L. Ron Hubbard’s Research: Another Claim Bites The Dust

“Because of their age and limited maturity, children must be regarded as a special branch of Dianetics. In recognition of the special considerations involved, a research program designed to find the best Dianetic approach to the problems of their processing has been conducted during the year following publication of DIANETICS: The Modern Science of Mental Health. The resultant discoveries cannot be ignored by parents or persons who share the responsibility of rearing children and genuinely have the welfare of their youngsters at heart.”

-Child Dianetics; L. Ron Hubbard


To hear Hubbard tell it, he spent the majority of his adult life researching for one amazing breakthrough or other.

He developed the science of the mind, got to the bottom of psychosis, proved that man has a spirit, that tomatoes have feelings and discovered cures for any number of illnesses including arthritis and cancer.

Research is a time consuming activity, requiring focus, dedication and exemplary documentation. Hubbard’s announcement in his book Child Dianetics that he had engaged in a research program spanning the year following the release of Dianetics gives the appearance of an incredible work ethic. Jumping from the study needed to provide the foundation for Dianetics straight into intense pediatric research lasting a year seems exhausting.

Any parent can agree that their new little bundles of joy do not come with a convenient handbook. There is no good answer for why a four year old gleefully covers his room in baby powder and comes out looking like a snowman. Admittedly, the house smelled amazing when the AC came on for the rest of the summer as he’d poured powder down into the duct. Each time the fan came on a cloud of white exploded upwards like an erupting sugar covered Mt. Vesuvius. Bless his little heart.

Why did he do such a strange thing? Lamentably this incident along with many others must remain part of the mystery of raising children.

Hubbard’s work selflessly addressed the lack of parental guidance by immersing himself in research that culminated in the juvenile version of Dianetics. He alone discovered the holy grail of parenting; the operators manual for raising children.

Considering that Scientology believes children are actually adults in small bodies one questions why a separate document would be needed for the rearing of these miniature grownups. Their smaller, developing bodies are not taken into account when put through the Purification Rundown. Former members who were part of the cult as children recount being put on dangerous jobs with no prior training, expected to recall whatever particular skill set was currently needed from some distant past life.

No special allowances are made for their age and limited maturity where duty is concerned.

However Hubbard claims he engaged in a year of research following the release of Dianetics and such an assertion should be given grave consideration.

Child Dianetics is not only the result of twelve months of study and investigation. As part of the collective works of the founder of Scientology, it is also elevated to the level of sacred scripture. Certainly a tome of this gravity should invoke respect and trust.

What intensive research went into Scientology’s parenting manual?

One supposes the need for observation in multiple schools, playgrounds and daycare establishments. Endless interviews with parents, grandparents, educators and other pediatric specialists would be part of such an undertaking. Trials, tests, one on one interactions with children by age groups, identified by demographics, financials and more combine to create an overview by which to define the best possible approach.

That such an undertaking was accomplished in twelve months is an incredible feat.

Dianetics was first published May 9, 1950.

For Hubbard, the year following his book release was not one of his best. Where he found the time and energy to research anything is a confounding puzzle.

August 1950 found L. Ron Hubbard red faced with humiliation after he presented a woman known as Sonia Bianca as the very first “Clear” to a huge audience at one of his lectures. After extolling her amazing new abilities developed using his tech, she was in the end, a complete failure, unable to even remember the color of his tie.

Hubbard spent much of his time lecturing to a paying audience as can be seen in various newspaper advertisements found at the time, October and November 1950 in particular. Around this same period, late 1950, much of his world was in chaos and would have needed a considerable amount of his attentionHubbard’s Elizabeth, N.J. Foundation was in financial crisis, the Los Angeles Foundation was more than $200,000 in debt.

Hubbard’s publishers angrily resigned as did one of the men on the foundation’s board of directors who complained Hubbard was impossible to work with, and blamed him for the disorganization and financial ruin that was occurring.

Moving forward into the new year did not bring a fresh start. Sara Hubbard, the woman LRH bigamously married, had had enough and began demanding a divorce.

In February 1951 Hubbard kidnapped their 13 month old daughter, Alexis, along with Sara. In an outrageous attempt to have Sara declared insane, Hubbard and an accomplice tried to find a doctor in the middle of the night to examine her. Frustrated, Hubbard finally released Sara, but took Alexis to Havana, Cuba.

March of 1951, the prolific writer of science fiction turned his talents towards having Sara arrested as a communist. Writing a letter to the FBI, he accused her of attacking him, adultery and of working for the Communist Party. Most interestingly, this letter also calls into question his claims of research.

“In 1950 I wrote a book called DIANETICS and formed the HUBBARD DIANETIC RESEARCH FOUNDATION in New Jersey.

From the first this organization, quite unlike my naval commands, was a source of great turbulence to me.  Strange things were done for which I had no accounting. Orders were rarely carried off. Research was held to zero. Funds were spent in unproductive ways.

The FBI duly noted the receipt of the letter, wrote “appears mental” in the margin and filed it away.

April 1951 Sara officially filed for divorce and the newspapers of the time were filled with the salacious details of her allegations. She described how her bigamist husband abused her, subjecting her to sleep deprivation, beatings, kidnapping and demands that she kill herself rather than embarrass him with divorce.

Hubbard again wrote to the FBI in May of that year, accusing Sara of trying to kill him by injecting him in the heart with an air filled syringe.

Still hiding her daughter, Hubbard used Alexis as a bargaining chip to force Sara to retract her claims of abuse. Signing a paper written by Hubbard stating that she’d lied in her earlier statements she finally reunited with her daughter in June of 1951, four months after the tot was taken.

Amidst the turmoil of fighting Sara, hiding Alexis and the moving around that entailed, the floundering foundations and mounting debt, Hubbard still found time to work on further publications.

November 1951, Advance Procedure and Axioms was published then in December both The Chart of Attitudes and the Hand Book for Pre Clears were released.

1951 also had LRH lending his voice to various radio productions including one covering Dianetics every Monday through Friday at 5:30 pm on Station KGFJ.

How L. Ron Hubbard could have possibly committed to any solid research for his Child Dianetics book while embroiled in all this boggles the mind. Between lecturing, kidnapping, moving about from Havana, Cuba to New Jersey to Wichita, Kansas to Los Angeles, California, doing radio, writing and so much more there is simply no time left for researching childhood behavior for a parenting manual.

Like all the rest of this conman’s claims, Child Dianetics too is just smoke and mirrors. Bad pseudoscience created from nothing. The advice found within its pages the source of irreparable harm emotionally and developmentally for any child unlucky enough to be reared by its baseless recommendations.

In The St. Louis Dispatch Sunday edition, October 29, 1950 Doctor Robert D. Brooks, in a review of Dianetics stated “Presented as a supermarket of dynamic psychology, ‘Dianetics’ discloses itself a removing, gaudy bazaar, displaying shoddy goods as though of value.”

The same can be said of its pediatric descendant, Child Dianetics.

Perhaps Hollywood Journalist Jimmy Fidler said it best when writing about his discovery that Hubbard was attempting to “peddle some of his stories to studios for movie production” in September of 1951.

“I can’t think of another scribe in all of America who, judged by past performances, is so well qualified to write insoluble mysteries”

*Lead photo by @TheDarthXander

One thought on “L. Ron Hubbard’s Research: Another Claim Bites The Dust

  1. Great essay. Hubbard is a lot like a student who gives the result to a math question but is unable to show what steps got him there (most likely by copying off of someone else’s test). And we all know from childhood experience that there’s zero credit for that.

    Research leaves tracks: Research notes, statistics dates and times and such for starters. It also requires facilities and subjects. Over time, these research facilities are documented; if not by the researcher then by his adoring minions. Research subjects will emerge and brag about how they got to be part of something monumental–especially if the researcher has a cult following.

    If that’s not enough, Hubbard’s school records make ti abundantly clear that a more unlikely candidate for researcher is hard to imagine and impossible to find.

    Still, it’s good to see your documented case study of one such “research period” in his life. Instead of imagining him a researcher, a much better description is Andre Morton’s in his Tom Cruise biography. His term for Hubbard: a garden-variety”barstool expert.”

    Liked by 1 person

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