Scientology Officials Accused of Falsifying Hubbard War Records

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.

Source: NPR

52 thoughts on “Scientology Officials Accused of Falsifying Hubbard War Records”

  1. Jean Shepherd’s creative work is still alive and well. Check out the great website, and note on ebay and elsewhere the many hundreds of his radio broadcasts available very cheaply. Shep fans and the curious could also check out the only book about him and his creative world, my EXCELSIOR, YOU FATHEAD! THE ART AND ENIGMA OF JEAN SHEPHERD. As for availablwe video material, only marginal quality amateur VHS copies are available, on VHS and transferred to DVD (see ebay). In addition to the already noted “Phantom…” and “Fourth of July…” the third one in the trilogy is “The Star-crossed Romance of Josephine Cosnowski,” all based on his previously published stories in Playboy and his books.

  2. Everyone of you is wrong, Dianetics is a superior system and the people who have become “clears” are at very top positions within our government and some of our industries.

    Many “clears” run our daily life and you have L. Ron Hubbard and his wonderful system to thank. Shame on all of you for trying to Give Mr. Hubbard a bad name.

    Dianetics has saved many people from a life of misery. Before you denounce it, you should try a few sessions. Once you get your mind right maybe you will have a different opinion.

  3. Reminds me of the totally fabricated “Golden Hour” for trauma victims, which was invented over drinks by a couple of highly distinguished Maryland doctors in order to – you guessed it – make money, via “life-flight” type medical helicopters, which would bypass all other hospitals and take the patient to – yep, you guessed it – their hospital.

    Like the legal drug cartels pushing their wares via TV ads a thousand times per day, it all gets down to . . .


    So by this time no one even of middling mind ought be too surprised that a “church” – and there is no taller one than the Church of Modern Medicine – might be stoop to the level of the “Liar, liar, pants on fire” technique of saving souls.

  4. Joe G said, “‘Our records are real. The government records have been altered due to persecution of Hubbard and Scientology.’

    “Boom. Problem solved.”

    How about this one, then? The Scienos showed the author pictures of Hubbard’s “medals,” and medals of that kind were not in use until after Hubbard was discharged from the military. One of the medals had a star and a palm tree on it, and the Navy has never issued a medal with a palm tree on it.

    How will the RTC “handle” that one?

  5. About 25 years ago a British journalist called Russell Miller produced a biography of L. Ron Hubbard. He found that Hubbard had falsified his own history and that the church had connived in this.

    The result was Bare-Faced Messiah, which the Church of Scientology unsuccessfully attempted to suppress using the courts. About 15 years ago Miller regained the publishing rights and gave Chris Owen permission to publish it on the web, where it has lived ever since.

    This is a chapter from the book about what Hubbard actually did during the Second World War. The fake wounds are in there.

  6. rafflaw:

    I was trying to make a sarcastic birther analogy. I guess I need to learn how to do these things better.

  7. OK on the DD-214. I thought it pre-dated 1950, but have never actually looked it up. At any rate, anything they actually produced would be suitable only for lining the bird cage. But only if you dislike the bird.

  8. Vince & Bob,
    Thanks for the additional info on Shep. It brought back many bittersweat memories, especially the Slate piece. I too was disillusioned by Shep at Syracuse University (visiting a friend) when he was doing a pilot for the soon to be TV Show called “Hullabaloo.” Won’t relate it though, I’ve already hijacked to much thread with my ruminations and it’s not as good as the Slate stuff. It is nice though to know that we have some great memories in common of our misspent youth.

  9. Mike S.,

    That K20RS quote was from the introduction Shepherd recorded for the Morse Code study tape we played in Electronics class for the Ham radio license test.

    Shepherd’s intro was so hokey, we memorized his intro far more than the course material.

  10. culheath,
    Who do they think they are sending you a letter like that?? Hell, it is probably worth something now. Hang on to it!

  11. I received a letter from the CoS in 1969 declaring that I had been officially made an “enemy of the church” due to my trying to dissuade a roommate at the time of becoming a member. The letter asserted that I was a corrupting force and demanded that I have no further interaction with the roommate.

    I still have it framed on my wall.

  12. The hell with the so-called Church of Scientology. They won’t produce anything and I don’t care. Mike A., I think Vinve already posted links to forensic studies of the Church’s documents. As was stated earlier, this whole “religion” is just a tax dodge.

  13. If you do see a DD214, you can be sure it is a fake, since the form did not exist until after Elron was discharge, like two of the medals that the church claims that he earned.

    “The first DD Form 214s were issued in 1950, after replacing the older “WD AGO” (War Department Adjutant General) Forms and the NAVPERS (Naval Personnel) discharge documents. These documents, in turn, had existed since 1941.”

    Source, wiki:

    It does look as if he got a NAVPERS NOTICE OF SEPARATION FROM THE U.S. NAVAL SERVICE, NAVPERS 553 (REV. 8-45). See the above link to the New Yorker at 3:59 PM

  14. I agree with Mike A. Let’s see L. Ron Hubbard’s form DD-214. I am willing to wait while it is retrieved. Of course, we will want to have a forensic document examiner take a look at it for alterations. Not that I don’t trust the folks over at Scientology or anything. I am sure they would not do anything as dastardly as alter a document, but still…. Um, never mind. I want to see an original DD-214.

  15. The Church of Scientology can resolve the controversy regarding its authenticity by simply producing the original long form of Mr. Hubbard’s discharge papers.

  16. Hen, check the wiki entry above: “The PBS series American Playhouse aired a series of television movies based on Shepherd stories, also featuring the Parker family. These included Ollie Hopnoodle’s Haven of Bliss, The Great American Fourth of July and Other Disasters,[9] and The Phantom of the Open Hearth.[10]”

  17. Does anyone else remember that years ago PBS ran 3 or 4 “made for TV” films of Jean Shepherd stories? They were well made, well acted, and very funny. The amazing thing about them was that they ran once and were, to my knowledge, never re-run. I always wondered why they disappeared and what became of them. Maybe a copyright problem?

Comments are closed.