‘Bare-Faced Messiah: The True Story of L.Ron Hubbard’ book criticising Scientology on sale after 27 year ban lifted

A book in which the Church of Scientology managed to ban from America is now finally being released to the general public, after 27 years. ‘Bare-Faced Messiah: The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard’ was written by British journalist and author Russell Miller, and although was published all over the world, was banned from publication in the U.S.

L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, in 1995 Photo: Rex Features

L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, in 1995 Photo: Rex Features

When the book was originally released, it was considered to be so devastating to the Church of Scientology that they went to the U.S courts in order to get it banned. The court case dragged on for two years and eventually Mr Miller decided to abandon the case, which meant the book was available anywhere apart form the U.S. Now, independent US publisher Silvertail Books is publishing the Bare-Faced Messiah in America.

The book is a no holds exposé of the religion’s founder L. Rob Hubbard, and debunks many of the claims Hubbard made about his early life and achievements as outright lies. Amongst some of the more outlandish claims that were endorsed by Scientology were that Hubbard’s childhood had been spent breaking wild horses on his grandfather’s Montana ranch. Miller proved that this was at best a huge exaggeration, as Hubbard’s grandfather was “a small-time veterinarian who supplemented his income renting out horses and buggies from a livery barn.”

There were also assertions that the teenage Hubbard had traveled extensively to Asia, where he had hooked up with mystics and holymen, all of who had influenced his later life. In fact, Miller discovered that Hubbard had only ever been to Asia twice when his father was stationed in Guam.

Another widely held belief amongst Scientologists was that Hubbard was a one of the world’s earliest and most renowned nuclear physicists and was a medical doctor. Miller managed to get hold of Hubbard’s college records that showed that he failed nuclear physics and having dropped out of University after only his sophomore year he never actually studied for a degree.


Scientology has garnered some high profile celebrity followers, with the likes of Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley and Elizabeth Moss of Mad Men all pretty vocal in their support of the religion. Hubbard started the religion in the 1950’s but asked members to campaigned heavily in the 80’s to recruit celebrities to the cause. Hubbard started off his career as a science fiction writer and has been widely quoted as saying: “Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion.” He then went onto develop the Scientology religion after crafting together a set of theories that purported followers of the religion had come from beings from another planet. It is Scientology’s belief that our souls or ‘thetans’ have lived on other planets and constantly reincarnate before arriving on Earth.

Hubbard said that followers had forgotten their true nature and should go through a process of counseling or ‘auditing’ in which their most traumatic events in their lives are relived. However, the religion came under fire after certain celebrities, such as Nicole Kidman and Katie Holmes, both married to Scientology supporter Tom Cruise, withdrew their support.

US publisher Silvertail Books describes Bare-Faced Messiah as the story of “a penniless science fiction writer who…became a millionaire prophet and convinced his adoring followers that he alone could save the world.” In the book Miller acknowledges that Hubbard was indeed charming and charismatic but in an interview to the New York Post said: “It’s always been an utter mystery to me that anybody could read Bare-Faced Messiah and then still take Scientology seriously. You know, to have a founder with a track record like his doesn’t make any sense to me, but there it is.”

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  1. Jared October 8, 2015

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