This story concerns the life of Doreen Gillham, who was one of the pretty teen girls who made up the Commodore’s Messenger Service, the CMO. These girls paraded around in short-shorts or miniskirts and white boots all to the glory of their “war-hero” boss. Excerpts taken from the Los Angels Times story:
Part 1: The Making of L. Ron Hubbard
Life With L. Ron Hubbard
Aides indulged his
eccentricities and egotism.
(Sunday, 24 June 1990, page A39:1)
“In later life, one thing that could throw the irascible Hubbard into a rage was the scent of soap in his clothes. “I was petrified of doing the laundry,” one former messenger said.
To protect themselves from a Hubbard tirade, the messengers rinsed his clothes in 13 separate buckets of water.
Doreen Gillham, who had who spent her teen years with Hubbard, never forgot what happened when a longtime aide offered him a freshly laundered shirt after he had taken a shower. “He immediately grabbed the collar and put it up to his nose, then threw it down,” said Gillham, who died recently in a horse riding accident.
“He went to the closet and proceeded to sniff all the shirts. He would tear them off the hangers and throw them down. We’re talking 30 shirts on the floor.”
He let out a “long whine,” Gillham said, and then began screaming about the smell.
“I picked up a shirt off the floor, smelled it and said, ‘There is no soap on this shirt.’ I didn’t smell anything in any of them. He grudgingly put it on,” said Gillham, who added: “Deep down inside, I’m telling myself, ‘This guy is nuts!’ “
Gillham said that Hubbard had become obsessed not only with soap smells but with dust, which aggravated his allergies. He demanded white-glove inspections but never seemed satisfied with the results.
No matter how clean the room, Gillham said, “he would insist that it be over and over and over again.”
Gillham, formerly one of Hubbard’s most loyal and trusted messengers, said his behavior became increasingly erratic after he crashed a motorcycle in the Canary Islands in the early 1970s.
“He realized his own mortality,” she said. “He was in agony for months. He insisted, with a broken arm and broken ribs, that he was going to heal himself and it didn’t work.”
According to those who knew him well, Hubbard was neither affectionate nor much of a family man. He seemed closer to his handpicked messengers than to his own seven children, one of whom he later denied fathering.
“His kids rarely, if ever, got to see him,” Gillham said, until his wife Mary “insisted on weekly Sunday night dinners.”
Hubbard expected his children to live up to the family name and do nothing that would reflect badly on him or the church. And for that reason, his son Quentin was a problem.
Quentin had once tried suicide with a drug overdose and was confused about his sexual orientation — a fact that was quietly discussed among his friends and at the highest levels of the church.
“He thought Quentin was an embarrassment,” said Laurel Sullivan, Hubbard’s former public relations officer, who had a falling out with the organization in 1981. “And he told me that several times.”
In 1976, Quentin parked on a deserted road in Las Vegas and piped the exhaust into his car. At the age of 22, he killed himself. When Hubbard was told of the suicide, “he didn’t cry or anything,” according to a former aide. His first reaction, she said, was to express concern over the possibility of publicity that could be used to discredit Scientology.
Hubbard also had problems with another son, his namesake, L. Ron Hubbard Jr.
Hubbard feuded with his eldest son for more than 25 years, dating back to 1959 when L. Ron Hubbard Jr. split with Scientology because he said he was not making enough money to support his family. In the years that followed, he changed his name to Ronald DeWolfe and accused his father of everything from cavorting with mobsters to abusing drugs.
For his part, Hubbard accused his son of being crazy. Although Hubbard cast himself as a humble servant to mankind, former assistants said he was not without ego. He craved adulation and coveted fame.
Sullivan, the former public relations officer, recalled how after an appearance he would ask: “How many minutes of applause did I get? How many times did they say, ‘Hip, hip, hurray!’? How many people showed up? How many letters did I get?”
“If you remained in awe of him … he was great,” said Sullivan, who had a falling out with the church in 1981. “If you crossed him, or appeared to cross him, he would lash out at you, scream at you, accuse you of things.”
Gillham and other former aides said he would accuse even his most devout aides of trying to poison him if he did not like the taste of a meal that had been laboriously prepared for his table. “Somebody’s trying to kill me!” former aides said he would shout. “What have I done? All I’ve tried to do is help man.”
For myself I had a “cognition’ of my own, I figured out where Body Thetans or simply “BT’s” came from. They are soap bubbles.