Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Prophets for Profit
(fm the BC thread "The Rumor of War")
How did L. Ron Hubbard get the word about Scientology?
The evidence seems good enough for me that Hubbard came up with the idea of starting a religion for profit and advertised it several times. Leading candidates for where include a bar bet with Robert Heinlein, a cocktail party with L Sprague de Camp, and a lunch with John Campbell.
While both Scientology and Islam may encourage their followers to view the bulk of humanity as sheep to be sheered or marks to be bilked in Muhammad's day the Prophet for a Profit could not sustain himself by extracting fees from the wealthy but unhappy. He had to target his impoverished followers outwards in a campaign of conquest that makes the efforts of Scientology's lawyers seem reticent and defensive by comparison. Smith's Mormons, who with a couple of early exceptions have generally played well with others, spent their first two generations seeking a safe place to escape to.