A Piece of Blue Sky

A Piece of Blue Sky: Scientology, Dianetics and L. Ron Hubbard Exposed is a 1990 book about L. Ron Hubbard and the development of Dianetics and the Church of Scientology by British former Scientologist Jon Atack. The title originates from a quote of Hubbard's from 1950, when he was reported as saying that he wanted to sell potential church members a "piece of blue sky."[1]

The church's publishing arm, New Era Publications International, tried to prevent the book's publication, arguing that it infringed on its copyright of Hubbard's works. A court in Manhattan ruled against publication, but the decision was overturned on appeal.[2]

A Piece of Blue Sky
A Piece of Blue Sky
AuthorJon Atack
CountryUnited States
PublisherLyle Stuart Books, Carol Publishing Group
Publication date
August 19, 1990
Media typePrint (Hardcover)

The author

Atack joined the sect at the age of nineteen in 1974, and was based largely in the church's British headquarters at Saint Hill Manor, near East Grinstead. During his training, he said he progressed to Scientology's Operating Thetan level 5, completing 24 of the 27 levels of therapy or education.[3] He left the church in 1983 in disillusionment with the new leadership of David Miscavige, who took over in the early 1980s.[4] He writes that he saw the new management as tough and ruthless, and objected particularly to the 15-fold increase in training fees. He also objected to being told not to have relationships with so-called "Suppressive Persons," people the church had declared enemies and who should not be communicated with; one such person was one of Atack's friends.[5]

Atack left the sect as a result, and is now at the centre of what J. Gordon Melton calls an anti-Scientology network in the UK.[6] He is also the author of a booklet, "The Total Freedom Trap: Scientology, Dianetics And L. Ron Hubbard" (1992).


Atack describes his personal experience in the church, provides a chronological history of L. Ron Hubbard, Dianetics and Scientology, researched from paper sources and interviews, and draws conclusions about the belief system of Scientology and its founder. The book also contains a preface by Russell Miller, author of Bare-faced Messiah.


Legal action

Scientology's publishing arm, New Era Publications, attempted to prevent publication by arguing that the manuscript's inclusion of material by Hubbard infringed on their copyright of Hubbard's work, and would harm sales of the original texts.[7] The court ruled that the manuscript might discourage people from buying Hubbard's books by convincing them he was a swindler, and that copyright law protects rather than forbids this kind of criticism.[8] Before the outcome of the case was known, the publisher prepared two versions of the book: one with and one without Hubbard's quoted material.[2] After publication, Scientologists picketed Atack's East Grinstead home for six days and spread defamatory leaflets around his neighbourhood.[9]

In April 1995, a court in England found Atack guilty of libel against Margaret Hodkin, the headmistress of Scientology's Greenfields School in England, and issued an injunction forbidding publication of an offending paragraph.[10] The decision was upheld by the High Court in London in May 1995.[11] The case led Amazon.com to remove the book from its listings in February 1999, but it reversed its decision a few months later after customers complained.[12]


Marco Frenschkowski, writing in the Marburg Journal of Religion in 1999, describes A Piece of Blue Sky as "the most thorough general history of Hubbard and Scientology, very bitter, but always well-researched."[13] It has been used as a source by several academic papers.[14] The Tampa Tribune-Times said that Atack's provision of extensive detail and source notes for each claim sometimes gets in the way of the story, but prevents the book from being just another bitter diatribe against Scientology.[4]

See also


  1. ^ A Piece of Blue Sky, p. iii: "It was 1950, in the early, heady days of Dianetics, soon after L. Ron Hubbard opened the doors of his first organization to the clamoring crowd. Up until then, Hubbard was known only to readers of pulp fiction, but now he had an instant best-seller with a book that promised to solve every problem of the human mind, and the cash was pouring in. Hubbard found it easy to create schemes to part his new following from their money. One of the first tasks was to arrange "grades" of membership, offering supposedly greater rewards, at increasingly higher prices. Over thirty years later, an associate wryly remembered Hubbard turning to him and confiding, no doubt with a smile, "Let's sell these people a piece of blue sky."
  2. ^ a b "Publisher Victorious on Hubbard Biography", The New York Times, May 27, 1990.
  3. ^ A Piece of Blue Sky, p. 34.
  4. ^ a b Shinkle, Kevin. "The religion that sells the sky," The Tampa Tribune-Times, October 20, 1991.
  5. ^ A Piece of Blue Sky, p. 35ff.
  6. ^ Melton, J. Gordon. "Birth of a Religion," in James R. Lewis (ed). Scientology. Oxford University Press, 2009, footnote 32, p. 33. Also see Mikael Rothstein. "His name was Xenu ... he used renegades. Aspects of Scientology's founding myth", in Lewis, 2009, p. 369, which refers to Atack as a "decades-long zealous campaigner against Scientology."
  7. ^ Harris, Daniel (July 2, 1989). "Scientology's best seller". New York Post. p. 39.
  8. ^ Hurowitz, Richard (1997). "Surviving Copyright Infringement: Fair Use of Protected Works in "Biopics"". Columbia-VLA Journal of Law & the Arts. Columbia University School of Law. 22 (2): 247–268. ISSN 1544-4848.
  9. ^ Palmer, Richard (April 3, 1994). "Cult Accused of Intimidation". The Sunday Times.; "Victims who are 'fair game'". Evening Argus. Brighton (UK). April 12, 1994. pp. 2–3.
  10. ^ Bracchi, Paul (June 10, 1994). "The Missing Word". Evening Argus. Brighton, UK. pp. 1, 4–5..
  11. ^ Court Injunction, Hodkin v. Atack, May 18, 1995, 1993 H. No.2412.
  12. ^ "Amazon.com Backs Off Book Ban", Associated Press, May 21, 1999.
  13. ^ Frenschkowski, Marco. "L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology", Marburg Journal of Religion, Volume 4, issue 1, July 1999, p. 7.
  14. ^ For examples, see Kent, Stephen A. "Scientology: Is this a Religion?", Marburg Journal of Religion, Volume 4, issue 1, July 1999; Kent, Stephen A. "The Globalization of Scientology: Influence, Control and Opposition in Transnational Markets", Religion, Volume 29, issue 2, pp. 147–169; West, Louis Jolyon. "Psychiatry and Scientology," American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting, Washington D.C., May 6, 1992.

Further reading


Abreaction (German: Abreagieren) is a psychoanalytical term for reliving an experience to purge it of its emotional excesses—a type of catharsis. Sometimes it is a method of becoming conscious of repressed traumatic events.

Buckskin Brigades

Buckskin Brigades is a Western novel written by L. Ron Hubbard, first published July 30, 1937. The work was Hubbard's first hard-covered book, and his first published novel. The next year he became a contributor to Astounding Science Fiction. Winfred Blevins wrote the introduction to the book. Some sources state that as a young man, Hubbard became a blood brother to the Piegan Blackfeet Native American tribe while living in Montana, though this claim is disputed. Hubbard incorporates historical background from the Blackfeet tribe into the book.The book was re-released by Bridge Publications, Inc. in a 1987 edition. The book was published in an audiobook format by Bridge Publications and read by actor Bruce Boxleitner, who was hired by Church of Spiritual Technology subsidiary Author Services Inc. to read Hubbard's books on tape.

David Miscavige

David Miscavige (; born April 30, 1960) is the leader of the Church of Scientology. His official title is Chairman of the Board of the Religious Technology Center (RTC), a corporation that controls the trademarks and copyrights of Dianetics and Scientology.

Miscavige was a deputy to church founder L. Ron Hubbard (a "Commodore's messenger") while he was a teenager. He rose to a leadership position by the early 1980s and was named Chairman of the Board of RTC in 1987. Official church biographies describe Miscavige as "the ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion".Since he assumed his leadership position, there have been a number of allegations made against Miscavige. These include claims of forced separation of family members, coercive fundraising practices, harassment of journalists and church critics, and humiliation of church staff members, including physical assaults upon them by Miscavige. Miscavige and church spokespersons deny the majority of these claims, often criticizing the credibility of those who bring them.


Disconnection is the severance of all ties between a Scientologist and a friend, colleague, or family member deemed to be antagonistic towards Scientology. The practice of disconnection is a form of shunning. Among Scientologists, disconnection is viewed as an important method of removing obstacles to one's spiritual growth. In some circumstances, disconnection has ended marriages and separated children from their parents. The Church of Scientology has repeatedly denied that such a policy exists, though as of February 2012 its website acknowledged the practice and described it as a human right. In the United States, the Church has tried to argue in court that disconnection is a constitutionally protected religious practice. However, this argument was rejected because the pressure put on individual Scientologists to disconnect means it is not voluntary.

Ethics (Scientology)

According to the Church of Scientology, ethics may be defined as the actions an individual takes on himself to ensure his continued survival across the dynamics. It is a personal thing. When one is ethical, it is something he does himself by his own choice.According to founder L. Ron Hubbard's teachings, Scientology ethics is predicated on the idea that there are degrees of ethical conduct.

Heber Jentzsch

Heber Carl Jentzsch (born November 30, 1935) has served as president of the Church of Scientology International since 1982.

Implant (Scientology)

In Scientology, an implant is a form of thought insertion, similar to an engram but done deliberately and with evil intent. It is "an intentional installation of fixed ideas, contra-survival to the thetan".The intention in the original engram or incident is to implant an idea or emotion or sensation, regarding some phenomenon etc. The intention in Scientology and Dianetics is to erase the compulsive or command effect of the idea, emotion, sensation, etc. so that the person can make a rational judgment and decision in the affected areas of life.Scientology practices often have to do with addressing implants prior to the current lifetime — one of the most notable is the R6 implant; but in some cases current life implants are addressed. Examples of implants according to Scientology include Aversion therapy, Electroconvulsive therapy, hypnosis, various attempts at brainwashing, and the inducing of fear or terror. Note that this is not a complete list, as many kinds of incidents can include implants as an element.

Other important implants in Scientology doctrine include the Helatrobus implants, which Hubbard claimed occurred 382 trillion years ago to 52 trillion years ago by an alien nation called the Helatrobans, who sought to restrain human minds by capturing and brainwashing thetans. These implants are said to be responsible for the concept of Heaven.

Jesus in Scientology

Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard described Scientology as "the Western Anglicized continuance of many earlier forms of wisdom", and cites the teachings of Jesus among belief systems of those "earlier forms". Jesus is recognized in Scientology as part of its "religious heritage," and "is seen as only one of many good teachers."Contradicting the Christian concept of Jesus' "atonement of mankind's sins" through his death on the cross, Hubbard states in the Volunteer Ministers Handbook that "Man is basically good, but he could not attain expression of this until now. Nobody but the individual could die for his own sins – to arrange things otherwise was to keep man in chains."

Kurt Weiland

Kurt Weiland is a native of Austria and an executive in the Church of Scientology International. He is director of external affairs for the Church of Scientology's Office of Special Affairs, and Scientology's vice president of communications. He is a member of the organization's board of directors, and handles government, legal and public affairs for Scientology. He has often represented Scientology to the press as a media spokesman. Weiland works out of the Church of Scientology's offices in Los Angeles, California.

List of Scientology security checks

In Scientology, the security check (or sec check) is an interrogation technique put into practice by founder L. Ron Hubbard in 1960. It involves an "Ethics officer" probing the thoughts, attitudes and behavior of an individual member by asking them large numbers of questions. The bulk of the questions deal with criminal or sexual activity or intentions, or other things that the interviewee might be ashamed of. The questions also probe negative thoughts that the person might have about Scientology or Hubbard. As with traditional auditing, the subject holds the electrodes of the E-meter, a simple lie-detector device that measures electrical conductivity in the human body, while they are given a series of highly probing, personal questions.Hubbard described security checking as a remedy for "unreasonable action", specifically "the compulsion or obsession to commit actions" the person feels must be kept secret. Checks are given to all Scientologists on the Bridge to Total Freedom, every six months to all Operating Thetans, according to officials, "to make sure they're using the tech correctly", and to members who are leaving staff.In a "Code of Reform" issued in 1968, Hubbard announced that he was cancelling security checks, along with the policies of Fair Game and Disconnection. However, later Scientology documents refer to the practice, and former members report that it still continues.Sec Checks are also known in the Scientology Justice system as "Integrity Processing" or "Confessional Auditing".

Pat Broeker

Pat Broeker, a high-ranking member of the Church of Scientology, was – along with his wife Ann Broeker – one of the few people in direct contact with L. Ron Hubbard as he became isolated from the public and even from Scientology during his final years.

Ronald DeWolf

Ronald Edward "Ron" DeWolf (born Lafayette Ronald Hubbard Jr.; May 7, 1934 – September 16, 1991), also known as "Nibs" Hubbard, was the eldest child of Scientology's founder L. Ron Hubbard by his first wife Margaret Louise Grubb.

DeWolf was highly critical of his father and of the Church of Scientology.

Scientologie, Wissenschaft von der Beschaffenheit und der Tauglichkeit des Wissens

Scientologie, Wissenschaft von der Beschaffenheit und der Tauglichkeit des Wissens (Scientology: Science of the Constitution and Usefulness of Knowledge) is a 1934 book published by Anastasius Nordenholz, in which he defines the term "Scientologie" or "Eidologie" as a science of knowing or knowledge and discusses the philosophical implications of the concept.

The book has been cited by some as a possible source of inspiration for L. Ron Hubbard and his better-known conception of Scientology, though this interpretation is disputed.

Scientology Justice

The Scientology Justice system is the Church of Scientology's internal means of assessing and dealing with violations of their code of ethics. These violations include those outside the Church as well as within it.

The Scientology Handbook, a compilation of texts by founder L. Ron Hubbard, says "When the individual fails to put in his own ethics, the group takes action against him and this is called justice" and also notes that "Man cannot be trusted with justice. The truth is, man cannot really be trusted with 'punishment'."

Sea Org

The Sea Organization (Sea Org) is a Scientology organization, which the Church of Scientology describes as a "fraternal religious order, comprising the church's most dedicated members". All Scientology management organizations are controlled exclusively by members of the Sea Org. David Miscavige, the de facto leader of Scientology, is the highest-ranking Sea Org officer, holding the rank of captain.

The Sea Org has been described as a paramilitary organization and as a private naval force, having operated several vessels in its past and displaying a maritime tradition. Some ex-members and scholars have described the Sea Org as a totalitarian organization marked by intensive surveillance and a lack of freedom. The Sea Org has also been compared to a monastic organization.In a 1992 memorandum by the Church of Scientology International, the following information was provided to the Internal Revenue Service with regards to nature of the Sea Org:

[the Sea Org] does not have an ecclesiastical organizing board or command channels chart or secular existence such as an incorporated or unincorporated association. ... Although there is no such "organization" as the Sea Organization, the term Sea Org has a colloquial usage which implies that there is. There are general recruitment posters and literature for "The Sea Org" which implies that people will be employed by the Sea Org when in reality they will join, making the billion year commitment, at some church that is staffed by Sea Org members and become employees of that church corporation. ... The Sea Org exists as a spiritual commitment that is factually beyond the full understanding of the Service or any other but a trained and audited Scientologist.

The Sea Org was established on August 12, 1967 by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Dianetics and Scientology, initially on board four ships, the Diana, the Athena, the Apollo, and the Excalibur. The Apollo served as the flag ship of the Sea Org.In 1971, the Sea Org assumed responsibility for the ecclesiastical development of the church, and in particular the delivery of the upper levels of its auditing and training, known as the Operating Thetan or "OT" levels. In 1981, under the aegis of the Commodore's Messenger Organization led by David Miscavige, the Sea Org dissolved the Guardian's Office (GO) and assumed full responsibility for the international management of the Church, later reassigning the duties of the GO to the Office of Special Affairs in 1983 during the corporate restructuring of the Church.It moved to land-based organizations in 1975, though maritime customs persist, with many members wearing naval-style uniforms and addressing both male and female officers as "sir." In 1985, the church purchased a 440-foot (130 m) motor vessel, the Freewinds, which docks in Curaçao in the southern Caribbean and is used as a religious retreat and training center, staffed entirely by Sea Org members. Sea Org members make a lifetime commitment to Scientology by signing a billion-year contract that is officially described as a symbolic pledge. In exchange, members are given free room and board, and a small weekly allowance. Sea Org members agree to strict codes of discipline, such as disavowing premarital sex, working long hours (on average at least 100 hours per week) and living in communal housing, referred to as "berthings". They are allowed to marry, but must relinquish their membership if they have or want to raise children.

The Scandal of Scientology

The Scandal of Scientology is a critical exposé book about the Church of Scientology, written by Paulette Cooper and published by Tower Publications, in 1971.

In 2007, Cooper wrote about the events that occurred as a result of her original publication of an article called "The Scandal of Scientology" in Queen, in 1968. In the article "The Scandal of the Scandal of Scientology," in Byline, Cooper commented on her motivation for writing the book: "I had a master's degree in psychology and had studied comparative religion at Harvard for a summer and what I learned during my research about the group founded by L. Ron Hubbard was both fascinating and frightening. The story cried out to be told."


In Scientology, the concept of the thetan () is similar to the concept of self, or the spirit or soul as found in several belief systems. The term is derived from the Greek letter Θ, theta, which in Scientology beliefs represents "the source of life, or life itself." In Scientology it is believed that it is the thetan, not the central nervous system, which commands the body through communication points.Thetans have been described in the Applied Religious Philosophy of Scientology in a number of ways.

A "thetan is an immortal spiritual being; the human soul."

"The being who is the individual and who handles and lives in the body."

"A thetan is not a thing, a thetan is the creator of things."

A thetan is "the person himself—not his body or his name, the physical universe, his mind, or anything else; that which is aware of being aware; the identity which is the individual. The thetan is most familiar to one and all as you."According to Scientology, the concept for the thetan was first discovered in the early 1950s by L. Ron Hubbard, drawing on reports by Dianetics practitioners, who in session, found clients came up with descriptions of past-life experiences. Although the term is comparable to a soul, a thetan can be incarnated many times over lifetimes. An important goal in Scientology is to develop a greater awareness and higher levels of ability to operate in the physical universe as an Operating Thetan.

Training routines (Scientology)

The training routines (TR) are introductory services used in the Church of Scientology

as well as affiliated programs Narconon, Criminon and WISE. The church describes them as a way of learning to communicate effectively and to control situations. Some critics and former Scientologists claim the training routines have a strong hypnotic effect, causing hallucinations and an out-of-body experience known as exteriorization.Training routines are used in the Narconon program to overcome influences that Scientology theory considers to be relevant to drug use and recidivism. The church claims that they have achieved a success rate of about 80 percent, but critics say that rates in reality are lower than reported.

USS YP-422

USS YP-422 was a United States Navy yard patrol (YP) boat that served the United States Navy in World War II from 1942 to 1943. Built in 1941 as the fishing trawler Mist, she was acquired by the US Navy in June 1942 and was converted for naval use by George Lawley & Son of Neponset, Massachusetts. She was commissioned on 28 July 1942 and was put into service to patrol the waters around the Boston Navy Yard. The vessel was lightly armed with a 3-inch gun and two .30 caliber machine guns.

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