departure (just as the “corrupt” bulletins on Operating Thetan Level V were only changed by putting Hubbard’s name in place of David Mayo’s).

As well as persecuting critics and unlicensed competitors, Nibs claimed that he and his father were running cocaine for the Mafia. I have seen no evidence that supports this last claim, but it would no longer shock me if it were true.

Nibs was present when his father dictated the notorious Brainwashing Manual, which he claimed was a lecture given by Stalin’s spy chief Lavrentiy Beria. John Sanborn, who was head of
publications from 1954 to 1978, confirmed to me in an interview that it was Hubbard who dictated the manual (he was also present).

Nibs’ essential claim is that his father considered himself the natural successor to Aleister Crowley. This is supported by much evidence: from Hubbard’s “magickal working” with Jack Parsons, in 1946, to him calling Crowley “my very good friend” in 1952, through to the “Blood Ritual” ceremony of Hubbard’s submission to the goddess Hathor that Omar Garrison showed me back in the early 1990s.

In the Penthouse interview, Nibs said of his father, “he thought of himself as the Beast 666 incarnate. … The Antichrist. Aleister Crowley thought of himself as such. And when Crowley died in 1947, my father then decided he should wear the cloak of the beast and become the most powerful being in the universe … you’ve got to realize that my father did not worship Satan. He thought he was Satan. He was one with Satan … I mean, when you think you’re the most powerful being in the universe, you have no respect for anything, let alone worship.”

The original introductory Operating Thetan Level VIII document restates this theme – that Hubbard considered himself to be both the Antichrist and Lucifer.

Nibs told author Bent Corydon, speaking of his father’s first visit to London in November 1952: “Just a month before, he had been in London, where he had finally been able to quench his thirst; to fill his cup with the true, raw, naked power of the magick. The lust of centuries at his very fingertips … In London he had acquired, at last, the final keys, enabling him to take his place upon the ‘Throne of the Beast,’ to which He [sic] firmly believed himself to be the rightful heir.” (Corydon, L. Ron Hubbard, Messiah or Madman, p.305, first edition; p.327 second edition).

While academics such as David Barrett have denied any resemblance between Scientology and Crowley’s teaching, I traced many of the fundamental elements of Scientology to Crowley. The Crowleyite material was almost always hidden, but although Scientology doesn’t have the same uniforms, language, or rituals as the Ordo Templi Orientis, there are many parallels in both belief and practice.

For more on the magick connection, please read the chapter “His Magickal Career” in Let’s sell these people A Piece of Blue Sky and my paper Hubbard and the Occult.

Nibs believed in the “magick” and believed that his father had opened a door to Hell. I do not share that belief – Hubbard was a fabulist who entertained himself by scaring the living daylights out of his oldest child. I think Hubbard probably did believe the tales he was telling – on alternate days, at least.

Nibs left Scientology because he was not earning enough money to support his family. His father was notoriously tight with money. Nibs was then the subject of “fair game” – the organizationally sanctioned harassment inflicted upon anyone who complains about Scientology or Hubbard. Unlike his father, Nibs was a good family man, loved by his children, but he always answered the door with a gun behind his back.

In 1983, Nibs’s suit to have his father declared dead and his estate put into probate was dismissed, because a judge was persuaded that Hubbard senior was still alive. A bogus interview with Hubbard was printed by the Rocky Mountain News as part of the proof (actually written by Hubbard’s amanuensis, Robert Vaughn Young).

Nibs also continued to sell his own version of the “Technology”, at least up to 1985. He claimed to have the “real” technology, some of which is discussed in an unpublished manuscript he wrote in 1981, “The Telling of Me by Me.” But that is another story.

Although Nibs’s name is on Bent Corydon’s Messiah or Madman, he actually withdrew from the project within a few weeks of signing the contract. Nibs died on September 16, 1991, leaving many unanswered questions.

I hope that “The Telling of Me by Me” will become publicly available someday. This document, along with Sara Hubbard-Hollister’s deathbed recordings, are perhaps the most important missing
information in the Scientology record.

We should suspend our disbelief when considering the evidence, because Nibs Hubbard was the focus of a prolonged campaign by the Guardian’s Office of Special Affairs. His statements should be
carefully examined before a single word is dismissed. I think that history will prove him to be a valiant man who did all that he could to stop the evil that his father had unleashed on the world.

— Jon Atack


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,965 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 111 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,174 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,948 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,722 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,068 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,562 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,602 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,314 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 840 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,929 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,069 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,389 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,364 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 720 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,022 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,128 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,531 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,404 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 985 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,490 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,734 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,843 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on December 16, 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 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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