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Bare Faced Messiah: The True Story of L. Ron…
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Bare Faced Messiah: The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard (utgåvan 1988)

av Russell Miller

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
206896,834 (3.88)9
L.Ron Hubbard published his Dianetics - the Modern Science of Mental Health in 1950. Shortly afterwards he founded the Church of Scientology, a religion which could, he claimed, cure 70 per cent of illnesses. Hubbard quickly became a multi-millionaire but his methods, particularly his alleged use of brainwashing, led to investigations in and exile from Britain, Australia and the USA. for the last few years of his life Hubbard was said to have become a Howard Hughes-like recluse.… (mer)
Medlem:shacklebot
Titel:Bare Faced Messiah: The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard
Författare:Russell Miller
Info:Henry Holt & Co (1988), Hardcover, 390 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
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Bare-Faced Messiah: The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard av Russell Miller

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Visa 1-5 av 8 (nästa | visa alla)
You know those times when being happy makes you vulnerable. I was wandering around town, happy as, one day and a Dianetics person caught me. Would I do a survey....well, yes, why not?

And then that made me curious.

If this were fiction, you'd probably call it trash. A ludicrous storyline that defies any concept of reality. Ah, but it is reality. Most depressingly for me, when the guy was at his most psychotic he was behaving exactly like the person I was living with at the time. So, mundane commonplace reality, even.
( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
You know those times when being happy makes you vulnerable. I was wandering around town, happy as, one day and a Dianetics person caught me. Would I do a survey....well, yes, why not?

And then that made me curious.

If this were fiction, you'd probably call it trash. A ludicrous storyline that defies any concept of reality. Ah, but it is reality. Most depressingly for me, when the guy was at his most psychotic he was behaving exactly like the person I was living with at the time. So, mundane commonplace reality, even.
( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
My reactions to reading this book in 1996.

An interesting, mostly just-the-facts account of Hubbard’s life from birth to death. It almost completely refuses to speculate on Hubbard’s psychological states. Hubbard's relations with his parents was sour. He constantly denigrated his mother calling her a lesbian on one occasion. (He also had a fixation with abortion trauma in his Dianetics writings.) Miller doesn't point out when Hubbard began to believe his own legend (to borrow an espionage tradecraft term Hubbard would probably approve of). Only at one point does Miller speculative on the latter.

Hubbard’s bizarre life is detailed as well as his writings. Like all the great con men, he was charismatic (almost a prerequisite for the career of con man). Miller also emphasizes Hubbard’s prolific writing (seemingly most prolific in his post-pulp period) – including bogus documents of all types. As with most religious organizations founded and headed by a single man, the followers are willing to excuse – if not often ignore (or disbelieve reports of) shortcomings of the founder because they value his message. Scientologists, at least of the inner circle in his Sea Org, report that part of his attraction was that Hubbard motivated you to do things you didn’t think you could.

A mild problem – probably unavoidable in a book of this sort about so secretive, deceptive a man – is that much of the material seems to come from ex-Scientologists whose memories might not be the most reliable or always untainted by resentment and bitterness. In a related matter, Miller quotes many writers who claim to have heard the Hubbard of the pulp period say he was going to start a religion for money. This is an oft-repeated, perhaps apocryphal story, which may have created these memories. Still, given Hubbard’s character and documented escapades (including the bizarre, audacious Operation Snow White which was a private espionage ring that penetrated the FBI, IRS, and Department of Justice amongst other agencies), it’s not an implausible remark. I did find it interesting to see how many sf writers bought Hubbard’s bogus life stories, or, at least, were willing to charitably and cheerfully allow what seemed to be a bit of embellishment. Only Jack Williamson, amongst sf writers, seems to have taken a disliking to Hubbard. Hubbard also appears intelligent and well read. His third and loyal wife seems to have genuinely believed his claims and preaching. I suspect the claims that Hubbard abused his first two wives are true. Hubbard, given his Scientology earnings, seemed to be curiously unostentatious in his personal spending and hard working (if only to turn out blather and plot against governments).

Unfortunately, Miller can shed no light on Hubbard’s activities after he disappeared in February 1980 – particularly if he wrote the last 11 sf novels credited to him. ( )
1 rösta RandyStafford | Jun 19, 2013 |
Bare-Faced Messiah is a well-written account of the life of L. Ron Hubbard, prolific writer of pulp fiction, inventor of Dianetics, and founder of the Church of Scientology. The author cuts through the mythical life story created by Hubbard himself and reinforced by decades of Scientology propaganda to tell a remarkable story of Hubbard’s upbringing, including his family’s many moves across the USA to follow his father, who was in the Navy, and of Hubbard’s journey to see his parents in Guam, where his father was stationed, which required travelling through Shanghai, Manila, and Japan. These experiences, his immense imagination, and his ability to work all night if need be to turn out a story, fueled Hubbard’s success as a pulp writer. Like most such writers, however, he longed for more. With the encouragement of John W. Campbell, the legendary editor of Astounding Science Fiction, Hubbard invented and published his first piece on Dianetics in 1937. Science Fiction fans and others flocked to him to be “audited” and “cleared” of impediments created in their past lives. Some of the examples provided in the book are hilarious.

The popularity of Dianetics continued to grow despite some rough spots here and there. As in all such ventures, personality clashes ensued, and Hubbard, who even in his younger years was a bit paranoid, did what he had to do to maintain control. The icing on the cake was the invention of Scientology, which subsumed Dianetics and added a whole new class of immortal beings roaming about the galaxy and inhabiting our bodies temporarily on Earth. Afraid of governments and tax collectors, Hubbard even took to the high seas for a few years on a huge ship manned by a crew of Scientologists with only a couple of professional seamen to maintain order.

Oh well—I could go on and on relating parts of the story, but that really isn’t the point. It is fascinating, just trust me. The key part of this review has to be an assessment of a couple of things—Hubbard himself and the religion he created. Was he insane? I think not, although he certainly did a few insane things. The discipline and punishments he dealt out onboard his ship, for instance, were both puerile and draconian. And doing his speaking through teenage messengers clad in hot pants and halter tops might also seem a little weird. But through it all, he managed to outmaneuver the government and just about everyone else. He engendered fierce loyalty in enough people for a long enough time to effect his various escapes and moves from one hiding place to another. He kept the money rolling in. Not many insane people can do that. Despite his cruelty and paranoia—not to mention the way he treated his family—one can’t help but admire the achievement of a lowly pulp writer lifting himself to the status, in the eyes of many of his followers, of a god. The author’s extensive interviews with the people who were closest to Hubbard help paint a well-rounded picture.

As for weaknesses, the rise of Scientology from its shaky initial status to an organization that was pulling in millions of dollars each month is not really explained, since much of this took place somewhere else while Hubbard was at sea. Clearly there were some smart folks in charge back home, but we don’t hear enough about them to understand how they pulled it off. Also, since the book ends shortly after Hubbard’s death, the ability of Scientology to survive (and, I suppose, thrive) after the death of its creator, isn’t covered.

And Scientology itself? I don’t buy it. But is it any more ridiculous than the story of Joseph Smith digging up those plates in the desert that he conveniently lost later? Is it more ridiculous than a virgin birth? Is it more ridiculous than hundreds of millions of Catholics believing the Pope talks to god despite the pitiful record of the church through the ages?

Again—just trust me and read this book. It is fascinating. The entire text is available online. ( )
  datrappert | Apr 23, 2013 |
An excellent look at a truly fascinating character. Hubbard went from a successful career as a minor (but prolific) pulp writer to founding his own religion, which was far more lucrative. ( )
2 rösta BruceCoulson | May 27, 2011 |
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L.Ron Hubbard published his Dianetics - the Modern Science of Mental Health in 1950. Shortly afterwards he founded the Church of Scientology, a religion which could, he claimed, cure 70 per cent of illnesses. Hubbard quickly became a multi-millionaire but his methods, particularly his alleged use of brainwashing, led to investigations in and exile from Britain, Australia and the USA. for the last few years of his life Hubbard was said to have become a Howard Hughes-like recluse.

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