L. Ron HubbardWriter / Religious Figure
Born: 13 March 1911
Died: 24 January 1986
Birthplace: Tilden, Nebraska
Best known as: Sci-fi author and founder of Scientology
Name at birth: Lafayette Ronald Hubbard
L. Ron Hubbard was a writer in the 1930s and '40s, cranking out westerns and science fiction stories and novels. In 1950 he published Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, and in 1954 he founded the Church of Scientology to promote his "applied religious philosophy." A form of psychotherapy, it involves confronting negative experiences from the past in order to achieve ultimate mental health. L. Ron Hubbard was the executive director of the church until 1966, but as founder he remained sole authority until his death in 1986. He published the gargantuan science fiction novel Battlefield Earth in 1981.
Extra credit: Actors John Travolta and Tom Cruise are members of the Church of Scientology; Travolta produced and starred in the 2000 movie Battlefield Earth.
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