>> True Information: This is false on two counts. First, the statement is a stale myth. L. Ron Hubbard never said it. Over the years, individuals opposed to Scientology have planted and spread this false rumor to attempt to denigrate the Scientology religion and its Founder. The novelist George Orwell once remarked that “there might be a lot of cash in starting a religion.” Courts that have examined the evidence issued judgments finding the statement was falsely attributed to Mr. Hubbard, was false and constituted an actionable claim.
The rumor usually includes the detail that the statement was said at a November 1948 Science Fiction Conference in Newark, New Jersey, where L. Ron Hubbard spoke. Two professionals in the science fiction field who were present at this conference later signed sworn affidavits that L. Ron Hubbard never made any such statement.
There is even another account, as recent as the November 2011 issue of Scientific America, where Michael Shermer (publisher of Skeptic magazine) wrote about this false statement in an article, which in part he said:
“So did its founder, writer L. Ron Hubbard, just make it all up—as legend has it—to create a religion that was more lucrative than producing science fiction?
“Instead of printing the legend as fact, I recently interviewed the acclaimed science-fiction author Harlan Ellison, who told me he was at the birth of Scientology. At a meeting in New York City of a sci-fi writers’ group called the Hydra Club, Hubbard was complaining to L. Sprague de Camp and the others about writing for a penny a word. ‘Lester del Rey then said half-jokingly, ‘What you really ought to do is create a religion because it will be tax-free,’ and at that point everyone in the room started chiming in with ideas for this new religion.’”
Of note is that Wright never asked the Church or the L. Ron Hubbard biographer about this claim.
The second aspect where Wright got it wrong was his statement that “religion had played little or no part in his life or his thoughts…” This is false. Mr. Hubbard covered this in his definitive statement on his philosophic stance, “My Philosophy,” in which he states:
“I have seen much human misery. As a very young man I wandered through Asia and saw the agony and misery of overpopulated and underdeveloped lands. I have seen people uncaring and stepping over dying men in the streets. I have seen children less than rags and bones. And amongst this poverty and degradation I found holy places where wisdom was great, but where it was carefully hidden and given out only as superstition. Later, in Western universities, I saw man obsessed with materiality and with all his cunning; I saw him hide what little wisdom he really had in forbidding halls and make it inaccessible to the common and less favored man. I have been through a terrible war and saw its terror and pain uneased by a single word of decency or humanity.
“I have lived no cloistered life and hold in contempt the wise man who has not lived and the scholar who will not share.
“There have been many wiser men than I, but few have traveled as much road.
“I have seen life from the top down and the bottom up. I know how it looks both ways. And I know there is wisdom and that there is hope.”