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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » L. Ron Hubbard: Messiah or Madman? » User review

Fabulous portrayal of the hidden horrors behind Hubbard.

  • Jun 9, 2010

This book was incredibly disturbing, but oh-so good. In an organization that prides itself on secrecy, this book offers a much needed perspective from someone within the ranks of the Scientology organization. For the weak of heart, some chapters would be difficult to read, but it really is a worthwhile book to complete. Reading about small children being severely punished at the command of L. Ron Hubbard was certainly the most heart-wrenching part of the book, though there are many chapters that will evoke tears from some. This book differs from recent books about Scientology because the author was one of the core members of the organization from the early days, and he interviews many other members who were Scientologists for 20+ years. These people knew L. Ron Hubbard and are able to offer a rich description of his character, and for such a secretive person, this information is very rare. Corydon even managed to interview L. Ron Hubbard Jr. in a portion of the book, which was very interesting.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in Scientology. This book gives such a great insider's perspective to the very pronounced dichotomy between lay Scientologists and the secretive upper ranks.

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June 11, 2010
For many decades I lived in Seminole, Florida, which is just down the street from Clearwater, a city the Scientologists took over. It was kind of eerie watching them cruise (no pun intended) around town dressed in uniforms that resembled the Coast Guard. They also never went out alone--they always traveled in pairs, like nuns. I also worked at the Post Offal for 25 years and whenever the flat sorter broke down I'd have the chance to read whatever magazine was in front of me while the fixed the machine. The Scientology zine was one of my favorites because the letters to the editor section always had some pretty bizarre stuff in it. I remember one occasion where a member told of her telepathic conversation with an unborn baby at the mall.
June 11, 2010
Queenbflix, I'm so glad you brought that up! I saw a documentary about what has happened in Clearwater, FL with the Church of Scientology and I always wondered what the ordinary residents thought. The filmmakers of the documentary are members of an anti-Scientology organization, so their opinions are obviously biased, so it is very interesting to hear your side of the story. Thanks for sharing!
June 11, 2010
Scotty--These weren't dress uniforms, they were casual things like the Gaurd wear on ship every day. And the streets were loaded with people wearing them. The first time I saw them I though , is the fleet in or something? Believe me I think the whole ritual canibalism aspect of Christianity IS pretty strange! I'm glad we can still br friends and that you don't take what I say about it personally. There are all sorts of people associated with any given religion--and a certain percentage will be wackos.
June 11, 2010
Simpsonianite--Clearwater was not at all happy about the Church taking over, especially about the fact that they called themselves a Church and wanted to be tax exempt, but there was very little they could do about it in the long run. There haven't been many incidents but there was one about 7 years ago where a church member died as a result of being kept from medical care and isolated in the church HQ. At least I think that's how it went. I should look that up and see if I've got my facts straight.
June 11, 2010
What happened is that she had a long history of psychiatric problems and after the acident she got out of her car and took off her clothes. Church members arrived on the scene and took her to a hospital all the way up in New Port Richey, passing 3 other hospitals on the way including one just 6 minutes from the scene. She was declared uninjured and returned to HQ where she was put into some intensive Scientology thingy. She later died and the coroner said she was extremely underweight, severly dehydrated, bruised, and covered with over 100 cockroach bites. In Novemeber of 1999 the Church was indicted for practicing medicine without a license and for another charge I can't recall. Oh yeah. abuse and/or neglect of a handicapped adult.The charges were dropped in June of 2000.
June 11, 2010
The guy who gave the orders to put her in Introspection Rundown and lock her in her room for 17 days was David Mascavige who is supposed to have been a pretty high ranking guy I think.
June 11, 2010
The sources are found on in the court documents and the coroner's report that are posted on her family's website and in material taken from the St. Pete Times which covered it. As for being locked in her room, she was having a psychotic break and I think they had to keep an eye on her.
June 12, 2010
The family's website has all the police records, the coroner's report, and the court documents--no editorializing oddly enough.
June 10, 2010
Sounds like a very, very interesting read, Sir Hypothetical Hippo!  I'm not familiar at all with Scientology, except for what I've read about it in Helter Skelter and from what I've heard about it from L. Ron Hubbard's grandson (who used to perform at a biweekly spoken word club in my neck of the woods).  I think it's very cool to hear about it from an insider's perspective, albeit former.  Thanks so much for sharing!
June 11, 2010
A spoken word club, like a poetry slam. I don't think Charles Manson was ever a Scientologist. It looks like he just adapted a bunch of concepts from a bunch of different beliefs, including Scientology, to create his own crazy little thing.
June 10, 2010
Sounds like an interesting read! Thanks for writing a review on it. :)
January 13, 2011
Adri, it's me. ;)
January 13, 2011
Heyo! LOL! I found it too. I recall this discussion now. :-P
January 13, 2011
Heeellllooo....see the discussions? there are some deleted posts so it appears incoherent. ;)
January 13, 2011
Yeah, I noticed that. It didn't make much sense in this reading. I just hope it didn't scare @simpsonianite away from reviewing here. The user was new, having only posted 3 reviews, and they didn't get a very good welcome with this discussion. >.>
January 23, 2011
Well, Obviously someone deleted their comments to keep other people in the dark as to who provoked the discussion. it is a possibility that she was scared off. I mean, not everyone can take this sort of comments. But I hoped it hasn't soured her taste in reviewing, statistically, this site is still one of the friendliest out there.
January 24, 2011
Yeah, that's unfortunate too. It would have been nice to be able to see the entire transcript of this conversation.

Yeah, it looks like that might have been the case. I wrote a comment on their page to see what was up and such, but I haven't heard anything back. I think that was a few weeks ago now. It's quite a shame...and I agree that this site is one of the friendliest out there. I just wish the welcome would have been nicer from members of Cafe Libri...
June 09, 2010
To be honest, I do believe Bent Corydon. I have read a fair amount of Scientology literature, at least as much of it as I could find. I certainly agree with you that lay Scientologists can benefit from Hubbard's Dianetic techniques because they function like primitive therapy sessions. But the more I've delved into the realm of Scientology, the more glaringly obvious it's become that there is a very distinct line that must be drawn between lay Scientologists and the upper ranking members. The very fact that there is literature that you are only allowed to read once you reach certain levels (i.e. OT-III) indicates to me that it is impossible to get a clear picture of Scientology from the literature available to the public alone. Furthermore, I also know the atrocities that have happened to people who have published books that were critical of Scientology, like Paulette Cooper, for example. The very fact that the Scientology organization went out of their way to frame her for bomb threats against the church indicates to me that there are secrets that people like L. Ron Hubbard and David Miscavige are trying VERY hard to keep disclosed.

...And, Bent Corydon was a 20+ year member when his book was published in 1987. There is a huge difference between being a member from 1965-1985 than 1990-2010. Also, my opinions are just as biased as yours, though in the opposite end of the spectrum. You doubt the words of someone criticizing Scientology, while I doubt the words of someone who does not.
June 09, 2010
In order to have a balanced view, you have to have arguments from both sides. That's why I liked this book and why I chose to review it, because it gives a voice to the underdogs who have been mistreated by Scientology. I didn't join this website to engage in religious debate either, but when I read a comment about my review assuming that I'm ignorant and uninformed, I'm going to comment back. Just because I liked this book does not mean I am not informed about Scientology, and it does not mean I haven't read books authored by L. Ron Hubbard himself.

You're right on one respect, I did not try to use the Dianetic system for person gain because I am not religious and I prefer psychological therapy, not religiously-based pseudo-science. Why on earth would I use Dianetics when I can benefit from empirically supported scientific methods?

It doesn't make sense to me to say that, one the one hand, we should have a balanced view, but on the other hand discredit this book because it offers a negative portrayal. How can you expect anyone to make their own judgments on L. Ron Hubbard if they're only offered information that glorifies him? How is that a balanced view? And how can you say that you support my right to free speech when in your very next post you bash atheists who are only speaking their opinion? If you want to accept free speech, you have to accept all of it, not just what aligns with your own viewpoints. Of course there are going to be some atheists who bash organized religion, but in no way does this mean that all atheists hate religion. I don't understand why you found it necessary to post that last comment, it had nothing to do with anything previously stated and seems more like a cheap shot than an intelligent response.
June 10, 2010
I agree with you on the matter, Aerin. Good points made.
June 10, 2010
Wow, interesting discussion here!  Thanks for clearing the air, Aerin, and thanks for understanding, Jim.  As I've said before, different strokes for different folks and Lunch welcomes all thoughtful and constructive reviews.  In fact, Jim, I'd love to read your take on Scientology and any books that you may recommend.  I feel like its been misunderstood, so it'd be neat to hear about it from your unique perspective :)
June 10, 2010
No problem! I completely understand. Just edited my comment ;)
June 10, 2010
First of all, thank you AerinBlue. I completely agree with your post. Of course a book with a title such as this is going to be biased. I knew that before I read the first page of the book, and I fully admit that now. The problem with literature on Scientology is that every source is biased, on one end of the spectrum or the other. Due to the nature of the organization, any book published by a current member of Scientology isn't going to speak negatively of it (or Hubbard) whatsoever. I think this is part of the reason why ex-Scientologists are so critical of the church, because they never had the chance to be critical before. Furthermore, when you feel like you've been abused by an organization like many ex-Scientologists do, what choice do you have but to speak out against it? Bent Corydon is certainly not the only former member to criticize the church, nor is she the most prolific. Even David Miscavige's niece, Jenna Miscavige Hill, speaks out against the church!

Scotman, if you looked at my profile (which I'm sure you have), you would see that I've written a total of THREE reviews because I joined this website YESTERDAY. Not to mention that I'm not going to waste my time reviewing books I don't love because it's not important to me. I choose to review books that I think are great, in the hopes that they will inspire someone else to read them. I have no desire to discourage people from reading anything, as I don't feel it is my business to do so. Furthermore, if you actually read the book (which I am starting to doubt you have), you would have to admit that Bent Corydon does mention that Dianetics was helpful to him, and the Scientology organization was as well. It was only after many years of membership and once he started his own Scientology franchise that his eyes were opened to the corruption and lies, and only then did his opinions change. Also, in response to your comment that this book "would not give readers a complete feel for what Scientology is," neither would a book by Hubbard himself. Scientology literature is JUST AS BIASED as literature that speaks out against the church. Only when you read both can you have a clearer picture of the organization as a whole.

Furthermore, just because the author titled his book something that you don't agree with DOES NOT MEAN IT IS HATE SPEECH. You call it hate speech simply because it is critical of L. Ron Hubbard. Well, guess what? There are plenty of reasons to be critical of him! His career was filled with lies and deceit and he was obsessed with power and money. L. Ron Hubbard advocated extremely detrimental smear campaigns against people who merely spoke negatively of him! If that doesn't indicate to you that he had something major to hide, then there is no getting through to you.
More L. Ron Hubbard: Messiah or Mad... reviews
Quick Tip by . June 10, 2010
Interesting, catchy. Captures readers and keeps them thinking and wanting more
Quick Tip by . June 17, 2010
A leader of a cult.
Quick Tip by . June 14, 2010
Don't bother, unless you're really curious to know all about L. Ron Hubbard
About the reviewer
Hypothetical Hippo ()
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Member Since: Jun 9, 2010
Last Login: Jul 5, 2010 07:04 PM UTC
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