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Scientology’s sneaky front groups — promoting L. Ron Hubbard on the sly

[LA Sheriff Lee Baca and actress Sofia Milos on a ‘Way to Happiness’ float]

As early as the late 1960s, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard decided that one way to counteract Scientology’s miserable press image was to create “social betterment” organizations to improve his image. These various front groups make a lot of noise about how beneficial they are to society by combating drug abuse, improving literacy, or volunteering at natural disasters. But from the beginning Hubbard made it explicit that their number one goal was to burnish his reputation and prepare society for Scientology’s takeover.

Current church leader David Miscavige makes it very plain at the big annual events that the front groups are a big part of Scientology’s “expansion” plans. To the members, there’s no question that the front groups are a part of Scientology, staffed by Scientologists, and under Miscavige’s control. But the front groups themselves do what they can to confuse the press and public about their connection to Scientology. It’s always interesting to see whether reporters get snowed by Narconon or Youth for Human Rights when those groups claim to have only the most tenuous affiliation with the church.

We’ve created landing pages for Scientology’s major front groups — each of them often has many smaller groups affiliated with them. Please help us gather information about them in the comments section at each one…

Applied Scholastics — getting Hubbard ‘technology’ into schools

Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE) — the umbrella organization


Author Services Inc./Galaxy Press — Hubbard’s literary agency and pulp fiction publisher

Citizens Commission on Human Rights — dedicated to destroying psychiatry

Criminon — bringing Hubbard to inmates

Drug-Free World/Truth About Drugs — disseminating Hubbard’s quack ideas about drugs

Freedom magazine — Scientology’s propaganda organ

L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest — help from complicit science fiction legends

Narconon — Hubbard’s quack rehab ideas dressed up as legitimate treatment

The Way to Happiness — Scientology’s anodyne ‘moral code’ distributed as a booklet

United for Human Rights/Youth for Human Rights — using public affairs to reach schoolkids

Volunteer Ministers — turning natural disasters into publicity opportunities

World Institute of Scientology Enterprises (WISE) — targeting businessmen for recruitment


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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. Our collaboration with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’, is also available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle versions.

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 Underground 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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