L Ron Hubbard Jr (AKA “Nibs”) was the eldest child of the founder of Scientology by his first wife, Margret Louise Grubb.
After being in involved with Dianetics and Scientology for some years, he left the Church and broke with his father, going so far as to change his name to Ronald DeWolf.
In 1982, DeWolf sued for control of his father’s estate, on the grounds that Hubbard Sr was either deceased or incompetent. His father was in fact in hiding at this time. The suit failed when a letter was produced that was deemed to prove that the founder of Scientology was both alive and legally competent.
This was only one episode in an ongoing and acrimonious struggle between DeWolf and the Church of Scientology.
The Church had spent years carefully establishing an image for L Ron Hubbard Sr which they thought worthy of the founder of Scientology. However (as Russell Miller’s Book later demonstrated) their account was based on the founder’s own grossly exaggerated descriptions of his supposed accomplishments. as philosopher, artist, writer, photographer, horticulturist et al.
In the eyes of the Church, DeWolf was a ‘loose cannon’ who could inflict considerable damage to Hubbard Sr’s cult of personality and the Church itself.
Consequently, Scientology kept DeWolf under watch at all times, and attempted to control his public statements. The Penthouse interview must have been a calamity for them.
Unfortunately, in this interview DeWolf makes a number of claims that simply lack credibility. For example, he states that his father:
- Financed the purchase of St Hill Manor with payments from the KGB for espionage services, including his provision of the plans for an advanced heat-seeking missile
- Procured sexual services for a prominent British politician, and a member of Winston Churchill’s staff
- Kept “[…] the heart of the RADAR” (presumably a cavity magnetron) in his garage, and sold it to mysterious men, at a time when this device was a closely guarded secret
These claims are unique to DeWolf. They do not appear in any other account of Hubbard Sr’s life, and no evidence exists to support them.
Hubbard Sr was undoubtedly a fabulist who enjoyed manipulating people. There is no reason to believe that he did not play mind games with his own son. Consequently, DeWolf may be honestly reporting what he was told. However, it is also possible that he added sensational material to his interview to gain an advantage in his ongoing war with the Church.
Either way, while this curious document speaks volumes about the paranoid fantasy world that L Ron Hubbard Sr created around himself it does not furnish any reliable information.
In 1986, after the publication of this article, and his father’s death, DeWolf accepted an undisclosed sum from Scientology’s new regime. In return, he signed documents prepared by the Church retracting a number of previous statements, and agreed to make no further comment about this aspect of his life.