A friend suggested I look into L. Ron Hubbard's work and try reading some of his stories, since I haven't read any of his work before. While pondering where to start, it got me wondering about his work with writing Dianetics and the Church of Scientology. And this question is one that would also involve not just reading his books, but a general idea of what Dianetics is about.

Did L. Ron Hubbard use the principles he put forth in Dianetics in earlier stories? Can the beliefs and ideas he used for creating Scientology be traced back to ideas and themes he used in his pre-Dianetics writings? Or can the development of those ideas be traced if one reads a selection of his work in chronological order?

  • Great question! – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Jan 1 '12 at 8:22
  • Thanks, @Wikis, but it doesn't look like many people think that, since it's getting low views and not many upvotes. Still, I think it's a valid question. – Tango Jan 1 '12 at 17:56
  • I think a lot of people are busy today... :) give it time! – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Jan 1 '12 at 17:59
  • Criticism of psychology and power holders is a common theme in the Mission Earth series. Exploitation of the banking system for extreme profit is explored in Battlefield earth. Other than this, he does well to keep his religious views out of his science fiction works. – Christopher Jan 3 '12 at 6:11
  • @Christopher: That's certainly more detail on this topic than the one actual answer so far. Why not include some more detail and expand a little and put it as an answer? (Were either of the series you mention before he wrote Dianetics?) – Tango Jan 3 '12 at 6:21

In the Mission Earth dekology (published 1985 - 1987 posthumously), criticism of psychology is a common theme. As is criticism of corrupt power holders and drugs.

Battlefield Earth (1982) explores the exploitation of the banking system for extreme profits and once again, he attacks psychology with the use of the Psyhclo Catrists who use implants and surgery to turn the Psychlos into violent sociopaths.

Both of these works are written well after Scientology gained a foothold and he is very careful not to directly include references to his religious beliefs in his science fiction works. However, it is almost certain that he used his church to bolster sales (link) and in the case of 'The Church of Scientology vs Gerry Armstrong' (1984) Judge Paul G. Breckenridge ruled in favor of Armstrong's biography of hubbard stating:

The evidence portrays a man who has been virtually a pathological liar when it comes to his history, background and achievements

Taking these points into account it can be inferred that he did use his later science fiction works as a tool to further the cause of his Church.

According to the plot description in Wikipedia on his fist novel; Buckskin Brigades (1937) (well before he wrote Excalibur which is supposedly an unpublished precursor to Dianetics) it would seem the theme of corrupt evil power holders is explored.

Unfortunately, I have not had the opportunity to read any of his early pulp fiction works so I cannot comment on their content.

As for recommended reading order; that would depend on if you are interested in the Church or his Science fiction works. I cannot comment on recommended reading order for his religious works (your local Scientology church would be happy to advise you on this). For his science fiction works I would start with Battlefield Earth. It received scathing reviews but it was one of his better books and at least it is not 4,000 pages long.

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    Thank you for taking the time to expand your comment into a well written answer! – Tango Jan 5 '12 at 4:08
  • +1 for "your local Scientology church would be happy to advise you on this" :) – Kalessin Aug 29 '12 at 17:47

It was first in 1948 he started to talk public about this Dianetics. He was short of money and had started to "volunteered his time in hospitals and mental wards, saving the lives of patients with his counselling techniques." (As said by the Scientology Church, but it has been said that he probably was forced to take these jobs because he was found guilty of stealing). He then wrote Dianetics, and started using his scifi-fans as guinea pigs for his ideas about the human mind.

The only reference I have found (when writing a short school-paper on this man some years ago) of him mention Dianetics is a book he wrote that nobody would publish, called Exalibur. There is a reference of this in Wikipedia as well. He stopped trying to get it published when he started his Dianetics, so I can only guess its shares some ideas.

I guess his earlier works written before he took his time exploring the occult (more of this on Wikipedia) was mainly written for money. Everywhere I looked on the net and in real books the one thing he always complained about was the money.

The wikipediapage mentioned: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L._Ron_Hubbard

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    Can you add some references, e.g. links to the Wikipedia pages you mention? – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Jan 2 '12 at 19:28
  • Typo: "Excalibur" – Keith Thompson Jan 2 '12 at 20:54
  • @KeithThompson: Are you sure on the spelling - or was he doing something fancy? And, WizardOz, do you have a link about the claim that he was working because of a theft conviction? – Tango Jan 2 '12 at 21:59
  • @TangoOversway: "Excalibur" is the correct spelling for the name of the legendary sword, and it's the spelling used in the cited Wikipedia article. – Keith Thompson Jan 2 '12 at 22:19
  • Okay -- but even with a spelling correction, this doesn't really address the question of whether his ideas showed up in his stories before he wrote the book. Did the principles he wrote about show up earlier in stories where characters used those techniques? – Tango Jan 3 '12 at 5:53

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