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What L. Ron Hubbard said about religion — before Scientology became a ‘church’

[Hubbard, circa 1952]

Once again, we’re bringing you some original Source to let you hear L. Ron Hubbard in his words. And in this case, we hope we’ve found something for you that’s going to provoke some interesting reactions.

Recently we were looking through the legendary Philadelphia Doctorate Course, as you do, and we stumbled upon a rather circuitous elocution about religion — Hubbard himself referred to it as a “rambling” lecture.

And then it struck us. The date — December 11, 1952.

A quick reminder: Hubbard enjoyed huge success with the publication of his book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health in 1950, but then in 1951 things had all fallen apart — his marriage to his second wife, Sara Northrup; his Dianetics foundations which went belly-up; and he’d even absconded to Cuba with his and Sara’s baby girl, Alexis. In 1952, in Wichita and Phoenix Hubbard gradually started putting things back together under a new name, “Scientology,” but even then he was still selling a “science,” not a religion, and he was struggling.

In 1953, Hubbard admitted to one of his closest followers, Helen O’Brien, that things couldn’t get much worse and that they might try the “religion angle.” Later that year, on December 16, 1953, Hubbard, his son Nibs, their wives, and two others signed papers in Camden, New Jersey to form the very first “Church of Scientology” corporation.


But on December 11, 1952, when Hubbard gave this talk in Philadelphia, that all lay more than a year away. And speaking to his small audience, he went rambling into a rather dismissive philippic about the state and history of religion.

We think it’s hilarious, but we’re pretty masochistic about listening to L. Ron Hubbard lectures.

We’ve put together subtitles for you in this Fair Use excerpt, and we are really looking forward to your thoughts about Hubbard’s characterizations of Christianity, ancient Rome, Aleister Crowley (he says it like “howl” but it’s actually pronounced like “holy”), and the development of the idea for Hell.

Once again, we’ll put it to you. Does Hubbard sound like he’s unlocked the secrets of the universe, someone you ought to be dedicating your entire life to serving? Let’s go to the tape…


Some delicious quotes from this segment…

“Lot of people know something about Christianity. There are a few still left in the society who do.”

“They first expected, you know, just heaven to suddenly open up in this lifetime…they finally were saying it was after death that this took place. Oh, bunch lot less people started buying it.”

“Recently some dame uh… some babe uh… pardon me. I… I keep classifying her correctly. Uh… some ‘lady’ uh… paid His Royal – uh pardon me, uh… I don’t know. What do you call the guy? Oh, yeah. His uh… Pope Pius? Pope Pius, that’s right. Paid him a million bucks-dollars cash to ratify her divorce properly.”

“You can get all sorts of things from a church now – anything but God. You can get basketball, bridge, bowling alleys, dances, bazaars – almost anything you want to. But don’t go in and ask for a hat full of God, because they haven’t got it to sell.”

“You, for instance, today sit here with a Constitution which guarantees religious freedom but, by golly, what would happen to you if you started to worship Baal? Man! How that would ring in the tabloids. If you started to worship Lucifer, if you started to worship any of the various gods… One fellow, Aleister Crowley, picked up a level of religious worship which is very interesting. Oh, boy! The press played hockey with his head for his whole lifetime. The Great Beast – 666. He just had another level of religious worship. Yes, sir. You’re free to worship everything under the Constitution so long as it’s Christian.”

“There’s nothing more sterile today than religion. It is dull, just dull beyond dull.”

“I have no partiality with regard to religion. Anybody who wants to sell pie in the sky or hot air needs no license to survive from me.”

It’s really some interesting (and dismissive) stuff, and it seems pretty consistent with something that Hubbard’s son, Nibs, said in a manuscript that he wrote with Paulette Cooper in 1972 and which we quoted for the first time in our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely

I have always found it interesting that my father turned Scientology into a religion, for I had never known him to be a religious man, attend a Church or even talk of God….What I think really interested Dad…was that calling his group a religion gave him more latitude in regard to corporate structure, made it harder for people and groups to try to get him to curb his activities and gave him tax exemption.

So what do you think?


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Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,014 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,617 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 160 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,223 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,997 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,771 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,117 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,611 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,651 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,363 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 889 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,978 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,118 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,438 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,413 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 769 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,071 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,177 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,580 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,452 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,034 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,539 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,783 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,892 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on February 3, 2018 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, 1995-2017 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2017), 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 | 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


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