Lafayette Ron Hubbard, founder of the world-wide psychological cult called Scientology, stopped being a “doctor” yesterday.
He renounced the title in a 15-line advertisement in The Times Personal column, one month after the Daily Mail exposed it as bogus.
A Daily Mail Newsight article showed that his claim to another academic qualification was also a sham.
American-born Mr. Hubbard, 54, has won thousands of followers through the English-speaking world since he founded his cult in 1950. They pay from £2 to £360 for tuition courses.
For the past seven years he has been based at Saint Hill Manor, near East Grinstead, Sussex, formerly the home of the multi-millionaire Maharajah of Jaipur, which he has turned into his international headquarters with a staff of 200. Mr. Hubbard’s £15 15s. Times advertisement said:
‘I, L. Ron Hubbard…having reviewed the damage being done in our society with nuclear physics and psychiatry by persons calling themselves “Doctor,” do hereby resign in protest my university degree as a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.), anticipating an early public outcry against anyone called “Doctor”: and although not in anyway connected with bombs or “psychiatric treatment” or treatment of the sick, and interested only and always in philosophy and the total freedom of the human spirit, I wish no association of any kind with these persons and do so publicly declare, and request my friends and the public not to refer to me in any way with this title.’
In the past Mr. Hubbard claimed that his Ph.D. degree was awarded by Sequoia University. But there is no accredited university of that name in the U.S.
He has also claimed a Civil Engineering degree of George Washington University, and the letters C.E. are printed after his name on his stationery. He was a student at his university for 18 months, but did not graduate.
Another qualification he has claimed is that of Doctor of Scientology.
Mr. Hubbard was not available last night. His personal assistant, Mr. Reg Sharpe, said he was abroad on holiday, and not to be disturbed. He said: “In future we shall refer to him as Mr. Hubbard, or as Lafayette Ron Hubbard, or simply as Ron.”
As a Scientologist, Mr. Hubbard has made many claims in books and bulletins for followers. Among these are that he has twice visited Heaven, that it is possible to “process” the mind back to previous lives, and that he has succeeded in separating the human spirit from the body (“probably the greatest discovery of Scientology”).
Last December Scientology was outlawed by the State of Victoria, Australia, after an inquiry branded its methods there as “evil.”
In the Commons on , the Health Minister, Mr. Kenneth Robinson, refused to order a similar investigation in Britain, though he said he would be prepared to consider “any demand” for an inquiry if he received one.
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