PBS Late Night, 5/24/1983, with Ron DeWolf (L. Ron Hubbard, Jr.) and Vaughn Young--Part 1

Transcribed by Batchild (Sue M.)

Converted to HTML by Batchild (Sue M.)

Description of video is in italics.

[picture of L. Ron Hubbard in cowboy attire with a camera]

HOST--VOICE OF: Believers think of L. Ron Hubbard as a genius and a saint; detractors call him a fraud and, according to his own son, one of the biggest con men of the century.

HOST--ON CAMERA: Whether L. Ron Hubbard is alive or sane is also up for grabs. Our guests are Ron DeWolf, who is L. Ron Hubbard, Jr. He split with his father in 1959 and is now trying to gain control of his father's estate in the courts. Also with us is Vaughn Young, a Scientologist for 15 years, a professional writer now working on an unauthorized biography of L. Ron Hubbard, Sr. Good to have you both with us, gentlemen. (to Ron DeWolf) You think your father is alive?

RON DeWOLF: I don't really know. Um, the--there will be a court hearing June 10 that will decide, at that time the judge will decide whether he's missing or not.

HOST: If he were alive, where would he be?

RON DeWOLF: I haven't the foggiest.

HOST: Cold weather? Hot weather?

RON DeWOLF: It would have to be warm, probably sea level.

HOST: Phoenix?

RON DeWOLF: Could be, that was his old stomping grounds.

HOST: Well, you're watching, we'll give you the first call--313-872-4040 (phone number shown on bottom of screen). Everybody hold off until we wait and see if L. Ron Hubbard, Sr. calls in. Going back a long time ago, when Dianetics first came on the scene, it was really the first of all the self-help books, wasn't it?

[caption--"Ron DeWolf (L. Ron Hubbard, Jr.), former Scientologist]

RON DeWOLF: Yes, it was, and it was an enormous seller in the 1950s.

HOST: Right. Um, what kind of a man was L. Ron Hubbard, Sr. then who wrote that book?

[picture of LRH at a desk]

RON DeWOLF: Quite flamboyant. Uh, at the time he wrote it in the late '40s, uh, he was pretty broke and, uh, he had told friends and, uh, associates that the way to make a, a million was to start a religion. And that's how he got started. And he wrote the book Dianetics: Modern Science of Mental Health at Bay Head, New Jersey in about a month or so.

HOST: You were, uh, with him for a long time, involved in Scientology yourself. How would you describe what Scientology is all about and what the Church of Scientology is all about?

RON DeWOLF: Well, to put it in layman's sort of succinct terms, um, Scientology, uh, says basically that 74 trillion years ago, uh, everyone willed themselves into existence and through space opera games, uh, and science fiction sort of things, they have created this universe. This is a universe created by you, me and everybody else. And, uh, now we find ourselves trapped into bodies, and the goal of Scientology is to, uh, get untrapped from these bodies and to return to this god-like state which is called Operating Thetan.

HOST: How do you do that?

RON DeWOLF: Through, uh, applied philosophy, through, um, sitting down across from each other in chairs with e-meters, which is a skin galvanometer with a meter dial on it and, uh, through answering questions and asking questions. It, um--this is supposed to release the various charges and the problems one has had throughout all of these centuries and hundreds and thousands of reincarnations to get the charge off of it as if it was these incidents were a charged battery; and by doing so, um, this is supposed to return you to this state of high ability.

HOST: In print, I've read that you've described your father as, uh, the Devil, Hitler, total fraud, a con man--pretty strong language from a son toward his father.

RON DeWOLF: Yes, but true.

HOST: In what way? In what manner?

RON DeWOLF: Well, he was very deeply involved in black magic from early teenage years, uh, which, uh, was the, the use of drugs and hypnosis as an example; he used to conjure up these demons and thereby plug into them or have them plug into him and a lot of his early writings, which could be called spirit writing, um, so he was very deeply involved in black magic as an example, especially from Aleister Crowley which was an English black magician. And around 1947 or so he decided that he was the Beast 666 incarnate, because that was what Aleister Crowley was and he died in 1947.

HOST: Supposedly right now about six and half million people are involved in Scientology. You think they're all getting ripped off?

RON DeWOLF: I think so.

HOST: Talk about that a little bit. In what way are they getting ripped off?

RON DeWOLF: Well, just from a basic viewpoint of, of it doesn't deliver. Um, that to me is basic fraud, it does not deliver. Um, as an example, you get into what is called the Operating Thetan--or OT, as Scientology calls it--levels, uh, and, uh, at various times even clear through the '50s to present, you should be able to have these abilities of telekinesis, moving objects around. Um, there's even been people who have tried to like teletr--teletransport, walk through walls, um, ESP and this sort of thing. And I've never seen it able to produce that.

HOST: People get happier through Scientology?

RON DeWOLF: Well, you can get happy, um, through, uh, having a nice picnic in the park, talking with your boy or girlfriend. And--

HOST: Do some people get happy by going through the auditing sessions and the counseling of Scientology?

RON DeWOLF: I would say so, just simply a matter of talking over one's problems and what have you.

HOST: So how can you say if people are getting better, that they're getting ripped off?

RON DeWOLF: Because again they are paying money for claims, they are paying money on claims that, uh, my father has made and, um, again it's not being delivered.

HOST: Did you make some of those claims yourself when you were in the church?

RON DeWOLF: Sure. I was the director of training for several years, trained a lot of Advanced Clinical Course people, quite literally hundreds if not thousands of them.

HOST: What's your motivation for trying to get control of your father's estate?

RON DeWOLF: The motivation of it is, um, money. It's--

HOST: You want money.

RON DeWOLF: Yeah, the--

HOST: You want a piece of the action that he got by ripping people off.

RON DeWOLF: Yes. And, uh--

HOST: Yes?


HOST: Yes?

RON DeWOLF: Yes. It's a--

HOST: You want--

RON DeWOLF: It's a matter of law, not of morality, and a matter of, of, of gathering up the assets. I'm not--I'm not the only heir.

HOST: Now wait a minute, wait. You say your father was the Devil, he acted like Hitler, he was a fraud, he was a drug abuser, he was a person abuser, he's ripped off countless millions of people, and you want a piece of that action.

RON DeWOLF: Yes, as far as the--as far as the assets are concerned, yes.

HOST: Why? Why would you even want to go near that money?

RON DeWOLF: Because I think I can do some good with it.

HOST: What would you do with it?

RON DeWOLF: Oh, I'd probably get a--use it to get involved in Special Olympics, get involved in helping, uh, retarded, handicapped, um children, and when all of that was done, probably go fishing.

HOST: We have a couple of pictures of, uh, property that's owned by Scientologists, I guess the, the Church of Scientology. And, uh, they're pretty magnificent structures. We'll take a look at one on the screen right now.

[Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater, Florida]

HOST--VOICE OF: Uh, this is located in Florida. They, uh, had some hearings there last year in Clearwater, Florida as to whether the church should be there or not.

[Celebrity Centre, Los Angeles, California]

HOST--VOICE OF: There is another picture which is a celebrity--I guess a place where celebrities go for their auditing, and this is out in California. What do you think the estate might be worth right now?

RON DeWOLF: We figure that it's in the neighborhood of a billion dollars.

HOST: A billion dollars.

RON DeWOLF: Um-hmm.

HOST: Would you like to have a house like that?

RON DeWOLF: I don't think my wife would like to clean it.

HOST: But if you had some money, you might get a bigger house, huh?


HOST: Okay. Vaughn Young, you're a Scientologist. What do you think of, uh, the arguments, the motivations, the definitions that have been co, caused by Ron DeWolf?

VAUGHN YOUNG: Well, a lot has been said and I congratulate you on bringing out the motivation because it's actually changed over the number of months; it was "to protect my father's estate", other times it was "to protect the heirs". So now we get down to the nitty-gritty--

HOST: What was said was true--

VAUGHN YOUNG: But really, really, what--there's, there's another aspect to the thing. Um, Mr. DeWolf, um, is part of--is part of actually another tradition. You had, a number of years ago you had Clifford Irving and his biography of Howard Hughes. You had Janet Cooke and she won a Pulitzer for what amounted to be a total and complete hoax. We had the Hitler diaries. What you have here is "The Hitler Diaries, Part 2". Mr. Hubbard came out with, uh, his best-selling book, it's now on the Time magazine bestseller list, UPI bestseller list, Battlefield Earth, back in October. Mr. DeWolf followed on this and suddenly his father was about to move back into the book-selling business again, as a writer, and--

HOST: This is his fiction--


HOST: His science fiction book.

VAUGHN YOUNG: And father was petitioned, I believe it was in November, end of October, beginning of November. Knowing that his father is private and does not care to appear. And the same way that Clifford Irving counted on, on Hughes.

HOST: Now let's get specifically what do you think is going on here?

VAUGHN YOUNG: What I think there is--

HOST: You think L. Ron Hubbard, Sr. is alive?


HOST: You--

VAUGHN YOUNG: The judge even said last Friday, that he says as far as he's concerned, he's alive. And, um, Mr. DeWolf has two weeks to try to disprove that. And the judge has already said that he believes that the communications with Mr. Hubbard are sound [???]. What there is is here is the case of, like the "Dearest Daddie" story, the "Dearest Mommie" story, the, the son who tries to follow in the father's footsteps in whatever way he can. Um, Mr. DeWolf, as far as the research that I've had, um, probably is a matter of what psychologists call transference--

HOST: How do you mean that now? Let's be specific.

VAUGHN YOUNG: That, that he takes his own experiences and ascribes them to another. Um, along the way, as far as my own research I interviewed, for example, um--I mean, it's not pleasant but the allegations have been made towards his father--a woman that he knows, he was married to her, that, uh, she's told me the story--she cried, she shook--about the beating that was administered for 13 hours. Um--

RON DeWOLF: Good heavens, no--

HOST: What's all that about?

RON DeWOLF: This was a--I don't know which woman he's talking about but that's--

VAUGHN YOUNG: Carol Latt [????]--

RON DeWOLF: 13 hours? No, no--

VAUGHN YOUNG: Well, anyway, I have the police report when the police were finally called in.

HOST: Wait-wait-wait-wait-wait--now, what are you trying to say here, though?

VAUGHN YOUNG: What I'm saying is, is that the things that have been described, the stories that have been described about his father, the black magic, the drugs, the beatings, the frauds--

HOST: Um-hmm--

VAUGHN YOUNG: --are stories from the man's own life.

HOST: Didn't the man grow up in that house?


HOST: Grew up in the house for a long, long time.

RON DeWOLF: Right.

HOST: I mean, how, how do you discount all of that?

RON DeWOLF: Well, what he's trying to say is, is that he medically speaking from a psychiatric viewpoint, um, my father's paranoid. So what he's trying to say is--

HOST: Well, how do you know that? You haven't been in touch with him since 1959.

RON DeWOLF: No, because as far as he's concerned the whole world is his enemy. He attacks his enemies through, uh, a thing called the Fair Game policy.

HOST: If you haven't talked to your father since 1959, how do you know what the state of his mental health is in? Or do you think--

RON DeWOLF: Because we have an extreme amount of evidence to prove it. This was why we, um, why we brought the petition, um, to see if he was missing or not. And that's specifically what the petition is all about.

HOST: Well, now, let's get down to it. Do you think he's missing, do you think he's insane or do you think he's dead?

RON DeWOLF: If he is alive, he's mentally incompetent to handle his own affairs, and we believe he's being manipulated. Now the first--


RON DeWOLF: By--we don't really know the specific number--the specific people that are doing it, but we're honing in on it now.

VAUGHN YOUNG: Dennis, an important point on that is--

HOST: Let me just ask the folks to jump on the telephone. 313 in Detroit, 872-4040. Vaughn Young and Ron DeWolf, who is L. Ron Hubbard, Jr. Go ahead.

VAUGHN YOUNG (caption--Vaughn Young, Scientologist): The judge Friday reiterated again that all the evidence that he's speaking of was thrown out. There's no evidence left. There's nothing to substantiate the case that he brought back in November, that has been actually the podium for him going around to the media. The judge says as far as he's concerned he's alive and he's choosing to remain private. And that's what the judge said in the court was going on--

HOST: Let's just put aside for a second.


HOST: What do you--how do you describe Scientology to somebody who's just stepped off of a, a spaceship?

VAUGHN YOUNG: Somebody who just wants to know?

HOST: Sure.

VAUGHN YOUNG: As I say, it's an applied religious philosophy and the best way to find out is to read a book. It's, um, it's about people, about life, you know, it's about you and me, and you just read about it.

HOST: Why has Scientology always been surrounded by controversy?

VAUGHN YOUNG: Because back in 1950 when he published the book he took on, uh--he took on the medical profession and the psychiatric institute. And when you said that that was the first self-help book, that was important. In other words, you, you could learn about it yourself. In other words, he undercut it, he, he carried it out to sort of like in a very democratic fashion. And that made a lot of people very upset. Plus, the things that he said about the, the, um--

HOST: Well, why has it always been surrounded in controversy? Why are people always moving? Why are churches--why is Clearwater or Florida having a debate as to whether Scientology should stay or go? Why do people say that they've been threatened and intimidated? Mister--

RON DeWOLF: Fear, force, intimidation and blackmail.

HOST: Mr. DeWolf said he personally beat people when he worked in Scientology. He personally beat them. He personally intimidated, personally got their sex lives, personally threw it up to them to hold everybody in line. Are you saying that--are you saying that what he is saying there is a lie?

VAUGHN YOUNG: What I'm saying--

HOST: Are you saying that's a lie?


HOST: He says he beat people--

VAUGHN YOUNG: I don't--listen, I can't say as far as what he says he did in 1952; I wasn't there. I do know--

HOST: So there's a possibility that as a Scientology teacher or auditor, he beat people.

VAUGHN YOUNG: If he did, it is in clear violation of all the policies at the time--

[Ron DeWolf laughs]

VAUGHN YOUNG: --and that's the point. But I do want to say--

HOST: Why are you laughing?

RON DeWOLF: Standard policy.

HOST: Standard policy.

VAUGHN YOUNG: What I'm saying is that since 1959, and he can't blame it on his father, he has committed fraud, he has beat children, he has--and I've got statements as far as administering hallucinogenics to his own children--

[Ron DeWolf laughs]

VAUGHN YOUNG: He's even--he's even beat his own son who suffers from Downs' syndrome--

HOST: How do you know that?


VAUGHN YOUNG: According to the--I'm telling you, according to the statements, signed statements and the interviews that I have. Now, I have evidence; this man has no evidence--

HOST: How can you say that? You haven't even--you need to put some stuff on the table here, you can't just say that.

RON DeWOLF: See, what I'm talking about--

HOST: He can't say that--he can't say that. That's not good journalism--

VAUGHN YOUNG: No, no--[pointing to Ron DeWolf] but he can say it. This is the point of this. He has said it--

HOST: I don't know that he's said anything--

VAUGHN YOUNG: He's said some outlandish things about his father.

HOST: He's said that--he's criticized the church--


HOST: He's, he's--

RON DeWOLF: I've criticized my father--

HOST: You've criticized--

RON DeWOLF: --who is the church as far as I'm concerned, personally.

HOST: Okay. Um, so both of you don't have much evidence--you don't have much evidence about your father, he doesn't have much evidence about you.

RON DeWOLF: Yeah, well-- [laughs]

VAUGHN YOUNG: You want the evidence?

RON DeWOLF: Let's tick--let's, let's tick off some things which people can look up if they want to. Objective--one: You have 70,000 documents in federal court, Washington, D.C. Uh, this was a result of Scientology's Operation Snow White in 1977 in which they, something like 5,000 Scientology secret agents invad--infiltrated 136 government agencies; 11 people are now in jail, including my father's third wife. Uh, just March 3, just March 3 you have up in Toronto, Canada, 100 police officers raided the Scientology main headquarters in Toronto, and--

HOST: Now let must just stop on that for a second. Why are--why are all these police officers go raiding churches?

VAUGHN YOUNG: I think we need to ask the police that question, actually, because there's, there's--he says Toronto, nothing came out of it. The whole thing is like folding--

HOST: --cases of bribery--

RON DeWOLF: --I know you don't--

HOST: Let me get--let me get some folks in on the phone.

[Vaughn Young hands something to the host]

HOST: Let me take a look at that while we're talking--

VAUGHN YOUNG: That's the police report on the wife beating.

HOST: Let me take a look at that. Hi, there, you're on PBS Late Night.

CALLER #1: Thank you. My name's Dan Devaney.

HOST: Go ahead, Dan.

CALLER #1: Uh, hi. I'm calling from Houston, Texas.

HOST: Go ahead.

CALLER #1: Okay, um, my question is for, uh, Mr. DeWolf, and it's concerning any possible connections of Scientology to the EST training and, um, anything, um, an offshoot of Scientology.

HOST: Um-hmm.

RON DeWOLF: Yes, it is. Werner Erhard was a Scientologist, and the beginnings of EST, uh, are the Scientology training routines--or in Scientology, they're called TRs.

HOST: Okay, thank you very much. Hi, there, you're on PBS Late Night.

CALLER #2: Uh, hi, Dennis, this is Steve from Denver.

HOST: Go ahead, Steve, good to have you with us.

CALLER #2: Uh, thank you. Uh, I have a two-part question. Uh, it concerns an article in a magazine called The Realist which is put out by a fellow named Paul Krassner that came out about 10 years ago. And in the, um--in this issue of The Realist, Paul Krassner claimed that, um, you, Mr. DeWolf, were ready to publish this type of exposé against Scientology but at the last, a certain moment, you withdrew; and also, there was allegations apparently, you know, allegedly made by you that the Justice Department, the government, was infiltrating Scientology. So I was wondering whether, you know, why this didn't come about 10 years ago and also whether the government may have infiltrated and used Scientology.

RON DeWOLF: I think the government has, for good, sound criminal reasons, um, and through the period of 1969-72, 10 years ago when that article thing came out, I got avalanched on, because 99% of what my father ever wrote or said about himself is totally untrue, and one could not perpetrate or keep up the, the myth that he has, uh, put across to people and the membership and the public, uh, when all these facts came out. And I wrote what thought was a very innocuous article, a few minor facts about his life, like he didn't graduate from college even though he said he was a nuclear physicist, uh, etc., etc. And, um, so, uh, Scientology was extremely powerful in those days and, um, I was sort of like the voice in the wilderness so I was pretty well forced to back off of it and, uh, sign some documents that said that dear old Dad was a wonderful fellow and all of that kind of thing just to protect my children and my family, I felt.

HOST: Do you fear for your life?

RON DeWOLF: I have at various times.

HOST: Do you now?

RON DeWOLF: Much less than I did, um, and, uh, because Scientology has always been pretty, uh, pretty damn militant.

HOST: Hmm. Hi, there, you're on PBS Late Night.

CALLER #3: Hi, this is John from Fort Wayne.

HOST: Hi, John.

CALLER #3: I want to ask two quick questions of both gentlemen and then hang up and listen.

HOST: Go ahead.

CALLER #3: I want to ask Mr. DeWolf if he's not a Scientologist now, then what religion does he esp--espouse? And I want to ask the other gentleman, um, if he has always been a Scientologist, and if not, what was he before?

HOST: Thank you.

RON DeWOLF: Okay, very quickly, my father was very deeply involved in black magic, Satan activity and what have you because he wanted to be the most powerful being in the universe anyhow. Um, because he had proved to me, quote-unquote, proved to me that, um, Satan really existed, uh, through just simple logic I decided, well, then God must exist. So I'm sort of your basic Christian at the moment.

HOST: Go ahead.

VAUGHN YOUNG: Well, as far as myself, I got into Scientology in '68 when I was working on my PhD., uh, in California. Before that, the earliest thing, I guess, before that was growing up as a Baptist.

HOST: Do you--are you on the staff of Scientology?

VAUGHN YOUNG: No, I'm not staff.

HOST: Have you ever, uh, conducted sessions?

VAUGHN YOUNG: Yes, I have.

HOST: You have.

VAUGHN YOUNG: Yes, I have.

HOST: So you're an auditor.

VAUGHN YOUNG: Yes, I'm a trained auditor.

HOST: And you hit--they hook people up with the little meters and they hold on to the meters and then you ask them questions and--


HOST: --depending upon how they react, respond to certain lines of questioning, like a--like a lie detector, I guess?

VAUGHN YOUNG: Well, it's, it's--it's a baromatic [???] reading; you can do it without the meter and you're trained to do it without--

HOST: And you probe that particular area and try to get people to unblock that which is causing them some confusion.

VAUGHN YOUNG: According to how they feel about it, their issue, yes.

HOST: How much does a session cost?

VAUGHN YOUNG: It ranges from--there's no cost, I've done an awful lot of auditing myself, I was running a drug program, as a matter of fact, in a prison for a long time, um, just as a volunteer, with no cost--on up to, I don't know, they run $50, $75, I'm not familiar--

RON DeWOLF: $300 or better.

HOST: Somebody pays $300?

RON DeWOLF: Um-hmm. Some gentleman called me wanted back $5735 for 25 hours of auditing.

Continue to Part 2

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