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Scientology founder Hubbard interviewed by Mail

Title: Scientology founder Hubbard interviewed by Mail
Date: Saturday, 19 February 1983
Publisher: Associated Press
Main source:

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DENVER — A handwritten letter signed "L. Ron Hubbard" was published under copyright in the Sunday edition of the Rocky Mountain News, purporting to knock down rumors that the reclusive father of the controversial Church of Scientology is dead.

In the letter, dated Feb. 3, the writer says he was "dismayed" at the church's confrontations with the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service and the Food and Drug Administration, and noted that the incidents occurred after Hubbard resigned from the church in 1966.

The practice of Scientology was banned for several years in Australia. Until 1980, England refused to admit foreigners to pursue church training at its headquarters in Sussex.

The News said the 7,000-word letter was authenticated by forensic document expert Howard C. Doulder of Los Angeles as having been written by Hubbard, author of "Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health."

The paper also said forensic chemist Richard L. Brunelle of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms had formulated a unique ink that was sent in a pen to Hubbard. Brunelle said in a sworn affidavit that the letter was written with that ink, according to the paper.

The News said the interview-by-mail was arranged through confidants of Hubbard after efforts for a face-to-face interview failed. The interview consisted of 54 questions by a News reporter.

Rumors of Hubbard's death arose last November when Hubbard's estranged son, Ronald DeWolf, 48, filed petition in a California court asking that his father be declared dead or mentally incompetent.

DeWolf asked that the court turn over control of his father's assets to him and alleged that a group within the church was trying to take over his father's estate.

The News also said two other letters written with the special ink were sent last week to the California court and asked that DeWolf's suit be dismissed.

In those letters, the News said, Hubbard claimed he had not seen DeWolf since 1959 and denied his financial affairs and personal fortune were being mishandled by anyone.

Hubbard's existence could be settled by a public appearance before the court, but his lawyers contend he is too busy writing a 10-volume "Mission Earth," a sequel to his "Battlefield Earth."

Hubbard gave his last interview in 1968, two years after he resigned his positions with the church. After that he refused to talk to reporters, saying they distorted his comments and conspired to paint an unrealistic picture of Scientology.

The letter said Hubbard learned about the church's court problems "after the fact — and could only shake my head in dismay."

"I was never involved in any of the incidents ... and even the government and courts recognized the fact and actually my name has never come up in connection with it beyond a passing mention that I 'founded' the church," the letter said.

One question, where Hubbard is living, went unanswered.

In 1977, FBI agents raided three Scientology churches and seized 25,000 church documents in a federal investigation of the organization. Frustrated by its failure to obtain governemnt information about the church legally, the church planted its own agents within government agencies to obtain information about the church contained in government files.

Hubbard's wife, Mary Sue, and 10 other church members stood trial in 1979 and 1980 on charges of stealing government documents and were found guilty. Most of them are now serving prison terms.

The IRS was investigating the church to determine whether it deserved its tax-exempt status, while the FDA was concerned with the safety of an electronic device called an E-meter used by church members.