Hubbard, L. Ron

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Hubbard, L. Ron:

see Scientology, Church ofScientology, Church of,
philosophical religion founded by L(afayette) Ron(ald) Hubbard, 1911–86, b. Tilden, Nebr. Hubbard's book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health
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Hubbard, (Lafayette Ronald) L. Ron

(1911–86) science fiction writer, cult leader; born in Tilden, Nebr. He studied at George Washington University (1930–34) and then pursued a variety of activities, including exploring, but he mostly concentrated on his writing, usually science-fiction (often under pen names such as Winchester Remington Colt, Eldron, Frederick Englehardt, Michael Keith, and Tom Esterbrook). He attended Princeton in 1945. In 1950 he published Dianetics, a system of attaining mental health he developed. Its success led to his founding of the Church of Scientology in 1954; as this began to attract increasing numbers of believers, he began to receive as much as $100 million a year in sales and donations; by 1966 he had taken refuge on a large yacht and became ever more elusive in his whereabouts and motives. In 1980 the Internal Revenue Service challenged the tax-exempt status of his "church of scientology." Rumors continued to swirl about him in his final years, as his followers regarded him as a brilliant prophet and therapist, and his detractors saw him as a con man and charlatan.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.