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Where are they now? // A farewell to Scientology?

Title: Where are they now? // A farewell to Scientology?
Date: Monday, 26 August 1968
Publisher: Newsweek
Main source: link (223 KiB)

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It was a far-out book even for a science-fiction writer, but "Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health" was a runaway best seller within months of its publication in 1950. An obscure author named Lafayette Ron Hubbard took only 60 days to write it; the learned journals of psychology, psychiatry and medicine all ignored it, and after a few months of heavy sales the book itself began to fade from the best-selling charts. But "Dianetics" had planted the seed for the cult of scientology, which, after more than a decade of relative obscurity in the United States, has sprouted up across the Atlantic, complete with its "E-meters" (a device which purports to gauge an individual's mental state) and group confessionals. Now the British Government has announced abruptly that it will no longer grant entry to visiting students or teachers of scientology, declaring "its authoritarian principles . . . a potential menace to the personality and well-being of those so deluded as to become its followers." A number of factors influenced the British Government's decision to clamp down on the cult, which has established its headquarters at Saint Hill Manor, 31 miles from London: included were the cult's "technology of the human spirit" and its rejection of psychiatry and other scientifically endorsed approaches to mental-health problems.

[Picture / Caption: Hubbard in 1950 and today: From fiction to scientology]

Hubbard himself took the British ban in stride. He was relaxing on his 3,300-ton yacht, Royal Scotman, anchored off the coast of Bizerte, Tunisia, just long enough for an interview with a London Daily Mail reporter. Hubbard appeared unconcerned by London's crackdown. He sought to put down reports that he has a six-figure Swiss bank account: "I've only got a very small amount in Switzerland," he said.

Back at the Manor, a small wooden box invites messages to the founder with a sign over it: "You Can Always Communicate With Ron." His followers expect him to return to England before long. But Hubbard, now 57, seems to enjoy life aboard his yacht. Two weeks ago he Telexed the Manor, "I have finished my work. Now it is up to others."