For Scientology-watchers (and Scientologists) the iconic issue of the pulp magazine “Astounding Science Fiction” was released in May 1950.
It contained a long article that gave the first full account of L Ron Hubbard’s new ‘science of the mind’, aka ‘Dianetics’.
In previous months John W Campbell, the editor of “Astounding”, had deployed every resource in a campaign to build up interest in this article. Campbell believed that the creation of Dianetics was at least worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize.
Dianetics was presented as:
- A revolutionary new science which would not only replace psychiatry, but also cure many physical illnesses
- Easy to apply by the layman – all that a reasonably intelligent person needed was a copy of Hubbard’s book (published simultaneously) and a cooperative partner
- Always 100% effective
These were extraordinary claims which would soon come into question. At this time, however, Hubbard was at the height of his influence over Campbell, who was a ‘true believer’. The publicity that Campbell provided in “Astounding”would enable Hubbard to abandon the world of pulp science fiction and move on to a new career as a modern guru.
After the break, I will examine Campbell’s Editorial in this issue, Dr Joseph Winter’s introduction to Hubbard’s article, and the other references to Dianetics in the issue.
Hubbard’s article will feature in the next part of this series
Title: A Piece of Blue Sky: Scientology, Dianetics and L Ron Hubbard Exposed
Author: John Atack
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Title: Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief
Author: Lawrence Wright
Title: Bare -Faced Messiah: The True Story of L Ron Hubbard
Author: Russell Miller
Full Text Online: HTML | PDF
Additional Material: The Bare-Faced Messiah Interviews (Online)
Description: If there was a University course in the history of Scientology, this book would be required reading. Written by British investigative journalist Russell Miller, it describes the life of Lafayette Ronald Hubbard in detail. A painstakingly professional work, it includes extensive references and a detailed index.
“Bare-faced Messiah” has been out-of-print for some time, and second-hand copies can be expensive and difficult to obtain. However, Silvertail Books are planning to release a new edition (containing some new material) in February 2014. The ISBN of this third edition is 9781909269149
Incredibly, since the publication of the of the original book was suppressed in the America by Church of Scientology legal action, this new edition will be the first time that this book has been widely available in the US.
There is a review of the book, including excerpts from an interview with the author by investigative journalist and Scientology expert Tony Ortega.