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Hubbard's son prefers life without Scientology

Title: Hubbard's son prefers life without Scientology
Date: Saturday, 8 May 1982
Publisher: Clearwater Times (Florida)
Author: Laurie Hollman
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CLEARWATER — He hates exercise but loves to watch football games on television and to tinker with a 1971 Volkswagen. He "consumes" literature to the point of leading the labels on Campbell soup cans, is practicing Episcopalian, chain smokes and answers to the nickname Nibs.

He watched his father try to perform an abortion on his mother. He practiced black magic, spoke in the jargon of Scientology until he was 25 years old and used to be known as "the great red godlet" because of his red-haired, deified father.

He is Ronald Edward DeWolf, the 48-year-old son of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, and he says he is in Clearwater this week to debunk the mythology surrounding his father and his father's dogma.

"I would say that 99 percent of what my father has written about his own life is false," the red-haired, pink-skinned DeWolf has testified before the Clearwater City Commission during its hearings on Scientology.

IT IS THE first time DeWolf says he hat gone before a large public group to talk about Scientology, and he hopes that it will lead to speaking offers before church groups.

"If I can get one person out of Scientology or keep one person from going in, I will have been effective," he says. "Scientology makes the worst horror movies look like a Disney cartoon."

Paulette Cooper, another witness brought by Boston lawyer Michael Flynn to testify against the church, has questioned DeWolf's credibility, suggesting that he is really in Clearwater to make a fast buck. And DeWolf has returned barb for barb.

But that was Thursday.

On Friday he said that getting the witnesses to feud among themselves is a "classic example" of how the church renders its critics ineffective. "This business with Paulette is what happens with the Scientologists being in the middle," he said. We end up throwing garbage at each other."

DeWOLF SAYS he began life "as a failure." His father was passionately interested in black magic and wanted a "moon child of Babylon," immaculately conceived by the devil. Instead, Hubbard got a two-pound, two-ounce, wholly human, premature baby.

DeWolf was kept alive by his grandmother. She trekked all the way across the United States to take care of the new baby because Hubbard "really didn't like children that much."

His parents split up in 1947. Hubbard reportedly married his second wife Sara Northrup Hubbard a year before he divorced DeWolf's mother, Margaret Grubb Hubbard.

DeWolf recalls his mother waiting angrily for the child support payments that never came. She wanted Hubbard arrested.

He, meanwhile, wanted to join his father, and at 18 he became active in Hubbard's new organization. He says he helped his father set up some of the early Scientology ground rules.

He worked with Hubbard until 1959. "I didn't know what was happening (to himself)," he says of that time. "I hadn't the foggiest idea."

DISENCHANTMENT with his father and Scientology led to his eventual repudiation of the church. He even remembers the day — Feb. 23, 1959. I celebrate the anniversary every year," he says.

He loaded his family into a car in Washington, D.C., slipped his letter of resignation into a mailbox and with $100 to his name, drove to Los Angeles. He never spoke to his father again, although he has received correspondence.

"You don't say goodbye to L. Ron Hubbard," he says.

DeWolf has a feeling that his father is dead because the syntax in the letters he receives is different. But he has no proof, and he's not overburdened by the uncertainty.

He has spent the last two decades watching his six children grow up, earning a respectable living in the security division of a Carson City, Nev., hotel casino and reveling in the daily minutiae of life.

He is now ready to go public, and when Flynn telephoned him several weeks ago he leaped at the chance to testify before the Clearwater City Commission, even though he did not know exactly on what he would be questioned.

BESIDES WANTING to warn potential victims about Scientology, DeWolf says he is interested in deprogramming cult members.

He says the casinos make great deprogrammers because cult members find out that their super powers aren't good enough to beat the blackjack table or cash in on the slot machines.

How does he feel about his former self? De Wolf recently found a tape of an old speech he gave to a Scientology convention.

"I listened to it, and I almost vomited," he said. "That was me?"