A letter from an old timer with Hubbard in the beginning...(1952)
Dec. 28, 1993
According to your Advt. on p. 25 of the 1/3 Spotlight, you want to know something about Scientology. I can categorically state that seldom in the History of Mankind has something which is capable of such great good been used to create such havoc.
That statement needs explanation, which I shall be more than glad to furnish; I have no axes to grind, either pro or anti Scientology, but I lived through the very interesting times of its inception, and you simply cannot understand Scientology (hereafter referred to as Scn) without understanding what went on forty years and more ago.
Lafayette Ronald Hubbard was one of my favorite pulp fiction authors. To call him a "Science Fiction Writer" somewhat sneeringly as many people do, is to do an injustice to the man's eclectic abilities. He wrote Adventure fiction under his own name and that of Rene Lafayette; he wrote Western fiction under the name of Winchester Remington colt; he wrote True Confessions and love stories for the steamy women's magazines, and I hear that he wrote a lot of soft-core pornography for the "Spicy" rags, although I think he may have been a bit young for that. He was, quite simply, a very good pulp fiction author. There was a darker side to his nature. As a young man, he had studied with Aleister Crowley, and it is my understanding that he actually stole Crowley's yacht, although that may be apocryphal. He had also long been interested in what made people tick, and he formulated a bunch of theories about that. He finally took the plunge, publishing in the May, 1950, Analog Science Fact / Science Fiction, an article entitled "Dianetics." His then wife later claimed that the sole research he actually did for the development of the "Modern Science of Mental Health" was a half hour with a couple of dictionaries developing a name for it.
Be that as it may, he apparently created out of whole cloth a philosophy, theory, and therapy which not only worked, but - for the common run of neurotics (90% of the population) - worked far better than conventional psychotherapy, and was light-years ahead of the Psychiatry of its day! (It was not so red hot on real psychotics, Hubbard's claims to the contrary notwithstanding, but it was absolutely marvelous as psychosomatic medicine!) It could, and did, cure every nameable disease which was not genetic in origin, and relieved those, to some extent - but not always; that was the stumbling block. I solved that problem, to the satisfaction of the field and the annoyance of the zealots; in a paper I published, I had this to say; "In order for a psychosomatic disease to exist, there must, somewhere, be a real disease for it to imitate. While with Dianetic processes you can aid the pre-clear in eliminating or ameliorating the former, there is little that can be done about the latter." That statement, true though it may have been, did not increase my popularity among the "All disease is psychosomatic" set, but I didn't care; my point was that if ALL disease was psychosomatic, why did animals get sick?
Thus Hubbard got his first shock; something which had either been designed as a spoof or a con, (I believe the former; most everyone else of my acquaintances believes the latter), not only worked, but worked as he - the inventor - SAID it would work! So, whether he had intended it or not, he was stuck with writing "The Book." Again, his wife claimed it was entirely fiction; but fiction or not, it got a lot of people started, and a lot of people got a lot saner practically overnight. Neuroses vanished; people got well from an astounding array of diseases. A friend of ours whose back was completely ankylosed into a question mark, so that he had to walk with two canes, after fifteen hours with my father straightened up and went back to leading a dance band. An M.D. we knew lost his peripheral neuritis, endocarditis, and diabetes! (He gave himself a routine injection of Insulin, went into shock, and nearly died before he could eat a candy bar!) His hair, which had been snow white for over ten years, came back in as a honey blond. Speaking of hair, I worked with a man who was egg bald. After ten hours, he had a tonsure, and after thirty nearly a full head of hair. Harrison Angel had a mouth full of bad teeth, so he had them all pulled and grew a new set, using techniques he had developed from Dianetic theory; the new set came in crooked, so he had them pulled and grew another set, this time doing it right! A friend of my wife's had been born with a deformed toe. During one of her sessions, the crooked toe straightened out!
But Miracles, in the early days, were commonplace. Never in the History of Mankind had so many fine minds been allied in an effort to help others, with a believable framework on which to hang their efforts. It was all very chivalrous and idealistic in those days.
Hubbard started three "Foundations," one in Elizabeth, N.J., one in Los Angeles, and one in Honolulu. Some brilliant people came to work for him; people whose own lives had been materially aided by Dianetics, and who wanted to give something back. Miracles occurred daily. People went to the Foundations to be trained as "Auditors," but far more people read the book, rolled up their figurative sleeves, and went to work. These were referred to as "Book Auditors," with a sort of lofty condescension from the "Professional Auditors" who carried the seal of approval of the Hubbard Dianetic Foundation. Here was the first inkling we in the field had that the great man didn't quite have all his tiles fastened down. The "Degree" he granted was "HDA," which was short for "Hubbard Dianetic Auditor." Since there wasn't any other form of Dianetics around to compete with it, the "H" seemed to be a bit out of place, not to say redundant, smacking somewhat of self aggrandisement; but, as I said to someone who questioned it, "The man's got a lot to be arrogant about." The fact was that GOOD "Book Auditors," which I modestly admit we were, were every bit as good as, and in many cases better than, any Foundation-trained Auditors.
It was then that some strange things began to happen.