As the Wilbury program points out, Hubbard wrote in a 1980 Reader’s Digest,”You don’t get rich writing science fiction for a penny a word. If you want to get rich, you start a religion.” But bureaucrats being the party poopers they are, at one point the Internal Revenue Service challenged the Church of Scientology’s tax-exempt status, claiming that it wasn’t legitimately a religion and employed “violent and abusive brainwashing techniques.” Promptly marched out to issue high praise in the trial were celebrity witnesses John Travolta, Tom Cruise, and Kirstie Alley (Sam Dumas and Ariana Bianco, the latter munching from a KFC bucket). Case dismissed.
Good-natured joshing aside, I hope that the above has conveyed the profound respect I have personally for Scientology and all its intelligent, warmly compassionate members. The cult — damn: religion, religion — in the past has declared war on whistleblowers and critics, harassing and litigating them to a fare-thee-well. It’s purely coincidental that I recently put all my financial holdings into a trust and won’t be reachable while I’m on vacation for the next few months.