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Jon Atack and Mike Rinder on Scientology’s wackiest book: ‘A History of Man’

We’re very glad that Jon and Mike have taken on this awesome task, and you might also look at the fun we had when we read this most insane of Scientology textbooks with biologist PZ Myers in 2013. Now, here’s Jon’s introduction to today’s video, which is worth the price of admission all on its own.

When I last chatted with Mike Rinder, he suggested that we discuss Scientology’s founding text, Scientology: A History of Man. In the comments section, several people endorsed this crazy idea, so I had to read the damn book. In doing so, I realized that it is almost forty years since I read a Scientology (or Dianetics) book from cover to cover. It will be the last. It was an endurance test, and, if I hadn’t agreed to the chat with Mike, I would have put this bizarre and silly book down after the first page.

Perhaps a little background is pertinent. In 1952, down on his luck after the collapse and bankruptcy of the Dianetic Foundations, Hubbard set about creating Scientology. To escape prosecution for practicing medicine without a license and to side-step the massive debts his princely lifestyle had generated, Hubbard had signed over all of his rights in Dianetics to oil man Don Purcell. He had to find a new name and a new technique, which took only a few days.


Hubbard College started out across town from the bankrupt Dianetic Foundation in Wichita, Kansas. After “inadvertently” acquiring the address printing plates from the latter organization (about 40 pounds weight), Hubbard bombarded the mailing list with more than 30 letters complaining about Purcell (a “monied montebank”, sic) and his own debilitated state – “My bank account is $0.02”. Nonetheless, he boasted new and infinitely superior techniques that, as ever, would fulfill all needs. He started to air a mixture of ideas from science fiction and his prime guru Aleister Crowley (my “Possible Origins of Dianetics and Scientology” expands on Jeff Jacobsen’s excellent work) and picked up the word Scientology – used forty years earlier to mean “pseudo-science” and twenty years earlier to mean Nazi Aryan race craziness. The first mention of indwelling “entities” and a fixation with electronics characterize this period.

Hubbard hit the ground running on 25 February with the “whole track lectures” where he expanded his ideas into what both he and Crowley before him called “past lives,” giving a “Summary of Aberrative Incidents (before time begins…).” A few days later, he first used the word “Scientology” and gave the first demonstration of the Mathison electrometer, which would soon become the Hubbard electrometer.

As part of the sales promotion for the E-meter, Hubbard wrote, “With the advent of the 1952 dianetic techniques, your electropsychometer became a tool so vital in processing that I actually do not know how an auditor can work without one; and know certainly that an auditor who does try to work without one sacrifices the reality of his preclear [client], and at the very minimum quadruples the amount of time he should put on the case.” (How to “sacrifice the reality” of a preclear is not explained.)

Hubbard worked fervently, ignoring the Dianetic debacle. In May, John Campbell Jr, the man who two years before had been Hubbard’s chief publicist, complained, “In a healthy and growing science, there are many men who are recognized as being competent in the field, and no one man dominates the work…. To the extent Dianetics is dependent on one man, it is a cult. To the extent it is built on many minds and many workers it is a science.”

Despite a barrage of publicity, many followers had been shaken by the scandal of Hubbard’s divorce and the antagonism he had roused in many of those who’d helped him (and the barrels of cash he’d managed to squander). From 150,000 book sales in 1950, Hubbard was only able to persuade 38 people to fork out the $500 for the Philadelphia “Doctorate” Course, in December of 1952.

Although Hubbard would assert that people leave because of guilt at their transgressions (“overts”), he frequently “blew.” He rarely stayed in one place for any length of time, such were his “overts.” May found the Hubbard College in Phoenix, Arizona. This is where, his abandoned but doting firstborn, Ron Jr or “Nibs” turned up.

Nibs would be his father’s right-hand man – and enforcer – for seven years. In a few weeks, the eighteen-year-old was Director of Training and Chief Instructor. He was also enlisted in the latest research program – to write a “factual and cold-blooded account” of our “last sixty trillion years” (or “seventy-six trillion” in the Miscavige edition of 2007 – the text does veer into “70-74 trillion” and “76 trillion”).

Nibs, his dad and his newly married stepmom, Mary Sue (who was only three years his senior) took handfuls of amphetamines and examined their “whole track” – the complete history of their existence since the beginning of time.

This awesome project took a mere two weeks. An 89-page mimeographed (old school photocopied) book called What to Audit began the printed outpourings of Scientology. The book would later be
restyled, Scientology: A History of Man.



Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health had confidently claimed success in 273 cases having found “the single and sole source of aberration,” among a host of claims – resilience against the common cold, cures for asthma and tuberculosis, an IQ hike of 50 points, and the ability to do a computation which a “normal would do in half an hour, in ten or fifteen seconds.” It also claimed a cure for all psychoses, neuroses, psychosomatic ills (70 percent of all ailments), compulsions, repressions and irrational behavior. Now, What to Audit blew all of that away (the following is in capitals in the book, but I don’t want to shout at you – imagine Hubbard shouting, if you must):

The auditor who insists on auditing the current lifetime only [as DMSMH advocates], when he has the whole track techniques is available, is wasting time and effort and is, in fact, swindling his preclear [client].” So much for Dianetics.

So, there’s the preamble. Learn all about the Boo Hoo aka Grim Weeper, the Jack-in-a-Box and how Mike Rinder and I use mirrors to avoid being driven into apathy by electronic glare fights.

— Jon Atack



On this day of declaring independence, we want to hear about your own fight for freedom


Here in the United States we are celebrating our independence, and we hope you are too, wherever you are.

As usual, we mark Independence Day by asking readers to tell us about their own declarations of freedom from Scientology indoctrination. What first led you to question your involvement in the organization? How did you negotiate the tricky path of leaving if you still had family members in?


If you’ve told us before about how you left Scientology, what’s changed for you in the last year or two? Has your conception of your Scientology experience changed over time? Would you have done things differently to leave the group if you could?

And for the never-ins, tell us which of the escape stories you find most illustrative, most exciting, most devastating.

And maybe most importantly, what advice can you offer to those under-the-radar types who today are sneaking a peek at this website as they consider whether it’s time, finally, for them to declare their own independence and dissolve the bands which have connected them to David Miscavige and the Church of Scientology?

— The Proprietor


Source Code

“Moral codes are solutions to problems which aren’t announced. And you can therefore define a moral code, technically. A moral code is a series of solutions to problems which have not been confronted or analyzed. And you get upset about moral codes. ‘Thou shalt not drink pitchers of milk after three P.M. before thy parents,’ or something like this. Do you realize that almost all of those commandments which are in the Bible at this particular time, that we call the Ten Commandments, are prompted by some obsessive crimes that existed at that state of the game, and that several of these commandments are solutions to venereal disease? Isn’t that interesting? I think it’s fascinating.” — L. Ron Hubbard, July 4, 1961


Avast, Ye Mateys

“RADIO NEWS: I don’t know what happened to our daily radio news and ALSO why we use radio news. There’s nothing much on it. Recent radio news was carefully censored of all major actions. US news magazines and Herald Tribune headlines are available daily in the port. (By the way, the Manson trial prosecutor says Manson said nothing about Scn and was worlds away from it and BBC is sweating to find out WHO said it on their pgm! Fair shook them. Our PR people are all over them and our legal is sharpening up an axe. BBC has stuck its neck out a half mile.)” — The Commodore, July 4, 1971



Overheard in the FreeZone

“Exterior with full perception may be a false goal. Consider that it takes agreement with the physical universe to see and feel it. As we go up the bridge we have less and less agreement with the physical universe and more and more we are in a creative band, creating something in the physical universe, or just for others to see. While it is delightful, while exterior to ‘feel’ a wall as it feeds its solidity back to you, I just do not understand why the goal of exterior with full perception was so important to LRH. Does anyone besides me really care if I am exterior with full perception, or not? Not really. They care about who I am and maybe what I am doing. Being exterior with full perception, does that really help clear the planet, or is it just a first dynamic ego trip?”


Past is Prologue

2000: Cinema magazine published an interview with Scientology celebrity Tom Cruise. “CINEMA: It could be read recently in the U.S. press that you wanted to leave the Scientology Church. Can you comment on that? CRUISE: Look, people make mistakes. If you read the counter-presentations in certain magazines, you’ll see what I mean. CINEMA: What advantages do you see in your membership in Scientology which is controversial in the media? CRUISE: I know that sometimes the media plays havoc, especially outside the USA. No belief is free from the hate of intolerant people who, luckily, only make up a minority of people. Actually, my religion has already helped me much – in private life and in work. Nevertheless, I hope that people judge me based on my films, regardless of which church I belong to.”


Random Howdy

“There aren’t enough Scientologists left in the world to fill a sports arena, let alone a stadium.”


Full Court Press: What we’re watching at the Underground Bunker

Criminal prosecutions:

Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next hearing set for August 9. Trial tentatively scheduled for early November.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff’s sentencing to be scheduled.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Pretrial conference August 21 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: June 18 pretrial conference delayed until July 9.

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Oral arguments were heard on July 30 at the Eleventh Circuit
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Petition to US Supreme Court submitted on May 26. Scientology responded on June 25.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: California Supreme Court granted review on May 26 and asked the Second Appellate Division to direct Judge Steven Kleifield to show cause why he granted Scientology’s motion for arbitration.
Matt and Kathy Feschbach tax debt: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9 that Feshbachs can’t discharge IRS debt in bankruptcy. Dec 17: Feshbachs sign court judgment obliging them to pay entire $3.674 million tax debt, plus interest from Nov 19.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Third amended complaint filed, trial set for Nov 9, 2021.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs. Case appealed on Dec 24.

Concluded litigation:
Dennis Nobbe, Medicare fraud, PPP loan fraud: Charged July 29. Bond revoked Sep 14. Nobbe dead, Sep 14.
Jane Doe v. Scientology (in Miami): Jane Doe dismissed the lawsuit on May 15 after the Clearwater Police dropped their criminal investigation of her allegations.



We first broke the news of the LAPD’s investigation of Scientology celebrity Danny Masterson on rape allegations in 2017, and we’ve been covering the story every step of the way since then. At this page we’ve collected our most important links, including our four days in Los Angeles covering the preliminary hearing and its ruling, which has Danny facing trial and the potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison.


After the success of their double-Emmy-winning, three-season A&E series ‘Scientology and the Aftermath,’ Leah Remini and Mike Rinder continue the conversation on their podcast, ‘Scientology: Fair Game.’ We’ve created a landing page where you can hear all of the episodes so far.


An episode-by-episode guide to Leah Remini’s three-season, double-Emmy winning series that changed everything for Scientology watching. Originally aired from 2016 to 2019 on the A&E network, and now on Netflix.


Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Other links: SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks. Scientology’s Ideal Orgs, from one end of the planet to the other. Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society. Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in a weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] On this day of declaring independence, we want to hear about your own fight for freedom
[TWO years ago] On this day of declaring independence, we want to hear about your own fight for freedom
[THREE years ago] It’s ‘Declare your Independence of Scientology Day’ here again at the Underground Bunker
[FOUR years ago] Images from spy camera show Clearwater bar owner not only target
[FIVE years ago] Tell us how you declared your independence of Scientology on this glorious Independence Day
[SIX years ago] Jon Atack: Looking back on a week of Scientology enturbulation in Toronto
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology’s ‘Disconnection’ policy foiled as Jeremy Powers reunites with his family
[EIGHT years ago] The Declaration of Independence: When Did You Join the Sons of Liberty?
[NINE years ago] Scientology Marriage Counseling Comes Down to This: “What Have You Done to Tom?”
[TEN years ago] Scientologists: How Many Of Them Are There, Anyway?


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley (1952-2019) did not see his daughter Stephanie in his final 5,667 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 2,351 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,856 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,376 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,396 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,287 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,594 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,462 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,236 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,566 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,040 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,356 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,922 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,841 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,009 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,590 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,851 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,889 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,602 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,127 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 482 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,657 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,208 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,357 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,677 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,532 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,651 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,007 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,310 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,416 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,818 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,690 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,273 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,768 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,022 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,131 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on July 4, 2021 at 07:00

E-mail tips to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We also post 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 new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Our book about Paulette, 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, 1995-2020 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2020), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | 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 | Shelly Miscavige, 15 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

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates, or join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

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 | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele


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