The most published author of all time has officially been declared by The Guinness Book of World Records (and, surprisingly, it’s not the king of fiction himself, Stephen King) as none other than the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard.
Take a second to breathe that in; it’s shocking, alarming, and even a little unsettling, I know.
But, if you happen to be unfamiliar with Hubbard, or Scientology in general, here are some of the basic things you should know:
L. Ron Hubbard was born on March 13, 1911 in Tilden, Nebraska. He spent much of the first part of his life working as a fiction writer, gaining notoriety for his science fiction and fantasy short story contributions to pulp fiction magazines in the 1930’s. He also had works published under romance, adventure, western, mystery, aviation, and mystery, and even wrote the screenplay for the Columbia Pictures feature film, The Secret of Treasure Island.
In 1950, Hubbard went on to publish a series of “psychological self-help” books entitled Dianetics. Dianetics is a system of levels to work your way through that are stated to help remove psychosomatic disorders by eliminating dangerous or harmful images from your mind— the process involves sitting in a room with an “auditor” who interrogates you, forcing you to reveal your innermost thoughts, past traumas, and any secrets you may have so that you may erase that part of your mind and reach contentment, awareness, and sanity. Dianetics would become the foundation of the creation of Scientology.
In May of 1952, Hubbard finally launched his, now infamous, cult-like religious system, Scientology. Scientology is stated to be a system of graded courses and levels to work through with the goal of self-awareness, spiritual fulfillment, and super powers beyond that of any normal, everyday human. The entire process of working through the levels typically takes decades and costs around $500,000 (graduation from the program alone is $100,000, and additional $100,000 fees are given to anyone who speaks publicly about the practices). Once you’ve reached the final level, you are said to gain magical abilities such as telekinesis, immunity from all illnesses, superior senses, and mind control. (No scientologists to date have reported ever witnessing someone reach this final, mystical level and gain said powers.)
By the time Hubbard opened The Church of Scientology on February 19th, 1954, he already had a steady following of loyal and believing scientologists ready and willing to join.
And, by the time the 1960s rolled around, Hubbard had found himself the leader of a worldwide movement containing thousands upon thousands of members (some celebrity members have included and continue to include Tom Cruise, Elisabeth Moss, Kirstie Alley, Laura Prepon, and John Travolta).
As the years went on and more was revealed about Scientology and what was really going on within The Church, investigations were launched against Hubbard, forcing him to spend his remaining decades living in hiding.
L. Ron Hubbard suffered a stroke and passed away on February 24th, 1986, leaving behind a powerful, sinister legacy of systems still in place today (The Church of Scientology is stated as currently having around 25,000 members, with numbers in a steady decline).
Even in death Hubbard is still managing to make headlines; since his passing he has been awarded three separate records through The Guinness Book of World Records, and still holds the titles today:
1. Most Published Works by an Author: 1,084 publications
2. Most Languages Translated to by an Author: 71 languages
3. Most Audiobooks Recorded by an Author: 184 audiobooks
The strangest thing about all of this is that Hubbard feels like some sort of evil super-villain we can’t defeat; Scientology has caused a lot of pain for a lot of people and, though it’s numbers are decreasing, there are still many people following it today. The Church has a scary amount of power, making it extremely dangerous and nearly impossible for members to ever leave; and it’s all thanks to L. Ron Hubbard, the man who turned simple science fiction stories into an infectious, disease-like-religion that seemingly can’t be stopped.
But, if we can’t tear Scientology down in it’s entirety, the least we should be able to do is beat Hubbard’s World Records and get him off the list.
So, get to writing, we’ve got publications to stack!
Featured Image Via The Los Angeles Times