PENTHOUSE - The International Magazine for Men - January 1984 - Letter by Reverend Heber Jentzsch - President of the Church of Scientology
Here I document a published letter to the editor about PDH (pain-drug-hypnosis) or Brainwashing, the son of LRH and about the missing LRH in the 1980ies:
Editors’ note: The interview with L. Ron Hubbard, Jr. (aka Ron DeWolf), which was published in the June 1983 issue of Penthouse, was one of the most controversial features that ever appeared in the magazine. In the interest of fairness, we are now publishing the other side, as presented by the Reverend Heber Jentzsch, President of the Church of Scientology;
With over fifty years of writing behind him, L. Ron Hubbard has become a combination of myth, fact, and legend. His New York Times best-selling novel Battlefield Earth is no myth. Nor are the hundreds of awards and recognitions he has received for his contributions to social rehabilitation and humanitarian programs. (Some are pictured on page 32.) The following is an exclusive account about one of the most colorful men of our time.
It was a great story. An exclusive.
The editors were, naturally, excited.
The reclusive leader of a multi-million-dollar empire had not been seen in public for years and had refused any media contact. But now someone had a direct “inside line” and the story was going to be told for the first time.
But the promised story never appeared. The recluse had suddenly and unexpectedly spoken out and the “autobiography” of Howard Hughes was exposed as a hoax. Clifford Irving, the writer who had promised the world a story about Howard Hughes, became the story instead. Irving and his wife pled guilty and were sent to jail for seventeen months.
Ronald Edward DeWolf, a $500-a-month Carson City, Nev., apartment-house manager, also had a story. Although he had not seen his estranged father, best-selling author and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard, for twenty-four years, DeWolf was convinced it didn't matter. Like Irving, DeWolf did not expect his target to speak out. He knew that his father preferred his privacy and would decline to make any public appearances. Thus DeWolf thought the stage was his to use with impunity.
DeWolf's unlikely forum was a small probate court in Riverside, Calif., where he filed a petition, in November 1982, claiming that his father was either dead, missing, or incompetent to handle his affairs and that the estate should be turned over to DeWolf.
The key was publicity. All DeWolf had to do was to create an uproar with allegations the media love to print and then wait either for the full estate or a healthy settlement.
The plan probably seemed simple enough. The last thing DeWolf expected was that the court would ask DeWolf to pay and Hubbard's right to privacy strengthened by the court. Like Irving, DeWolf made one serious mistake: “I felt it was about time that I quit fooling around and being a child and quit messing about and lay the facts on the line and say what I have been doing is a whole lot of lying, a whole lot of damage to a lot of people that I value highly”—Ronald DeWolf, videotaped interview, Nov. 7, 1972. Publicly lying and then privately recanting is not new to Ron DeWolf. He has virtually made it a profession.
It was 1972 in Los Angeles. Clifford Irving had pled guilty a few months before. Ron DeWolf leaned back in the chair, waiting for the private TV interview to start. This would be the second recantation of public statements he had made about Hubbard and the Church of Scientology.
He pulled on the cigarette and joked nervously about the TV camera being readied in front of him. The clock behind him was a guarantee that DeWolf could not claim later that the film was altered or edited in any way.
The precautions were not uncalled for. Three years earlier, on September 22, 1969, DeWolf had recanted his 1967 statements to the Internal Revenue Service—and then changed his mind. This time it would be recorded on film.
“Okay, we're ready,” came the voice.
The second recantation of Ron DeWolf had started.
After verifying that he knew that he was being filmed and that he was appearing of his own free will, without coercion or compensation of any kind, the interview moved into the allegations.
DeWolf stated that he had left the church and his father in 1959 and had been spreading various allegations about both over the last nine years. DeWolf said he felt that “it was time to really tell the truth... let the facts and truth be known and to stop doing things like making rather blatant lies, and that kind of thing.”
Alter reading a new affidavit that said his 1967 sworn testimony against the church was “incomplete” and “misleading,” DeWolf was asked about allegations that he had made against Hubbard and the church. One by one, he recanted them for the TV camera:
- That Hubbard makes personal profit from the church. DeWolf: “I actually believed it false then and believe it false now.”
- That church confessionals were used to put “leverage” on people. DeWolf: “That is untrue.”
- That Scientology breaks up families. DeWolf: “No, I've been married nineteen years and mine is still together.”
- That Scientology harms people. DeWolf: “No, no, it was an incorrect statement, because as far as I'm concerned Scientology does do what it says it can do.”
- That there had been kidnapping. DeWolf: “That was pure fiction, just off the top of my head and so the [Pause.] as far as the various statements I have made were concerned, they were wrong and I regret them.”
The interviewer nodded as DeWolf went on. “And as far as I'm concerned, I wish to make these right. And I think my request to do this, and it is my request to do it, like being videotaped on November 7 at—the time is two—that this tape is not edited, that it has been continuous and it is by my request.” The second recantation of Ron DeWolf was over.
In the weeks and months to come, DeWolf corrected other statements he had made over the years. On January 26, 1973, he wrote a British author, saying that he (DeWolf) had not been a leading official of the church, as he had claimed; that his father had not abused his mother, as DeWolf had falsely claimed; that Hubbard had never mistreated him; and that permission to use these earlier claims was withdrawn. On February 5, 1973, DeWolf wrote to New York radio station WBAI to tell them that his statements made on August 17, 1972, were false, vindictive, malicious, unfounded in fact, and unsupported in documentation. He asked that the program not be rebroadcast or reused.
Ten years later, however, the Clifford Irving of Scientology was back again.
When L. Ron Hubbard's book Battlefield Earth was released in 1982, reviewers characterized the novel as if they were actually characterizing the author.
The Baltimore Evening Sun, for example, said, “Think of the ‘Star Wars’ sagas. and ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark,’ mix in the triumph of ‘Rocky I,’ ‘Rocky II’ and ‘Rocky III’ and you have captured the exuberance, style and glory of Battlefield Earth.”
The same could be said of Hubbard's life. The difference between the book and the man is that the book is “fiction.” L. Ron Hubbard is not.
Whether he was sailing across the Pacific, learning the songs of an Indian tribe that had just made him a blood brother, panning for gold, shaking hands with the president of the United States, or barnstorming across the Midwest, L. Ron Hubbard's youth was filled with enough adventure for a hundred lives. While fellow students struggled over dusty textbooks, Hubbard was soaring in a glider and breaking records for time aloft or plowing through the Caribbean in a four-masted schooner.
During it all, Hubbard kept records of his experiences, observations, and ideas. They show a rare, natural mastery of the language that allowed him to turn professional, in 1932, with a series of articles about his aerial experiences for a national aviation magazine. Two years later, he also began to write fiction as a means of expressing his ideas.
Hubbard also had a skill so rare among writers that it was legendary within the profession—speed. While others outlined and plotted and sketched stories that went through draft after draft, Hubbard's ability to plot and write a story from beginning to end without stopping became a legend among writers who saw him at work. “I had never seen anything like it and haven't still,” recalls author A. E. Van Vogt. “He would pour out the pages without stopping, tossing them on the floor and putting another one in the typewriter to continue until the story was done. It had to be seen to be believed and even then it was astounding.”
The hours or days that other writers spent toiling over outlines, sketches, drafts, and rewrites, Hubbard spent studying his favorite subject—people. Anyone with a new or unique experience was collared by the flamboyant redhead and kept until the late hours of the night as if they held the final answer to a question that only Hubbard knew. Then, closeting himself (sometimes for days), he would write nonstop, until the ideas were exhausted. Then he could venture out again to look, question, and devour information before returning to his typewriter to begin the process again.
By 1941, Hubbard was writing so much that he had to use over a dozen pen names to handle editors who felt that the same writer should not appear in every issue—let alone more than once in the same month. The Second World War gave his life a new direction.
Because he loved the sea. Hubbard joined the navy. During his career as a commissioned officer, he trained entire crews to prepare the ship for active duty. How many of them, he wondered as he watched them leave, would end up as a medal on the chest of an armchair admiral in Washington?
Hubbard refrained from writing for two years. Instead, he tried to live between the demands of the naval bureaucracy and his responsibility to his crew. In free moments, he looked out at the sea as if the elusive answer would appear on the horizon. Finally, the frustrations compelled him to begin a journal as his only solace. “My salvation is to let this roll over me,” Hubbard wrote, “to write, write, and write some more. To hammer keys until I am finger worn to the second joint and then to hammer keys some more. To pile up copy, stack up stories, roll the wordage, and generally conduct my life along the primary line of success I have ever had. I write. I can always write. But to write I must be me. Peeping around a corner,” he said prophetically, “there may be the eye and feeler of a philosophy which will let me do this.”
Later, in 1944, he wrote, “I know that I mean good toward everyone and everything, that I would not willfully injure anyone no matter what the gain; I feel that I would, in some unclear way, improve the world and that all of my energies are bent toward a reformation for the better and the raising of my fellow man.”
With the end of the war, Hubbard was suddenly adrift. He tried to return to his earlier life but his wife had sunk into alcoholism and took the children, including DeWolf, to run off with another man. The few brief years with the navy had left deep scars and impressions. The unanswered question that had been driving him now began to eat away at his very existence. Friends were worried at the difference between the man who had gone to war and the one who had returned. His face was pale and contorted in pain or worry, the eyes dulled and nearly pulled closed as he tried to block out the light that blinded him. The body, usually ramrod straight, was bent, and at times he could barely walk. Burdened with their own problems and embarrassed, they turned away.
Two years later, Hubbard's friends were again astonished. The vibrancy had suddenly reappeared, and the redhead was more buoyant than ever. He joked and sang and laughed again. The sparkle had not only returned to the wide, bright gray eyes but they had taken on a gleam that signaled something unusual had happened. The color had returned to his face and his life. Something had happened and Hubbard was eager to share it.
There was, Hubbard explained, a single cause of human misery and upset that had been completely missed by all the “experts” and “scholars.” Finding it and handling it lifted a person from a dark prison of misery to a bright new outlook on life.
The source of misery was not innate but acquired, he said, during moments of pain and unconsciousness (even for a split second) that were recorded as mental-image pictures. They acted like hidden, hypnotic commands on the person and were why people went crazy, became criminals, or turned into invalids when there was nothing physically wrong.
Because the mental recordings were made while the person was unconscious, Hubbard explained, the person could not recall them. Thus, no one knew of their existence. However, Hubbard had found a means of recalling them safely and releasing a person from them. Drugs, hypnosis, electric shock, or other psychiatric methods were not to be employed, he warned. These techniques merely implanted commands, but, he said, the method he had designed could handle them.
He called the method “Dianetics” (dia, “through”; nous, the mind, or in the Greek, “soul.” Thus “Dianetics” was “what the soul does to the body”).
The first announcement of Dianetics appeared in the 1950 Winter-Spring issue of the magazine of the prestigious Explorer's Club. (Hubbard has been a member since 1938.) Tilled “Terra Incognita: The Mind,” the article was his first published account of the new philosophy. On May 9, 1950, his book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health exploded across the country as a national best-seller, with Hubbard boldly announcing that he had found a means of unlocking the human potential by locating and neutralizing heretofore unknown “hidden commands” in people.
Unbeknownst to Hubbard, he was about to cross swords with a top-secret government program designed to intentionally implant “hidden commands” in people.
The Central Intelligence Agency's “mind-control” program officially began in 1947 but the world at large would not learn about it until 1975. A Freedom of Information Act request by John Marks, co-author of The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, tapped the agency's program, known by the code name “MKULTRA” (pronounced “em-kay-ultra”). The program was a chilling enactment of George Orwell's 1984 world of Big Brother. Utilizing drugs, hypnosis, radiation, and a host of electronics, MKULTRA sought “to devise operational techniques to disturb the memory, to discredit people through aberrant behavior, to alter sex patterns, to elicit information and ... to program individuals to carry out any mission of espionage or assassination, even against their will ... even against such fundamental laws of nature as self-preservation.” The early stages of the program were intended to test means of producing or blocking interrogation, or anti-interrogation, methods.
Hubbard, meanwhile, was enjoying the success of his Dianetics book. People were responding enthusiastically and offering opportunities for further research into the subject at the new Dianetic Research Foundation. Thus, it was only a matter of time before victims of the government mind-control program walked in the front door.
When they did, it didn't take Hubbard long to realize that he was not dealing with ordinary human problems in these people. He had been researching the basic problems of life and existence. He never expected to stumble across a top-secret military-intelligence program. Hubbard did not have a name for this phenomenon. (“Brainwashing” had yet to become a popular term and “mind control” was years away.) So he called it by the techniques that were used on its victims: “pain-drug hypnosis” (PDH).
Dianetics foundations, Hubbard said, found PDH “so appallingly destructive to the personality ... that a wider investigation was undertaken to discover just how many people one could find within easy reach who had been given pain-drug hypnosis.”
Hubbard announced the results of the research, in August 1951, with the publication of his next book, Science of Survival, twenty-four years before John Marks's discovery.
“There is another form of hypnotism which ... has been a carefully guarded secret of certain military and intelligence organizations,” Hubbard announced. “It is a vicious war weapon and may be of considerably more use in conquering a society than the atom bomb. This is no exaggeration. The extensiveness of the use of this form of hypnotism in espionage work is so wide today that it is long past the time when people should have become alarmed about it.”
Countering a popular myth of the time that a hypnotized person could not be made to do anything that they would not do while awake, Hubbard said that the difference between PDH and hypnotism was that the latter at least begins with the person's consent. PDH, however, can override the person's consent and completely wipe out not only the victim's memory but his moral code. “It has been discovered that a drugged individual when beaten and given orders would almost invariably obey these orders regardless of the degree to which they flouted his moral tone or his position or his best interest in life,” Hubbard wrote. Hubbard's account continued with a scenario that must have sent a chill through the secret back rooms of the CIA, where the mind-control programs were monitored. “Before Dianetics,” Hubbard wrote in Science of Survival, “the widespread use of this practice was unsuspected, simply because there was no means by which one could even detect the existence of pain-drug-hypnosis. An individual might be given pain-drug-hypnosis on Tuesday night and wake up Wednesday morning without knowledge of the fact that he had been slugged when he stepped out of his car, given an injection, painfully beaten but not so as to leave any marks, and put quietly into his own bed. This individual does not know that anything has happened to him, nor will he suspect it even when he is confronted with the fact that his conduct is extremely changed along certain lines. This individual, if the criminal operator desired it, would actually obey the commands to the point of striking up a friendship with some person the operator indicated, thereafter conducting his business along lines suggested by this ‘friend.’”
PDH, Hubbard concluded, “can be done without the knowledge of the individual and can command him to do things which are not only counter to his own survival but highly immoral or destructive.”
CIA records allegedly do not exist to describe the reaction at the agency's headquarters to Hubbard's Science of Survival when it arrived with a detailed account of how their top-secret program operated, but MKULTRA documents obtained via John Marks's request twenty-four years later do show that there was some fast reorganization. The program's then-code name was changed from BLUEBIRD to ARTICHOKE (it later became MKULTRA, the name it was finally known by) and moved from the CIA's Office of Scientific Investigation, which had given birth to the project in 1947, to the Office of Security. While these changes were not publicly visible, there were some reactions everyone could see.
As Hubbard would describe it years later, “All hell broke loose.”
While Hubbard and those working with him expected some resistance from the psychiatric establishment, they were not ready for the assault that suddenly and inexplicably began. Foundations researching the promise of Dianetics came under investigation. Internal Revenue Service units swept in to audit books around the clock. Dianetics groups were started by total strangers and then thrown mysteriously into bankruptcy. From New Jersey to Kansas City to Los Angeles, Hubbard was the target of a barrage of lawsuits, including one attempting to capture his estate and the copyrights to all of his works, a tactic that would be employed again thirty years later, with similar failure. With thousands of Americans leaving the futility of psychoanalysis, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) joined with the American Medical Association to condemn Dianetics as “dangerous” and call Hubbard a “fraud” (while CIA funds were secretly supporting further APA-sanctioned experiments). The Federal Bureau of Investigation joined in the fray with allegations that Hubbard's groups contained “Communists” (during the height of the McCarthy era and despite Hubbard's long-term public anti-Communist position in his writings and lectures).
The media avidly reported every allegation made against Hubbard and the “controversy” that was suddenly swirling around Dianetics. Instead of reporting or investigating Hubbard's warning that a new “vicious war weapon” was being created and aimed at the American public, journalists tried to paint Hubbard as “crazy” and someone to be completely distrusted and disbelieved—no matter what he said. On top of it all, Hubbard was reported as “missing” by the media.
However, Hubbard was not missing then, any more than he has ever been. He had moved to Phoenix, Ariz., and was busy responding in the way he knew best—by writing. While the public continued to support his ideas and the government-media blitz rolled on, Hubbard would “write, write, and write some more.” This time it was about the philosophy he had been seeking a decade before. Now, his research and writing led him beyond the domain of the human condition and Dianetics.
Hubbard needed a new word for his latest development and called it “Scientology,” from the words “scios” (to know) and “logos” (the study of). It was, he said, “knowing how to know,” or “the study and the handling of the spirit in relationship to itself, universes and other lifes.” (Thus Dianetics was a “materialistic viewpoint” of the problem.)
Man is, Hubbard said, more than a mind with mental-image pictures and a body. He is a spiritual entity with potentials greater than anyone has ever imagined. Hubbard revealed his discoveries in a series of lectures beginning in Phoenix in the summer of 1952.
The evolvement of Hubbard's research into the spirit forced a discussion about the nature and direction of Scientology. If Dianetics in dealing with the nature of the mind was a “mental science” (it was certainly not “psychology”), then Scientology, in dealing with man as a spiritual entity, was, without doubt, a religion. Although the Arizona group (the Hubbard Association of Scientologists International) was already a religious fellowship when DeWolf arrived, in the summer of 1952, a proposal was put to Hubbard to form a church. Hubbard conceded and the Church of Scientology was formed in 1954 in—of all places—Washington, D.C., across the Potomac from the CIA's mind-control headquarters. (Contrary to some misconceptions, it was author George Orwell who said a person could make money with a new religion. See his Collected Essays, Volume 1, page 304, where he writes, on February 16, 1938, “But I have always thought there might be a lot of cash in starting a new religion....”)
Hubbard did not give up his concern about PDH with the 1951 publication of Science of Survival. In 1955, he emphatically warned all Scientologists that psychiatry had “armed itself with several new drugs” including something known as “LSD.” The drug, Hubbard said, “has the total goal of driving persons insane.” He said that LSD-PDH cases were being sent into their congregations to go crazy “just long enough to convince people” that Scientology was dangerous. All such instances were to be reported to the authorities, he said.
While Hubbard had to wait twenty-four years for others to find out that there had, indeed, been the PDH-mind-control program that he had revealed in 1951, it did not stop him from attacking what he viewed as the heart of any future mind-control program, as well as the ruin of the country itself—drugs, including alcohol.
Hubbard saw the effects of drugs and alcohol on his men in the navy and on his first family. He watched men in hospitals succumbing faster to a drug than to the disease or injury it was intended to treat. He had lost friends to the deadly chemicals and had resolved that he would defeat that problem if he defeated no others. There were simply too many lives being wasted, too many families being destroyed, and too many countries giving up on finding a workable approach.
Today, Hubbard's methods are widely recognized for their effectiveness in combating the drug problem facing every community. From street gang to church, from prisons to private homes, Hubbard's methods of freeing an individual from the effects of poisonous and addictive drugs are in daily use and are growing in popularity and application. Individuals, groups, and cities have commended Hubbard for his innovative discoveries and contributions to the field (as well as to other humanitarian efforts such as criminal rehabilitation, education, and the dignity of the elderly).
From Sacramento, Calif., to Milano, Italy, to Gratis, Ohio (where he took local townspeople flying while barnstorming there, in 1931), Hubbard has been remembered and acknowledged. Hundreds of proclamations and citations have been given to him from around the world for his work and interest in people. Days of the week and months of the year have been proclaimed in his honor. Scores of cities have made him an honorary citizen.
In turn, Hubbard has continued to attack the drug-abuse problem. His theory that drug “flashbacks” stem from chemical residuals released from storage in the body's fat cells is being medically substantiated in independent studies.
Even victims of Agent Orange, the poisonous defoliant used in the Vietnam War, are responding favorably to what is now known as the Hubbard Method of Detoxification (commonly known as a “purification” process). One typical case involved a veteran poisoned with the defoliant in Vietnam and suffering from open sores and other seemingly irreversible conditions. He and his wife had suffered through several miscarriages while trying to start a family after his overseas tour and were about to give up due to the continual danger to both mother and child. But after undergoing and completing the medically supervised “purification” regimen, the sores and other maladies disappeared. Their first child followed, in perfect health.
Lucille Surber, of Minneapolis, Minn., has a different story. At seventy-two years of age, she is a licensed civil-air-observers pilot (and reportedly the oldest) thanks, she says, to Hubbard's methods. Crippled to the point that she could not move, she was able to recover sufficiently to literally “fly” through life.
The list of people who credit Hubbard's methods range from the famous (TV sportscaster and former San Francisco Forty-niners quarterback John Brodie, jazz greats Stanley Clarke and Chick Corea, award-winning designer Angelo Donghia, David Fuller, choreographer for the musical Evita, and others) to the anonymous—those of us who make up the world.
Hubbard has responded as he always has—he writes. He is also an accomplished photographer, musician, composer, mariner, cinematographer, philanthropist, explorer, and pilot and a friend to millions. Ron DeWolf, on the other hand, who had pled bankruptcy three times, hoped for millions and ended up with a court-costs bill. Meanwhile, he had to admit in sworn depositions:
- That he had been motivated by money to file the petition to capture his father's estate (the original petition said he was seeking to “protect” it).
- That he was operating on the advice of a personal-injury attorney, Michael J. Flynn, of Boston, who wrote the petition and designed the allegations because DeWolf, having no personal knowledge of Hubbard or Scientology beyond 1959, was in no position to act on his own.
Meanwhile, he also had to admit that it was he, not Hubbard, who had been giving hallucinogens to kids. He had given drugs to his teenage children.
The attempt to grab Hubbard's estate did not work well for either DeWolf or Flynn. Flynn was disqualified from acting as DeWolf's counsel in the proceeding because of an obvious conflict of interest. Flynn, operating on a split-fee agreement with his clients, has sought to extract large sums of money from the church with the filing of a series of “carbon copy” suits that prompt bad publicity for Scientology. Meanwhile, he was initiating DeWolf's court action to “protect” Hubbard's estate. The conflict was heightened by Flynn's claiming Hubbard and Scientology was a “fraud” in some court actions and arguing that Hubbard's works were of “inestimable” value elsewhere.
As the DeWolf-Flynn tandem was unable to substantiate any of their allegations, the judge threw the case out of the court. Subsequently, the court found Flynn in contempt. To add insult to injury, the court ordered DeWolf to pay costs. To a $500-a-month-apartment-house manager and an unpaid attorney, it was an expensive plan.
In the end, it is the oft-repeated story of the child who cannot live in the shadow of a famous and successful parent coupled with a money-motivated (according to statements from his firm to this writer) attorney.
L. Ron Hubbard, meanwhile, continues to be a best-selling author, more popular than ever and his life more colorful than ever.
With apologies to the Baltimore Evening Sun, perhaps their review of Battlefield Earth should have read, “Think of the ‘Star Wars’ sagas, and ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark,’ mix in the triumph of ‘Rocky I,’ ‘Rocky II’ and ‘Rocky III’ and you have captured the exuberance, style and glory of ...” L. Ron Hubbard's life.—
The Reverend Heber Jentzsch,
President, Church of Scientology, International.
Note: You may write to the Office of the President, Church of Scientology, International, 4751 Fountain Avenue, Hollywood, Calif. 90029, for any documents in support of the above information.