The Man Behind the Church: How Scientology Began

The Buffalo News
January 30, 2005

L. Ron Hubbard: Through the years

  • Lafayette Ronald Hubbard was born in Tilden, Neb., March 13, 1911.

  • From 1931 to 1932, he attended George Washington University. He took three engineering classes, records show, and flunked a course in molecular and atomic physics, but would later claim he was trained as a nuclear physicist.

  • During World War II, Hubbard served in the Navy. Hubbard later claimed he had won medals he hadn't and alleged a combat wound that records show he never suffered.

  • In his early career, Hubbard worked as a successful pulp writer of science-fiction stories, romances and Westerns.

  • In 1950, Hubbard first wrote about Dianetics, the foundation of Scientology. The best selling book "Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health" followed.

  • In 1954, Hubbard established the first Church of Scientology in Los Angeles.

  • In 1977, Hubbard was named an unindicted co-conspirator in a federal crime that resulted in 11 Scientology officials being given five-year prison sentences for infiltrating, burglarizing and wiretapping the IRS, FBI and other government agencies.

  • In 1986, Hubbard died, after living his last years as a recluse.

Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News
Inside the church's renovated quarters on Main Street north of the Theater District, kiosks and other displays explain Scientology to members and visitors.

Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News
Scientologist Kathy Dunford of Lancaster reads a book by L. Ron Hubbard under a portrait of the church founder.

Back to articles index

Last modified: Wed Feb 2 22:20:59 EST 2005