A PIECE OF BLUE SKY -- SCIENTOLOGY, DIANETICS & L. RON HUBBARD EXPOSED
It was 1950, in the early, heady days of Dianetics, soon after L. Ron Hubbard opened the doors of his first organization to the clamoring crowd. Up until then, Hubbard was known only to readers of pulp fiction, but now he had an instant best-seller with a book that promised to solve every problem of the human mind, and the cash was pouring in. Hubbard found it easy to create schemes to part his new following from their money. One of the first tasks was to arrange "grades" of membership, offering supposedly greater rewards, at increasingly higher prices. Over thirty years later, an associate wryly remembered Hubbard turning to him and confiding, no doubt with a smile, "Let's sell these people a piece of blue sky."
My particular thanks are due to my three good friends Mitch Beedie, Lawrence Kristiansen and George Shaw. Mitch Beedie has been a constant source of encouragement, support and editorial insight throughout six years of research and writing. Lawrence Kristiansen has proved to be an invaluable resource, sharing freely his knowledge and understanding of Scientology. His meticulous research, and his painstaking editing, helped me to focus ever more closely on the subject matter. George Shaw also signed up as an unpaid (and exceptional) researcher, gave me the benefit of his considerable knowledge of Scientology, and provided fascinating perspectives on Hubbard's character and motives.
This book is based upon statements made by over 150 individuals whether in interviews, correspondence, taped talks, published accounts, affidavits or sworn testimony. Those of my sources whose statements were made publicly, and those who have given permission, are named in the reference summary. I am grateful to them all and to the many people who have asked to remain anonymous, for reasons which the book should make clear.
In return for access to my manuscript and my collaboration as a consultant, Russell Miller made his interview notes available to me, and for this and our friendly working relationship I am most grateful.
l also wish to express my thanks to Dave Waiters and the staff of the Montana Historical Society; to Ron Neuman for access to his collection of Hubbard letters and first editions; and to Brenda Yates and Carol Kanda for ensuring that I received the 28 volumes of the transcript of the Armstrong case. Without Brenda these vital documents would not have become available in the first place.
Gratitude is also due to those authors whose work made my own less daunting: the late Joseph Winter, Martin Gardner, the late Helen O'Brien, George Malko, Paulette Cooper, Cyril Vosper, Bob Kaufman, the late Christopher Evans, C.H. Rolph, John Forte and most especially Roy Wallis for The Road to Total Freedom. I am also in debt to the St. Petersburg Times and the Clearwater Sun for their excellent coverage of Scientology.
I am grateful to the many friends who have revived my sometimes flagging spirits on the long road to publication. Gratitude is due especially to: Robyn, Joy, Fiona, Joyce, Marcia, Sam, Gall, Hana, Gay, John, Greg, Sarge, Marcus, Lew, Chris, Callan, Otto, my parents, my brother Andrew, and my wife, Noella.
The litigious nature of the Scientologists has frightened most publishers into silence. Lyle Stuart and Steven Schragis were not intimidated, and I am extremely grateful to them. Finally, my thanks to our attorney, Mel Wulf, for his patient attention to detail; to my editor Bob Smith; and to all at Carol Publishing Group for making this book a published reality.