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The World in Action


The Shrinking World of L. Ron Hubbard

The only time Hubbard allowed an outside crew to interview him.

Granada Television  -  England




(V.O) Tonight, World in Action has tracked down one of the most elusive men on earth.

This was the end of our search, an ex cattle boat, The Royal Scotman, docked at Bizerte, a small port in North Africa. On board, about 250 people making some sort of a crew and this, mysterious man. The localised screen man thought he was a great scientist looking for insects. Everybody seems to think he is a millionaire. These are no ordinary sea men; their allegiance and devotion to the mysterious man is total. To them, he is: "My Commodore."

The man is L. Ron Hubbard: charmer, science fiction writer and showman, the creator of Scientology and the man who is pushing it into its new more militant phase. He now requires that his crew must have training in judo and weaponry and that they must be ethically beyond reproach, tough, formidable and effective. To them, he is a savior. One of them wrote: " ...that which I have really found is the nearness to the greatness which is Ron, our founder. To me, above all, my Commodore."

Today, shyness[?] has overcome Mr. Hubbard when asked to appear on television. After several weeks of hunting for him with the help of almost every radio station along the mediterranean and beyond, World in Action at last tracked Hubbard down. Just before dawn, on a recent Sunday morning, Hubbard, who finds sleeping difficult, decided at last to speak. He spoke for a long long time about his money, his beliefs, his critics and the new authoritarian structure of Scientology. But first he spoke about his troubles with the British government. He put on his hat, he smiled and he began.

Hubbard: Well, that's very interesting, but let's correct an impression first. You said you were in trouble. Let's get my relationship to this completely straight and so on... I am the writer of the textbooks of Scientology. About 2 1/2 years ago or so I even ceased to be the director of organisations. The governement, in the first place I'm not in trouble with the British government not even faintly, and if I went in today or tomorrow through immigration they would tip their hats and say: "How are you Mr. Hubbard" as they have been doing for years.

(V.O) The immigration officials might well tip their hats, but they couldn't let him in. The day we filmed Mr Hubbard the Home Office decided that Britain would be better off without him.

The Shrinking World of L Ron Hubbard

(V.O) Saint Hill Manor, England. Hubbard's British headquarters handling an income of something like 1 million £ a year. But as Scientology expands more and more governments and mental health authorities condemn it.

Journalist: I wondered, Mr Hubbard, if you could explain simply to a layman what Scientology is?

Hubbard: I think that would be a relatively easy idea[?] because it is actually a subject which is designed for the layman and if you couldn't explain it to the layman you would have a very difficult time on it. The subject, the name means "scio," which means knowing how to know in the fullest sense of the word, "ology" which is study of, so it is actually study of knowingness [sic]. That is what the word itself means. The...

Journalist: To me that doesn't mean very much. I didn't understand that. I mean, what does it do for you - in theory?

Hubbard: It increases one's knowingness. But if a man were totally aware of what was going on around him, he would find it relatively simple to handle any outnesses [sic] [note: that word not only is not an english word, but it is not even defined in any Scientology dictionaries] in that. [sic]

(V.O): After 3 hours of talking we never got an explanation from him that we could understand.

In fact, Scientology is a faith, a religion. Because faiths are now out of fashion it calls itself a science. But scientists would just have as much difficulty with the beliefs of Scientology as they do with virgin births and resurrection from the dead.

Saint Hill is a nice place, Scientologists are very friendly and honestly believe they can help whoever goes to them. Usually, they can.

Scientologists do 2 basic things; first, they sit for hours listening to recordings of Hubbard and they are examined to see how well they learnt it.

Hubbard on tape

Now the mind when it has an old experience will add that data into its current experience and it keeps coming up with wrong answers. A profesor looks at some college student -ah- with a slight -ah- twitch -ah- of the-ah- eyes. And this girl says: "he has winked at me." [garbled]

(V.O) What he tells them, when you cut through the jargon, is partly good sense, teaching his disciples how to calm down and deal with the things that worry them. The rest is religious ramblings and stories about his achievements in this life and the ones he's led before which are as imaginative as his science fiction.

Hubbard on tape continues

... because she was assaulted when she was 10 by this fellow who winked at her first and it messed her up considerably.

Student, on tape

I don't understand what "out-conscious" are... [garbled]

(V.O) The real hooker in Scientology is this instrument. They call it an E-meter. It's a very simple electronic device that's been around for years as a lie detector. There is no mystery whatsoever about it. Hubbard uses it in a process he calls auditing; the Scientologist's confessional. Here, the student talks often for many hundreds of expensive hours about himself. His inner-most secrets are dug into. As they question embarrassment, fear, guilt, shame any emotion will make the needle waver.

American courts have condemned the E-meter of being totally unscientific; it measures only emotion. It can't distinguish between fantasy and reality. If you feel ashamed because you believe that, in a previous incarnation, you hammered the nails into Christ's feet, the Scientologists think that proves that you lived before as a Roman centurion. Unburdened, the student feels free at last. It's this area that is a deepest concern to the medical world, although discussing the deepest problems naturally makes many people feel better, the Scientologists also applied this technique to people in no fit mental state to stand it. Sometimes, digging with the best will in the world into a student's problems they can reduce him into a state of collapse well known to psychiatrists. The Scientologists gayly call it the sad effect [sic]. The only mystery about the e-meter is its price. In a recent US income tax trial, it was stated that it cost about 4 £ and 9d to make while Hubbard was selling it for between 44 and 51£. As the court commissioners said, such profitability, while not at all conclusive, is indicative of a commercial operation.

Award ceremony - MC

The Hubbard College of Scientology Qualifications division department of Certifications and Awards does hereby certify that Janet E Lundy has obtained the state of Clear!


(V.O) This girl has reached her goal: she's gone "clear." Clears like her have gone through a list of 60 questions written in Hubbard 's own handwriting without showing any emotional reaction on the E-meter to any of them. Towards us the unbelievers they feel pity, they call us "wogs" [racist term]


I've never given a speech before, so this is the first one for me, but I did want to say one thing -ah- validate yourselves [cult's jargon] you're beautiful, thank you.

(V.O) For many, Scientology becomes not only a faith but a way of life. They become dependent upon the org for their social life and even their livelihood. They work for very long hours and almost no money. A year ago, the org did not deny a profit of 1/2 a million £ since then the income has touched 30 000 £ a week. They neither know nor care what happens to the money.

About 3 years ago, Hubbard introduced a new note into his new kingdom, discipline. He laid down a rigid line of conduct. Since then, the ethics department has taken over more and more. This is one of Hubbard ethics orders on critics of Scientology, so called suppressives.


May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued, or lied to, or destroyed.

Last year, Hubbard wrote:

Now get this as a technical fact, not a hopeful idea. Every time we've investigated the background of a critic of Scientology, we have found crimes which that person or group could be emprisoned under existing law. We do not find critics of Scientology who do not have criminal pasts. Over and over we prove this.

Politician A stand up on his hind legs in a parliament and brays for a condemnation of Scientology. When we look him over we find crimes: embezzled funds, moral lapses, a thirst for young boys - sordid stuff. Wife B howls at her husband for attending a Scientology group. We look her up and find she had a baby he didn't know about.

Most recently, Hubbard wrote this about a group of people who defended against the ethics department.

They are declared enemies of mankind, the planet, and all life. They are fair game. No amnesty may ever cover them. The criminal prosecution bureau is to find any and all crimes in their past and have them brought to court and a prison. Any sea organisation member contacting any of them is to use auditing process R2-45.

Hubbard called R2-45 "an enormously effective process of exteriorization frowned upon by society at this time."

But it's here back on the ship with Hubbard that ethics really flourish. The stated purpose of the ship is to "get ethics in." Hubbard is captain. On the ship he is not governed by English law. But we asked him about his authoritarian activities at his English headquarters.

Hubbard: If there is an authoritarian structure at Saint Hill, it has been brought into being by the government itself. Saint Hill is trying to correct itself; it doesn't know what it's trying to correct because nobody has told it what to correct. We get these odd allegations, we used to in the old days and I'm sure they still do, and all I'd have to do, all Robinson would have to do is say: "You fellows mustn't do so and so and you must do so and so and immediately these fellows would straighten out -ah- as it is...

Journalist: but listen , but surely...

Hubbard: They trying to prevent Scientologists from doing something wrong but they don't know what would be wrong

Journalist: but Britain, we hope is not an authoritarian place it does not say to people you will now stop doing this, you will now start doing that. And that is what your organisation does and some people find that helpful they're told by you, and I'm sure you can do it very well...

Hubbard: ...not by me, not by me, the ship's company right now -ah-...

Journalist: they think they're told by you at Saint-Hill and they feel that you are a strength for them in that way

Hubbard: Anybody who has inspired a movement would be a strength for them. But let me clarify this very definitely. It is not an authoritarian organisation and the only reason why it is trying desperately to keep itself in some sort of very firm order and so on is because they're trying to correct things.

Journalist: But surely it's authoritarian in its treatment of suppressive people that kind of thing, I mean, you don't allow criticism.

Hubbard: Oh no a suppressive person isn't critical, a suppressive person is a person who denies the right of others.

Journalist: But surely you are doing precisely that thing to them by denying them the right to do what they want to do.

Hubbard: Perhaps but if it's somebody's [sic] going to kill a baby I think you would deny him the right too. This is beside the point. The only thing, the only reason why any discipline has had to enter the scene, and the government should be very glad of that discipline, is to keep the lunatic fringe and from other people from exploiting this subject, and victimising people with it. If the government were to knock out the control point of Scientology they would reap the whirlwinds.

Why do they just fight it and say there's something bad but they never specify what's bad. They haven't specified. For instance, right now they say we're breaking up marriages. Why, that's a lie. As a matter of fact they're saying that at the moment when you've got this book which was just about to go on the press is "How to save your marriage" because it contains thousands of successful marriages.

Journalist: How many times have you been married?

Hubbard: How many times have I been married? I've been married twice. And I 'm very happily married just now, I have a lovely wife, I have 4 children, my first wife is dead.

Journalist: What happened to your second wife?

Hubbard:I've never had a second wife.

(V.O) What Hubbard said happens to be untrue. It's an unimportant detail but he's had 3 wives. He did have a second wife, Sarah Northrup Hubbard, from whom he was divorced on the 12th of June, 1951. He has at least 3 other children. What is important is that his followers were there as he lied, but no matter what the evidence they don't believe it.

Nick Robinson was on that ship until June this year as director of public activities.


Journalist: How do Scientologists react when it's proved to them that Hubbard claims things in his past which just aren't true

Robinson: It depends on how high up they are. Obviously, you can shake a pretty new Scientologist that way, but if they've been in Scientology for a long time, they don't think in other terms, you know, Scientology is their universe, and so, they would just refuse to believe it.


Journalist: What are you actually doing on this ship now?

Hubbard: I am studying ancient civilisations trying to find what happened to them finding out why they went into decline why they died.

Journalist: This studying, what do you do, how do you do it?

Hubbard: I have sent out several people to look over areas and so on they come back they tell me what they are, I go out to the important ones.


Robinson: Well the way Hubbard did his research, so far as we could see, was to scout around the islands and the coastline of the Mediterranean and see what it suggested to him, you see. He was supposed to have total recall of past lives. This past lives thing goes right through Scientology, you see, so it's a pretty important thing to establish, you know, and one incident which he described at the party following his return, was that he had docked at Sardinia, and 2000 years ago, according to him, he'd been the commander of a fleet of war galleons in the Mediterranean and he's had an affair with the priestess of the temple, on Sardinia, and he used to make assignations with her by her secret tunnel into the temple. It was all beautiful Ridder Hagard stuff, and at the island he made a little plasticine model of the secret entrance and sent his troops around and scout around for it and there it was lo and behold there was a stone which was there in the model [?] and they thought this was the entrance.

And when Hubbard described this at the party celebrating his return, you know, the whole room sort of erupted into cries of "Good old Ron" and whistles, you know. And I think I was the only one there who thought "well, this is marvellous showmanship, but it doesn't prove a damn thing about past lives.


Journalist: Do you believe that you have lived before?

Hubbard: Now to answer that question would be very unfair.

Journalist: Scientologists believe they lived before, though, don't they?

Hubbard: Oh yes as a matter of fact it's quite interesting that exercises can be conducted which demonstrate conclusively that there are memories which exist prior to this life.

Ship PA system

This is a drill, this is a drill. Fire. Fire. Fire on poop deck

(V.O) These are some of the faithful at fire drill, one of the few things we were able to film before they got angry.

One crew member wrote a letter published in the ship's magazine:

My body was seen in the ship at a certain place, whereas at the very time it was being seen, I was discussing the various spots[?] with another 3 sea org members way away from where I was seen.

After this I received three letters from South Africa the writers of which were glad having seen me and congratulated me on looking so well. My last time in South Africa was in 1957.

Recently I went there 4 times bodyless, to see my friend Chris Veideman[?]. Mybody has not left Spain since it got here.

(V.O) Not everybody on board was so fortunate, Nick Robinson:


Robinson: A long time, I was noting discrepancies between what Hubbard was claiming to be the abilities of his clears and OTs and what I knew were their abilities, I've met several hundred of these clears and several OTs, which are the advanced students, and they just didn't have the abilities Hubbard said they had. He published some years ago that a clear would have a genious IQ would have total recall and a perfect memory, would have excellent health, high ethics and would never have accidents by his own fault. Now, I found incidents to refute every single one of those claims; in fact, I never found a clear who lives up to the entire formula. So, I thought, if Hubbard could exagerate here, was there [?] other areas where he could also exagerate. I went down to Valencia to check out these OT who were there and I wasn't impressed at all so I left.


(V.O) Those who stay provide Hubbard with an almost free crew. There are no professional sailors he pays them just enough for cigarettes and sweets but they pay him rather more. The new advanced courses costs something more than 1000 £ plus keep, payable to an account in the name of Hubbard's present wife. If all 250 people have signed for these advanced courses, which according to Hubbard can be completed in weeks, days and even hours, that makes over a quarter of a million £. The scrapers could be scraping for quite some time; they've been asked to sign a contract for 1 billion years.

Journalist: You say that you have retired from Scientology, you're now on a very smart and spenditious ship, well what are you doing on the ship?

Hubbard: I don't think the labour government ought to know this, because they don't aprove of loafing, but I'm loafing.

Journalist: What are you loafing on? on what proceeds? Where did you get all the money to loaf?

Hubbard: Well one tends to overlook the fact that all during the thirties, and actually during the late forties, I was a highly successful writer, and a great many propertiesand so on accumulated during that period of time.

Journalist: ...is that really where the money for all this comes from?

Hubbard: Yes - yes, one of the things...

Journalist: It doesn't come from the Scientologists at Saint Hill?

Hubbard: No the Scientologists at Saint Hill. As a matter of fact, I wish I had the bill here to show you, but we added up over the years what monies I had loaned organisations and what monies of mine personally, royalties and so on, had been collected by Scientology organisations, and the amount of money paid out for research, and it amounts to 13 millions $. That's a fantastic sum of money.

Journalist: because the other thing that we hear about are things like Swiss bank accounts, the Bigtay[??] bank, that kind of thing, and there is a great temptation to believe that your yacht and the standard of life to which you are now accustomed is paid for by Scientologist in England

Hubbard: The amounts of money in Switzerland are minimal, very small amount of money.

Journalist: So why do you have Swiss bank accounts?

Hubbard: I don't have Swiss bank accounts, there is - there is a bank account in Switzerland I don't know how much money is in it but not very much. The amount of money which comes to me, at this time, is mostly capital, because I don't take any income; these days in days of income tax it's almost impossible to take any income.

Journalist: So your capital, that did come from the Scientologists?

Hubbard: No. No, the Scientologists and so on... Actually, what I tell you is quite true.

Journalist: ...yes but the only problem I have with that sum is you haven't told me where the money does come from. Where the obviously very large sums of money that you have...

Hubbard: Ah there were very very large sums of money that I made when I was very young. 15 million published words and a great many successful movies don't make nothing.

(V.O) Hubbard's finances are almost impossible to unravel but in the pre-boom days of Scientology from 55 to 59 he and his immediate family got at least 154.971 $, plus a percentage usually 10 of the gross income of all other scientology organisations. If he still gets 10 % from Saint Hill alone, that's roughly 100 000 £ a year. And he doesn't deny selling his name to the organisation for a 100 000 £ but says he never got the money.


Robinson: People don't talk about how Hubbard gets his money. They all assume that well, the hand-outs tell them he used to be a millionaire himself before Scientology and it's not really an area which it is safe to look into.

Journalist: Hubbard claims that he is well out of Scientology; was that your impression?

Robinson: He really is in charge all the way, and he receives telexes every day from his organisations all over the world, especially Saint Hill in England, and he sends telexes to Saint Hill to give them instructions and so on, so he really is involved.


Journalist: Don't you wake up some times in the middle of the night and think to yourself "Well I've been on this ship with a whole lot of Scientologists who believe I'm fantastic? I've been here for a whole year and not seen anybody else and I wish to hell I could get away from them?"

Hubbard: Ha ha. Well I haven't been here a whole year you know. I have been out associating with Arabs and all kinds of people. Ah, one of the way you learn about life is to associate with people and ...

Journalist: But you don't! you only associate with Scientologists

Hubbard: Perfectly happy to associate with anybody. The whole point about it is that they don't believe I'm fantastic if you saw the number of times they [grins] don't follow my orders


Robinson: But of course they don't obey his orders in the sea org because a lot of the crew so far has been incompetent completely incompetent they haven't been able to obey his orders in fact we had accidents and so on due to that. But on board the ship he is kind of Jesus Christ cum Buddha all rolled into one, I mean, his busts and photographs are everywhere, you know, he just is God.


Journalist: You say that Scientology is a science. Now, it seems to me that Scientologists believe quite a lot of things which would be scientifically unacceptable and that, therefore, Scientology isn't a science at all, it's a faith like flying saucers are a faith.

Hubbard: Ha ha ha ha ha! A science is something which is constructed from truth on workable axioms, there are 55 axioms in Scientology which are very demonstrably true and on these can be constructed a great deal...

Journalist: But there are also a lot of things that aren't true.

Hubbard: Not necessarily aren't true but aren't usual.


Robinson: They found something that works you know and a kind of psychological wilderness elsewhere and they're also being fired by a tremendous ambition. Because there's nothing too ambitious for Scientology, they seriously hope to eventually take over the galaxy


Journalist: But you think you're OK, yeah?

Hubbard: Well, I don't know that I'm OK any more than anybody else is OK but I've led at least a happy life and a very full one, I have a happy marriage, and my kids are all cheerful and I'm not - nobody's finding any fault with me personally.

Journalist: Do you ever think that you might be quite mad?

Hubbard: Oh yes! The one man in the world who never believes he's mad is the madman.


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