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Witness to Dianetics: For the first time, the letters of key Hubbard ally Donald H. Rogers

Jon Atack has provided us a marvelous exclusive. He’s provided us with copies of letters he received from a man name Don Rogers in the mid-1980s. And we’ve asked historian Chris Owen to help us understand just how valuable these letters are and what’s in them, followed by the first of three Rogers letters in full (we’ll post the second and third tomorrow). It’s quite a week of early Dianetics history here at the Bunker!

Over the course of about a year in 1984-85, Scientology’s leading unauthorized historian, Jon Atack, exchanged a series of letters with one of Hubbard’s earliest collaborators, Don Rogers. Atack had reached out to Rogers in the course of researching “Hubbard Through the Looking Glass,” a manuscript that later became his book A Piece of Blue Sky – a title prompted by a statement that Rogers attributed to Hubbard. The letters, which the Bunker can now publish following Rogers’ 2003 death, provide many insights into the earliest days of Dianetics and Scientology.

Rogers was a young electrical engineer when he met Hubbard in 1949, just as Hubbard was in the process of developing Dianetics. He was a member of the “Bay Head Circle,” a small group of collaborators who met at Hubbard’s beach cottage at Bay Head, New Jersey. The others involved were John W. Campbell, the science-fiction editor; Art Ceppos, the head of the Hermitage House publishing firm; Dr. Joseph Winter, a Michigan physician and contributor to Campbell’s magazine Astounding; and Sara Hubbard, who played a major but regrettably poorly documented role in the development of Dianetics. All of the group, plus a lawyer named C. Parker Morgan, became the board of directors of the Hubbard Dianetics Research Foundation established in Elizabeth, New Jersey in April 1950.

Prior to joining Hubbard, Rogers had been an FBI agent and was working at Western Electric before dedicating himself to Dianetics. He had been recruited by Campbell, who described Rogers in his letters as having “a fish-eyed stare” and “a purple-plated doozy of a case.” Campbell personally gave Rogers an early version of Dianetic auditing but became frustrated with Rogers after he got stuck on a persistent dream of being hit by a truck.

As Rogers’ letters document, he made a number of important contributions to Dianetics. His training as an engineer shaped his view of how Dianetics functioned and he shared a similar outlook to Campbell, who introduced many elements of cybernetics – a concept devised by Campbell’s old MIT professor, Norbert Wiener – into Dianetics. (The similarity in naming was not a coincidence.)

Rogers considered Hubbard’s approach to the development of Dianetics to be comparable to the accepted engineering practice of rapid practical experimentation and innovation, which produced satisfactory results even if it was otherwise poorly documented. He applied his knowledge of electronics to investigating whether auditing could be aided through electronic means – a line of enquiry that eventually led to another Dianeticist, Volney Mathison, inventing the E-meter. Hubbard acknowledged Rogers’ contributions in his lectures and writings; until the 1980s, Hubbard’s book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health included an appendix written by Rogers setting out a schematic of Hubbard’s concept of the analytical and reactive minds.

Rogers seems to have fallen out with Hubbard, as did so many others over time, due to the latter’s paranoia and authoritarianism. His letters provide vivid descriptions of how Hubbard was consumed by paranoia, seeing “a spy from the American Medical Association in every student applicant, in every preclear in for processing, in every non-student customer in the FranTom Luncheonette downstairs.” Within months of Dianetics being published, Hubbard set about forcing out his fellow directors of the Dianetic Foundation in order to take total control for himself. Rogers writes that Hubbard’s “cloak-and-dagger personality would not let him ask us to resign so he could take over his own thing; he had to assume our hostility and try to force us out. You never knew what he would do next to create turbulence.”

After Ceppos and Winter resigned from the Foundation in October 1950, Rogers was summoned to an anonymous hotel room in Elizabeth where he found Hubbard and Morgan waiting for him. Hubbard “thrust a resignation letter under my nose and told me to sign it, with, I think, some physical intimidation.” Morgan disagreed vociferously with Hubbard’s fist-waving approach, telling Rogers that “it’s duress” and that he didn’t have to do it. Rogers refused to resign on that occasion, but a few months later after everyone else on the board apart from Hubbard had quit, he resigned too.

Despite the way Hubbard had treated him, Rogers remained an admirer of Hubbard’s ideas and continued to maintain an interest in Dianetics and Scientology for years afterwards. He joined the boards of Hubbard’s subsequent organizations through to 1954 before leaving with the belief that “black and white processing” had “cracked his case.” His letters show both his evident admiration for Hubbard and his candid acknowledgement of Hubbard’s darker side. He wrote that Hubbard had left behind him “a trail of broken promises” – a verdict that will be very familiar to many people who have departed Scientology over the years.

— Chris Owen


64 Gough Ave.
Ivyland, PA 18974

July 20, 1984

Mr. Jon Atack

Dear Sir:

This is in reply to your letter of July 12 inquiring about history in Dianetics and Scientology. I am answering only on this basis, that this letter remains my property and is not for publication in whole or in any part. I will try to give you data which may help you avoid misstatements.

John Campbell brought me in to work with L. Ron Hubbard in 1949, before Joe Winters showed up. I went to Bay Head on Wednesday evenings and on weekends, after Hubbard moved there from Elizabeth. I was around when Ron wrote Book 1, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, or DMSMH, and I helped read proof on the manuscript, as did John and Sarah. It took Ron six weeks, of which two or three went into false starts before he was happy with his approach. This was about Jan and Feb, 1950; I lived in Fanwood, NJ and John lived nearby in a suburban area of Westfield. At first, I paid Ron for auditing, a total of $450, based on the idea of easy clear; Ron always was good at selling promise; I think I still have the cancelled checks.

At Bay Head we had many discussions on theory, practice, history, etc. Ron taught carefully and complimented me on write-up articles I did at the time, which later appeared in the Bulletin from the DRF of Wichita. Ron was thinking healing, and one of the things he said was that if the doctors won’t accept Dianetics we can go underground and come up as a religion. Another thing he said when planning the Foundation membership grades was “let’s sell these people a piece of blue sky.” In one session, I contributed the idea that dramatizing the semantic content of the speech in an engram is a different thing from dramatizing the action of the engram. I also contributed the idea of free feeling and bound feeling. Ron said that he and a friend, I think living in San Francisco at the time, worked out the principles for organizing a new religion if you wanted it to sweep the world; it should have lots of promise, proselytizing should be a necessary expression of faith and earn brownie points, etc. Ron is also an experienced and skilled hypnotist, and initially reverie was a light trance induced by hypnotic techniques. We used cancellers, and sprang them at the end of every session.

I was one of the Directors of the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation at Elizabeth, and was originally titled Coordinator of Research, later changed to Director of Research. I left the Western Electric Co in July, 1950 to go full time with the Foundation. Somewhere about that time Ron awarded me the title Fellow of Dianetics for the theory that valences influence perceptic recall; I have the certificate. Later he awarded me Fellow of Scientology. I forget why; this was published, but I never got the certificate. In the Foundation, Parker, John and I, and I think some other early workers, could get HCA’s by attending a month of the school lectures. I never did it, because of the pressure of work, in retrospect chargeable to job insecurity, but in the Wichita period Jack Maloney put my name in the HCA list so that I would get all the auditor mailings. Or I guess by that time the title was changed from Hubbard Certified Auditor to Hubbard Dianetic Auditor because in England they certify incompetence while here we certify competence. Anyway, that’s how some people got the idea that I have an HDA. I was also a director of the Foundation corporations in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, and the originator and first editor of The Dianetic Auditor’s Bulletin. Later, I turned over the editing to Jonathan Koontz, who was under my supervision.

I remember being criticized by Ron for the last sentence in my editorial in the Dianetic Auditor’s Bulletin for February, 1951, which said: “The future of dianetic processing as a healing art will in the last analysis lie in the ability of the auditor to see a problem and to solve it.” He didn’t say why he didn’t like it, but I figured that it contained more honest commitment than he wanted. Maybe not. Maybe he didn’t trust auditors enough for that. He still doesn’t, as you can see from the thrust for standardizing all techniques so that auditors need not be allowed to think, but can be expected to apply standard procedures blindly and deftly. This is the place where Ron and I part company in the theory of psychotherapy. I don’t think that you can bring a person to greater self-fulfillment, freedom, responsibility, authority, by telling them what to do every time he turns around. I think you have to teach him what the internal mental universe is like, what we know about its problems and their solutions, and about the directions of growth, and encourage him and help him to apply this knowledge in and for himself. Ron, on the other hand, is trying to keep Scientology as authoritarian as the Roman Catholic Church, without catching his neophytes early enough to subject them properly. So far as the therapy is successful it overthrows its own authority. In fact, in Bay Head in 1949 or 1950, Ron said that he had found it very hard to get people through to clear, because as they became released they gradully became so busy and happy in living their own lives that they had little time for more therapy, and even thought they improved themselves by their own efforts.

I recognize that authoritarianism can have a legitimate place in such a field, temporarily. When CATV [cable television] first started, there were no local technicians competent to maintain a system, so the manufacturer sold only a combined package which included field engineering with the equipment, but finally abandoned this plan after there was enough general experience for good maintenance people to be available anywhere. It was the only way the industry could have succeeded and grown without being murdered by customer incompetence. If Ron is thinking this way, and maybe I’m being unnecessarily charitable, the time may come when he will no longer adhere to the authoritarian view. On the other hand, hypnotists think in terms of operator and subject, and persons without this orientation don’t become hypnotists.

Ron’s concept of basic purpose was this, that each person very young assesses his own potentials and the needs and limits of the world around him, and evolves a basic purpose from which he departs only through aberration and to which he tends to return lifelong. He said that you can find this by regressing the adult to about age two in deep trance and asking him what he wants to be and do when he grows up. You may find that he wants to teach, to sell things, to govern, to make things beautiful, to add to knowledge, to build things, etc. But at age three this is already overlaid with social hero worship, and he wants to be a ball player, a racing car driver. John Campbell said that Ron’s was “to find the gold enchantment to banish the black enchantment.” This could be true; I won’t quarrel with it. What I dredged up from my own subconscious was “to bring light,” and I have never found fault with it. I’d like to see someone else corroborate Hubbard on this concept of basic purpose, however.

The HDRF at Elizabeth always made money, with Ron syphoning it off to operate with at Los Angeles, etc., until when business fell off a little in the spring of 1951 it became insolvent and went into bankruptcy. Hubbard left in the late summer of 1950 to run the first course at Los Angeles and to wrest control of that organization from Schofield and Crail. I heard him tell them “Dianetics is mine and nobody is going to take it away from me.” They were promoter types, too, but no match or Ron, and they had thought they were going to own and operate the big LA branch and ride free on Ron’s work. When he and Sarah left, they left a rented a house in Rahway, NJ, without any winterizing, and when they didn’t come back by cold weather, the pipes froze and burst with lots of water damage which it fell to Jack Maloney to have repaired at Elizabeth’s expense of two or three thousand dollars. There was a similar case later in Palm Springs, where he left a rented house and all the plantings died for lack of watering; the landlord was after the Foundation on that, but I don’t remember who finally paid.

I don’t know much about Ron and magic except that he said Sarah took her Master’s degree in witchcraft, though it was officially in English literature, and kidded around that she was a magician or witch. She didn’t talk about it. I love Sarah for introducing me to avocado sandwiches. They’re wonderful. And for her gracious and patient hostessship. She was a swell gal. After divorce, Sarah remarried, to Miles Hollister, who had been in the Foundation, and who became, I heard, an industrial safety supervisor in LA. I’ve had nothing on them in over twenty years, but Miles might be in the directory of the American Psychological Association, or in the Bard College alumni directory. Ron and Sarah had a daughter, delivered by Joe Winter at a hospital in a shore town near Bay Head. She was named Alexis Valerie. At that time the Winters were living in a rented house at Sea Girt, having moved from their first house in Cranford. They later went to Leonia when Joe started to practice in New York. Joe also wrote a couple of books you may have seen; they will help you with history.

When I first met Ron and Sarah their Ford had Georgia plates, and I understood that he had been working with the nuts in a spin bin there. He had anecdotes about particular patients and processing under hypnosis.

I never heard of Scientology before the spring of 1951 in Wichita, and my reaction was that it is a horrid word, half Latin and half Greek. It looked as if Ron was trying to find a way around the bad name Dianetics was getting in some quarters, with a new name and a new pitch. It was also about this time, early 1951, that the E-meter began to develop. I had been working at home on a ytvm for trying to measure bio-potentials, and I found that if I put handles on it for the preclear and ran him through an engram, the pointer moved about a sixteenth of an inch. This, of course, was really not due to biopotentials, but to skin resistance changes varying the minute input current which tubes draw in the negative grid region as the result of electron emission velocities. This was the period when I was trying to hire a psychologist to work with the psychogalvanometer on skin resistance. Two of the fellows borrowed my meter and took it to Ron, which I think gave him the idea. Anyway, a few months later there appeared a simple ohmmeter, which blew out if you touched the cans together, followed by a series of better and better instruments from various inventors, one of which had two meters, one for state and one for changes. Finally, with transistors, came the present series of E-meters and Ron’s enthusiasm for them. I can claim credit for nothing but the idea of using meter appliances, and someone else may well have gotten that independently. I don’t know how much of the development credit properly goes to Ron. I never did get the experimental psychologist; such people were wary of the organization, and then things got too turbulent to keep on trying.

Ron had written a small book before I met him in 1949. I encouraged him to get a manuscript copyright on it, which he did. It became The Original Thesis after he did some rewriting a year or so later, putting in more dynamics than the original first four, etc. I did a lot of work on that book, editing roughly the first half for clarity and style. The original should be available at the Library of Congress. At that time I think we were using the word impediment, engram not yet having come into use. I think it came out of Joe Winter’s medical dictionary.

DMSMH was published by Hermitage House, of which Art Ceppos was the president. They were publishers specializing in the field of psychology and psychiatry.

Ron had his problems with us in the early days. I kept trying to do things the orthodox way, and to cooperate with the university establishment, as by hiring an experimental psychologist. Parker Morgan dragged his heels on filing suit against a newspaper which called Ron a roustabout. Ron had never worked for a circus, and thought they were defaming his character to call him such. Parker never accepted that what Ron wanted was not the damages but the publicity from dragging it through the courts. (my idea; Ron never said that.) Jack Maloney was a jewel. He did exactly what Ron wanted, without filtering it through his own understanding and interpreting.

I never heard of the fee-paid intimate observer group at Elizabeth, but it could have happened without my knowing it. The first courses were given on alternate evenings, MWF and I think TThs, I think for a month and I’m not sure what the fee was. Then came the professional course. Gerry Armstrong asked me about the allocation of space at Elizabeth, and I had a lot of trouble with coherent answers, partly because it was not static, but kept changing as need arose and/or as more space was rented. The evening course was taught in a front room, I think the one which later became Parker’s office. The professional course lectured in the large back room. My first office was a wide spot in the corridor until additional rooms were rented on the floor below. Then later still more rooms were rented for auditing use. Finally, we leased space in a new building down the street in Elizabeth, and had it all partitioned off into auditing rooms. That money all went down the drain when we couldn’t move and had to retrench instead of expanding.

I don’t see any mention of Jim Elliot, who married another student named Adrienne Mills. He got to be on the board of directors, probably after Winter, Ceppos and/or Campbell resigned, and he, Maloney and I were the executive committee during the stirring times before the bankruptcy. This implies that Jack also was on the board, doesn’t it. I’ll have to think. Jim was from the Cleveland area; his middle initial was M. The times were stirring because Ron was attacking Elizabeth. His cloak-and-dagger personality would not let him ask us to resign so he could take over his own thing; he had to assume our hositility and try to force us out. You never knew what he would do next to create turbulence.

I had a month in California in Sept 1950, and a month in Wichita about May of 1951, when Don Purcell picked up the pieces, chartered a plane to bring Ron from his secret location in Cuba, and got the Dianetic Foundation and the Dianetic Research Foundation going. At this time Ron was deathly afraid of communist plots. I was on the board of the Dianetic Research Foundation only. He started The Bulletin, successor to the DAB, and I contributed regularly, but I had no share in Wichita activities after my resignation in May of 1951. I returned to my family in Fanwood, N.J. and got myself a job in electronics, but continued coauditing, etc, and writing. I think it was something later than that that I resigned my corporation directorships, seeing that I had no opportunity to contribute to anything constructive. I kept on getting the dirt about Hubbard College and the break-in to the Foundation, about the lawsuit, etc. I understood that for a long time Ron was staying out of the US because of Federal warrants left over from that suit, but it may not be true. I know that he came back for the Philadelphia lectures, and that I got in to them for half price by being a Fellow of Scientology, the only good it ever did me. If that was good.

It might have been Science of Survival that Ron wrote in Cuba; I don’t recall. I have no knowledge about Ron trying to withdraw his own name from any Corporation names. I don’t know the corporate status of Steve Lee’s activities in Hawaii, either. I was not a director of anything there.

I doubt the accuracy of the DMSMH jacket statement on number of research cases, but I do not think it is fair to Ron to say there was no research, even if his own son said it. He used to recount dozens of incidents from cases he worked, to illustrate points he was making about theory and practice. And just because he did not keep written records in university-orthodox style it is not fair to say that the research was invalid, or even that it was sloppy. My own opinion is that his research is closer to circuit design or machine design engineering than to bacteriological and medical clinical experiments. If I’m designing an amplifier, I only write down what works, or what I hope will work when I try it out, or the theoretical steps leading to a trial, if they are too involved for my lousy memory. I record the optimum value of resistor, but probably not all the values I tried in reaching it. I keep my eye on the goal, and write for my own information rather than for a public of other engineers. If the theory is simple and the job is easy, my notebook shows only the resulting design. On the other hand, if I have something I want to publish, I may go through the formalities of theoretical analysis, lots of data, plotted curves instead of scannable tables, etc. I shocked a Bell Lab head once by telling of a filter that had sold profitably for years, on which nobody had ever plotted a response curve. We had seen it on the scope and knew it was good, and the customers didn’t care as long as it did what they bought it for. He was used to having to give the data on a filter to other engineers who would incorporate it into systems, and had to have the data to design a proper system. A lot of scientific work is like that, that all of the scientists in the country can be thought of as a team doing large-system work, where each has to be able to use or add to the work of others. But Ron was not doing work for other people to take off from. He was doing this for his own interest and satisfaction, and for his own use, up to the point where he had something he wanted to sell. And he had eidetic memory, so why bother with written case records. In this area you can fault him only for being heterodox, if that is a fault. Let’s fact it: creative people are always heterodox; it is part of creativity that you do your own new thinking.

Ron was offered a PhD from Sequoia in 1950, I think it was, and turned it down because of their marginal odor. I always guessed that he knighted himself out of Hubbard College. I wrote to George Washington University once and they had no record of awarding him a degree. The story of his buying Sequoia with other people, in order to get degrees, is new to me, and I’m not sure why they would need to. As I understood it, all you needed to get a degree from Sequoia University was a little publicity to bring you to their attention, and a few thousand dollars to cover their expenses in awarding it to you and printing a diploma.

The bankruptcy was forced by Elizabeth creditors. Maloney, Elliot and I collaborated with Purcell in the move to Wichita, not to evade them, but to keep the good work going with Don’s help and money. I’m not sure that removing the pitiful assets from the NJ jurisdictions was strictly legal. There were a little used office furniture and a lot of files with the commercial value of waste paper.

According to all my best memories, the professional course was moved from Elizabeth to New York, not because of any cease and desist order, but only because of fear that there might be one, and that it might tie the school up so as to prevent such a move. Ron stirred up a really paranoid atmosphere which saw a spy from the American Medical Association in every student applicant, in every preclear in for processing, in every janitor, in every non-student customer in the FranTom Luncheonette downstairs. You will have to figure out for yourself whether this atmosphere reflected Ron’s own personality or was something he contrived for fun and games. I think he really wanted to be rejected by the establishment and to come up as a religion.

Van Vogt was the only director left in California, so I guess it became “his” corporation after all the resignations. Anyway, he did the liquidating. I remember answering questions he had at the time.

Scientology 8-80 was a marvelous book for me. In 1951 in Elizabeth, students would come in and sit in my visitor’s chair and say, “Hubbard is nuts!” And I would defend him, that a creative person has the right to do things his own way, and that doesn’t mean he is nuts. In fact, Ron is the only person I have ever known who had a certificate to prove he was sane. I never saw it, but Ron told about it. Well, all this is quite a strain. Finally, when I read 8-80, I laughed for hours as the locks blew, and since then I have never really cared about the question of whether he was or might be nuts. It became unimportant. It was a better release than Hopalong-Freud.

Ron Hubbard has so carefully, thoroughly and deliberately fouled his own nest that he will never get the credit his creative genius and synthesis in psychotherapy deserve. He went out of his way to antagonize the professions. See for example the footnote on p151 of DMSMH, which has an entirely different impact on the casual reader from what it actually states on close scrutiny. Or listen to some of his lecture tapes from 1950-51, etc. His professional readers usually throw out the baby with the bath, because he makes outrageous statements and then refuses to prove anything. There is one heretical but acceptable psychologist who is using some of Hubbard’s principles, Art Janov of Primal Therapy, and he could use a lot of training by Ron. I suspect he is trying to go his own way but that he really got started by contact with Dianetics. Eventually all the best of Ron’s work may be incorporated into standard psychiatry in that fashion, but only after semi-heretical establishment people have time to “rediscover” it for themselves and prove it out to their own satisfaction.

I think that Ron’s greatest single contribution is the discovery that it pays to reduce trauma to nothing by thorough abreaction, instead of merely opening it up and then trying to analyze it away intellectually.

Next is the multiple discovery that effort, emotion, pain and anaten can all be abreacted, and must be abreacted for the therapy to be fully effective. This is the best evidence in existence on the unity of mind and body, and none of it is of scientific quality. It does, however, convince those of us who have been there ourselves, and/or have guided other people through it to their benefit.

Third is the discovery that aberration springs from decisions made by the patient under trauma, which have not been fully reviewed and assimilated after the trauma has been abreacted. These are called postulates and conclusions, in Dianetic parlance.

It is hard to rank these; if you ask me next year I may put them in a different order. For further discussion see my article “Volition and Psychotherapy” in Mensa Research Journal, Vol. 6, No 1, and the other articles referenced at the end of it.

I have about twelve feet of bookshelves and four full transfer files relating to Dianetics, and I opened them all to Roy Wallis when he came to this country for researches. He got a fast browse, since he only had a couple of days, and made all the notes he wished. I would extend you the same courtesy, if you could get here. And I now have my own copier. He sent me a copy of his book when it came out, and I started to read it. But in the first few pages I found so many trivial inaccuracies which I wanted to correct for the record that I laid it aside to read with a tape recorder microphone in hand, and I was so busy that I finally mislaid the book and never read very much of it. We have to remember that it is written from a sociological viewpoint rather than a psychotherapeutic or a religious one, however. Some day soon I hope to find and finish it.

After working for other people all my life, when I retired at 65 I started an electronics manufacturing business of my own, built it up in five years to such a success that I was too busy and sold it profitably to get out from under. Now I have another very small business with one product and one customer, and lots of engineering to do, which I enjoy, of course. I have also written the first 350 pages of a family tree book covering thirty-two years of researches. After I finish the book, sell the new business and do a couple of small family trees I have pending, I expect to do some travelling, and then maybe write some reminiscences on Hubbard and Dianetics. If I can figure out how to get it published without getting sued for telling the truth! Not that I want to stir things up, but that I want to disseminate Ron’s best psychotherapeutic principles so widely and skillfully that they won’t get lost.

As things stand, I don’t see how they will really survive him, for lack of clear exposition written for newcomers, unless he gets himself martyred so that he can get himself worshipped as the founder of a new religion, and I think he is too pro-survival for that. Also, such an eventuality would probably result in so much distortion and disapproval as to do irrevocable damage.

When I first saw Ron’s Axioms I was shocked by the looseness of the writing, even for Ron. Many of them relate to each other, or are subordinate to each other, but the final expression reads like the pudding of an author’s notes from which he will do some concise and organized writing. This kind of thing puts off the kind of educated people that Ron would need if he were trying to get orthodoxy and acceptance. To a psych prof the stuff is amateurish in writing and therefore in thinking, so why bother with such maunderings and jottings.

I remember one day at Bay Head, just after Winter got there, Ron had John Campbell on the couch, running him through a pre-natal engram, and Joe saw his first session. In the depth of the thing he put his stethoscope on John, pronounced him very sick and wanted him put to bed at once. But he deferred to Ron’s judgment as the man in charge of the case, and was astonished to see John back to normal in a very short time as a result of reducing the trauma. If this didn’t convert him entirely, it did to watch Ron take me through my own birth, complete with all the muscle and body distortions which the infant goes thru in being born.

I wish we still had John Campbell; he had a fund of stories on Ron. One story illustrating his creativity; John had from Ron a story for the magazine, which he could not use as is, the ending not fitting magazine policy. They were at Ron’s place, and between them they worked out a new ending, and while John read a book, Ron wrote the new ending in two hours, five thousand words ready for the printer. This is in line with what Sarah said, that Ron never worked more than four hours a day, three months of the year, to earn a living writing. Another story: They were in a hotel, and Ron hadn’t written yet a story promised for tomorrow, so he sent out for a typewriter, wrote the 18,000 words without stopping, delivered the story, and gave the typewriter to the bellboy, to Sarah’s annoyance. I remember many more of John’s stories. A man of that creativity could invent case history anecdotes as he might need them to illustrate his points, of course, and I could have been taken in by them. I don’t think he did.

I remember Barbara. Someone at the LA Foundation went to Ron’s apartment and she answered the door wearing the top of his pajamas. Hearsay evidence, of course.

Don Purcell was an oil wildcatter and a housing developer, and had always wanted to endow a children’s hospital, before he came with Margaret to the first course at Elizabeth. He finally decided that using the money to help the Foundation would be a greater humanitarian move, and took us in to Wichita in space he rented and put up front money like crazy. I corresponded with him for many years after I resigned and left Wichita, and I had a couple of contacts with Margaret after he died.

Waldo T. Boyd was the man I had making Hubbard articles out of the transcriptions of Ron’s recorded lectures. I think he also did this other places after Elizabeth. He was a Bahai adherent. The current publications show that they are still doing this; many of the byline articles currently being published have copyrights back into the sixties. I’ve seen Waldo’s name in the last few years, I think in the correspondence columns of a science fiction magazine.

I don’t think there ever was an HDRF in Wichita, but only the successor organizations, the Dianetic Foundation and the Dianetic Research Foundation. I’d look it up, except that the stuff is up in the attic and it’s very hot up there.

It would be hard to count the times Ron has announced new techniques to crack all the hitherto uncrackable cases. I would guess about twice a year since 1950.

I don’t think it is accurate to say that the E-meter is used to treat disease, because even with an E-meter I don’t think you can separate psychosomatic problems into physical and psychological aspects. You have to treat the whole personality, working with effort, emotion, pain and anaten as well as with postulates and conclusions. And in anyone else’s methods of handling psychosomatics successfully you cannot separate diagnosis and treatment as well as you can with the E-meter as a diagnostic tool. Ron’s idea that they are treating the human spirit is probably as good a dodge as any; I doubt whether there has ever been tested in the courts any satisfactory legal meaning for the term spirit. To try leads into the morass of religion very rapidly, and any good general knows enough to take such position that the enemy must attack through a morass.

Ron takes the whole man as his territory, and resents being walled off by licensing agencies into partitioned disciplines. So he dodges. So would I, if I were in his place. So he experiments on the public. So do doctors and psychiatrists, except that they are careful to choose the eco[no]mic and social levels which won’t fight against such usage. In fact, you could say that the automobile industry has experimented with the public ever since Selden, and that it has learned how to make a good car by trying out its efforts on the public at the public’s expense. But, like them, and like the vegetable peddler in the story, I think Ron Hubbard has always given his customers the best he had in the way of psychotherapy, although he tried to make them think it was complete, perfect and then some. I’m reminded of Kallet and Schlink’s “100,000,000 Guinea Pigs,” with the emphasis, of course, that a professional man who is dealing with people’s lives and health has a greater responsibility than one who is dealing only with their pocketbooks.

And Ron is laughing all the way to the bank!

Well, I could go on, and on, and on, but I won’t.

Very truly yours,

Donald H. Rogers

ps: Is Gerry Armstrong still in the Church of Scientology?
pps: What is your reaction to the idea of my sending Ron a copy of this letter, just to play fair with him?
ppps: If you reply, will you try to give me a lot of names of brands of English mild and bitter beer? No one here knows it from lager by the names, and I want to get a case locally. For example, they have John Courage and Stepney’s, but don’t know what it is.

Tomorrow: The second and third letters from Rogers to Atack, with much more detail from those early days of Dianetics!


Make your plans now!


Wow, we’re now less than two months out, and Chee Chalker is working hard to make sure things are going to run smoothly at this year’s HowdyCon in Chicago, June 21-23. As in past years, we’re looking forward to meeting readers of the Bunker, culminating in Saturday night’s main event.

The biggest difference this year is that our Saturday night event is separate from that evening’s dinner. Chee is setting up an inexpensive pizza dinner that you don’t need to pay for ahead of time, after which we’ll walk over to the theater where our event, hosted by Chicago Fire star Christian Stolte, will take place. Because it’s a separate event, we’re asking that you pay $10 each to get into the Saturday night event, which will help us recoup what the Bunker paid for the venue. (We have never made a penny on our HowdyCon meetups, we only try to break even.)

Please email your proprietor (tonyo94 AT gmail) in order to reserve your spot for Saturday night’s main event. Seating is limited, and we’re going to have some really interesting people on stage and they may make a few announcements that you don’t want to miss.



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,108 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,711 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 254 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,317 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,091 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,865 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,211 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,705 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,745 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,457 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 983 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,072 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,212 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,532 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,507 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 863 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,165 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,271 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,674 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,546 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,128 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,633 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,877 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,986 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on May 8, 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


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