CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — More than 1,000 unreleased recordings of lectures by L. Ron Hubbard and reams of corresponding writings have been unveiled in the culmination of a 25-year project to locate, restore and transcribe lost pieces of the Scientology founder’s work.
Though sure to be derided by the church’s many critics, its followers say the materials amount to an opportunity to deepen understanding of the religion and to release the last known unpublished Hubbard works dealing with Scientology and Dianetics.
Founded in the 1950s by Hubbard, a prolific science fiction writer, Scientology teaches followers they are immortal spiritual beings, or thetans, who live on after death. The church says there is a supreme being but its practices do not include the worship of a god.
The church claims millions of followers in the U.S. and millions more internationally, though one respected count, the American Religion Identification Survey, reported the estimated number of Americans who identify as Scientologists plummeted from 55,000 in 2001 to 25,000 in 2008.
Lee Holzinger, a spokesman for the Scientology church missions in Ventura and Santa Barbara, said the discoveries will add important new writings and lectures by Hubbard to the church’s literature.
Examples of L. Ron Hubbard’s quackery and other nonsense
The discovery of lost Hubbard works, however, could open an unexpected Pandora’s box for Scientologists, according to Jody Myers, professor of religious studies at California State University, Northridge.
“It is not an unknown phenomenon in religions to find early documents written by the church’s founders,” said Myers. “The issue is: Are they authentic early documents or have they been created by people who want a change in the direction of the church? This is true of all religions.
“As a religious scholar, what I can say is that sometimes people want their church to go in a different direction and what follows is the discovery of ancient texts.”
Science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard was blessed with a fantastic ability to create fantasies. Records show that many of the details of his own life story were fashioned out of thin air.