The Truth about L. Ron Hubbard and the ‘Make a Million Dollars’ Myth
It has been falsely claimed that Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard said that the way to make a million dollars is to start a religion. L. Ron Hubbard never made such a statement. The novelist George Orwell once remarked that “there might be a lot of cash in starting a religion.” Courts that have examined the evidence have issued judgments finding that the statement was never made by Mr. Hubbard, is false and constitutes an actionable false claim.
Courts that have examined the evidence have issued judgments finding that the statement was never made and that it constitutes a false claim.
Over the years, individuals opposed to Scientology have planted and spread this false rumor to attempt to denigrate the Scientology religion and its Founder.
This bald falsehood is belied by the depth and scope of the Scientology Scripture and the phenomenal growth of the Scientology religion over the past six decades. The breadth and scope of the religion include more than 11,000 Churches of Scientology, Missions and related organizations with over 20,000 full-time staff in 184 countries, all unified by a common religious goal. (See Scientology.org.)
False Quote Exposed
In the face of the immense popularity of Dianetics and Scientology, opponents intent on denigrating the religion floated the false rumor that L. Ron Hubbard had once stated that writing for a penny a word (the going rate for pulp fiction writers immediately following World War II) was ridiculous and that the way to make a million dollars was to start a religion. Mr. Hubbard was one of the best-paid writers of his day.
Nevertheless, the Church sifted through the second- and third-hand accounts of this rumor to find if there were any claims that could be documented one way or another. Claims about this statement were contained in two unauthorized biographies of L. Ron Hubbard published after his death in 1986. Both books attribute this rumor to a remark that was allegedly made by Mr. Hubbard at a 1948 Convention of the Eastern Science Fiction Association in Newark, New Jersey, according to the Director of the Eastern Science Fiction Association, Sam Moskowitz.
Two attendees at this same convention have sworn that Mr. Hubbard made no such comment (David A. Kyle and Jay Kay Klein ). No other attendees ever came forward with conflicting accounts. In 1993, Mr. Moskowitz provided the Church with a copy of the minutes of that meeting, which include a summary of Mr. Hubbard’s remarks to the group. No such statement is included in the minutes of the meeting. (Statement of Sam Moskowitz and enclosure ) Moreover, Mr. Kyle pointed out in an August 2000 affidavit that Mr. Moskowitz was apt to make remarks for the purposes of effect and would sometimes state as facts things which were untrue or inaccurate. (Second affidavit of David Kyle )
As previously stated, another famous writer from the same era who did make such a statement was George Orwell, who wrote to a friend in 1938: “…always thought there might be a lot of cash in starting a new religion.” His letter was later published as part of a collection of letters that was circulated widely. Orwell’s comment has been misattributed to Mr. Hubbard. (Excerpt from the correspondence of Eric Blair, also known as George Orwell )
Courts Have Found the Statement to Be False
It is also important to note that Courts that have examined the evidence have issued judgments finding that the statement was never made and that it constitutes a false claim. In 1982, a Court in Munich, Germany, found that L. Ron Hubbard never made the statement and enjoined a German publisher, on penalty of a fine or jail sentence, from printing the claim. (Landgericht München I, case no. 9 0 19 087/82, 1982 ) In 1986, the Church of Scientology of Bavaria also obtained an injunction against another German publisher prohibiting republication of the falsehood. (Landgericht München I, case no. 9 0 17718/86, 1986 ) Newspapers that have published the false statement have also had to publish corrections. (Retraction of New Musical Express )
Individuals opposed to Scientology have spread this false rumor to attempt to denigrate the Scientology religion and minimize L. Ron Hubbard’s incredible lifetime accomplishment of creating and developing a religious philosophy and religious practice which has exploded in growth around the world and is followed by millions and recognized as a world religion.
- Affidavit of David A. Kyle, May 1993
- Affidavit of Jay Kay Klein
- Statement of Sam Moskowitz, Director of the Eastern Science Fiction Association
- Affidavit of David A. Kyle, August 2000
- Excerpt from the correspondence of Eric Blair (aka George Orwell)
- 1982 Munich Court Judgment
- 1986 Munich Court Judgment
- New Musical Express Retraction