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Bare-Faced Messiah: The True Story Of L. Ron Hubbard
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Bare-Faced Messiah: The True Story Of L. Ron Hubbard

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  307 ratings  ·  50 reviews
The founder and leader of the Church of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard was promoted for over 30 years as a romantic adventurer and philosopher with a mission to save the world. Miller has carefully researched Hubbard's life, and provides a biography unlike any of those the church has produced and interwoven with lies. 8 pages of photos.
Hardcover, 390 pages
Published July 1st 1988 by Henry Holt & Company (first published October 1st 1987)
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(showing 1-30 of 704)
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Timothy Hallinan
This is a fitting biography of one of the world's great rats.

Certifiably evil if not certifiably insane, Hubbard appealed to the worst in the American character to found an empire that's made billions on empty promises and the egregious misuse of material the deluded faithful entrusted to the "church" during the auditing sessions that were supposed to help them clear their issues and banish their, ahem, engrams. Instead, their confessions are sometimes used against them when they decide to sto c
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Benito
This is the amazing tale of the world's most deluded, and most posthumously successful, con-man and really gets inside the machinations of his strangely mendacious imagination. You almost admire Hubbard as he streams off one ridiculous lie after another from adolescence onwards so as to make his place in the world with his few other talents - a fact he never faces by creating an ever greater history of himself which often you wonder if even he believes. You can see then just how, sporadically be ...more
Dave Newton
A charismatic, pathological liar with boundless imagination, the truth of L. Ron Hubbard's life is almost stranger than the fictional one he dreamed up and eventually came to believe himself.
Miller did his research carefully, and tried to go back to primary or verifiable sources wherever possible. The story is both fascinating and disturbing.

The author has a a free copy available for download on his website (you'll need a copy of winzip, 7-zip or similar to 'unzip' the file), as well as addition
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Tina
If you are in the least bit curious about the founder of Scientology...and about how nutty he really was, I would highly recommend. It's not the best writing I have seen, but the content won out.
By reading this book, you could learn new skills like, how to best start your own cult and what is the best way to ingratiate yourself into a black magic circle. And don't forget about the invaluable skill of forging your own bio.
praise xenu.
Roxanne Questi
Evidently, this book is out of print, but the author has approved it's free download off the internet.

I have read 'Going Clear' which is a great history of the cult. 'Bare-faced Messiah' is the book to read for L. Ron Hubbard's biography.

You will squirm with frustration, disbelief, anger and ridicule page after page of this story. This man was a narcissistic bum long before he created his Scientology scheme. His military record is hysterical it is so bad, and he spent years fleecing the governme
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Grant Howard
Thoroughly enjoyable.
I'm very antagonistic towards Scientology, but at the same time fascinated by it's shady activities. I came to this book as I was looking at John Sweeny's "The Church of Fear" and it referenced this book a few times within the first pages. So I decided I had better read this first.
This is basically the "What REALLY happened" version of L. Ron Hubbard's life. Most chapter's begin with the L.Ron/Church of Scientology version of events before telling you the less spectacular tr
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Stringy
This was out-of-print for a while, but I can see why it's considered the definitive biography of Hubbard. Other books deal more with the consequences of his life, but Miller focuses on the man himself.

Hubbard was a narcissist who only cared about himself. He started a self-help fad then turned it into a religion practiced around the world. And yet that was never enough for him: he chased more money, told increasingly ludicrous stories, and abandoned anyone who wasn't sufficiently devoted to the
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Josiah Hawkins
L. Ron Hubbard is self absorbed, Narcissistic, insane, and a pathological liar. All of these things were unbeknownst to me before I read the book but it has now become abundantly clear.

I had been interested in Scientology ever since several Hollywood stars had come out as followers, not in the sense that I wanted to become a Scientologist, but rather that I was curious how in the world so many were convinced to tithe, tithe, tithe. One day I was browsing the internet and had come across an artic
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Matt
If I had to pick just one book to read about Scientology or give to someone to dissuade them from joining, it would be this one. In one sense, this is odd because the book does not really concern itself primarily with the history, organization and operation of the "church." However, it makes perfect sense because one cannot understand Scientology without understanding its creator, and this is unofficial biography of Hubbard remains to this day the best, most authoritative volume on the man (and ...more
G. Jason
I have an odd fascination with the Church of Scientology. Particularly it's secrecy, organization and the mind-boggling way it somehow has the governments blessing of being a legalized cult and gets away with some of the most ridiculous things ever.

The story of L. Ron Hubbard is an interesting one for sure. This book is as detailed and as well researched as it could be. And again, I'm perplexed at how this man could gain so many followers. He was an absolute crackpot who lied about nearly every
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Buck
If you liked "Under the Banner of Heaven"...
Flapper72
I enjoy reading books about people's belief patterns. I can't ever recall seeing a book written about scientology so was really keen to give this a go and am very glad that I did. This was an extremely well researched book with a multitude of references and much corroborated evidence and I applaud the author for managing to get the book published. Unfortunately, the facts have reinforced my previous understanding of scientology in that it's really a belief structure based on nothing. A pompous, ...more
Reade Adams
I've read most every book out there on $cientology and already encountered much of the information contained in this book. But where the other books focus on the individual writer's perspective, this book looks long and hard at LRH himself. it's not a pretty picture.

General consensus of Hubbard's detractors is that he was a paranoid schizophrenic. he acted like one, it seems. throwing temper tantrums and yelling and screaming at staff over the slightest of infractions, always imagining he was be
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B
3/26
Finished this audiobook today.

I've been fascinated by scitol ever since I randomly read abt Jenna Elfman screaming "What crimes have you committed?" to a guy on a sidewalk in Los Feliz. But the initial sensationalist aspects then gave way to interest in the actual beliefs and secrets of how adepts practice it, which I also enjoyed in sensationalist ways.

Ultimately I admire scitol and its pro-literacy/anti-drug public efforts and think that the criticisms made abt it can sorta be applied to l
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Eero
Although I had always been intrigued by Hubbard, who is often described as a major figure in the Golden Age of science fiction and John W. Campbell's stable of authors, I had never read anything by him or very much directly about him, either.

I was prompted to seek out this free book by an article at io9.com titled "The strangely true connection between Scientology, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Occult Sorcery" about the strange goings-on at Jack Parsons's mansion in the 1940's. This episode
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Mikko
The Bare-faced Messiah is an excellent unauthorized biography of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. The book is based on a wealth of archive research and Miller has also gathered extensive interviews from those who knew LRH.

As a literary work The Bare-faced Messiah is not without some flaws. The early chapters, which describe Hubbards family and childhood are somewhat plodding, though I can imagine that someone particularly interested in how upbringing effects a person might find them u
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Luís Castilho
Russell Miller's biographical book about the life and work of the creator of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, is one of the best non-fiction books I have ever read and can, without exaggeration, be qualified as a masterpiece. I was truly baffled with the power of persuasion and deception L. Ron Hubbard developed over the seventy years that comprised his life-time. Born in a very modest family, L. Ron Hubbard was, as a kid, a very curious and committed person, with grand aspirations for himself. Desp ...more
'NgappaMusk
LRH è un tipo che si dà da fare, da bambino va a cavallo ancor prima di saper camminare, da ragazzo studia fisica e scrive acclamati romanzi di fantascienza, scoppia la guerra e Ron deve fare la sua parte, verrà ferito terribilmente nel pacifico, "primo ferito americano della guerra", ma seppur cieco e zoppo non si perde d'animo, Lafayette Ron Hubbard è speciale, riesce con il potere della sua mente a guarire completamente... E se credete a questo il gioco è fatto. Attaccatevi al vostro e-meter, ...more
Eamonn
Simply amazing. I've been fascinated by Scientology for years - they used to try and recruit people in Dublin right next to the bus stop where I waited to go home from school every day. You'll find it hard to keep your jaw from dragging along the ground as you read about L Ron Hubbard's escapades in this book. The phrase 'you couldn't make it up' was basically invented for this story. Read it.
Devin
It was interesting to learn more about L. Ron's life and to have some perspective about Scientologists. This book is really poorly written (and edited), I often found myself thinking entire chapters were irrelevant, and frequently had to turn back a page when I realized the paragraph I was reading was actually a quote the author had taken from somebody else rather than his own voice.

The whole thing is a mess, but still interesting. I would argue that the issues with respect to publishing and the
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B
Apr 14, 2015 B rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: own, westend
This book has a real tone problem. It's frequently unclear when Miller is (a) telling you something he believes is true from independent research, (b) adopting as truth an official Scientologist position, or (c) discussing official Scientologist positions in a mocking way. So when something very unexpected happens, it's not clear whether we're supposed to chuckle or be astounded.

LRH lived a very, very interesting life and so large parts of this are still interesting. Some of it has not been inco
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Kourosh Keshavarz
This was a fantastic insight into the founder of Scientology. I always thought the cult was something that had come together. This booked helped with my ignorance and showed me how the best way to make money is to appeal to people's baser instincts.
Tom Schulte
I really enjoyed this Scientology expose' that exposed L. Ron Hubbard as liar with more charisma and kindness who became a self-indulgent narcissitic commodore of his private fleet and one who bilked millions (billions) from the masses.

Perhaps you have to admire his chutzpah and the gullability of the lost souls, but Janet Reitman, author of Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion calls this classic unauthorized bio "rigorously researched" and such hers is even more so
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Tony Daniel
I was reading this for another take on some Golden Age science fiction history. Hubbard keeps popping up in the life and times of such writers as Heinlein and Asimov, and I was wondering about the extent of his involvement with the legendary editor of Astounding Magazine, John Campbell. Of course, this wasn't Miller's purpose with the book, but I got at least a taste of that. As far as Hubbard is concerned, probably the less said the better. There are some good laughs in the book at Hubbard's ut ...more
Rebeca
Helpful to read such an in depth background about L Ron Hubbard, but I found myself a bit bored.
notgettingenough
You know those times when being happy makes you vulnerable. I was wandering around town, happy as, one day and a Dianetics person caught me. Would I do a survey....well, yes, why not?

And then that made me curious.

If this were fiction, you'd probably call it trash. A ludicrous storyline that defies any concept of reality. Ah, but it is reality. Most depressingly for me, when the guy was at his most psychotic he was behaving exactly like the person I was living with at the time. So, mundane common
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Asderio
This book is mindopening.
Angie
I found this detailed account of L. Ron Hubbard's entire life very interesting, keeping my attention and causing me to ponder the story when I was not reading. I would recommend it to those interesting in the history of Scientology and the leader who made himself a legend by telling, and retelling, and then retelling again, the story of his own life. I will be interested to read an account of the operations of Scientology next, as this biography created more questions than it answered on the biz ...more
Kyrie
Wow. I'm not sure Miller could have conveyed his utter disdain for Scientology any more thoroughly.

It would be nice to have read a somewhat less biased account, just to figure out why so many people are attracted to it and stick with it.

On the other hand, it's a book about L. Ron Hubbard and not the church he started. Nearly as I can tell, Hubbard was a clever paranoid liar who found a way to make a living from his madness.

Maybe I should just go look it up on Wikipedia?
Melissa
Mar 14, 2008 Melissa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Melissa by: Xenu
Shelves: non-fiction
Even if only half of the info in this book is true, it's an amazing tale of greed and egotism. Hubbard is a model for scam artists everywhere. The absurdity of this man's life made me angry. Awesome read for those who know a bit about scientology as it operates now. Good read for those who've heard about Hubbard and maybe think that Cruise is on the right path - think again!
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