L. Ron Hubbard, Messiah or Madman?

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L. Ron Hubbard: Messiah or Madman?
Messiah or Madman.jpg
Book Cover
Author Bent Corydon
Ronald DeWolf
Country United States
Language English
Subject biography
Genre non-fiction
Publisher Lyle Stuart
Publication date
1987 [Also, 1992, 1995/1996]
Pages 1987, 402 pages; [1992, 460 pages; 1995/1996, 464 pages]
ISBN 0-8184-0444-2
OCLC 16130709
299/.936/0924 B 19
LC Class BP605.S2 C67 1987

L. Ron Hubbard, Messiah or Madman?, is a posthumous biography of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard written by Bent Corydon, which makes extensive use of interviews he conducted with Hubbard's son Ronald DeWolf. Though originally published in 1987 by Lyle Stuart Inc., the book was re-issued in a paperback edition on July 25, 1992 and a hardcover edition in October 1995, both by publisher Barricade Books. The 1995 edition also featured Brian Ambry as principal researcher.

Legal dispute[edit]

In order to prevent the publication of the biography, the Church of Scientology engaged the publisher, Lyle Stuart Inc., in a legal dispute, claiming copyright infringement. The claim was dismissed:

These biographies and a third one, A Piece of Blue Sky by former Scientologist Jon Atack, were all targets of an aggressive Scientology legal campaign to prevent their being published and distributed. The courts denied Scientology's attempts to stop distribution of L. Ron Hubbard: Messiah or Madman? and Atack's A Piece of Blue Sky. Scientology's suits were over copyright issues, not the authors's accuracy. In fact, author Jon Atack has probably the most extensive archives of primary Scientology documentation in the world.[1]

The original cover design featured a volcano similar to the one depicted on the cover of Dianetics, but Scientology won an injunction against it. The legal dispute was ongoing when the publisher wished to distribute the work, so it reluctantly altered the design of the book cover.[2] The book cover instead featured a letter addressed "Dear Bookbuyer:"

This is not the jacket we planned for this book. We have been forced to use this makeshift design in order to safeguard our right to ship MESSIAH OR MADMAN? [caps in original text] to the public. We consider it our duty to make this important book available to you as soon as possible – despite the ongoing legal harassment we are suffering. The contents of L. RON HUBBARD, MESSIAH OR MADMAN? justify the enormous legal and personal problems that we have gone through. We are convinced that this book must not be suppressed at any cost! Later editions will bear a jacket consistent with our usual high standards. But since a restraining order had been placed on our first printing because of litigation over jacket design, we felt it imperative to release books to the public immediately. We are sure that the bookbuying public will understand, and support us in our fight to protect First Amendment liberties.[3]

The Church of Scientology, through its attorney Timothy Bowles, even sent threatening letters to those planning to publish reviews of the book. The following message was sent to the St. Petersburg Times:

It has come to our attention that...[you] are considering publication of a review of L. Ron Hubbard, Messiah or Madman? by Bent Corydon....If you forward one of his lies you will find yourself in court facing not only libel and slander charges, but also charges for conspiracy to violate civil rights. If you publish anything at all on it, you may still find yourself defending charges in court...We know a whole lot more about your institution and motives than you think.[4]

The newspaper refused to comply with Scientology's requests, and published not only the review, but also the letter. It went on to win an award from the Columbia Journalism Review.

Educational advertisements[edit]

According to an open letter to the New York Times by Lyle Stuart, he poured all the profits from the book into educational advertisements about Scientology:

You can help fight this cult and the other cult exploiters of the innocent, the naive and the idealistic.

For one thing, visit your local bookshop and purchase one or more copies of L RON HUBBARD. MESSIAH OR MADMAN?, I am putting all the profits from this book into educational ads such as this one.

Give a copy to your teenagers and give one to the professionals you know, dentists, veterinarian, optometrist, osteopath, chiropractor or orthodontist. The Scientologists have a new front organization called Sterling Management Corp. to rake in additional millions from professionals like these. [5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Branch, Craig (1996). "The Ultimate Spin Doctor: L. Ron Hubbard – The Man and His Myth". The Watchman Expositor (Watchman Fellowship ministry) 13 (5). 
  2. ^ Koff, Stephen (1987-09-13). "Scientology has had little changes, book's author says". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2008-12-14. 
  3. ^ L. Ron Hubbard, Messiah or Madman?, Bent Corydon, Ronald DeWolf, Book Cover, 1987 edition, Lyle Stuart, Inc.
  4. ^ "Scientology lawyer threatens lawsuit". St. Petersburg Times. 1987-09-13. Retrieved 2007-12-12. 
  5. ^ Lyle Stuart's Open letter in the New York Times, New York Times, Lyle Stuart, Jan 3, 1988, Page 2 Book Review section

External links[edit]

Full text[edit]

Book Reviews[edit]

Legal related[edit]