Mary Sue Hubbard (L Ron Hubbard’s Wife) Celebrates ‘Going Clear’ in 1967

mary-sue-hubbardClear No 208: Mary Sue Hubbard | Download as .pdf (to download, click on the grey ‘Download through Browser’ button which will appear in a new tab).

This strange document was published in 1967. It’s a simple folded piece of card approximately 15 x 23cm – two pages, four sides.

It commemorates the occasion upon which Mary Sue Hubbard (at that time the wife of L Ron Hubbard) celebrated her ascension to the state of Clear  -the 208th person to achieve this status.

There are only two pages of text (the other two are devoted to the title and a picture of Mary Sue). This consists of a potted biography of the lady which begins by describing her participation in Scientology’s early development, particularly the history of the Dianetics Institutes.

It also bestows the fulsome praise required to create a cult of personality for Mary Sue herself, so that she may be seen to be worthy of her place at the side of the founder of Scientology. This was not to last. Nine years later, in  1976, she would fall from grace in a most extraordinary way.

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The Advertising Standards Authority Versus The Church of Scientology Plymouth

self-analysis-frontOn the 5th of December 2016, I published a video showing members of  the Church of Scientology Plymouth (UK)  distributing leaflets outside of Charles Cross Police station. This is just around the corner from their modest Org in Ebrington Street.

In the process, I was given a flier, and carefully read it. It seemed to me that the text made two highly questionable claims.

According to the rules of the UK advertising regulator (the Advertising Standards Authority) advertisers who make specific, testable claims must be in possession of objective evidence which supports their case. If the advertiser cannot present such evidence when asked to do so by the  ASA the claims made are deemed to be misleading, and must not be repeated.

I duly submitted a complaint online. Yesterday, I was informed that it has been upheld.

This kind of decision could severely limit Scientology’s ability to make similar claims in future – and could ultimately force them to submit whole classes of promotional material to the ASA for pre-approval.

All that is required is for more people to collect Scientology advertising containing potentially misleading claims.

Details of the offending leaflet, my complaint, the ASA response and the likely consequences appear after the break.

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L Ron Hubbard’s ‘Supporting Evidence’ for Dianetics – Dianetics and Scientology in Astounding Science Fiction (pt 20)

dianetic processing a brief survey coverDianetic Processing: a Brief Survey of Research Projects and Preliminary Results |   Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation | 1951 | Download as .pdf (Click the grey ‘download through your browser’ button in new tab)

After L Ron Hubbard’s first article about dianetics in the May 1950 article of “Astounding Science Fiction” people and organisations started asking for evidence for the claims he had made regarding ‘dianetic therapy’. They included:

One year after the first article about dianetics in “Astounding” (the iconic May1950  issue)  another SF pulp magazine, “Marvel Science Stories”, published an ‘debate’ assessing dianetics. They followed this article up in August 1951  by publishing reader’s letters on the subject.

The letters to “Marvel” included on by Lew Cunningham MD of the Department of Anatomy at Stanford University. He mentions receiving a copy of a pamphlet which sounds very much like this publication. Cunningham speculated that Hubbard wanted to get doctors on board the dianetics bandwagon, and thought this pamphlet would do the trick.

Unfortunately for dianetics, Cunningham judged that neither Hubbard, nor those who wrote for the Dianetic Foundation, know enough about medicine or science to realise how inadequate their submission actually was. In his letter, Cunningham effectively demolishes its credibility.

With a little help from Dr Cunningham’s lettert in”Marvel”, we will now closely examine the pamphlet which Hubbard apparently  published in January1951, and presented  as evidence for his claims regarding dianetics.

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Reader’s Comment on L Ron Hubbard’s Defence of Scientology in “Marvel Science Stories”

Marvel August 1951 letters1Marvel Science Stories |August 1951 | Download as .pdf (Click on the grey ‘download through your browser’ button in new tab).

In my previous post (which was published simultaneously here  and on Tony Ortega’s excellent blog) I examined an article in the May 1951 issue of the science fiction pulp magazine “Marvel Science Stories”.

This was published one year after the first description of “Dianetics” appeared in “Marvels” greatest rival, the market leading “Astounding Science Fiction“.

In the “Marvel” article, L Ron Hubbard defended dianetics, and two prominent SF writers put alternative views. Theodore Sturgeon, (whose opinion was presented as “middle of the road”) appealed for an open-minded assessment, advising critics to “read the more understandable parts of the (acutely badly-written) book [i.e. Dianetics].” Lester Del Ray demolished both dianetics and Hubbard’s counter-arguments. Hubbard’s creation did not emerge well.

Back in 1951, reader’s letters were the only feedback available to publishers, and it took a long time for them to appear in print.  It wasn’t until the August 1951 that “Marvel” published a large selection of letters commenting upon, “The Dianetics Controversy” (they begin on page 99).

In this post, we will closely examine the first of those reader’s letters, from a doctor, which unexpectedly reveals a lot about the campaign mounted by L Ron Hubbard to persuade members of the medical profession to climb on board the dianetics bandwagon. Continue reading

From 1951 -Two Classic SF Writers and L Ron Hubbard Argue About Dianetics in “Marvel Science Stories”

Marvel coverMarvel Science Stories | Special Feature – The Dianetics Question: A Controversy| L Ron Hubbard, Theodore Sturgeon, Lester del Rey | Portraitist Carl Burgos | May 1951 | Download whole issue as .pdf |Download Article Only as .pdf (Click on the grey ‘download through your browser’ button in new tab).

This issue of the pulp science fiction magazine, “Marvel Science Stories” was published in May 1951 – one year after the first article describing “Dianetics” appeared in “Astounding Science Fiction.”

During this time, the editor of”Astounding”, John W Campbell ( initially an enthusiastic convert) had promoted dianetics for all he was worth.

However, by March 1951 the dianetics fad had run its course in “Astounding” (you can follow the rise and fall of dianetics in “Astounding Science Fiction” here).

“Marvel” took this opportunity to capitalise on the interest in the subject that had been generated by “Astounding” among SF fans  by publishing a written debate between Hubbard and two prominent SF authors.

Hubbard didn’t get the easy ride he’d had from Campbell.  Although Theodore Sturgeon rather sat on the fence, he was far from enthusiastic and Lester del Rey dismissed dianetics as absurd pseudo-science.

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The Long Wait for Evidence Supporting Hubbard’s Claims for Dianetics – Dianetics and Scientology in “Astounding Science Fiction” (pt 19)

campbelll waitIn the letters page of the March 1951 issue of “Astounding” John W Campbell, the magazine’s editor, makes it clear that he was waiting for L Ron Hubbard to deliver on his  promise to provide supporting evidence for dianetics.

This promise had been reported in the New York Times for September 1950.  Hubbard, under pressure from the American Psychological Association,  had stated that he would publish case studies which provided objective evidence – and that they would ‘prove’ all of  the claims he had made on behalf of dianetics.

Of course, this ‘evidence’ simply didn’t exist ,and what was eventually produced was inadequate. Hubbard also privately told Campbell that he would  publish “[…] a book of ‘case studies” in order to persuade him to extend his support just a little longer.  If so, it didn’t work.

After March 1951, the next six issues of “Astounding” contained no significant editorial reference to dianetics or Hubbard. Campbell was calling Hubbard’s bluff. These six issues (April to September inclusive) are included in this post, so that they can be contrasted with their predecessors, which so enthusiastically promoted dianetics. Continue reading

Dianometry: Dianetics and Scientology in “Astounding Science Fiction” (Pt 16)

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dianometryIn the previous part of this series, we examined the January 1951 issue of “Astounding”. This contained the last article about dianetics by L Ron Hubbard that “Astounding” would publish. It was entitled “Dianometry” It begins on page 76, and it is a curious text.

Since its introduction in the May 1950 issue of “Astounding”, dianetics had boomed. At the beginning of 1951 money was pouring in and the “Hubbard Dianetics Institutes”, which were supposed to research and develop this ‘new science’ were expanding, .

This was not to last. Hubbard treated the income from the institutes as if it were his own money and, as the fad for dianetics passed, the institutes went bankrupt.

After this bankruptcy, Hubbard was to temporarily lose the copyright to dianetics. Undeterred, he arranged to have the institutes mailing lists stolen for him, and used then to recruit for his new enterprise, which he called Scientology.

Dianometry was the last gasp of Dianetics. For various reasons (discussed in this post) the fad could not be sustained beyond a certain point. The bankruptcy of the dianetics institutes was, in the long run, a stroke of luck for Hubbard – it enabled him to start again with a relatively clean slate, and avoid the mistakes that he had made the first time around.

It seems to me that Hubbard had left himself nowhere to go after the first two dianetics articles in “Astounding”. He had nothing in reserve after presenting all of of the attractive and accessible parts of his  pitch, namely that:

  • ‘Engrams’ not only cause physical and mental disease but also compromise an individual’s personal abilities
  • They can be removed by ‘dianetic therapy’ which will cure almost all disease and restore the patient to their natural state, which includes high intelligence and a perfect memory

All  that now Hubbard could do now was to try could do to keep the ball rolling was by elaborating his pitch with articles like “Dianometry”.

This article clearly did not have the popular appeal of his earlier appearances. It was for for enthusiasts of dianetics only. As such, it was an even less appropriate for a science fiction magazine. The declining ‘pulling power’ of dianetics articles could have contributed to Campbell’s loss of interest.

It seems that Dianetics itself  had run out of steam.

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