The New Yorker: The Apostate
In his Paul Haggis profile in The New Yorker, Lawrence Wright touched on Hubbard’s involvement with Jack Parsons and quoted some new claims in this story made by Scientology spokesperson Tommy Davis about Hubbard and Robert Heinlein.
After the war, Hubbard’s marriage dissolved1, and he moved to Pasadena2, where he became the housemate of Jack Parsons, a rocket scientist who belonged to an occult society called the Ordo Templi Orientis. An atmosphere of hedonism pervaded the house; Parsons hosted gatherings involving “sex magick” rituals.
In a 1946 letter, Parsons described Hubbard: “He is a gentleman, red hair, green eyes, honest and intelligent.” Parsons then mentioned his wife’s sister, Betty Northrup, with whom he had been having an affair. “Although Betty and I are still friendly, she has transferred her sexual affections to Ron.” One day, Hubbard and Northrup ran off together. In the official Scientology literature, it is claimed that Hubbard was assigned by naval intelligence to infiltrate Parsons’s occult group. “Hubbard broke up black magic in America,” the church said in a statement.
At the meeting, Davis brought up Jack Parsons’s black-magic society, which Hubbard had supposedly infiltrated. Davis said, “He was sent in there by Robert Heinlein”—the science-fiction writer—“who was running off-book intelligence operations for naval intelligence at the time.” Davis said, “A biography that just came out three weeks ago on Bob Heinlein actually confirmed it at a level that we’d never been able to before.” The book to which Davis was referring is the first volume of an authorized Heinlein biography, by William H. Patterson, Jr.3 There is no mention in the book of Heinlein’s sending Hubbard to break up the Parsons ring, on the part of naval intelligence or any other organization. Patterson says that he looked into the matter, at the suggestion of Scientologists, but found nothing.4
Wright, L. (2011, 7 February). The Apostate. thenewyorker.com. Retrieved 7 February 2011 from http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/02/14/110214fa_fact_wright#ixzz1DFbV4pDc
- Hubbard married Sara his second wife bigamously while still married to Polly. Ref. Barefaced Messiah, p. 129 ↩
- In November 1945, Hubbard lived with Robert A. and Leslyn Heinlein at 8777 Lookout Mountain Avenue, Hollywood 46, California. (Heinlein archives: CORR331-02; Patterson, W. H., (2010). Robert A. Heinlein, In Dialogue with his Century, pp. 370, 371.) In December 1945, Hubbard moved to 1003 South Orange Grove Avenue, Pasadena, CA, residence of Jack Parsons and the Agape Lodge. (Patterson, 2010). ↩
- Patterson, W. H. (2010). Robert A. Heinlein: In dialogue with his century. New York: Tor. ↩
- The documents I’ve encountered in my admittedly brief time in the Heinlein archives do not support the claims made here by Tommy Davis, and in fact refute Davis’ claims. ↩