THE 1950's



THE 1950's

The official publications of the Church of Scientology give very little information about the early 1950's. I am reliant therefore on the extensive research work done on this period by Roy Wallis, for his book 'The Road to Total Freedom', published in 1976. My views on the usefulness of this book as a whole are given in Appendix A. The piecing together of the events of the early history of Dianetics and Scientology by Roy Wallis makes a useful contribution to understanding the form the movement took in its subsequent development.

As mentioned earlier, the publication of 'Dianetics - Modern Science and Mental Health' in 1950 caused a wave of interest around the United States, At the same time the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation was set-up in Elizabeth, New Jersey. This was close to Bay Head, New Jersey where Hubbard was living at the time. The Board of Directors of the Foundation included Hubbard's main two supporters at the time, John W. Campbell, editor of 'Astounding Science Fiction', and Joseph Winter, a medical doctor.

During 1950 demand grew for auditing facilities. Branches of the Foundation were established in Los Angeles, New York, Washington, Chicago and Honolulu. The main auditor training centres were in New Jersey and Los Angeles. Graduates of the four week course were certified as professional auditors.

In parallel with this, 'grass-roots' groups emerged who began training themselves and co-auditing. Some publicised their activities in the papers, some wrote to booksellers or the Foundation to make contact with others in their area interested in Dianetics. Extensive written communication took place between the groups and with the Foundation. This correspondence discussed case histories, new ideas on therapy and practice, and ideas on development of the movement. Groups started to produce their own newsletters and the Foundation produced its own journal. This included articles by Hubbard and other Foundation staff plus details of courses and books available,

There was no attempt however by the Foundation to control or structure the field groups. Auditors trained by the Foundation were left to apply their new skill how and where they wished. Some joined or led local groups, others set up as solo-practitioners.


None of the Board members of the Foundation were obviously good administrators and the central organisation was not well managed. Hubbard himself was primarily concerned with research and lecturing at this time and was commuting between Los Angeles and New York. When he did get involved in administration, his authoritarian style antagonised other Board members.

Staff were recruited in large numbers and money was spent in the belief that the booming interest in Dianetics would continue. However by early 1951 income started to drop as the difficulties of getting predictable and reliable results from Dianetics started to become evident There had also been hostile criticism by doctors and psychiatrists who pigeon-holed Dianetics with psychoanalysis and hypnotism. In addition there was a lot of publicity given to Hubbard's divorce from his second wife, a supposed 'Clear'. The biggest disappointment for many however was that the attractive state of Clear was not achieved as easily or quickly as the book had promised.

Gradually Hubbard's colleagues resigned from the Board and the Foundation moved towards bankruptcy. Another supporter of Dianetics Don Purcell, stepped in to provide a financial injection to the Foundation He closed down the branches and relocated the Foundation in Wichita Kansas. Purcell became President of the Foundation with Hubbard as Chairman of the Board and Vice-President.

In early 1952 Purcell and Hubbard split up. It was agreed that Hubbard would resign, sell his stock for a nominal figure to Purcell and set up an independent Hubbard College in Wichita.

In April 1952 the Foundation finally went bankrupt. Its assets were bought by Purcell. These included the sole right to the name 'Hubbard Dianetic Foundation' and the publishing rights and copyrights on all the Foundation's publications, including 'Dianetics-Modern Science and Mental Health'.

Hubbard had meanwhile transplanted the Hubbard College to Phoenix Arizona, where he established Scientology. This seems to have been a conscious decision to abandon the Dianetics field for the moment.

The conflicts that had led to Hubbard's isolation, or isolation of himself, were fundamental. It was as if an isolated community living in an area surrounded by impenetrable mountains had built a flying machine which would let them contact surrounding valleys. The main inventor however now wanted to use this machine to go to the moon whereas his colleagues still wanted to fulfil the original objectives.

Most particularly Dr Winter wanted to get Dianetics accepted by the scientific and medical community. Hubbard's moves towards the spiritual


and the apparently occult were felt to be making this goal unachievable. Purcell wanted a sound commercial operation which could provide the backing and support that the popular movement needed. Hubbards impetuous and grandiose money raising schemes, such as 'Allied Scientists of the World', were out of keeping with the respectable image he wanted Hubbard s first major supporter, John Campbell, withdrew in reaction to Hubbard s authoritarian style and his unwillingness to accept the intellectual contributions of others.

Meanwhile the field groups were also in a state of discord. These groups were jealous of their independence They did not all agree that Hubbard needed to be the head of the movement. While acknowledging his initial breakthrough, some felt that further refinement and development could equally well be done by others. Some felt that other techniques could be incorporated into Dianetics and others felt that several different therapy methods could emerge An indication of the vigour of the controversy was the evolution of a whole range of magazines, including The Dianews. Dianotes, and Dianetics Today.

In addition to mainstream Dianetics, other breakaway methodologies appeared led by individuals who hoped to pick up the mantle that Hubbard had droPped as leader of Dianetics Among these were Ron Howes and the Institute of Humanics, A. L. Kitselman with the E-Therapy, and Art Coulter with Synergetics.

In the UK the development of Dianetics followed a similar pattern to the early days in the United States. The loose coordinating body was the British Dianetic Association which was succeeded by the Dianetic Association Ltd. Their main function was to get hold of American material and distribute it in the UK. In 1952 the Dianetic Association Ltd was absorbed by the Dianetic Federation of Great Britain. Like its American counterpart it exercised virtually no control over the multitude of field groups and auditors. Very few of these auditors had been to the United States to be trained at the Foundation.

From his new base in Phoenix, Hubbard started to establish the new subject of Scientology. As explained earlier this grew out of the further development work he did on Dianetics with more advanced auditing procedures.

By 1952 he had moved beyond the exclusive area of the human mind to dealing with its 'animator'. This animator is the concept of a spiritual being that determines the action of the mind and body. In our normal experience our spiritual awareness becomes largely obscured by the physical and mental inefficiencies that we pick up during our growth to adulthood. With the development of techniques for increasing our


awareness of existing as a spiritual being, separate from our body and mind, Scientology was born.

Hubbard established the Hubbard's orbit as the HAS, in Phoenix. He began Scientology auditing and training of interested members of the Dianetics community there. He also started a periodical called the Journal of Scientology.

From this new platform he began to attack Purcell's Dianetic Foundation in Wichita, claiming that it was profiteering from Dianetics. He made a strong appeal to Dianetics followers which produced many converts to Scientology.

As the HAS grew it changed its name to Hubbard Association of Scientologists International (HASI) and became tougher in the control it exerted over its members using Scientology techniques. Hubbard was obviously determined to avoid a repeat of the uncontrolled evolution of field auditors and groups that had happened with Dianetics. Only organisations affiliated to the HAS were permitted to have and use Scientology materials. To qualify as an affiliated group all members had to be individual members of the HASI and monthly reports of activities were required. Groups that did not toe the line had their certificates withdrawn and became ineligible for new Scientology materials. Independent practitioners were similarly controlled and these now included quite a few former Dianetics practitioners who were drawn back into to be individual members of the HASI and monthly reports of activities were required. Groups that did not toe the line had their certificates withdrawn and became ineligible for new Scientology materials. Independent practitioners were similarly controlled and these now included quite a few former Dianetics practitioners who were drawn back into

The Wichita Foundation had not thrived since Hubbard's departure and was having to contend with law suits from Hubbard. In late 1954 Purcell decided he would give up Dianetics and he would switch his support to the breakaway group, Synergetics. He agreed to return the Dianetic copyrights and publishing rights to Hubbard.

The HASI now had full control of both Scientology and Dianetics materials and could set about ending fringe practices that used Dianetics in combination with other therapies. Those groups and magazines which did not come back to Hubbard and HASI gradually joined the breakaway groups, Humanics and Synergetics, or extended their interests into other practices such as Yoga, Hypnotism and Numerology.

In Britain the Dianetic Federation was apprehensive of the effect of a subsidiary HAS being founded as it would reduce the autonomy of the Dianetic Groups. Hubbard made it clear that he regarded the failure of the earlier Dianetic Foundations as due to him not having complete control. In the end he by-passed the leadership of the Federation and set-up a HAS in London, It made a broad appeal to the field groups and support moved quickly over to it once Hubbard started to visit the UK. As a result


virtually all the independent Dianetics groups in the UK had disappeared by 1955.

Despite the turmoil and problems of these times, Hubbard continued researching and lecturing on a massive scale. There are several hundred taped lectures from the period. The three most famous of these are available in book form as Notes on the Lectures (1951). The Philadelphia Doctorate Course delivered in Philadelphia in 1952 and the Phoenix lectures delivered in that City in 1954. There are in addition tapes of introductory lectures and radio broadcasts that he did all over the US during the early 50's.

The other thread in Hubbard's work was the production of material to introduce new people to the subject. In 1953 the following books were published: 'This is Scientology The Science of Certainty'; 'Introduction to Scientology' and 'Self Analysis in Scientology'. Among the books published in 1954 were: 'Group Auditors Handbook' (Vols I & II) and 'Dianetics 55'. In 1955 there followed nine books including 'Scientology- Its contribution to knowledge: The Elementary Scientology Series' and 'The Creation of Human Ability'. In 1956 there were again many advanced technical publications, usually presented in the form of 'Professional Auditors Bulletins and also Scientology The Fundamentals of Thought'; 'Creative Learning - A Scientological Experiment in Schools' and 'The Problems of Work'. By the late 50's the flow of books reduced to three or four a year and these were mostly more technically specialised for professional auditors.

The flow of lectures continued unabated until 1960. Prior to 1953 Ron Hubbard had moved around the country to deliver them. Now the large numbers of people wanting to learn the techniques of Dianetics an. Scientology were more ready to come to him. At first this was to Phoenix Arizona, but after the setting up of the Church in Washington DC in 1955 he centred his activities there. In February 1954 the first religious flavour appeared with founding of the first Church of Scientology, in Los Angeles n 1955 Churches were founded in New York and Washington DC interestingly a Church was also founded in Auckland, New Zealand in 1954

In the later 50's Hubbard made more visits to Britain and in the Spring of 1959 purchased Saint Hill Manor, in Sussex. This was to become h home and the centre of Scientology operations for the next few years.

The most obvious question that springs from this period is why did the Scientology movement take on the title of a church and thus a religion? Also why did Ron Hubbard move from the United States to the UK in 1959?

A significant paragraph appears in the section on Ron Hubbard's life


history in the Church's book 'What is Scientology'. This says that in the early 50's the US government tried to monopolise his researches to use them for mind control of people. It then says that after the government failed to get Hubbard's agreement to this, it embarked on a campaign of covert attacks on his work. This is the earliest reference In the Church's published history to deliberate discrimination and attacks by government- backed agencies. Most frequently referred to are the efforts of the American Psychiatry Association to discredit the movement. This belief in a campaign of covert attacks has grown into massive paranoia within the Church over the years.

It could be that these real or imagined pressures were more important in deciding to become a Church rather than a belief that Scientology needed to be a Church to be effective in doing its job of Improving the mental and spiritual health of people.

In the United States, and all English-speaking countries, the liberty and tolerance extended to religions is obviously much greater than to para- medical practices. There were many practical advantages therefOre in repackaging Scientology and Dianetics as a religion and therefore a Church. The individual Churches in each State applied for and got exemption from Federal Taxes, as they were entitled to do as religious and educational bodies

In 1958 the Federal Tax agency started to change its view and began to withdraw the tax exempt status from some of the Churches. This led to a series of extended legal battles with the US Inland Revenue Service. It was not until 1975 that the Church of Washington regained full tax exempt status. During that year most of the other Churches also regained tax exemption. It would appear however that not all of the Churches within the United States did regain exemption.

This was the first of many aggravating governmental actions against Scientology in the United States, and later in other countries of the world. Whether the actions were justifiable for the public good then or now is difficult for us to pass judgement on. What we can see is that the legacy of these governmental actions is considerable paranoia within the Church, and also on the part of Ron Hubbard himself.

Whatever views we may have on the right of government and its agencies to make life difficult for fringe groups, the actions of the US Internal Revenue Service and later the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did not halt the growth of Scientology They can be seen now as no more than irritating side issues in relation to the continuing expansion of the movement during the fifties. Getting into the subject of Scientology requires some intelligence and a fair level of


education In addition the promise to the individual of the benefits of increased awareness and abilities is quite specific. If these promises were being fulfilled to some degree, then the Church's nationwide continuing growth during this period could not have happened.

By the end of the fifties Scientology had established a network Churches throughout the United States. Churches had also been set u in New Zealand and South Africa. There were in addition groups active in many other places and Scientology was already well on the way t becoming a world movement-

With the official attitude to Scientology in the United States being somewhat hostile, it seems probable that Hubbard considered it better to set up his Worldwide headquarters somewhere with a freer and more benign climate in which to operate. The peace of the Sussex countryside and the strong following Scientology had already gained in Britain probably accounts for his choice of Saint Hill Manor, East Grinstead.

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