In 1950, L. Ron Hubbard referred to homosexuality as a sexual perversion that ought to be considered an “illness”, and anyone who lives with such an affliction should be considered “extremely dangerous to society”.
Four years later, his son Quentin Hubbard was born.
Quentin was Hubbard’s fourth child – his second son – to his third wife, Mary Sue Hubbard.
In this same year, Hubbard launched a new religion based on two books he had written, Dianetics: The Evolution of a Science, and Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. Within both texts lay a doctrine, originally intended to be a new type of psychotherapy. But something about the promise of spiritual healing, and a new conceptualisation of the “science of the mind”, appealed to Americans in the early 1950s.
His second book sat at the top of the New York Times bestseller list for six months, and according to Professor Paul Gutjahr, Dianetics has become the highest selling religious book of the 20th century, with the exception of the bible.
Hubbard indoctrinated his children into the Church of Scientology, deciding his eldest son, Ron Jr. Hubbard, would be the obvious successor. But in 1959, when Ron Jr. was 25 years old, he defected – never to return to the church. For the remainder of his life, Ron, who changed his name to Ronald Edward DeWolf, was vocally critical of his father and the “cult” he had created.
Among many others, Louis Theroux has produced a must-watch documentary titled ‘My Scientology Movie’. Post continues below.
It was then that Hubbard decided his second eldest son, Quentin, would be his successor and one day lead the organisation.
The Sea Organisation, a branch of Scientology, was in its infancy, and Hubbard took Quentin with him to live on the ship Apollo while he completed his auditor training.
Quentin was always outspoken, however, about the fact his ambitions did not lie within the church. At first, he wanted to be a pilot, and by the time he was 20, he had decided he wanted to be a dancer.
Although the timeline is somewhat unclear, it is understood Quentin was either gay or bisexual – a realisation he struggled to come to terms with.
Mike Goldestein, the former Financial Controller of the Church of Scientology, told Channel 4 in 1997, “Quentin really was a real sweet kid. He was a real nice guy, and very soft-spoken and it was very difficult for him being Hubbard’s son and being put in this very high position… I don’t think he was interested in.
“He just wanted to be a pilot and also the fact that he was gay and that’s a very tough thing in Scientology. Oh, that would be a horrible thing to be wrestling with.”
Hubbard cared about few things more than his children living up to their family name. And before long, he was hearing whispers.
Friends and church officials knew Quentin was grappling with his sexual orientation, and Laurel Sullivan, Hubbard’s former public relations officer, told the Los Angeles Times, “He thought Quentin was an embarrassment. And he told me that several times.”