According to its official teachings, the Church of Scientology "regards the family as the building block of any society and marriage as an essential component of a stable family life." According to his unofficial biographers, Hubbard, who lived from 1911 to 1986, had at least seven children by three different wives, including one bigamous marriage. His first son, L. Ron Hubbard Jr., was born May 7, 1934, in Southern California to Hubbard's first wife, Margaret "Polly" Grubb. Their second child, Katherine May Hubbard, was born Jan. 15, 1936. Hubbard Jr., who later changed his name to Ronald DeWolf, helped build his father's Scientology empire in the 1950s but later denounced his dad as a "fraud." "Scientology is a power- and money- and intelligence-gathering game," he said in a 1983 interview. DeWolf died in 1991. Hubbard's second wife, Sara Northrup Hubbard, gave birth to Hubbard's third child, Alexis Valerie Hubbard, on March 8, 1950. Just three months later, Hubbard would unveil Dianetics, his "new science of the mind," in the May 1950 issue of the magazine "Astounding Science Fiction." His longer treatise, "Dianetics - The Modern Science of Mental Health," would be published later that year and become a national craze, laying the groundwork for the tax-exempt Church of Scientology.
In divorce papers filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in 1951, Sara Hubbard said the founder of Scientology did not mention that he was already married - and had two children - when they exchanged their vows on Aug. 10, 1946. Hubbard did not secure a divorce from his first wife until Dec. 24, 1947. In her divorce papers, Sara Hubbard accused the self-help guru of "systematic torture, beatings, strangulations and scientific torture experiments." She also accused Hubbard of kidnapping Alexis, a story that made headlines in Los Angeles in 1951. Hubbard married his third wife, Mary Sue Whipp, in 1952. She gave Hubbard four more children - Diana, Quentin, Suzette and Arthur - over the next six years. Quentin committed suicide in Las Vegas in October 1975, when he was 18 years old.
Three years later, Mary Sue Hubbard was among nine of Scientology insiders indicted for infiltrating the Internal Revenue Service and stealing more than 30,000 pages of government documents on the Hubbards and the Church of Scientology. Mary Sue Hubbard was convicted and served one year of a four-year federal prison term. According to biographer Russell Miller, the author of "Bare-Faced Messiah - The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard," Mary Sue took the fall for her husband, then lost out in a power struggle with David Miscavige, a second-generation Scientologist who assumed control of the movement after Hubbard's death in January 1986. Miscavige, who started in the organization as one of Hubbard's teenage couriers in the elite "Commodore's Messengers Organization," declined to be interviewed for this story.
As for Ron and Mary Sue's three surviving children, Scientology spokesman Aron Mason said they are all still members of the church - either as parishioners or members of the staff. None of them, he said, will talk to the press. Other sources, however, said Arthur, 42 and the youngest child, has left the church and is an artist living in New York City. His older sister, Diana, retains a leadership role in the Scientology. "They do their best," Mason said, "to lead normal, undistracted lives."
One Hubbard ancestor who could be tracked down was Jamie Kennedy, the grandson of Ronald DeWolf, making Kennedy Hubbard's great-grandson. Kennedy, 23, lives in Vallejo and is a nationally recognized slam poet. He said his mother and ex-girlfriend have been visited by Scientology agents asking about his references to Scientology in his poems and his decision to appear at an anti-Scientology benefit last November. "They can't shut me up," Kennedy said. "I've made a career out of not giving a f-." Billed as the "Hellspawn Leprechaun," Kennedy shares his great- grandfather's red hair and in-your-face attitude. "Genetically, I think we share some traits," Kennedy said. "In high school, a psychiatrist asked me if I had a history of mental illness in my family. I said, `Well, my great-grandfather was a cult leader.' "