All These Years I Was Driving Right Past...

Apparently, the home in which L. Ron Hubbard invented Scientology is right here in Phoenix.  In fact, it is right by my kids' school and I drive past it almost every day.  In the next few days I will take a camera and snap a picture or two.

I was a fan of Hubbard's "Battlefield Earth"  (the book, not the movie) as a young adult -- it is a classic example of 1950's pulp science fiction -- though I picked it up a few years ago out of nostalgia and found that it did not wear very well.  I do not know much about Scientology, though I wonder why folks who go all-in for it aren't at least a bit suspicious of a religion involving ancient aliens that was cooked up by a science fiction writer.

The whole thing makes for a fascinating story, and I think it would be fabulous book material for someone who is not either a proselytizing Scientologist or an angry ex-Scientologist with an ax to grind.

  • Incunabulum

    I enjoyed that book too - its what got me to *try* to read his "Mission earth" series. I say try because each of those books is around 10 bajillion pages long. I read a lot and even I couldn't finish the 5th.

  • MingoV

    Friends of L. Ron Hubbard believe that he created Scientology as an elaborate practical joke (and perhaps as a cynical way to sell nonsensical books). I doubt Hubbard realized just how far the joke would go after his death.

  • http://twitter.com/solarno Jim Furey

    I read Battlefield Earth as a young teen then immediately followed that up with the entire Mission Earth series. The one thing that always struck me about both was the intense sense of satire contained in both. As @18de7dd229f8d044942023281c9b03e9:disqus just posted, and based on my reading of Mission Earth, I would not put it past Hubbard that it was all an elaborate joke. One that he lost complete control over.

  • SamWah

    I recall reading that l.Ron and Heinlein were talking, and RAH told LR that if he wanted to get really rich, he should start a new religion. I DO NOT KNOW if that was true.

  • SamWah

    I've never read L.Ron that I remember, but I did read some late 40s to early 50s pulp SF mags, so tis possible.

  • chuck martel

    I don't know anything about scientology except that one of my favorite singers, Alejandra Guzman, is supposedly a devotee. However, there's no reason a science fiction writer couldn't come up with a system of belief when the originators of other such systems came from even less impressive backgrounds.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mharris717 Mike Harris

    Funny you should say that about it making a good movie, because The Master comes out today. It's officially "not about Scientology" ........ but it's clearly about Scientology. Paul Thomas Anderson, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, big Oscar contender, etc.

  • jhertzli

    My father read the original article on Dianetics in Astounding Science Fiction
    and he thought it was intended to be a parody of psychoanalysis. (This
    was shortly after Asimov wrote his thiotimoline parodies of chemistry.)

  • epobirs

    No, the first Dianetics outlet was opened in Elizabeth, NJ in 1950. Hubbard sold off Dianetics during a bankruptcy a few years later after confrontations with various authorities ran up the legal bills. Some more time passed and Hubbard came up with the idea of packaging the Dianetics scam as a religious to avoid copyright issues. Eventually the Church became wealthy enough to buy the Dianetics rights and bring everything together under Hubbard again.

    An original edition of Dianetics is a real collectors' item. Not only for its monetary value but also to discover how utterly twisted Hubbard was. The current versions of the book are very different and generally toned down. To say that Hubbard was a bit misogynistic is putting it mildly.

  • crabstampede

    A buddy of mine was walking one day and came across a Scientology booth on a busy street. As he went by he loudly stated "I don't have a problem with religions based on science fiction, I just have a problem with religions based on BAD science fiction!"

  • Jon

    I've driven right past there a number of times - had no idea. Interesting...