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The Mind Behind the Religion : Defining the Theology

The Scientology Story. Today: The Making of L. Ron Hubbard. First in a six-part series.NEXT: Part Two-- The Selling of Scientology.

June 24, 1990|Joel Sappell and Robert W. Welkos

"And you just eventually just pick up a baby."

But Hubbard offered his followers an easy way to outwit the implant: Scientologists should simply select a location other than Venus to go "when they kick the bucket."

Another notorious implant led Hubbard to construct an entire course for Scientologists who want to be rid of it.

Shrouded in mystery and kept in locked cabinets at select church locations, the course is called Operating Thetan III, billed by the church as "the final secret of the catastrophe which laid waste to this sector of the galaxy." It is taught only to the most advanced church members, at fees ranging to $6,000.

Hubbard told his followers that while unlocking the secret, he "became very ill, almost lost this body and somehow or another brought it off and obtained the material and was able to live through it."

Here's what he said he learned:

Seventy-five million years ago a tyrant named Xenu (pronounced Zee-new) ruled the Galactic Confederation, an alliance of 76 planets, including Earth, then called Teegeeack.

To control overpopulation and solidify his power, Xenu instructed his loyal officers to capture beings of all shapes and sizes from the various planets, freeze them in a compound of alcohol and glycol and fly them by the billions to Earth in planes resembling DC-8s. Some of the beings were captured after they were duped into showing up for a phony tax investigation.

The beings were deposited or chained near 10 volcanoes scattered around the planet. After hydrogen bombs were dropped on them, their thetans were captured by Xenu's forces and implanted with sexual perversion, religion and other notions to obscure their memory of what Xenu had done.

Soon after, a revolt erupted. Xenu was imprisoned in a wire cage within a mountain, where he remains today.

But the damage was done.

During the last 75 million years, these implanted thetans have affixed themselves by the thousands to people on Earth. Called "body thetans," they overwhelm the main thetan who resides within a person, causing confusion and internal conflict.

In the Operating Thetan III course, Scientologists are taught to scan their bodies for "pressure points," indicating the presence of these bad thetans. Using techniques prescribed by Hubbard, church members make telepathic contact with these thetans and remind them of Xenu's treachery. With that, Hubbard said, the thetans detach themselves.

Hubbard first unveiled his Scientology theories during a series of often breathless lectures he delivered in Wichita, Kan., Phoenix and Philadelphia in 1952.

His talks were sprinkled with tales of interplanetary adventures he said he had experienced during earlier lives.

There was the time, for instance, that Hubbard said he was resting in a peaceful valley on a barren planet in some remote galaxy, and decided to spruce up the place. He said he "fixed up a lake" and "managed to coax into existence a few vines."

Then, "all of a sudden -- zoop boom -- and there was a spaceship," Hubbard recalled, saying "I got pretty mad about the whole thing."

"I remember bringing a thunderstorm," Hubbard said. "Moved it over the ship. ... And then (I) let them have it."

Hubbard told associates that he had been many people before being born as Lafayette Ronald Hubbard on March 13, 1911, in Tilden, Neb. One of them was Cecil Rhodes, the British-born diamond king of southern Africa. Another, according to a former aide, was a marshal to Joan of Arc.

After Hubbard's death in 1986, a Scientology publication described him as "the original musician," who 3 million years ago invented music while going by the name "Arpen Polo." The publication noted that "he wrote his first song a bit after the first tick of time."

Hubbard realized that his accounts of past lives, implants and extraterrestrial creatures might sound suspect to outsiders. So he counseled his disciples to keep mum.

"Don't start walking around and telling people about space opera because they're not going to believe you," he said, "and they're going to say, 'Well, that's just Hubbard.' "

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