Huxley, Burroughs, and the Church of Scientology

Originally published at: Huxley, Burroughs, and the Church of Scientology – Quillette

In the 21st century, Scientology has become a synonym for “cult.” Thanks to an array of investigative exposés and testimony from former members, few people in the Western world are unaware of at least some of the Church’s fantastical beliefs and more alarming behaviours. Sixty years ago, however, it was viewed quite differently. Scientology—or dianetics,…


Good essay. I have always been somewhat fascinated by the life and works of Hubbard. I understand that for a brief period predating the foundation of dianetics, he dabbled in some of the more esoteric and ritualistic occult traditions. I wonder whether his experiences in this field informed the belief system he created. There is a definable degree of mentalism to such pursuits.


Fascinating essay, thank you!


Welcome to Quillette!

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I have two gay men friends of very long acquaintance who have been Scientologists for many decades. They are in all other respects very intelligent and normal men. They have eschewed marriage despite 30 years together because “the church wouldn’t like it”.

I had previously read that Hubbard started his “church” originally as a tax-avoidance scheme.