The Lord of the Manor
The least free person is the person who cannot reveal his own acts and who protests the revelation of the improper acts of others. On such people will be built a future political slavery.
- L. RON HUBBARD, "Honest People Have Rights Too," 1960
Saint Hill, a sandstone, Georgian manor house, built in 1733, was an unlikely setting for the red-headed maverick from Montana. Upon his arrival, Hubbard set up the Scientology World-wide Management Control Center, though he told the East Grinstead newspapers he had retired to England to do horticultural experiments and to work in theoretical physics. He claimed to be treating plants with radioactivity. Hubbard became a regular contributor to Garden News, even demonstrating his horticultural findings on English television. His experiments consisted in part of using an E-meter to measure a plant's response to threats in its environment. There is an amusing newspaper picture (right) which shows Hubbard gazing intently at a tomato, still on the vine, with two E-meter crocodile clips and a nail jabbed into it. 1
With a typical lack of modesty Hubbard announced his horticultural innovations to Scientologists, claiming, in the third person, that "Ron has already created everbearing tomato plants and sweet corn plants sufficiently impressive to startle British newspapers into front page stories about this new wizardry." How Hubbard knew the tomatoes were "everbearing" after only a few months is not known. Hubbard's stated purpose for this project was "to reform the world food supply." 2
At the end of the 1959 growing season, Hubbard introduced "Security Checking." The E-meter was now to be used to discover "overts" committed by Scientologists. An "overt" is basically a transgression against a moral code. In later times Security Checking was renamed "Integrity Processing" or "Confessional Auditing," linking the procedure to the Confessional of the Christian Church. Rather than a simple request to confess, the Preclear is asked a series of precise questions (often several hundred), and must describe very exactly any overt discovered during the process. The E-Meter is used throughout to try to ensure there are no evasions. The Auditor carefully notes the details of any overt he has "pulled" from the Preclear. 3
In theory, Security Checking could be applied either as a Confessional, in which case the replies obtained were said to be confidential, or during the course of an investigation, in which case they were not. In practice, the Confessional has proved to be a double-edged procedure, sometimes giving genuine relief, but always harboring the potential future use of the material as blackmail. An enthusiastic convert is willing to expose even his most tortured secret. Should he become disillusioned by Church practices, he will keep quiet for fear that his confession will be disclosed.
Hubbard's oldest child, L. Ron Hubbard, Jr., or "Nibs," had been a leading light in Scientology since 1952, when, at the age of eighteen, he became Executive Director of the Washington Scientology Church. He was even one of the handful of people who had given "Advanced Clinical Courses" in Scientology. His father had described him as "one of the best auditors in the business." In November 1959, Hubbard senior ordered that the staffs of all Scientology Orgs be given an E-meter check. On November 23, Nibs left the Washington Org, and the Church of Scientology. Hubbard said his son was unable to "face an E-meter," and issued a Bulletin saying the cause of all "departures, sudden and relatively unexplained" was unconfessed overts. 4 According to Nibs, his departure from the Church was actually due to inadequate remuneration. Nibs later suggested that his father needed to confess his overts, and for many years Nibs was his father's most outspoken opponent. Hubbard senior disowned Nibs completely in 1983. Nibs accepted a financial settlement from the Scientologists after his father's death in 1986, agreeing not to make further comment.
The idea that unrevealed transgressions cause departures from the Church is now deeply embedded in Scientology theory. No one who leaves has a chance to explain his departure. Scientologists are sure that the person must have "overts" against Scientology, therefore nothing a former member says can be trusted, so it is not worth listening to them.
In March 1960, Have You Lived Before This Life? A Scientific Survey was published. The book is a jumble of Scientology auditing sessions, where Preclears related fragments of their "past life" experiences. No attempt was made to verify any of the incidents. Freudians would have a field day with the contents.
That month, in an internal memo to his press officer, Hubbard also commented on the public image he wished to create for himself. In every press release it was to be made clear that he was an atomic scientist, a researcher, rather than a spiritualist or a psychiatrist. 5
Hubbard's major research at the time was into "Security Checking," and he was looking for applications for this new "technology." Hubbard saw potential political uses, and sent a Bulletin to all South African Auditors called "Interrogation (How to read an E-Meter on a silent subject)," which reads in part:
When the subject placed on a meter will not talk but can be made to hold the cans (or can be held while the cans are strapped to the soles or placed under the armpit . . .) [sic], it is still possible to obtain full information from the subject.
This interrogation was recommended for tracing the true leaders of riots:
The end product is the discovery of a terrorist, usually paid, usually a criminal, often trained abroad. Given a dozen people from a riot or strike, you can find the instigator .... Thousands are trained every year in Moscow in the ungentle art of making slave states. Don't be surprised if you wind up with a white.
In April 1960, the Bulletin "Concerning the Campaign for the Presidency" was published recommending that Richard M. Nixon "be prevented at all costs from becoming president." Hubbard blamed Nixon for a distinctly unfriendly visit to the Washington Scientology Church by "two members of the United States Secret Service," which had upset Mary Sue Hubbard.
Scientologists were offered shares in the "Hubbard Association of Scientologists Limited," registered in England, for £25 each that June. When the HASI Ltd. failed to obtain nonprofit status in England, the shares were bought back, for a shilling each and a life-membership in Scientology, which was later cancelled. 6
Also in June, the "Special Zone Plan - The Scientologists Role in Life" was promulgated by Hubbard. It recommended that Scientologists who were not on Church staff achieve influence in the society at large, by taking positions next to the high and mighty. "Don't bother to get elected. Get a job on the secretarial staff or the bodyguard," Hubbard advised.
The secretary or bodyguard would then use Scientology to transform the organization they had joined. These Scientologists would be part of a network, reporting back to the project's administrator; as Hubbard put it, "If we were revolutionaries this HCO Bulletin would be a very dangerous document."
The Special Zone Plan was absorbed into a new Church "Department of Government Affairs" within weeks of its inception. In the Policy Letter announcing this move Hubbard said, "The goal of the Department is to bring the government and hostile philosophies or societies into a state of complete compliance with the goals of Scientology. This is done by high level ability to control, and in its absence, by low level ability to overwhelm. Introvert such agencies. Control such agencies."
Hubbard not only defined the sinister and covert objective of the Department of Government Affairs, but also delineated the policy Scientology has rigorously followed to this day toward any perceived threat: "Only attacks resolve threats .... If attacked on some vulnerable point by anyone or anything or any organization, always find or manufacture enough threat against them to sue for peace .... Don't ever defend. Always attack."
During a visit in October 1960, Hubbard again gave his observations on the situation in South Africa: "There is no native problem. The native worker gets more than white workers do in England! .... The South African government is not a police state. It's easier on people than the United States government!" 7
Scientology made the headlines in England when headmistress Sheila Hoad was accused of giving "Death Lessons" to her young pupils. For twenty minutes a day, her small prep school students were asked, among other things, to close their eyes and imagine they were dying, and then imagine they had turned to dust and ashes. After the story went to the press, Miss Hoad resigned. 8
In the Spring of 1961, Hubbard expanded his Special Zone Plan, by introducing the Department of Official Affairs, "the equivalent of a Ministry of Propaganda and Security." The Department was to create "Heavy influence through our own and similarly minded groups on the public and official mind," and "A filed knowingness [sic] about the activities of friends and enemies." 9
On March 24, Hubbard launched the Saint Hill Special Briefing Course (or, inevitably, "SHSBC"). Students arrived from all over the world to hear him lecture on new techniques in the Saint Hill chapel. One "technical breakthrough" followed another, and eventually the Briefing Course came to consist of over 300 taped lectures (most delivered during this period). All of Hubbard's recorded lectures, some 3,500 of them, have more recently been designated "religious scriptures" by his Church. Even the most dedicated of Scientologists can not have heard them all, but about 600 tapes are still used in courses.
Hubbard was a remarkable lecturer. A woman close to him in the 1950s, who thought he was a fraud even then, says he was quite hypnotic. He raced from one idea to another, illustrating his talks with embroidered stories from his life (and sometimes his previous lives). He effused good humor, and spoke with apparent ease, usually without notes. There is nothing dry or academic about his lectures. He was an accomplished comedian, especially if you knew the "in" jokes, many about his pet hate, psychiatry.
On April 7, 1961, Hubbard published the "Johannesburg Security Check," which he described as the "roughest security check in Scientology." An amended form is still in use, and referred to by Scientologists as the "Jo'burg."
The security check began with a series of nonsense questions, such as, "Are you on the moon?" and "Am I an ostrich?" to ensure that the recipient's E-meter response was normal. Then there were a hundred questions. They covered sexual activities thoroughly, with questions such as:
Have you ever committed adultery?
Have you ever practiced Homosexuality?
Have you ever slept with a member of a race of another color'?
Senator Joseph McCarthy and his House Un-American Activities Committee were long gone, but Hubbard was still inflamed with anti-Communist fervor, and the sec-check was interspersed with questions about Communism, such as:
What is Communism?
Do you feel Communism has some good points?
The "Jo'burg" covered all manner of wrongdoing, from simple theft to "illicit Diamond buying." It also asked, "Have you ever been a newspaper reporter?" A cardinal sin to Hubbard. At the end of the security check a series of fourteen questions designed to ensure the recipient's loyalty to Hubbard and his organization was asked, among them:
Have you ever injured Dianetics or Scientology?
Have you ever had unkind thoughts about LRH [Hubbard]?
Have you ever had unkind thoughts about Mary Sue [Hubbard]?
Do you know of any secret plans against Scientology?
Throughout 1961, additional Security Checks poured out of the church. There was even one for children. Hubbard ordered that "All Security Check sheets of persons Security Checked should be forwarded to St. Hill." 10
Hubbard was assembling a comprehensive set of intelligence files on Scientologists with their willing assistance, as well as on supposed enemies without their knowledge. The procedure has been refined, and remains to the present day. The Scientology Church keeps a file on everyone who has ever taken a course or even had a single hour of counseling. Scientologists are not allowed to see the contents of their own confessional files, so cannot correct any errors.
The most elaborate Sec Check was for the "Whole Track" (the whole "Time-Track," "past lives" included), and consisted of over 400 questions. It was written by a couple devoted to Hubbard, and was approved by the man himself. A few sample questions:
Have you ever warped an educational system?
Have you ever destroyed a culture?
Have you ever blanketed bodies for the sensation kick?
Have you ever bred bodies for degrading purposes?
Did you come to Earth for evil purposes?
Have you ever deliberately mocked up an unconfrontability?
Have you ever torn out somebody's tongue?
Have you ever been a professional critic?
Have you ever had sexual relations with an animal, or bird?
Have you ever given God a bad name?
Have you ever eaten a human body?
Have you ever zapped anyone?
Have you ever been a religious fanatic?
Have you ever failed to rescue your leader? 11
Any wrongdoing discovered during the questioning would be traced back to "earlier similar incidents." It must have taken months to check and recheck all 400 questions. However, it was not very useful for intelligence gathering. You could hardly threaten to expose a person for "zapping" someone 20 trillion years ago. Security Checks were soon limited to "this lifetime." 12
Hubbard even tried to extend Security Checking into the outside world, by advising Scientologists to set up a "Citizens' Purity League" in their area. The Scientologists would Sec Check local officials and the police. An attempt at this was made in Melbourne, Australia, which was soon to become a very dangerous place indeed for Scientology. 13
On August 13, 1962, in between lectures at Saint Hill, Hubbard again offered Scientology to the American government. The FBI Communist Activities Department had ceased to exist, and Hubbard decided to go right to the top. He wrote to President Kennedy. 14
1. Technical Bulletins of Dianetics & Scientology vol.4, p.29; What Is Scientology?, p.142; East Grinstead Courier, 16 August 1959; Garden News, 8 April 1960; Dr. Christopher Evans, Cults of Unreason, pp.72f; Sunday Mirror, 28 July 1968
2. Technical Bulletins of Dianetics & Scientology vol.3, p.522
3. Technical Bulletins of Dianetics & Scientology vol.3, pp.555 & 557; vol. 12, p.245ff
4. Professional Auditors Bulletin 74, "Washington Bulletin no.1," 6 March 1956 (only in original); Technical Bulletins of Dianetics & Scientology vol.2, p.474; vol.4 p.11
5. Vol 25. p. 4617 of transcript of Church of Scientology of California vs. Gerald Armstrong, Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles, case no. C 420153.
6. HASI share certificate; Foster report, para 71
7. Technical Bulletins of Dianetics & Scientology vol.4 p.161
8. Wallis, The Road to Total Freedom, p.191; Cooper, The Scandal of Scientology, p. 102
9. Organization Executive Course, vol. 7 p. 487
10. Technical Bulletins of Dianetics & Scientology vol.4 p.378
11. Technical Bulletins of Dianetics & Scientology vol.4 p.337
12. Technical Bulletins of Dianetics & Scientology vol.12, p.245ff.
13. Wallis, p.202; HCO Executive Letter, 14 April 1961
14. The Findings on the U.S. Food and Drug Agency [sic, should be "Administration"], The Department of Publications World Wide, East Grinstead, CSC, 1968