To Scientologists, founder L. Ron Hubbard is a larger-than-life figure — a war hero, philosopher and humanitarian.
But the real man was a dissembling, emotional wreck who made up most of his legendary exploits out of whole cloth, writes British journalist Russell Miller.
Miller’s account of Hubbard’s life was so devastating that Scientology tried to have his book banned. “Bare-Faced Messiah: The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard,” finished the year after Hubbard’s 1986 death, was successfully printed everywhere but in the US, where, after two years of litigation, Miller’s American publisher threw in the towel.
The biography was heavily cited by later Scientology books, including Lawrence Wright’s bestselling “Going Clear.” But few Americans have had a chance to read it.
Until now. Twenty-seven years after its original release, “Bare-Faced Messiah” is getting new life with a new publisher, Silvertail Books.
Miller has rewritten some of the introductory material, but otherwise the book is unchanged — and it still holds up. “Bare-Faced Messiah” is a gripping read that tears the fabric of the Hubbard myth into tatters.
Doctor, Physicist, Liar
For example, the legend promoted by Scientology said that L. Ron Hubbard had grown up breaking wild horses as a child on his grandfather’s Montana ranch, which took up fully a fourth of the entire state. Miller showed instead that Ron’s grandfather was “a small-time veterinarian who supplemented his income renting out horses and buggies from a livery barn.” The family actually led an itinerant existence, moving repeatedly after Ron’s Nebraska birth in 1911 until they ended up in the Pacific Northwest.
The legend said Hubbard had made extensive travels to Asia, where the budding teenaged philosopher communed with holy men and mystics who had great respect for the young American’s precocity.
Miller found instead that Hubbard had made two trips to Asia while his father was stationed in Guam and made observations that were pretty typical for a teenager. In Beijing in 1928, Hubbard noted that the Chinese could make millions if they turned the Great Wall into a roller coaster. But ultimately, he was unimpressed with the country, writing in his journal, “The trouble with China is, there are too many chinks here.”
By Annalee Newitz via io9.com
You’ve seen the insane video of Tom Cruise blasting Scientologists with his truth beams:
You’ve heard the rumors. But now, you’ll get the full story. Over at the New York Post, Maureen Callahan has a fascinating article about journalist Lawrence Wright’s new book about Scientology, called Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief. There is a lot about Cruise in the book, partly because he’s Scientology’s most famous acolyte and partly because he is apparently the second-in-command of the church.
He wasn’t just a movie star. He was a transformational leader in a church that claims 8 million members globally, a religious figure with true moral authority and the power to save the planet. Cruise came to believe he had special powers, that he was more equipped to helping a woman suffering postpartum depression than the medical establishment, that addicts would be better off consulting him than in rehab.
[Scientology head David] Miscavige encouraged Cruise’s grandiosity. Marty Rathbun said that Miscavige told Cruise that they were among a select group of chosen ones, “big beings” who were destined to meet up with LRH on a planet called “Target Two.”
Cruise used his celebrity to lobby Bill Clinton and ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair in pursuit of tax breaks for the church, which ex-members say has at least $1 billion in holdings.
Cruise was elated yet distracted by more earthly concerns. He was openly complaining about his lack of a girlfriend, and so once again Miscavige tasked church members with solving this problem. Cruise himself held auditions at the Celebrity Centre, under the guise of casting for his next “Mission: Impossible” film. On his list: Lindsay Lohan, Jessica Alba, Kate Bosworth, Scarlett Johansson and Jennifer Garner, whom he found the most compelling.
Their first date was arranged in April 2005. Cruise took her for a night flight over LA in a helicopter stocked with take-out sushi – his typical, over-the-top, getting-to-know-you approach. Two weeks later, Holmes had moved in with him and cut off all contact with her friends and representatives. She was shadowed everywhere. In April 2006, Holmes gave birth to a daughter, Suri, and in November of that year, she and Cruise married . . .
For his part, Cruise believes his true aim in life is to convert all nonbelievers into the church, which, according to Scientology, will result in Earth’s salvation. “Look,” he said, “I wish the world was a different place. I’d like to go on vacation, and go and romp and play, you know what I mean? But I can’t. Because I know. I know. I have to do something about it. You can sit here and wish it was different, but there’s that moment where you go, ‘You know, I have to do something. Don’t I?’
Apparently Cruise’s special powers don’t extend to meeting women, since (at least according to Wright’s book), the Church of Scientology arranged all his marriages for him. Read the full article over at The New York Post.
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