Scientology: A growing cult reaches dangerously into the mind (Nov, 1968)

The lights in the hall go dim, leaving the bronzed bust of the Founder (spotlighted) at center stage. From the loudspeakers comes L. Ron Hubbard’s voice, deep and professorial. It is a tape called “Some Aspects of Help, Part I,” a basic lecture in Scientology that Hubbard recorded nearly 10 years ago.

No one in the intensely respectful Los Angeles audience of 500—some of whom paid as much as $16 to get in—thought it odd to be sitting there listening to the disembodied voice. Among believers, Scientology and its Founder are beyond frivolous question: Scientology is the Truth, it is the path to “a civilization without insanity, without criminals and without war . . .” and “for the first time in all ages there is something that . . . delivers the answers to the eternal questions and delivers immortality as well.”

So much of a credo might be regarded as harmless— practically indistinguishable from any number of minority schemes for the improvement of Man. But Scientology is scary—because of its size and growth, and because of the potentially disastrous techniques it so casually makes use of.