Template:PL. Ron Hubbard went into hiding from 1980 to 1986. Hubbard's wife, Mary-Sue, and five other Scientologists, would soon be on their way to federal prison for orchestrating the single largest 'break-in' of U.S. government offices. All tolled, eleven Scientologists plead guilty to charges including burglary, wire-tapping, theft of government documents, property, and obstruction of justice. Code named "Operation Snow White," this massive infiltration of 136 Federal agencies was conducted to purge any documents potentially incriminating to L. Ron Hubbard. Hubbard was named an 'un-indicted co-conspirator.Template:CitationNeeded
Template:PHunted by federal investigators and media reporters, Hubbard decided to 'skip town' with his trusted and longstanding personal assistants - Pat and Annie Broeker. The Broekers (husband and wife) were especially devoted to Hubbard. Members of the elite "Commodore's Messengers" and officers in Scientology's paramilitary "Sea Organization", Hubbard would eventually promote the Broekers to the new rank of "Loyal Officer". This was an enigmatic reference to the "Loyal Officers" who overthrew the galactic ruler, Lord Xenu, in Scientology's secret "OTIII" level. That rank would place the Broekers just under Hubbard himself, in the hierarchy of Scientology. At the time the Broekers vacated with Hubbard, a team of Scientologists packed up and cleaned Hubbard's residence in Hemet, CA, using alchohol to remove any fingerprints.
Template:PFrom that point on, Hubbard was 'incommunicado'. Pat Broeker became the Commodore's 'command link' to the Scientology organization. One of Pat's duties was to deliver $1 million a week in untraceable income to Hubbard's location. Under Hubbard's direction, Broeker also initiated a massive re-structuring of Scientology to better protect Hubbard from legal exposure.
A power struggle emerges
Template:PDavid Miscavige, a fellow "messenger" and friend of Pat Broeker was recruited to assist in the re-structucturing. Miscavige had worked with Hubbard as a cameraman in Scientology's "Cine-Org" and is said to have patterned his ruthless management style after Hubbard's. Biographer Russell Miller describes Miscavige as:
Template:PThus began Pat Broeker and David Miscavige's battle for succession to the throne of Scientology. Hubbard cut himself off from Scientology, communicating only through Broeker during the re-organization. David Miscavige, managed affairs at Scientology's headquarters in Hemet, CA, known as "Gold Base". With all communication channeled through the "commodore's messengers" (Miscavige and Broeker) it became impossible for other Scientologists to verify that 'orders' coming "downlines" were, in fact, Hubbard's. Longstanding Scientologists, even those close to Hubbard, were cut-off and perplexed.
Template:POne exception was David Mayo, who had helped Hubbard write Scientology's secret 'upper levels. Next to Hubbard's wife, Mary-Sue, Mayo was possibly Hubbard's closest intellectual compatriot. Although not a "messenger", Mayo started receiving letters from Hubbard that persuaded him the Commodore might be losing his faculties. Mayo reported the letters' contents saying:
Template:PDuring the re-structuring the "messengers" began consolidating power and purging the organization of Senior Scientologists. Hubbard's wife was among these. In the development of Scientology, Hubbard had always worked closely with Mary-Sue and trusted her. Indeed, Hubbard put Mary-Sue in charge of the delicate "Snow White" operation and she went to jail on his behalf. Nonetheless, David Miscavige spread word that Hubbard wanted his wife out of the organization because her upcoming prison sentence was bad 'PR' for Scientology. Denied access to her husband, Mary Sue lost a 'pitched battle' with Miscavige and was forced to resign her position as Controller. Ultimately, the entire Hubbard family was excised from the organization with the exception of daughter Suzette, who, ignominiously, became Miscavige's personal maid.
Template:PDavid Mayo received another letter from Hubbard in 1982. In it, Hubbard revealed that he did not expect to live much longer, a few months or a few years at best. He wrote that he expected to die and 'pick up' a new body which would grow up to resume the leadership of Scientology. He asked Mayo to maintain the 'purity' of Scientology's 'technology' until he returned. According to Mayo, David Miscavige saw this as a threat and plotted Mayo's ouster from Scientology.
Ron Dewolf / Hubbard, Jr. - Is Hubbard still alive?
Template:PConcurrently, Hubbard's first son Ron Hubbard, Jr. initiated a legal suit seeking trusteeship over his father's assets. After quitting Scientology, Hubbard, Jr. (also known as 'Nibs') had changed his name to Ron Dewolf. Ron Dewolf claimed his father was either dead or mentally incapacitated. Petitioning the court in Riverside County, Dewolf put his father's net worth at $100 million, which was an exceedingly low estimate. According to Russell Miller,
Template:PTo bolster his claims, Dewolf started giving interviews describing his father's violent temper, lifelong drug abuse, wife-beating, satanism, fraud, and mental illness. Much of what Dewolf claimed was true. However, the shocking details and the lurid manner in which Dewolf portrayed them, mitigated against his credibility. DeWolf told the 'Santa Rosa News Herald',
Template:PThe 'church' countered DeWolf's petition, producing a signed declaration from L. Ron Hubbard with his fingerprints on every page. The document purported LRH was 'alive and well' and simply seeking seclusion. The 'two-dimensional' nature of this 'proof' led many to wonder why no appearance, film, or audio tape of Hubbard was presented. Hubbard disowned his first son in the declaration, stating:
Template:PThe California court accepted the 'fingerprinted' declaration as proof of Hubbard's mortality and ruled against DeWolf's petition.
Template:PSpeculation over Hubbard's health and wherabouts continued as DeWolf gave out more interviews depicting his father's satanic roots. Fuel for the media fire was added when Scientology began a prosecution of Gerry Armstrong, a former Sea Org member and once devoted 'right hand man' to Hubbard. Hubbard had appointed Armstrong his personal archivist and biographer. In possession of thousands of documents, it was immediately apparent to Armstrong that the Commodore was a liar and a charlatan. The 'church' wanted those materials returned!
Template:PAdding to the public attention, L. Ron Hubbard's final pulp fiction novel, the 1000 page epic, "Battlefield Earth" was published by St. Martin's Press. Pressure on Scientologists to participate in 'buying campaigns and direct purchases by the 'church' pushed "BE" to the top of bestseller lists, almost immediately. Critics, including Hubbard's agent, questioned whether Hubbard actually wrote the book. Many devoted 'sci-fi' fans thought the writing style inconsistant with Hubbard's earlier work. Others, on the basis that Hubbard could not have, physically, produced the massive volume in time period claimed, believed it to be an earlier work patched together by ghost writers.
Template:PIn 1983, 'out of the blue', Hubbard released another letter, embracing Scientology's new management. The letter was distributed to Scientologists worldwide. In it, Hubbard made no reference to the events raging around an enterprise he scrupulously micro-managed throughout his life. To many, that seemed uncharacteristic of the Commodore. It surprised others that he made no mention of his wife and partner, Mary-Sue, in this or any other communication. The letter did little to quell concerns over Hubbard's health and mental state.
Template:PThe letter was particularly disturbing to Scientologists perplexed by Hubbard's failure to 'stand up' to the 'enemies of the church'. Scientologists believe Hubbard's 'technology' creates dominion over 'matter, energy, space and time'. Scientologists believe they have personal dominion over 'energies' that cause bad events, setbacks, physical and mental illness, etc. That Hubbard, the 'source' and unparalleled practitioner of the Scientology art, did not deploy his powers to resolve the difficulties of the day, was a genuine shock to many. Instead, as Russell Miller reports:
Template:PHubbard's reticence to 'take on' his enemies and (in Scientology vernacular) - 'make it go right' - became more baffling with the culminating of legal events. In the Gerry Armstrong case, Judge Breckinridge ruled against Scientology and delivered a scathing verdict:
Template:PIn London, one Justice Latey, after hearing a custody dispute, 'piled on', saying:
Where was Hubbard...and what was he doing?
Template:PFor much of this time, Hubbard and his entourage were living, 'on the run' - literally! Hubbard purchased one or more expensive Blue-Bird Motor Homes. It appears Hubbard and the Broekers moved between California towns; until they finally settled on a secluded ranch in Creston - population 270. The ranch was purchased in 1983 by a young couple calling themselves Mike and Lisa Mitchell ( most likely the Broekers ). They paid approximately $700m in cash, using money orders drawn on California Banks. The 'Mitchells' moved to the ranch to start renovations, with their 'elderly father' living seperately in a Blue-Bird Motor Home. Russell Miller describes the scene as follows:
Template:PNeighbors found it odd that the house was gutted and rebuilt several times. Cranky and dissatisfied, Hubbard was constantly changing plans and ordering finished work ripped out. Along with remodeling projects, Hubbard busied himself with "thirty-five quarter horses... four buffaloes, a pair of llamas, and several Black Angus cattle, including Hubbard's favorite bull, Bubba". A neighbor who braved a visit, claims Hubbard ran skittishly into a tool shed to avoid conversation. Other neighbors reported seeing Hubbard "pottering around in baggy blue pants and a yellow straw hat" sometimes taking pictures.Template:CiteBook
Template:PHowever occupied, Hubbard was paying no attention to the drama surrounding Scientology. Superficially, the picture of a successful man settling down in his twighlight years doesn't seem unusual. But it didn't resemble L. Ron Hubbard, a man just into his 70s, who had always loved the frenetic gamesmanship of his chosen profession. Even in later years, he showed no sign of 'slowing down'. Additionally, Hubbard preached 'attack your enemies, attack, never defend' and made this admonition official 'church' policy.
Template:PHubbard's withdrawal was uncharacteristic, leading many to, again, conclude that his mental and physical health had deteriorated. Others have suggested more nefarious circumstances, stemming from the consolidation of power within the "messengers" organization and the growing rivalry between Pat Broeker and David Miscavige.
Template:PWhatever the true story, Hubbard was definitely sequestered at Creston and no-one other than the Broekers, several Scientology ranch hands, and Hubbard's personal Scientology physician were allowed contact with him. Even David Miscavige was kept away. At some point, Hubbard's physician, Dr. Eugene Denk, took up residence at the ranch, which does suggest Hubbard's had become impaired. Throughout his life, Hubbard was a very heavy smoker and abuser of drugs and alcohol, so ill health was a distinct possibility.
Template:PIt had been odd that Hubbard failed to react to the legal defeat concerning his personal papers in the Armstong trial. Equally so, the damaging decision in the London custody case. In 1984, he appeared equally oblivious to an important lost appeal against the IRS, concerning tax evasion and a stunning government raid on the 'Church of Scientology Toronto' which resulted in charges against 18 high ranking 'church' officials!
Miscavige starts the "International Association of Scientologists"
Template:POther events for 1984 including David Miscavige's creation of the "International Association of Scientologists" requiring every Scientologist to purchase a $2,000 lifetime membership. Ostensibly, the "IAS" was formed to raise funds for 'defending the new religion' but it clearly strengthened Miscavige's position as well.
Template:PPat Broeker had control of the 'guru' while David Miscavige took control of the church.
Template:PIn 1985, a judge in Washington, DC ordered Hubbard's appearance in "FBI vs. Founding Church of Scientology Washington DCA". Hubbard failed to appear. In Portland, Oregon, another case came alive, "Julie Christofferson-Tichbourne's vs Hubbard, the Church of Scientology of California, and the Scientology Mission of Davis," Martin Samuels, head of "Scientology Mission of Davis," was given immunity and provided damaging testimony that Scientology witnesses had been coached to lie in a prior proceeding and admitted that he had perjured himself. The jury found the defendents guilty.Template:CiteBook
Template:PScientology mounted a massive protest effort decrying 'religious persecution', flying hundreds of staff members to Portland to picket. Celebrities such as John Travolta and Chick Corea joined candlight parades and fundraising efforts to "Save Freedom of Religion". After considerable manuevering inside and outside the courtroom, Judge Donald Londer made the surprising decision to declare a mistrial! Londer said he had failed to strike from the record, several critical remarks made by the plaintiff's attorney. Critics were inclined to suspicion.Template:CiteBook
Template:PDespite the many excitements and other sundry litigation against former Scientology members charged with leaking secret materials -- no messages from Hubbard.
Template:POne of the central tenets in Scientology makes Hubbard's silence especially surprising. It's called "turning over your hat". Under a widely known and strictly enforced Hubbard policy, no-one in Scientology can leave their 'post' until they've found a replacement. Scientologsists had always accepted that 'Ron' might be off 'doing research' more important than events in the temporal world, but for the leader of the 'church' to leave them, 'so long in the lurch' was concerning. In light of the dramatic events of the day, many were troubled that Ron had failed to "turn over his hat".
Template:PAccording to biographer, Jon Atack:
Template:P...at 8:00 PM on January 24, 1986.
Template:PHe was attended by his Scientology physician, Eugene Denk and probably the Broekers or ranch hands. Scientology attorney, Earl Cooley, was called and gave instructions that nothing be done until he arrived from Los Angelos. It now appears likely that Cooley had made prior visits, just days before. Cooley stayed with Hubbard's body from the time he arrived in Creston to the following afternoon when Cooley and Denk scattered Hubbard's ashes at sea. The rapidity of events and certain unusual circumstance raised questions.
Template:PFor one thing, no one called the county coroner. Hubbard's body stayed at the ranch until Saturday morning when it was picked up by the Reis mortuary of San Luis Obispo. Cooley made special arrangements for Hubbard's cremation that morning, a service the mortuary did not offer on weekends. The mortuary called the coroner, concerned about the sudden cremation.
Template:PDeputy coroner, Don Hines and pathologist, Karl Kirschner were brought in to examine and photograph Hubbard's body and take fingerprints. Blood samples indicated that Hubbard had been given anti-stroke medications and a psychiatric tranquilizer, "vistaril". The presence of "vistaril" in the body of a man who spent his entire life railing at the psychiatric community continues to perplex Scientologists. No harmful levels of any drug were found.
Template:PBecause of the delay in notification, County Coroner, George Whiting asked to do an autopsy. Cooley presented a document Hubbard signed 3 days before his death, indicating that an autopsy was against his religion. Hubbard's 'Last Will and Testament' was also presented and also signed days before his death. Dr. Denk stated that Hubbard died several days after a stroke. Apparently the stroke did not impair Hubbard's ability to change his Will and declare autopsy against his religion.
Template:PThe coroner consulted a district attorney on that Saturday, presumably by phone. California law disallows autopsy against someone's religion and since the fingerprints matched Hubbard's, the coroner ultimately released the body to Denk and Cooley for creamation. Some have wondered if events would have moved so serendipidously during the normal work week. By 3:40 that afternoon, Denk and Cooley had scattered Hubbard's ashes at sea.
Who will take over?
Template:PTwo days later, a large number of Scientologists were hastily gathered at the Hollywood Palladium to learn of Hubbard's death. Pat Broeker, was in possession of Hubbard's final 'Flag Order' promoting Pat and Annie Broeker as first and second "Loyal Officers" - arguably placing them at the head of the 'church'. It was Pat Broeker's first public appearance since disappearing with Hubbard in 1980.
Template:PHowever, what Hubbard's 'Flag Order' did not do, is clearly "turn over his hat" -- something that bewilders many Scientologists to this day. Dated five days before his death, Hubbard's final 'Flag Order' was an upbeat message wishing the Sea Organization well and promising his followers they would see him again. The 'Flag Order' promoted the Broekers to a new rank and also promoted Hubbard to the rank of "Admiral" - but it did not simply and transparently "turn over Hubbard's hat".
Template:PFilm coverage of the event suggests a possibly nervous Pat Broeker contrasted against a confident David Miscavige. Miscavige announced that Hubbard had moved on to do new research 'exterior' to the body. Pat Broeker interjected that Hubbard had asked him to assure his followers that, "LRH expressly stated that there was to be no grief, no mourning... 'They know they're not a body. Don't let them be confused about it.'" Earle Cooley, who became a Scientologist to act as the church's attorney, gave a lawyerly summation of his oversight of Hubbard's demise and cremation.
Template:PMore controversey was raised by the changes to Hubbard's will just days before his death. The new will left Hubbard's most valuable assets, particularly his copyrights, to a corporation of the 'church of Scientology'. A prior will of longstanding is reputed to have left those assets to Hubbard's family.
Template:PAt the time of Hubbard's death, Cooley (who drafted the final will) alleged that the change was in favor of members of Hubbard's family, disingenuously telling the press that "Hubbard left a 'very generous provision' for his wife, Mary Sue, and for 'certain of his children...'" and claiming that only "the remaining tens of millions of dollars" would go to the Church of Scientology."Template:CiteBook
The conspiracy theories
Template:PThese and other alleged discrepancies have created a 'cottage industry' of speculation on what some see as an outright conspiracy.
Template:PRobert Vaughn Young, who was in the top ranks of Scientology, a friend of Pat Broeker, and present the day after Hubbard died, published his belief that Hubbard was killed outrightly or through intentional negligence by someone at the ranch. There were, quite literally, millions of dollars in cash, reportedly stashed at Creston.
Template:PAccording to Young:
Template:PYoung describes the concluding power struggle between Pat Broeker and David Miscavige:
Template:PDavid Miscavige canceled Hubbard's final 'Flag Order' claiming it was fraudulent.
Template:PRobert Vaughn Young relates the details:
Template:PIf Miscavige was right and Hubbard's "Flag Order" was indeed a forgery -- where was Hubbard's message "turning over his hat?"
Template:PAnother tenet of Hubbard's 'standard tech' is "if it isn't written, it isn't true". So, again, where was Hubbard's written message 'turning over his hat?'
Template:PAs Young questions:
Template:PAs Robert Vaughn Young says, David Miscavige 'won' and Pat Broeker, was never mentioned again:
Template:PThe organizational 'clean-up' after Hubbard's death continued to plague Robert Vaughn Young:
Template:PAccording to Young, reality hit him like a "blue flash":
Template:PAre Vaughn Young's suspicions persuasive? Each is left to draw their own conclusions. On the one hand, it seems unlikely that Pat Broeker would bring about the demise of a man he revered and cared for. Was he drawn into a conspiracy? There's no direct evidence of this. Still, the alteration of Hubbard's will in his final days could be looked on with suspicion. Those sudden changes provided the copyrights and financial means for the current management to consolidate control of Scientology.
Template:PWhatever the real story, there's not much denying that David Miscavige came to power and Pat Broeker disappeared into decades more hiding. He is believed to be living in a western mountain state.
- Mystery of the Vanished Ruler (from 1983)