History of Scientology
|Overview||Founded by L. Ron Hubbard, 1954, California|
|Current Adherents||70,000 or several million, depending on the source|
What is the story of the Scientology faith?
The Church of Scientology was founded in 1954, based on the teachings of an American author named L. Ron Hubbard. "Lafayette" Ronald Hubbard was born on March 13, 1911, in Tilden, Nebraska. The son of a naval commander, Hubbard moved to Montana at the age of two and traveled with his family over much of the country. His mother, who had attended teacher's college, tutored Hubbard at home, and he learned to read and write at a young age.
As a young boy, Hubbard established a friendship with a tribe of Blackfoot Indians living near his Helena, Montana home. This unique opportunity enabled him to learn much about the culture, customs and legends of the tribe. At the age of six, Hubbard was given the rare honor of becoming a blood brother of the Blackfoot Indians.
In 1923, Hubbard moved with his family to Seattle, Washington, where he joined the Boy Scouts. At the age of 13, he became the youngest Eagle Scout ever. The same year, the young Hubbard traveled to Washington, D.C. by way of the Panama Canal. Along the way, he established another influential friendship, this time with Naval Commander Joseph C. Thompson. Commander Thompson had been sent by the US Navy Marine Corps to study under Sigmund Freud, and he taught Hubbard much about Freudian theory.
Hubbard in Asia
In 1927, Hubbard embarked on the first of his many journeys to Asia. By the age of 19, he had traveled more than 250,000 miles - including China, Japan, Guam, and the Philippines. In the course of these travels, he befriended Old Mayo, a Beijing magician, spent time with followers of the Buddhist religion at lamaseries in the Western Hills of China, and spent time with nomadic bandits of Mongolian descent. Hubbard learned and experienced much during his Asian travels, but he was left discouraged by what he observed:
For all the wonders of these lands and all his respect for those whom he encountered, he still saw much that concerned him: Chinese beggars willing themselves to die above open graves in Beijing, children who were less than rags, widespread ignorance and despair. And in the end, he came to the inescapable conclusion that despite the wisdom of its ancient texts, the East did not have the answers to the miseries of the human condition. It remained evident in the degradation and sorrow of its people. ( www.aboutlronhubbard.org )
Hubbard back to America
In 1929, Hubbard returned to the United States and resumed his formal education. After graduating from the Woodword School for Boys in Washington, D.C., he enrolled in the mathematics and engineering program at George Washington University. In the course of this study, Hubbard theorized that subatomic particles might assist in understanding how the human mind worked, and recognized the great importance of keeping mankind under control in light of atomic studies. He also became keenly disappointed with the knowledge of the psychologists he consulted with. As Hubbard described it:
To be very blunt, it was very obvious that I was dealing with and living in a culture which knew less about the mind than the lowest primitive tribe I had ever come in contact with. Knowing also that people in the East were not able to reach as deeply and predictably into the riddles of the mind as I had been led to expect, I knew I would have to do a lot of research. Thus, the result of Hubbard's many travels, experiences, and studies was a determination to discover how the human mind works. Hubbard left college before graduating and made the world his research laboratory. His research was financed by becoming one of the most famous authors of the 1930s. He wrote well over 200 novels and short stories in the genres of science fiction, western, mystery and adventure.
In 1938, Hubbard discovered what he believed to be the common denominator of existence, which was: SURVIVE. In a philosophic work entitled "Excalibur," Hubbard wrote:
I suddenly realized that survival was the pin on which you could hang the rest of this with adequate and ample proof. It’s a very simple problem. Idiotically simple! That’s why it never got solved. Nobody has ever looked at anything being that simple to do that much. So what do we find as the simplicities of solution? The simplicities of solution lie in this: that life, all life, is trying to survive. And life is composed of two things: the material universe and an X-factor. And this X-factor is something that can evidently organize, and mobilize the material universe. ### Naval years
Hubbard served as a Navy Lieutenant in World War II, and the bloodshed and its effects on man's mind that he observed made him more determined than ever to discover the answers to the human mind. In 1945, he was hospitalized at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in Oakland, California. While recovering, he took the opportunity to experiment with the idea that mental blocks can prevent medical treatments from being effective. He found this theory to work on numerous patients, and concluded: "Thought is boss."
After the war, Hubbard continued to test his hypotheses on a broad sample of people from all over the United States. He is said to have helped over 400 hundred people become healthier with the procedures he had developed, including himself. These procedures came to be called "Dianetics," which would eventually become central to Scientology's beliefs.
Dianetics, and the AMA and APA
In 1949, Hubbard's first published article on Dianetics appeared in the Explorers Club Journal. He also presented his findings to the American Medical Association and American Psychiatric Association, but neither were interested in his work. Hubbard and his friends concluded that the medical establishment felt their way of life threatened by the simplicity of Dianetics and were motivated by greed rather than helping others. Hubbard therefore presented his findings directly to the public.
In May 1950, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health was published, and went on to sell over 17 million copies. He wrote six books in 1951 on Dianetics technology and began lecturing all over the country. According to the Church of Scientology, over 750 groups were putting Dianetics technology into practice by the end of 1950.
Despite this success, Hubbard still puzzled over some unanswered questions. Although he felt he had discovered the mechanism of the mind, he wrote that "the further one investigated, the more one came to understand that here, in this creature Homo sapiens, were far too many unknowns. This new avenue of research, into the human spirit, was the focus of the next three decades of Hubbard's study and writing. It is out of this period that Scientology was born.
In 1954, Scientologists, not Hubbard, founded the first Church of Scientology in Los Angeles. As Scientologists describe it, "L. Ron Hubbard founded the subject - early Scientologists founded the church." In 1959 Hubbard and his family moved to England. He bought the Saint Hill Manor in Sussex, which was to be his home for the next seven years and the worldwide headquarters of the Church of Scientology.
In the 1960s, Hubbard developed a step-by-step method for reaching higher spiritual awareness and ability, and trained Scientologists in this method. Hubbard also designed administrative principles for Scientology organizations.
On September 1, 1966, Hubbard resigned as Executive Director of the Church of Scientology, and spent the next seven years at sea devoted to research. During this time, he developed a drug rehabilitation program, as well as the highest levels of Scientology and further administrative principles.
From 1975 to 1979, Hubbard lived in La Quinta, California, where he wrote (and in many cases directed) numerous training films on the application of his principles.
In 1980, Hubbard published The Way to Happiness, a "nonreligious moral code based on common sense," of which over 35 million copies have been printed. About this book Hubbard commented:
Reading the papers and wandering around in the society, it was pretty obvious that honesty and truth were not being held up to the standards they once had. People and even little kids in schools have gotten the idea that high moral standards are a thing of the past. Man has in his hands today a lot of violent weapons. He doesn’t have the moral standards to go with them.
Hubbard died on January 24, 1986.
L. Ron Hubbard: The Founder of Scientology - Scientology.org