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Sun Jul 28 18:06:02 EDT 2019

Ken Urquhart writes a regular column in the magazine International
Viewpoints called 'IVy on the Wall', and we bring here some of his
articles devoted to looking at Jon Atak's book 'A Piece of Blue Sky'.
These articles can also be found at

This one is from International Viewpoints (IVy) Issue 54- November
See Home Page at

IVy on the Wall

by Ken Urquhart, USA

The Whither Map

Chapter Seven in a Consideration of 'A Piece of Blue Sky' by Jon Atack

PART III OF A Piece of Blue Sky is called 'The Bridge to
Total Freedom, 1949-1966'. It has seven chapters whose titles
are: Building the Bridge, The Dianetic Foundations, Wichita, Knowing
How to Know, The Religious Angle, The Lord of the Manor, The World's
First Real Clear.

Part III tells part of the story of how LRH came to introduce
to the world, and to evolve through different attempts to organize
his activities until he achieved unity of control-while he also
Scientology - up to the announcement of the first Clear, John

The author's approach is, as ever, to present his intended victim
as a criminal or as near to criminal as he can. And, as ever, we are
forced to concede that LRH certainly acted in ways at times we would
expect to hear of in connection with the majority of successful
opportunists of his age, some of them darlings of Wall Street, some
of them highly-respected business icons.

The actions that Jon complains of are the actions of a man ambitious
and highly imaginative, inclined to be ruthless in his self-seeking,
a manipulator of others, one jealous and suspicious, inclined to
and self-pity, yet with extraordinary charisma.

Yes, that charisma shone out of him like an irrepressible glow. I
knew him from mid-1964, having seen him first in 1962. At no time
did I ever perceive him as less than one to be reckoned with very
seriously for either good or bad. Here was a fellow who could be a
wonderful friend or a terrible enemy. I could see that he was capable
of being opinionated and judgmental, and not always over-careful as
to facts - but never in any criminal degree. The reality of the
real man was very real indeed. By no stretch of the imagination could
one see - or judge - this man as an ordinary person. He had
towering strength and powerful but gentle energy, a presence of
profound and intelligent integrity. Here was not simply a person:
here was an elemental force. There is tragedy in his overall life,
and in the effects he has had on some others; the tragedy is that
he could not live up to his own integrity all the time.

No suspicion of positive sides of LRH shows up in Jon Atack's
of carefully selected facts and opinions. Did something happen that
transformed LRH? Is it possible that his own self-help and life
transformed him? I wish LRH's later life would support such a view.
The reality is too complex for a simplistic interpretation such as
that - or Jon Atack's, either, for that matter. But let's see
what sort of a case Jon does make.

Atack position

In Part III, Jon continues to cite facts to make a strong case against
LRH. Jon continues to manifest both bias and ignorance. The ignorance,
or ignoring, I will examine shortly. The bias he interpolates into
the facts fairly skillfully, and presents it as a factual part of
the citation.

One glaring example of bias masquerading as fact is in the dismissal
(on page 108) of Dianetics as a mere 'reworking' of ideas
put forward originally years before by Freud but abandoned by him
in favour of the interpretation of dreams. There is clear similarity
between the two approaches. This is fact. Jon's implication is that
LRH seized upon this trash from Freud's garbage as the vehicle by
which he would hoodwink the world into beating its track to his door
and into pouring its money into his outstretched palm.

Jon also brings forward information to show that LRH was eager to
make money, eager to spend it, not so eager to account for it, not
slow to borrow - while not always sure to repay. He also quotes
someone(1) who reports that LRH said he wanted to start a religion
'because that's where the money is'.

Jon's position is that Dianetics is the product of an ignorant,
and opportunistic entrepreneur who happened across some discarded
material out of which he fashioned a pseudo-religion which immediately
fascinated thousands of people - the majority of whom as quickly
became disillusioned, and rightly so.

The further implication is that Freud dumped his work on traumatic
incidents and their chains because he found in practice that he
make it work to the patients' benefit, or because he found it not
relevant, or perhaps even damaging. If Freud of all people didn't
want it, Jon asks us to agree, what manner of man could possibly use
it for any decent purpose-and then make the hideously dishonest claim
that it could actually work?

Nowhere in his book does Jon Atack clearly acknowledge that we do
not know for certain how LRH arrived at any kind of workable
and what exactly that technology was before it became Dianetics. Jon
has done his best to persuade us, in Part II, that LRH dabbled in
Black Magic and drink and drugs, and out of this mess came up with
something he thought he could fool the public with. But there is a
period of a year or two between the break with Black Magic and the
announcement of Dianetics in which we know LRH was working on the
matter. And if anyone knows what exactly LRH was doing in that period,
I sure hope he comes forward with the information soon. So we don't
know when or how he came across Freud's work, or even that he did.
That the two bodies of data exist does not mean that the earlier one
had to influence the later, or that plagiarism occurred. Jon tells
us that LRH gave John Campbell a session or two, and cured the
sinusitis, some time in early 1949. I don't know what was run or how
it was administered.


John Campbell had influence. He was editor of Astounding Science
Fiction, and he used the magazine to champion what was now called
Dianetics. Campbell brought Joe Winter into the inner circle; a
doctor, Winter allegedly introduced the term 'engram', and
who knows what he told Hubbard about Freudian work, or what of that
Hubbard made his own. Hubbard always was able to hear another's words
and to later originate very similar material.

Despite all this, Freud had abandoned that work and Hubbard made it
work. Jon Atack of course finds plenty of evidence that Dianetics
did not and could not possibly work. But many people used it and many
benefited from it, some spectacularly so (including myself). If Freud
couldn't or wouldn't open that door, LRH certainly did - whether
Freud led him to it or whether he found that door himself. Of course,
I acknowledge that for many people Dianetics never worked and I am
far from saying that that was anyone's fault (if fault there be) other
than Hubbard's. A large part of Hubbard's life's work was to find
technology that could work for everyone, but unfortunately that work
got lost in other things as time went on.

Is Jon Atack entitled to position Dianetics as a fraudulent and
graft, without roots in fact or virtue, upon a rejected Freudian stem?
If Jon had investigated some of the unpretentious claims of those
who have benefited by, and benefited others with, Dianetics -
and still come down against Hubbard - his position would have
the validity of at least some intellectual honesty. As it is, his
positioning of Dianetics is itself fraudulent propaganda.

'Oh, No, Jon, No, Jon, No!'

In at least two further instances Jon exposes his misconceptions.
Firstly he speaks falsely of what the e-meter can do, and secondly,
he adds to the facts of the First Clear to transform that occasion
into another Hubbard conspiracy to hoodwink the public.

In Chapter IV, Jon speaks of '...the e-meter, which, if it works
at all, can do no more than indicate the certainty with which a
is held.'

I am one of many auditors who have used the e-meter to effectively
guide a client towards cognition about deep-seated and hitherto
hidden but active influences upon the client's feeling and thinking
and perception. I have used it thus on levels from the most basic,
through Dianetics and all advanced levels up to and including NOTs.
I have used it over thousands of hours and with hundreds of clients.
Moreoever, I and many, many other auditors have seen the harm that
error in or abuse of the meter can cause, and how miraculous the
can be when the correct metering is applied. One who says that the
meter does not and cannot work is gibbering foolishly. Atack's
about the e-meter arises out of willful, obstinate, and unjustifiably
arrogant, ignorance.

First clear

The Jon party line about the First Clear, John MacMaster, is: 'At
the end of February [1966] John MacMaster, who had just flown to Los
Angeles, was surprised to hear that he had become the `World's First
Real Clear'.' Hubbard had sent out a promotional piece announcing
this to Scientologists throughout the world. Only then was MacMaster
recalled to England, and given his `Clear Check', to set the record
straight. After all, Scientologists needed a boost in morale.

'...John MacMaster became the ambassador of Scientology. He
was Hubbard's deliberate choice for the 'First Clear' a
so it seemed, of gentleness and love. While his message was being
beamed over the airwaves, and delivered personally to packed audiences
the world over, the Scientology organizations were becoming
less gentle and loving in their treatment of both their members and
their critics.'

The claim here is that LRH decided for his own purposes (evil, of
course) that John MacMaster was to be the First Clear (regardless
of any technical considerations - all beyond Jon Atack anyway -
or of John MacMaster's own feelings about it) and then LRH announced
the happy event publicly, this being the first that John Mac knew
about it.

I was at Saint Hill when this situation about John Mac's being Clear
arose. I was LRH Comm WW. LRH was away in Africa at the time. Normally
any communications from him to any staff member (and vice versa) came
through the LRH Comm WW, for relay. When LRH was away from Saint Hill,
he would leave strict orders that nobody at SH was to be told so.
He feared that the word would get out to people who were planning
to come to SH and that as a result they would not come. Of course
it became very obvious to everybody that he was away, very soon,
And on this trip to S.Africa, he soon made his presence very known
to the staff there - without informing me of the fact. Regardless,
a mysterious message for LRH arrived one day from the Los Angeles
Organization. They were terribly excited about John MacMaster being
the First Clear and were clamouring to put on a big promotional event
to celebrate it.

Nobody at the WW level at SH had any knowledge of John Mac completing
the Clearing Course. But in investigation it came out that he and
some others had been talking about the possibility that he had
it. This talk came to the ears of one of John's great friends, Blanka
Annakin. Blanka sent John a congratulatory telegram. This was simply
her personal gesture. But Blanka had a position at SH - she was
Director of Success. Her telegram was sent as private business from
Blanka, but received in LA as formal and official recognition by the
Director of Success at SH..

LRH was not at SH; he knew nothing of all this as yet.

The people in LA, probably including John Mac, in their excitement
overlooked the obvious fact that having a mere Director announce and
welcome the First Clear was not at all characteristic of LRH. Anyway,
they were keen and they were eager and they were not going to let
go of their fuss over the First Clear that they had in their hot

Betty James, then HCO Exec Sec WW, gave as her opinion that John
be brought back to SH at once to be given his Clear Check before any
other decision could be made. I agreed, and issued the order in LRH's
name. John Mac came to SH, had his Clear Check, and was declared Clear
#1. This information I now telexed to LRH in S.Africa, and so far
as I know this is the first that he heard of it. His response was
'Congratulations MacMaster.' This was his telex style. Since
his absence was supposed to be secret, I embroidered it to read like
his ordinary memo style, as though he had just written it at his desk
down the hall.

John Mac returned to LA, and LA had their big First Clear event. I
remember that LRH ordered that John get a glamour shot at a prominent
Hollywood photographer's studio. This was for use in publicity. I
remember the first copies of that shot and noticing how much make-up
the studio had put on his face

Far from a sinister and covert operation, the coming of the First
Clear was an innocent and characteristically chaotic explosion of
nonsense and triumph - and pretty much a spontaneous explosion,

Jon Atack's version isn't worth the paper it's printed on; his
facts could have been verified fairly easily - I for one would
have told my story clearly but was never asked. Is Jon more interested
in accusing than in examining?

I have to add that I speak from memory, and of memories forty years
old. And I speak at an age (63) at which memory can play tricks on
one. But I'll back my version against Atack's wishful and hateful
thinking, any day. I doubt the e-meter would support the certainty
of his conviction at all.

A further note: After John Mac, the Clearing Course produced more
clears, regularly. Each announcement was telexed to LRH. His responses
were always in telex style. I routinely changed them to memo style.
I was removed from my post for thus interfering with his
I never told him that I was following his orders. It would have made
matters worse. And I wanted off anyway. It was too much for me then.

The Hubbard I knew at Saint Hill

The LRH I got to know at SH had already consolidated his position
as undisputed and not-to-be-challenged leader of Scientology. I do
not believe he arranged this for purely selfish reasons, although
self-interest must have played a large part.

Furthermore, I arrived at SH during a period in which he had already
turned over to others the greater part of the day-to-day management
of SH and of international Scientology. He was taking time out to
research what was later to become the Clearing and Advanced Courses.

I know he was doing this research because shortly after I began work
at SH (as his butler and then as Household Officer) he would tell
me about what he was finding in his research. He'd speak to me for
15-20 minutes every day, when I brought to his bedroom a cup of hot
chocolate. Over this drink and a few cigarettes and in his nightshirt,
he would tell me all sorts of things. Frequently he told me what he
was finding out about the construction of the basic reactive bank
(the subject of the Clearing Course). He had an auditing station in
his bedroom and it looked well used. He established another one on
the top floor of the Manor where he had a beautiful study. He would
often go there during the day to do more sessions.

Other than what he told, usually over his chocolate - and those
monologues covered a very wide range of subjects - I saw him mostly
as a householder and family man. I saw no signs of sharp practice,
no signs of dishonesty or immorality, I saw no temper tantrums,
no particular arrogance, no drinking, no drugs, no heavy
or dictatorship. He was consistently friendly and relaxed with us
all as a rule, except when one erred badly. Even then he was not
and on one occasion of bad temper with me (fully justified) he did
apologize later that day, with a genuinely friendly smile.

I saw him as a gracious husband and caring father. Of course, what
I saw of him was limited. But I lived under the same roof and saw
him every day for months on end. I saw no weight of conscience. Was
he unaware and uncaring as he manipulated us poor, mean boobies
under his hypnotic spell? Hardly. He had exceptional manners and was
very quick to put one at his ease with him.

I did have a glimpse one day of a vulnerability in him. He had given
one of his regular Briefing Course lectures. It was a cold, raw, wet
winter evening. His throat was sounding a bit rough. He came in and
sat at his desk. I found him there shortly after, to tell him his
dinner was ready. He slumped in his chair, obviously lacking a
lot of his usual energy. I invited him to come to the table. He didn't
respond for a moment. I could see something was up. He complained
about the scratchiness in his throat and was worried about it. I
got him something to soothe it, and it worked. He then said a few
words very quietly. I've quite forgotten what they were, but I
the impression that something had taken the wind out of his sails.
He was questioning his ability and the validity of his work. I simply
blurted out the first thing that came to my mind. 'Then how come
you were able to write the Axioms?' He appeared stunned for a
moment. 'Oh,' he said, 'That's right. Perked me right
up.' And he got up and went into his dinner. I was studying the
Axioms of Scientology at the time and they were impressing me deeply.

What can explain the differences between the LRH that Jon Atack
in this period, 1949-1966, and the LRH that I knew from mid-1964?
I don't have any authoritative answers, but can hazard amongst some
or all of these:

By 1964, his experiences had matured him; his marriage
and family had settled him greatly.
The sessions he had received, whether for research purposes or for
personal enhancement, had helped him.
His increasing understanding of the human mind and of the spirit
helped him.
He was under much less threat as leader.
The organizations under him were relatively docile.
Nobody within was questioning his PR about himself.
He had learned to manage money very carefully and had confidence in
his ability to make capital and income happen.
He had achieved steady organizational growth over several years.
He was on and completing a research path that satisfied him.
He was not pushing himself into the public view and therefore was
not under his own pressure to impress the public.
I was experiencing personally a man I was not looking to hate, lessen,
or destroy.


In 1966, several shocking developments hit Hubbard. A Parliamentary
Enquiry was called for in London. He was told to leave Rhodesia. He
was then told to leave Great Britain, his and his family's home for
several years. I believe that these events re-triggered his paranoia
or a similar psychic condition. Although his is the primary
for being so triggered, it is also true that the organization around
him failed to perceive and cater to his needs following these shocks,
and we should have. It was not until many years later that he would
trust an auditor to give him regular sessions (the second and last
of whom was David Mayo). And when, a little before David Mayo started
auditing him, a group of highly-qualified auditors on the ship
to organize an auditing program to remedy the years and years of early
sessions (which may not have been badly done, but which very likely
contained some errors serious enough to be giving him continuous
LRH stopped the attempt. These people were all seeking to apply his
own standard technology to himself, for his benefit. It was too
too late.

He found some tools with which people could help themselves and each
other. He created an organization to serve that purpose which could
have helped him. But he created it in such a way that he could hold
it always at arm's length and strictly control how it related to him.
He created it to agree with him, even with - and carefully with -
his own aberration.

But we who followed him and complied with him as best we could, we
also were coming along our own paths. We were becoming more aware,
more able, more responsible. He could not let us take any control
out of his hands. Control, in his aging hands, turned into perversion
of purpose. Then, many of us did what was the last thing we would
have thought of, years before:

We walked away.

We can be sad about him, we can be angry about him, we can be neutral
about him, but we will never forget him.

copyright: 2000 Kenneth G. Urquhart

(1)The book POBS says, on p. 137, first para: "In his
autobiography, Over My Shoulder, publisher Lloyd Arthur Eshbach
remembered taking lunch with John Campbell and Ron Hubbard in 1949.
repeated a statement he had already made to several other people.
He said he would like to start a religion, because that was where
the money was."

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Learning across a Distance implies Learning by Being an Effect.
Learning by Being an Effect implies Learning without Certainty.
Therefore, Learning with Certainty implies Learning, but 
not by Being an Effect, and not across a Distance.

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