Several years ago, when I began making inquiries into the life and times of L. Ron Hubbard, almost the first name that was mentioned to me was that of Jon Atack. Subsequently it was a name that would crop up time and time again. Almost anyone who knew anything about Hubbard invariably suggested that I should talk to Jon Atack.
Of course by then I had talked to Jon and discovered him to be one of the world's foremost unofficial archivists of the Church of Scientology. In the loft of his house in East Grinstead, he had collected literally thousands of documents, letters, pamphlets, books and pictures, all of it indexed and cross-referenced on computer. For anyone interested in the history and development of Scientology, it is a treasure trove of reliable information on a subject positively riddled with deeply unreliable information. At some time in the future, the Atack archive will be lodged with an academic institution in order that it will be forever available to future researchers.
Jon was extremely generous with his time, knowledge and help while I was working on my biography of Hubbard and I am therefore delighted to write this brief preface to his own much more comprehensive and wide-ranging book. It is, in essence, a distillation of his extraordinary attic archive and thus provides the reader with a dispassionate, thoroughly documented account of how Scientology was created and nourished by a struggling science-fiction writer, how it grew into a worldwide organization and how it has managed to dominate (and damage) so many thousands of lives.
Because this book recounts the stark truth about Scientology, it is certain to provoke the ferocious hostility of practicing Scientologists around the world. Anyone who dares to publicly criticize the Church of Scientology or its founder is liable to be vilifled and hounded through the courts, as I can personally testify. (Although it is a mystery to me that Scientologists continue to believe that their founder was a man with the highest regard for the truth, whereas the records consistently indicate that he was a charlatan and a congenital liar.)
Jon Atack is a former member of the Church of Scientology and I have no doubt that he will be attacked as a turncoat and traitor seeking to cause damage to his former church. All I can say is that over the months and years of our association I never doubted that his motives were decent and honest; I never felt for a moment that he was spurred by malice or any unworthy desire to settle old scores.
It is my firm conviction that Jon began to assemble his archive because he had become aware that he had been fed untruths for years and he simply wanted the truth to be known about the antecedents and antics of his former church and its founder. It is for this reason that he willingly cooperated with me when I was writing my book, never offering opinions or information without comprehensive documentation to back it up.
Jon Atack believes that people have the right to know the truth about Scientology. That belief is the laudable genesis of this book.
Author of Bare-Faced Messiah