‘Trip to Heaven’ man told: Get out

Daily Mail, UK/July 14, 1966

By Peter Younghusband

Salisbury -- Lafayette Ron Hubbard, founder of the world-wide cult of Scientology, has been declared a prohibited immigrant in Rhodesia.

He has been ordered to leave the country by Monday, although he waged his own campaign in support of Mr. Ian Smith’s rebel Government.

The authorities believe he is using the current political situation to expand his movement.

Mr. Hubbard, 54, who has invested nearly £30,000 to show his “confidence” in the country and its Government, refused to comment on the expulsion order.

Last February, Mr. Hubbard’s activities in Britain were investigated by the Daily Mail.

Multi-millionaire Mr. Hubbard has thousands of followers in the English-speaking world who pay from £2 to £360 for his tuition courses.

He has made many claims in books and bulletins for followers, among them that he has visited Heaven twice, and has succeeded in separating the human spirit from the body.

Last September, Scientology was outlawed by the Australian State of Victoria after an inquiry branded its methods as “evil.”

In the Commons earlier this year, the Minister of Health, Mr. Kenneth Robinson, refused to order a similar investigation in Britain.

Mr. Hubbard arrived in Rhodesia early in May from Johannesburg, where he had flown in January 1966 after “a third bout of pneumonia following which my doctors advised me to leave Britain” — according to a newspaper interview in Salisbury.

After completing business in Johannesburg, he returned to Rhodesia, bought a large house in Salisbury’s most fashionable suburb for £16,500, and began to hold Scientology meetings in it.

He bought the Bumi Hills Hotel on Lake Kariba for a song — it had cost £30,000.

He planned to develop it into a game lodge.


Mr. Hubbard lost no opportunity to get publicity. Apart from issuing Scientologist literature to anyone interested, he made special efforts to ride the crest of the present political wave, apparently to ingratiate himself with White Rhodesians and their Government.

He never lost an opportunity to praise the Smith Government, to drive home the point that he was making substantial investment in Rhodesia, and to express his sympathy for the cause of White Rhodesians.

But the Rhodesian authorities watched him suspiciously, and were investigating his past and present activities.

Mr. Hubbard was restricted to a month-to-month resident permit which was due for review on July 18. It will not now be renewed.

Rhodesian authorities formed the view that Hubbard was playing on Rhodesian emotions to serve his own ends — to swell the membership of his Scientology cult.

Scientology had made striking progress in Rhodesia recently, in the city of Bulawayo, with a population of 45,000 whites, the cult netted an annual return of £10,000.

Rhodesia’s police investigators studied the methods used by the cult. Its lecturers played on the fears, emotions and beliefs of people here to bring them to membership.

In particular, the racial prejudices of Rhodesians were exploited. They were told, for instance, that Africans could not qualify for membership of the Institute of Scientology, because their IQ was too low.


The director of the Scientology Institute in Bulawayo, Mr. John Kennedy, was responsible for much of the cult’s success in Rhodesia.

All went well until Mr. Kennedy, probably impressed by the amount of money he was making for Mr. Hubbard, decided to branch out with a movement of his own — the Institute of Mental Health, headquarters of which he set up in Johannesburg.

The Scientologists were furious for Mr. Kennedy took with him a large slice of their paying members.

Mr. Kennedy died in a shooting incident. It was said he shot himself accidentally while cleaning his revolver. An open verdict was returned by the coroner.

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