Self-Help Books

Documentary Evidence WotF, Hubbard, and Scientology Proselytizing After All?

So there was very little confusion about the central focus of the entire Writers of the Future contest: Hubbard, Hubbard, and still more Hubbard.

Which is not to say that the rest of it was incidental. The workshop was a marvellous learning experience, I found my tribe, I made great friends, and had my first major publication in a renowned (?) anthology. In terms of validating my authorship and boosting my confidence as a writer, and in enabling me to set my first cautious steps on the way to a career, the Writers of the Future contest and workshop have meant the world to me.

But still, for ASI and Galaxy Press, Hubbard worship seemed to be at least as important as helping beginning writers along in their career. (Which is somewhat ironic, given that Hubbard himself founded the contest for the explicit purpose of helping beginning writers along in their career.)

But what about the Church of Scientology? And more importantly, what about that famous firewall between the CoS and the WotF?

Well, for one, as far as I could tell, every single person working for ASI and Galaxy Press was a member of Scientology. This was never made explicit, but they all shared a very specific bright-eyed enthusiasm, a pleasant puppy-dog eagerness to be of service, a friendly, extravert welcoming attitude to all participants, and that pervasive reverence for Elrond.

That said, I cannot remember a single instance of proselytizing during the entire event. In fact, the only time the CoS came up was when my curiosity got the better of me. There was a woman from ASI assigned as a kind of PA to the entire group of participants in 2004, Sarah. Sarah was awesomely helpful and otherwise really nice. I chatted with her over dinner one night, and asked her straight up if everyone involved in the contest was a member of the Church. She confirmed this, but added that CoS was kept entirely separate from the contest. I pressed her on the topic, she answered graciously, and ended up offering to give me a copy of Dianetics, Elrond’s first self-help book. When we all said our good-byes later that week, Sarah pressed copies of both Dianetics and Elrond’s SF novel To The Stars in my hands, inscribed with lovely personal messages from her.

(I began reading both on my flight home. To The Stars turned out to be a rather badly written SF romp with very in-your-face extrapolated science, clearly a product of the pulp era. Dianetics went on and on extolling the myriad benefits of the self-help method the book supposedly explained, but failed to get to the point before I gave up on the book in utter boredom. I still hold on to both books though, as mementos of the 2014 week in general, and Sarah in particular.)

So in my experience, at the events, there was a strong firewall in place between the Writers of the Future and the Church of Scientology; but Writers of the Future was tossed into a blender with a very generous helping of Elrond Hubbard the author, adventurer, war veteran, ace pilot, inventor, genius, visionary, and all-round superhero. [read on…]

Documentary Evidence WotF, Hubbard, and Scientology Proselytizing After All?

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