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Tilden, Nebraska
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Tilden, Nebraska

L Ron Hubbard was an American writer, philosopher, and founder of the ‘Church of Scientology.’ Initially, he wrote science fiction but later shifted to writing about self-help and psychology. From an early age, Hubbard demonstrated a desire to pave a different path. His literary career began with contributions to his university newspaper. He began writing for pulp-fiction magazines later on. He explored numerous genres, including adventure, science fiction, travel, intrigue, and romance. Hubbard enlisted in the ‘United States Navy’ and served during World War II. However, due to health problems, he quickly resigned from the ‘United States Navy.’ Subsequently, he became acquainted with occultist Jack Parsons. Together with Parsons, he created a series of mystical rituals. Based on his research and observations of the human psyche, Hubbard authored the book “Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health.” He established Dianetics as a branch of psychology that sought to identify the causes and treatments for mental tensions. To disseminate his philosophy, Hubbard founded several organizations. After the initial success, difficulties arose, and Hubbard lost the rights to Dianetics through bankruptcy proceedings. Later, he established the ‘Church of Scientology,’ which was said to possess methods for enhancing mental and physical health. It soon became a global phenomenon. However, the cult’s explosive theories progressively lost their allure. Hubbard was labeled as schizophrenic and paranoid. He was threatened with legal action and convicted of fraud. During the final years of his life, Hubbard resided in a luxury motorhome while in hiding. He passed away at age 74. Although Scientology adherents regard him as a deity, the general public does not accept his claims.

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Early Years & Growing Up

Lafayette Ronald Hubbard was born in Nebraska on March 13, 1911. His mother, Ledora May, was a teacher, whereas his father, Harry Ross Hubbard, was a naval officer in the ‘United States Navy.’ He was the sole offspring of his parents.

As a child, L. Ron Hubbard participated in the ‘Boy Scouts.’ Prior to turning 13, he attained the Eagle Scout rank. In Seattle, he attended ‘Queen Anne High School’ before enrolling at ‘Helena High School.’ Hubbard was inclined toward writing while in school, but he did not earn high grades. In accordance with his parent’s wishes, Hubbard took the ‘Naval Academy entrance exam. However, he was not qualified.

In 1930, Hubbard received his diploma from the ‘Woodward School for Boys.’ He then attended ‘George Washington University for two years to study civil engineering. During his college years, Hubbard organized a Caribbean sailing expedition. The mission’s objective was to find specimens and exhibits for museums. The expedition was plagued by poor meteorological conditions and a financial crisis. It was an utter catastrophe.

L Ron Hubbard’s Career

L Ron Hubbard began his vocation as a writer in the 1930s. He was an employee of the ‘George Washington University student newspaper, ‘The University Hatchet.’ Using numerous pseudonyms, he wrote for pulp fiction magazines. The stories of L. Ron Hubbard included mystery, science fiction, romance, and terror.

Buckskin Brigades was Hubbard’s first full-length novel, published in 1937. He contributed numerous short stories and novellas to science-fiction publications such as ‘Unknown’ and ‘Astounding Science Fiction.’ His stories ‘Fear,’ ‘Final Blackout,’ and ‘Typewriter in the Sky’ were well received by the general public. In 1938, he penned the screenplay for the film series ‘The Secret of Treasure Island.’

In 1938, Hubbard penned a manuscript titled ‘Excalibur,’ in which he intended to delineate the fundamental principles of human existence. According to Hubbard, he was inspired to write the novel during the eight minutes he “died” during surgery. According to the records, Hubbard was referring to a chemically-assisted dental extraction with hallucinogenic effects.

He believed that the publication of this book would revolutionize human life theory. Hubbard attempted to publish his book, but no one was interested. Eventually, the unpublished manuscript was incorporated into Scientology texts.

In 1940, Hubbard joined ‘The Explorers Club’ and conducted an Alaskan expedition. The expedition was unsuccessful. After his return, Hubbard submitted an application to join the ‘United States Navy.’ In 1941, he was appointed lieutenant in the ‘US Naval Reserve.’ He temporarily commanded two anti-submarine vessels. It was determined that Hubbard lacked the judgment and cooperation required of a commander. In addition, he had health issues such as duodenal ulcers and impaired vision. In 1950, Hubbard resigned after being reassigned to inactive duty 1946.

Hubbard moved in with occultist and inventor Jack Parsons in 1945. Hubbard was influenced by Parsons’s use of mystical practices. They worked together to devise the ‘Babalon Working,’ a sex magic ceremony. Sara, the fiancée of Parson, was befriended by Hubbard, and they eventually married. Parsons invested his entire life savings in a partnership founded by Hubbard and Sara in which he invested his entire fortune. Due to Hubbard’s alleged deception, the friendship ended. The couple quickly vacated Parsons’ mansion.

Hubbard relocated to Savannah, Georgia, in 1948. Utilizing his distinctive counseling techniques, he volunteered to assist patients in mental hospitals. This resulted in the development of Dianetics, a novel branch of psychology. According to Dianetics, the human brain is capable of documenting every event in a person’s life, which can later lead to mental or physical problems. It also stated that vestiges of memory in the brain could be eliminated through “auditing.” Thus, after “auditing,” a person would be completely cured of all diseases. Dianetics held that consciousness can fully control the body.

Dianetics was initially successful. Hubbard educated numerous “auditors” capable of curing the ill. Gradually, individuals began to question the claims of a complete cure. It troubled Hubbard that so many “auditors” became self-proclaimed leaders. In court, he lost the rights to Dianetics. After Dianetics’ decline, Hubbard focused on developing a new research field, which he named Scientology.

Scientology, which has numerous adherents around the world, is based on the belief that a person’s inner self is immortal and omnipotent. Through systematic practices, Scientology aims to restore the original powers of the ego. While Dianetics rejected spirituality, Scientology embraces it. Hubbard allegedly devised an “E- meter” that reveals an individual’s innermost thoughts. Scientologists assert that man can attain godlike abilities.

Hubbard maintained strict control over the Scientology organizational hierarchy. There were branches and franchises, but they were required to send a portion of their revenue to the parent company. Soon after, Scientology gained widespread acceptance across the globe. The franchises were named ‘Churches of Scientology,’ and the “auditors” wore clergy attire. Scientology experienced a constant increase in adherents throughout the 1950s.

In the 1970s, Hubbard’s organization encountered problems with government agencies worldwide. The ‘Church of Scientology’s tax exemption was revoked. Their pharmaceuticals were proven to be ineffective. Several nations became hostile towards Hubbard and his beliefs. Hubbard searched for a secure haven.

He established a fleet of ships, dubbed the ‘Sea Org,’ and set sail in pursuit of a secure nation in which Scientology could flourish. He was however rebuffed everywhere. He was accused by the French government of fraud and customs violations. He was found guilty “in absentia” and given a four-year penitentiary sentence.

Personal History and Legacy L Ron Hubbard hid for the last few years of his life. In California, he resided alone in a luxury motorhome for the last two years of his life. The outside world questioned whether or not Hubbard was still alive. In January 1986, he had a stroke. He died a week later. His body was cremated, and the ashes were dispersed in the ocean after his passing.

Hubbard had three marriages. In 1933, he wed Margaret “Polly” Grubb. The couple had a son, nicknamed “Nibs,” named Lafayette Ronald Hubbard Jr., and a daughter, Katherine May. Polly refused to travel to California with Hubbard when he relocated there. She stayed with their children in Washington.

In 1946, Hubbard married Jack Parsons’s fiancée, Sara “Betty” Northrup. This was completed prior to his divorce from Polly, his first wife. Polly petitioned for divorce in 1947 and was awarded custody of her children. Hubbard and Sara’s daughter was named Alexis Valerie.

Sara began courting Miles Hollister, a Dianetics “auditor,” in 1950. Hubbard attempted to label them as communist spies. He tormented Sara and attempted to diagnose her with insanity. In 1951, Sara filed for divorce, which was granted shortly thereafter.

After his second divorce, Hubbard wed Mary Sue Whipp, an employee at ‘Hubbard College.’ Arthur Ronald, Geoffrey Quentin, Diana Meredith, and Mary Suzette were their four offspring. Mary Sue was in charge of the ‘Guardian’s Office,’ which Hubbard established to manage legal threats and public relations. Due to Hubbard’s precipitous departure, Sue was compelled to resign from her position.

After Hubbard’s passing, a trust fund was established to provide for his widow and children. The copyrights to Hubbard’s literary works and a substantial portion of his estate were bequeathed to the ‘Church of Scientology.’ Hubbard holds the ‘Guinness World Record’ for the author with the most works published and the most translations.

Estimated Net Worth

American science-fiction and fantasy writer L. Ron Hubbard is best known for founding the Church of Scientology. Hubbard’s net worth (after adjusting for inflation) was $100 million at the time of his death in 1986 (after adjusting for inflation).