The Pulp SF Magazine “Amazing Stories” Assesses 10 years of Dianetics / Scientology in 1970

amazing-stories-malzbergAmazing Stories November 1970 | “Dianetics: The Evolution of a Science” – A Personal Report by Barry N Malzberg | Pg 75 | Download as .pdf (to download, click on the grey ‘Download through Browser’ button which will appear in a new tab).

In this issue Barry Malzberg marked the (more-or-less) 20th anniversary of the publication of  the iconic article by L Ron Hubbard in “Astounding Science Fiction” which kicked off the dianetics fad in May 1950.

Malzberg used the same title as Hubbard for his critical article – Dianetics: The Evolution of a Science”. However, he employs it with heavy irony:

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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 Codes of Scientology (Pt 2) “The Auditor’s Code”

auditors-codeThe Codes of Scientology | L Ron Hubbard | Certainty: The Official Periodical of Scientology in the British Isles | Volume 6 No 8 | 1959 | Download as .pdf (A new tab will open – click on the grey ‘download through your browser’ button)

Read Part One First

In my last post, I started to examine this text. It was distributed by the Church of Scientology to British Scientologists who were training to be auditors in 1959.

It contains a number of ‘moral codes’ for Scientologists – commandments if you will. The interesting thing about the instructions given in these ‘Codes’ is how they are apparently designed to be:

  • Interpreted by auditors as injunctions to abuse their clients
  • Interpreted by Scientologists in general as permission from on high to behave as if their ends  justified any means.

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