On another Q&A site, I read a couple posts from someone. The posts claimed that a certain SciFi magazine (Some others in the comments speculate that it might be either Astounding or Analog, BUT IT COULD BE SOME OTHER MAGAZINE) feature a story written by L. Ron Hubbard about two writers who decide to found a religion because there was money in it. Supposedly, they even called it "Scientology" (or "Scientism", the account varies). The author claims to have read these stories in the 1960s, but they may or may not have been written earlier.

Is this true? Did such a story (or stories) actually exist?

Screenshots of the posts in question:

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  • 2
    Seems like a different variation of the claim discussed here: skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/10327/…
    – Jack
    Nov 12, 2019 at 4:37
  • 5
    How about links or an url for the site you're quoting from? Anyway, sounds to me like the guy your reading is making stuff up. Hubbard was a major pulp writer and some of his stuff was actually pretty good. There is an apocryphal story about him telling some sci-fi writers the way to get rich is to start a religion. I don't know if it's true. If he did write stories about a fictional Scientology (which I doubt very much), the 1960s would be kind of late for that, seeing as the real life Dianetics and Scientology got under way in the early 1950s.
    – user14111
    Nov 12, 2019 at 4:44
  • @user14111 quora.com is the Q&A site. You can search parts of the posts I screenshotted to see the comments.
    – user73910
    Nov 12, 2019 at 4:49
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    By the way,Astounding and Analog are one and the same magazine, which has gone through some name changes between 1930 and the present, and no issues have been lost.
    – user14111
    Nov 12, 2019 at 4:50
  • 3
    @user73910 Too much trouble. Why don't you just put the links in your question?
    – user14111
    Nov 12, 2019 at 4:51

2 Answers 2


I think that in the comments to the original question @user14111 has it right. I knew L. Sprague de Camp (though not terribly well) and heard him talk a number of times about LRH and Scientology (of which he was a severe critic right from the beginning.) He had known LRH from the 30s and knew everyone in the field. De Camp did tell of LRH talking about founding a religion as being a good way to make easy money, but he never spoke of a story by LRH with that as the theme. (This was widely known in fandom from the 50s on.)

I can also guarantee that there are no suppressed issues of pulps or SF magazines which actually got published -- those would be highly collectible and the (large) community of collectors would have them continually in their sights. (There are certainly a few issues of magazines which may have gotten as far as having been printed, but never reached distribution, typically because someone went bankrupt. In some cases a few issues leaked out and those are most collectible.) I know some obsessively complete collectors and some very long-term dealers, and neither are hunting for the elusive Suppressed Issue of X.

(It's certainly true that Scientologists have tended to buy issues of magazines that had LRH stories, but that's more a matter of collecting the Sacred Writings than of trying to suppress them.)

Bottom line: In the absence of anything specific, I think it's likely that this is a garbled version of LRH's musings over beer with other writers.


From this article on the subject:

-- Sam Merwin, then the editor of the Thrilling SF magazines: quoted in Bare Faced Messiah p.133 from 1986 interview. Winter of 1946/47.

"Around this time he was invited to address a science fiction group in Newark hosted by the writer, Sam Moskowitz. Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous,' he told the meeting. If a man really wanted to make a million dollars, the best way to do it would be start his own religion.'


To summarize: we have nine witnesses: Neison Himmel, Sam Merwin, Sam Moskowitz, Theodore Sturgeon, Lloyd Arthur Eshbach, Harlan Ellison, and the three unnamed witnesses of Robert Vaughn Young. There is some confusion and doubt about one of them (Sam Moskowitz). Two are reported via Russel Miller: one is reported via Mike Jittlov: one reported in his autobiography; one reported in an affidavit; and one reported to me in person. The reports describe different events, meaning that Hubbard said it perhaps six times, in six different venues - definitely not just once. And the Church's official disclaimer is now reportedly a flat lie.

It seems it was discussed. However, would LRH have written such a story, it would quite certainly have surfaced in the process against Stern:

Now, there is a problem with the three Moskowitz reports. Specifically, the Church obtained affidavits in 1993 from David A. Kyle and Jay Kay Klein. Both names are well-known in science fiction, and both say that they went to the 7 Nov 1948 talk by Hubbard. Both say that they didn't hear any such statement. Puzzling.

I believe that these dueling affidavits have met in court. Stern, a German magazine, was sued by the Church, and the suit was thrown out of court after they obtained the Moskowitz affidavit.

Having a story of LRH would've been an even better proof and we can therefore assume it doesn't exist as Stern would've probably found it in their research.

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