Daily Notifications
Sign up for free emails to receive the feature story every morning in your inbox at


Before Scientology was a ‘church,’ L. Ron Hubbard said religion controlled people with lies

[L. Ron Hubbard, circa 1952]

It’s one of those L. Ron Hubbard quotes that gets brought up a lot, especially by those who want to make the point that the “Church” of Scientology really isn’t one at all.

Listen carefully to a 1952 lecture, and you’ll hear him say it: “The only way you can control a people is to lie to them.”

We’ve seen it raised many, many times in discussions about Scientology, but as with so much about Hubbard and his odd organization, we found that when we took a closer look at it, and put it in the context of the lecture it’s a part of, Hubbard’s quote is even worse than you imagined.

We’ll start by pointing out that the title of that 1952 lecture isn’t really any help. It’s “Overt Acts, Motivators, and DEDs,” and it’s part of a series of lectures collected under the heading “Technique 88.” We’ve excerpted other parts of this series before, when Hubbard explained that Scientology will help you to become a god so you can wreck whole civilizations. It’s great stuff.

But in this particular excerpt, Hubbard is discussing religion in rather stark terms, and so the date — 1952 — is highly significant. Remember, Hubbard published Dianetics in 1950 as a science of the mind, not a religion. It wasn’t until December 1953 that Hubbard and his son signed papers in Camden, New Jersey to create the first “Church of Scientology” corporation. Earlier that year, Hubbard had discussed with one of his closest followers, Helen O’Brien, the idea of trying “the religion angle” (yes, he actually called it that) because business was so bad.


But that was 1953. In July 1952, when Hubbard gave this lecture, he was still selling a “science,” and his description of religion is pretty dismissive. Religion, he explains, is primarily a “control mechanism” that has people worshiping false gods in order to prevent their “implants” from being restimulated.

Before we have you listen to Hubbard in his own words talk about this, we’re going to ask Sunny Pereira, an expert in Scientology “technology,” to explain to us what she’s hearing in this portion of the lecture.

In this excerpt, Hubbard is explaining how all religions start with an idea of worshiping something (a God, or whatever they refer to), and getting sinners to admit their guilt and then repent. And getting them to pay up while they do it. The idea is making the person afraid of consequences for not being a part of the religion. If they don’t repent, in death they will still have to face their sins.

Hubbard uses the term DED, which was later replaced by the word “motivator.” In a DED, someone has an idea of something that was done to them by someone, and makes it all right for them to sin against that person.

Hubbard talks about the Spanish Revolution, and that the people rebelled against their own implants. In many places Hubbard talks about implants, which according to Scientology are put into us between lives, and force false memories on us to forget we are immortal beings and not the body we inhabit. Examples of ideas implanted in us are religion, the fear of mortality, obsession with sex, God, and false incidents — things that did not happen to us. Hubbard says these people rose above those implants, and peaceful people revolted against their religion.

Hubbard is explaining here that there is no creator, and religion itself is invented in an effort to get money from people by convincing them their sins will catch up to them. He is saying that all religions use lies to control people.

And just a little over a year later, Hubbard decided to make Scientology a religion. Mostly, oldtimers tell us, for the tax benefits.

Sunny adds…

It’s interesting to read this 1952 transcript and think about where Scientology is today, or at least where it was in 2004 when I left. With the release of the “Golden Age of Technology, there was a heavy push to get people to confess overts and withholds — roughly analogous to sins and keeping secrets. That process closely follows the pattern of “religion” Hubbard mentions here. The idea of getting people to confess and repent. The Golden Age of Tech is an example of the start of that cycle again. And now it moves forward with continuous lies to parishioners (lies such as “we are expanding like never before” and “Hubbards tech is accepted and used in all walks of life” and “all of your donations go to benefit our community”), which keeps the place going and the money flowing, just like any other “religion” Hubbard mentions here.

That is a fascinating parallel.

So, in 1952, Hubbard said, “The only way you can control a people is to lie to them,” and he used religion as an example.

A year later, he created a religion.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

Here’s the Fair Use excerpt we’ve captioned for you. We’re very interested in your thoughts on it.



Make your plans now!

Wow, it’s already April! Our flight and hotel is booked — who’s going to join us in Chicago? Remember, Friday (June 22) is Fly Day, and Saturday night (June 23) Chicago Fire star Christian Stolte will be helping us present things on stage as we hold our event at an actual theater this year. It’s going to be a wild time. Head over to our HowdyCon 2018 website to start making your travel plans!



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,080 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,683 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 226 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,289 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,063 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,837 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,183 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,677 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,717 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,429 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 955 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,044 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,184 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,504 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,479 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 835 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,137 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,243 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,646 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,518 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,100 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,605 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,849 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,958 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on April 10, 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

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email