I know this story has been done before, but please stick with me on this. What I am getting at is that, in my opinion, a "religion" cannot be true if the base of the "faith" is a lie. You see Hubbard said that he used his science of Dianetics to cure himself of the horrible injuries he received in the war. He then went on to build his "church" of Scientology based on Dianetics. So we have to look at his military record, and what followed to see if his "religion" stands up, or if it is a lie. At the bottom of this article is the answer.
From: The Scientology Story, by Joel Sappell and Robert W. Welkos, 6/90:
Hubbard bragged that he was a top-flight naval officer in World War II, who commanded a squadron of fighting ships, was wounded in combat and was highly decorated.
But Navy and Veterans Administration records obtained through the federal Freedom of Information Act reveal that his military performance was, at times, substandard.
The Navy documents variously describe him as a "garrulous" man who "tries to give impressions of his importance," as being "not temperamentally fitted for independent command" and as "lacking in the essential qualities of judgment, leadership and cooperation. He acts without forethought as to probable results."
Hubbard was relieved of command of two ships, including the PC 815, a submarine chaser docked along the Willamette River in Oregon. According to Navy records, here is what happened:
Just hours after motoring the PC 815 into the Pacific for a test cruise, Hubbard said he encountered two Japanese submarines. He dropped 37 depth charges during the 55 consecutive hours he said he monitored the subs, and summoned additional ships and aircraft into the fight.
He claimed to have so severely crippled the submarines that the only trace remaining of either was a thin carpet of oil on the ocean's surface.
"This vessel wishes no credit for itself," Hubbard stated in a report of the incident. "It was built to hunt submarines. Its people were trained to hunt submarines."
And no credit Hubbard got.
"An analysis of all reports convinces me that there was no submarine in the area," wrote the commander of the Northwest Sea Frontier after an investigation.
Hubbard next continued down the coast, where he anchored off the Coronado Islands just south of San Diego. To test his ship's guns, he ordered target practice directed at what he thought were uninhabited Mexican islands, prompting the government of that neutral country to complain to U.S. officials.
A Navy board of inquiry determined that Hubbard had "disregarded orders" both by conducting gunnery practice and by anchoring in Mexican waters. A letter of admonition was placed in Hubbard's military file which stated "that more drastic disciplinary action ... would have been taken under normal and peacetime conditions."
During his purportedly illustrious military career, Hubbard claimed to have been awarded at least 21 medals and decorations. But records state that he actually earned four during his Naval service: the American Defense Service Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal, which was given to all wartime servicemen. One of the medals to which Hubbard staked claim was the Purple Heart, bestowed upon wounded servicemen. Hubbard maintained that he was "crippled" and "blinded" in the war.
Early biographies issued by Scientology say that he was "flown home in the late spring of 1942 in the secretary of the Navy's private plane as the first U.S.-returned casualty from the Far East."
Thomas Moulton, second in command on PC 815, said Hubbard once told of being machine-gunned across the back near the Dutch East Indies. On another occasion, Moulton testified during the 1984 Scientology lawsuit, Hubbard said his eyes had been damaged by the flash of a large-caliber gun. Hubbard himself, in a tape-recorded lecture, said his eyes were injured when he had "a bomb go off in my face."
These injury claims are significant because Hubbard said he cured himself through techniques that would later form the tenets of Scientology and Dianetics.
Military records, however, reveal that he was never wounded or injured in combat, and was never awarded a Purple Heart.
In seeking disability money, Hubbard told military doctors that he had been "lamed" not by a bullet but by a chronic hip infection that set in after his transfer from the warm tropics of the Pacific to the icy winters of the East Coast, where he attended a Navy-sponsored school of military government. Moreover, his eye problems did not result from an exploding bomb or the blinding flash of a gun. Rather, Hubbard said in military records, he contracted conjunctivitis from exposure to "excessive tropical sunlight."
The truth is that Hubbard spent the last seven months of his active duty in a military hospital in Oakland, for treatment of a duodenal ulcer he developed while in the service. Hubbard did, however, receive a monthly, 40% disability check from the government through at least 1980.
Government records also contradict Hubbard's claim that he had fully regained his health by 1947 with the power of his mind and the techniques of his future religion. Late that year, he wrote the government about having "long periods of moroseness" and "suicidal inclinations." That was followed by a letter in 1948 to the chief of naval operations in which he described himself as "an invalid."
And, during a 1951 examination by the Veterans Administration, he was still complaining of eye problems and a "boring-like pain" in his stomach, which he said had given him "continuous trouble" for eight years, especially when "under nervous stress."
Significantly, that examination occurred after the publication of "Dianetics," which promised a cure for the very ailments that plagued the author himself then and throughout his life, including allergies, arthritis, ulcers and heart problems.
Thank you so much for dropping by today. If you have the time, I hope you will watch the following video. In it, Jim Lippard spoke on the history of the Church of Scientology, how it has collided with the Internet and
lost control of its secrets and its membership, and is now seeing an accelerating decline as its top members leave for new alternatives.
Jim Lippard founded the Phoenix Skeptics in 1985, and co-founded the Phoenix Area Skeptics Society in 2011. He's written articles and book chapters on skeptical topics, including two articles in Skeptic magazine on Scientology, "Scientology vs. the Internet" in 1995 (co-authored with Jeff Jacobsen) and "The Decline (and Probable Fall) of the Scientology Empire" in 2012.