L Ron Hubbard, the inventor of "Dianetics" and founder of Scientology, engaged in bizarre sex rituals, made racist remarks and lied about his heroic war-time exploits, claims the updated version of a book by British journalist Russell Miller.
Despite being published around the world the year after Hubbard's death in 1986, the book, Bare-Faced Messiah: The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard, was never published in the United States due to pressure from the Scientology movement.
Now, the book has been updated and published by American publisher Silvertail Books and makes a huge number of embarrassing claims about a man revered by Scientology's membership – claimed to be 10 million by the organisation but believed to be just 10,000-15,000 by its critics, many of whom claim it is nothing more than a money-making cult.
Hubbard claimed to have grown up on a huge ranch on Montana, to have travelled widely in the Far East, meeting holy mystics and to have had a distinguished second world war where he was blinded, broke various limbs and became the first American casualty in the Pacific.
In fact, the book claims, Hubbard's childhood was far more humble; he only went to China briefly and in the war his worst privations were arthritis, conjunctivitis and a stomach ulcer. In China, he apparently advised locals to turn the Great Wall into a huge roller coaster to make money and wrote in his journal: "The trouble with China is, there are too many chinks here."
Perhaps most embarrassing for his followers are fresh revelations about Hubbard's admiration of British occultist Aleister Crowley. After the war Hubbard moved into the Pasadena home of rocket scientist Jack Parsons, and the two men decided to try and create a "moonchild... mightier than all the kinds of the earth," as prophesied by Crowley (who apparently complained of the two men's "idiocy"). The book details how Hubbard and Parsons found the right "vessel" into whom Parsons inserted his menstrual-blood-smeared "wand" as Hubbard took notes.
Although his attempt to create a moonchild appears to have been unsuccessful, L Ron Hubbard went on to conceive something equally astounding: the Church of Scientology, which last year was recognised in the UK as being a religion. Celebrity followers include Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Mad Men actress Elisabeth Moss.
Before he invented Scientology, L Ron Hubbard achieved some notoriety as the author of pulp sci-fi novels, such as Battlefield Earth, which Travolta brought disastrously to the big screen in 2000.
Watch the trailer for Battlefield Earth below, on YouTube.