Thanks to a kind contributor I have acquired a scan of a rare 36-page pamphlet, written by Mary Sue Hubbard (the third wife of L Ron Hubbard). Entitled “Marriage Hats”. It consists of ‘marriage guidance’ for Scientologists from the then ‘first lady’ of the organisation.
It’s notable for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it’s one of a very few texts that were written by someone other than L Ron Hubbard and published by the Church of Scientology. As the Church became more repressive, and Hubbard established himself as the only source of valid information for Scientologists, these publications were withdrawn and are now rare and difficult to obtain.
Also, the author Mary Sue Hubbard (née Whipp) was, for many years, the de facto deputy leader of Scientology. Hubbard abandoned her in 1976 when Scientology’s “Snow White“project (which his wife organised on a day-today basis) was compromised, and went into hiding.
This project had been tasked with:
- ‘Correcting’ US government records concerning Scientology
- Gathering intelligence which could be used to promote Scientology’s interests using illegal means.
Mary Sue was sentenced to five years in prison and fined $10,000 for her involvement. She served one year, and never saw her husband again.
She was not to know how badly her marriage would turn out when she wrote this pamphlet. It unselfconsciously presents the Hubbards as a model couple and shows the incredibly dated social attitudes of the Church of Scientology – an organisation which is still mired in the 1950’s.
The title page clearly show that this 36-page pamphlet was published by the Church of Scientology in 1974 and had received its official approval.
In the early days of Scientology there were a variety of books written about Scientology and published by the Church by authors other than L Ron Hubbard. When the organisation entered a repressive phase, all of these were all withdrawn from publication and effectively suppressed. They are now quite rare.
If you find an ‘official’ book from this period which does not list L Ron Hubbard as its author, it is probably well worth acquiring.
The convention subsequently used by the Church to revise Hubbard’s turgid writing for a modern audience is to list partly original books as, “Based on the Works of L Ron Hubbard”.
Introduction and Study Tech
It opens with an “Important Note” which describes a basic tenet of Scientology’s “Study Tech”. This claims that the only reason a person does not understand a text is that they passed over an individual word that they did not understand without looking it up in dictionary and insuring that they thoroughly understood its meaning.
For example, the word ‘abandoned’ appears in the title of this post. According to Hubbard, if you happened not to understand this word’s meaning, and passed over it to read this far, it would be impossible for you to understand anything I have written up to this point.
Passing over a ‘misunderstood word’ is considered to be a calamity by Scientologists.
Critics suggest that this doctrine functions to suppress doubt. If you don’t understand Hubbard’s writing, you are told that you must have passed by a misunderstood word – the possibility that it might be confusing because it is contradictory or wrong is not available for consideration.
This doctrine also explains the perceived need for an extensive glossary of Scientology terms (pp 19-20) in a brief pamphlet. This is provided to ensure that only the most orthodox interpretation of the text is possible.
The Meaning of ‘Hats’ in Scientology-speak
Readers unfamiliar with Scientology’s complex (and often ungrammatical) specialised terminology may be confused by the references to “Marriage Hats” – it’s nothing to do with the silly things that people traditionally wear on their heads during weddings.
If you find Hubbard’s definition (left) unhelpful, a ‘Hat’ in this context is simply a well-defined job role.
A new Scientologist who has (for example) been given the job of recruiting new members will will be ‘hatted’ (that it trained) for that job. while he is working at at it he will be “wearing his hat” (that it, doing the job he was trained for).
Scientology is a very compartmentalised organisation, partly due to the importance placed on members ‘wearing their hats’. If you are given a particular job, you are expected to concentrate upon this to the exclusion of all else. Offering advice, or criticising the job performance of another person is liable to get you into serious trouble for not wearing your hat &/or attempting to wear someone else’s.
This functions to insure that no individual understands very much about how the organisation functions as a whole, and helps to enforce unthinking obedience.
Scientology doctrine is supposed to be universally true – so the same ideas that are applied to the running of a Scientology Org are deemed to apply to other areas of life – even marriage.
Scientologists – Learn From the Perfect Couple
The creation of Dianetics is a milestone for man comparable to his discovery of fire, and superior to his invention of the wheel and the arch.
Mary Sue Hubbard opens her pamphlet in a similar style
In all of man’s history there has never been a clearcut statement of the principal duties of the game of man and wife. Here, at last, one is supplied, the result of experience distilled from one very successful marriage.
It strikes me that, for as long as we have been human, couples have been subject to laws, traditions, conventions and no end of advice regarding their relationship. Of course, this pamphlet was published by the Church of Scientology, so it claims to provide the only valid guide to successful marriage in all of human history.
The “very successful marriage” which is used as the exemplar and basis for her advice is, of course, that between Lafayette Ronald and Mary Sue Hubbard. It is claimed that the text of the pamphlet was written by Mary Sue to help two anonymous Scientologists (who were presumably newly-wed) and published by popular demand after others supposedly found it so valuable that they began copying and distributing it by hand.
This kind of story seems to indicate that, during this period, the cult of personality that surrounded L Ron Hubbard extended, to some extent to his wife and family.
Back to the 50’s – Feminists Beware
Women have frequently “dumped their hat” as wife and Mother to become business-women, executives or artists. Husbands in turn have sometimes “dumped their hat”as providers and leaders of the family.
There’s little doubt where the power lies in her ideal relationship. It’s also an interesting touch that, while women “frequently dump[…] their hat” (that is, abandon their responsibilities) men only do so “sometimes“.
According to Mary Sue, optimum behaviour in a marriage is obtained by following very clearly defined rules which are provided by Scientology – including ‘disciplinary’ procedures which must be applied when there is conflict in the relationship.
It just so happens that optimum behaviour exactly corresponds to the traditional ideas about marriage apparently held by the Hubbards.
The Main Duties of a Wife /Husband
According to Mary Sue, the duties of a wife include:
Cooking and caring for the family, living within her husbands financial means, handling the household budget, shopping, cleaning, washing and ironing. The wife is also expected to “look after birth control” keep herself “[…] clean, attractive and womanly”, provide a traditional role model for the children and (above all) defer to her husband.
Above all she must bear in mind and follow Scientology practices in all family interactions.
If you think you have stumbled into a bizarre 1950’s situation comedy, wait until you hear the duties of a Husband. These include:
The provision of money, food, clothing shelter, family leadership and decision making (“His word is final”). However, he is also expected to “Be human” and occasionally provide “[..] flowers and a little surprise gift” and look after DIY, financial and legal matters.
The fact that the Hubbard’s marriage ended with L Ron in hiding from the law and Mary Sue in prison suggests that L Ron Hubbard may have failed to live up his responsibilities regarding legal matters.
If if all still sounds unbearably twee, it’s worth bearing in mind that it was written by the head of Scientology’s secret police – a woman who wielded considerable power over others, and organised “Snow White” the most extensive infiltration of the US Government in history.
The Sales Pitch
It wouldn’t be a Scientology publication if there wasn’t a sales pitch. this pamphlet has one on its last page (34 -image right). It consists of list of books and tape-recorded ‘lectures’ – all by L Ron Hubbard.
Other Publications By Mary Sue Hubbard
Mary Sue was also credited (at least in early editions) with compiling “The Book of E-Meter Drills” (1965) and writing an obscure internal document – HCO PL 5 Apr 72 I “PTS Type A Handling”.
The latter deals with Church of Scientology policy which described how to deal with “Potential Trouble Sources” (PTS).
“Potential Trouble Sources” are people – the friends &/or relatives of Scientologists who are criticising the Church, attempting to persuade them to leave or otherwise provoking doubt in the minds of believers.
Typically, the solution to this ‘problem’ is to require the Scientologist to ‘disconnect‘ from anyone designated to be PTS – that is, cut them off, and have no further contact with them whatsoever.
Despite the lightweight character of “Marriage Hats” Mary Sue was no innocent. This document demonstrates that she was committed to the enforcement of Scientology’s most controversial practice disconnection.