The New Yorker article by Lawrence Wright on the Church of Scientology is getting a great deal of attention. The article details the departure of screenwriter and director Paul Haggis from the church after 35 years. However, I found one of the most interesting aspects to be Wright’s confrontation of Church officials over the alleged heroic record and severe battle scars of founder L. Ron Hubbard.
The Church has long maintained that Hubbard was a war hero who was left blind and a ‘hopeless cripple’ at the end of World War II. The story is the basis of Hubbard claim that he healed himself with his own science that later became the basis of Dianetics.
Wright asked Church leaders and large contingent of Scientology lawyers to back up the claims. Church official Tommy Davis responded with what Wright says were forged documents:
Eventually, Davis sent us what is called a notice of separation — essentially discharge papers from World War II — along with some photographs of all of these medals that [Hubbard] had won. … At the same time, we finally gained access to Hubbard’s entire World War II records [through a request to the military archives] and there was no evidence that he had ever been wounded in battle or distinguished himself in any way during the war. We also found another notice of separation which was strikingly different than the one that the church had provided.”
What I find interesting about this account is that, if true, it is hard to believe that these Church officials actually believe that stuff that they are instilling in followers. Self-delusion is rather difficult if you are actively creating false documents. This would tend to support those who insist that the Church is a criminal and fraudulent organization so I am waiting to see the response of the Church to this particular allegation.
What is also interesting in this account is the possible legal consequences of forging U.S. military documents. Here they were not used commercial purposes technically, but it could still run afoul of the federal code. It is also an ironic twist on the “stolen valor” debate — here allegedly stealing valor for a dead man. Of course, if true, it was Hubbard who could be accused of building his church — and deriving financial benefits — from these claims.
52 thoughts on “Scientology Officials Accused of Falsifying Hubbard War Records”
This is really fascinating. The New Yorker has posted the forged “discharge” with an interactive analysis by experts.
The forgery claims that L. Ron was an engineering graduate of George Washington University, when the fact is that he dropped out after two years without a degree.
At another post, they have his birth and death certificates.
Most of his life was a fictional creation of his own.
“Keep your knees loose and your eyes on the ball.”
Made sense, but I was still a lousy fielder. I often think of myself and FFLEO as the old farts here. Guess I’ve got company.
Jean Shepherd; K2ORS “Keep a clean fist and concentrate; he he… concentrate.”
Yeah, Mike, I remember Jean Shepherd, too. The guys in New York at Ballantine got Ted Sturgeon to write up a novel of the same name and had it out in paperback, with cover by Kelly Freas, in a matter of weeks.
Long John took over the midnight to dawn shift when Jean had been fired by the station for doing an unauthorized commercial for Sweetheart soap, responding to the station’s complaint that he couldn’t sell soap.
Jean lives on for 24 hours every Christmas when they broadcast the movie “Chrismas Story” with his narration.
glad to know you remember Long John too. It’s a pity that discussion shows like his no longer exist on Radio. I be then you remember Jean Shepard, who got his listener’s to have a fictitious book, “I Libertine” make number 1 on the NYT’s best seller list
Great work. I just can’t imagine why anyone would forge documents just to keep their meal ticket going.:) It is interesting that their are so many lies that can be proven, but yet people are so gullible that they keep sending money.
Mike, I remember Long John well. He had John Campbell as a guest. Campbell vividly described Hubbard’s sufferings in World War II. Those supposed wounds and injuries were all fiction, of course.
It is very interesting to observe the birth and gestation of a new religion as it unfolds, at a time when we can easily access information about its fantastic claims and debunk them. The origins of a lot of other religions are lost in the mists of time.
I just had to point out some of the rank stupidity of Hubbard or whoever put together his “war record”:
1. Some of the “medals” he received were not issued until AFTER he left the service.
2. The “purple heart with palm leaf” he received is nonsense (as a quick search of the internet would reveal) because multiply wounded recipients of the purple heart have stars, not palm leaves, added to their award.
3. The Lt Cdr who signed Hubbard’s separation papers never existed. It’s easy to check and see who were officers in the Navy in WWII.
4. Form of separation from service is wrong form
And so on and so on. I think people are entitled to believe any crazy thing they want and also to give to fraudsters, but I do not believe in “religions” which violate the law by child employment, slavery, assault and battery and false imprisonment.
After reading the article, the forging of Hubbard’s war record is the least of their problems. How about enslavement of children and adults(the sea.org) and false imprisonment? How about making the fees these guys pay to Scientology to “go clear” and become “thetans” tax deductible as medical expenses? Haggis says he “spent” upwards of a million dollars to progress up the ranks of Thetans to the top level. All deductible. How about using sea.org slaves to remodel Tom Cruise’s pad and refinish two motorcyles? Sea.org slaves get paid $25 a week. Not to mention, kidnapping an escapee who flipped out and refusing her standard medical help. They fed her with a turkey baster and she died of dehydration in their “care.”
There’s a lot in this article that will make your hair stand on end. The FBI is investigating their Clearwater operation, where the woman died.
you’ve got it right as usual and literally took the words out of my mouth. Scientology was formed as a tax dodge and confidence scheme by Hubbard. Having actually heard Hubbard on late night radio (Long John Nebel)in NYC in the mid fifties, with a panel of SF writers (Lester Del Rey and Fred Pohl)it was obvious that with his old comrades there, he couldn’t sustain the con. However, Hubbard was a pro both rhetorically and as a writer and he found enough disciples to start this phony religion and make a fortune.
The reason the New Yorker article seems so familiar to many of us (and is claimed by the Scientologists to be “stale”) is that it was all exposed over 50 years ago by Martin Gardner his book Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science.
Read all about it here:
“Our records are real. The government records have been altered….”
Yeah, we hear that a lot.
I’m sure they keep the ‘real’ records in the safe-deposit box they share with the Mormons, right next to the golden tablets 🙂
religious self delusion….now there’s a new one… no ya cam’t be serious….IS THAT POSSIBLE?
“Our records are real. The government records have been altered due to persecution of Hubbard and Scientology.”
Boom. Problem solved.
And do I have a mega church just for you…Joel Olsteen…not ordained….neither was Jesus though….
What! Scientology a fraud? A brainwashing Ponzi scheme founded by a hack?
Why next you’ll be saying the Flying Spaghetti Monster is made of ziti or cavatappi!
It’s an outrage.
Pass the garlic bread, please.
Here is an interview with the author:
The link to the article itself is:
The article does not mention that “Dianetics” was first published in the April 1950 issue of Astounding Science Fiction, whose editor John Campbell became one of its first “patients,” claiming that it cured his sinusitis.
The early Dianetics was simply a talking-cure variety of psychoanalysis, and cribbed a lot from Freud.
Hubbard had been famous in 1930s and 1940s science fiction circles, and often bragged that no one could get rich selling to the pulps at a penny a word. The real route wealth? Start a religion, he said. A lot of the fiction in the 1940s Astounding turned on the founding of new religions to change a future society. One of the best was Heinlein’s “If This Goes On.”
After a few years, Hubbard made the decision to repackage his dianetic therapy as a religion, to secure First Amendment protection against government scrutiny and tax-exempt status. Over the next 50 years, he and his followers succeeded spectacularly.
One of the most shocking points in the article is that, after years of litigation, scientology is now recognized by IRS as a religion, and all the “contributions” are tax-deductible.
So the taxpayers of America are subsidizing this pseudo-scientific quack therapy disguised as a religion.
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