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THE FASCINATING STORY OF THE TECH

Issue 4

“Synergetically Yours”
(THE TRUE STORY OF DON PURCELL)
by Art Coulter
(An article appeared on “The Aberree” in November 1961 )

T
HE PURPOSE of this article is to tell the true blow to the Dianetic cause - nor was it helped by the fact
story of Don Purcell and his valiant effort to that previously there had been a rumor to the effect that
place Dianetics on an ethical, responsible Sara was a "clear". Added to this was a considerable
basis. Much of the story is known to "old- amount of internal dissension, culminating in the
timers", but the full story is known to few - and since his withdrawal of five of the seven original members of the
death, Don has been subjected to a resumption of the un- Board of Directors. These included John W. Campbell
fair and unkind attacks that characterized the period Jr., and Dr. J. A. Winter, whose enthusiastic
1952-1954. Don and I became very close friends during indorsements had played a major role in the great
this period, and he confided to me many things that were interest Dianetics attracted.
never made public, so I was acutely aware of the unjust
Don Purcell was at his best when the going was
treatment he received.
tough; and he proved it on this occasion. In a letter sent
Nowadays, Scientologists are full of talk about to friends dated May 21, 1952, he tells of it in his own
"overts", "withholds", and "confrontations". Their words words:
and actions would be more credible if it were not for the
"We have received a great many letters lately
many overts and withholds that were committed against
requesting us to answer the accusations that have been
Don Purcell - and which have recently been resumed. In
made by L. Ron Hubbard and James Elliott against
the face of so monstrous an injustice, they stand
myself and the rest of the Foundation personnel. This
convicted of rank hypocrisy.
letter is an answer to these accusations.
Don's outstanding trait, to me, was his sincerity. He
"In July of 1950, I took the professional course in
was deeply devoted to the betterment of man, and
Elizabeth, N. J. By the time I had finished the course, I
Dianetics was to him a cause to which he gave freely and
knew that Dianetics offered a greater understanding of
without stint. His motivation in working for Dianetics
mind than any other field of investigation in existence.
was deeply idealistic and altruistic. When he first went
Mind had been a subject of prime interest and study to
into Dianetics he was a moderately wealthy man; to it he
me for about 20 years.
gave most of that wealth in an effort to keep Dianetics
going. When these efforts met only vituperation and "While at Elizabeth, I determined to do all I could to
abuse, and he realized that unity could not otherwise be assist the advance of Dianetics. This was a strong
achieved, he gave the Dianetic Foundation back to its postulate. Just before I left Elizabeth I asked Ron how I
founder, with no strings attached. could best serve Dianetics ... He told me to go home to
Kansas for the time being and develop as much local
But let us tell the story from the beginning.
interest as possible....
The Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation, after an
"When things got rough within the Foundation late in
auspicious start, ran into serious trouble in late 1950 and
1950, we offered assistance. Our offer was accepted and
1951. Perhaps owing to over-enthusiasm, the Foundation
the Foundation moved to Wichita (in the Spring of
found itself deeply in debt - I believe in excess of
1951.--A.C.).
$100,000. These were business obligations - bills due for
goods and services rendered - not a diabolical plot by "Ron was in Havana, Cuba, at the time. He was in
criminals and Communists. Then, on April 24,1951, the bad physical condition and quite sure that he didn't have
United Press broke the story of Sara Hubbard's divorce a friend in the world except me. He had left Los Angeles
action, in which she charged that "competent medical and gone to Havana because he had been told that
advisers" had found her husband "hopelessly insane", psychiatrists had been hired who would examine him
and in need of psychiatric observation. These charges and adjudge him insane and have him committed to an
were not true, but the bad publicity was a damaging institution.
"I finally convinced Ron that I could protect him as a "We prepared to file in bankruptcy and Jean Moore
guest in our home until June. He arrived here on April sent Ron immediate notice of the fact ... I received a
14. We gave Ron good present-time and helped restore telegram from Ron informing me that he was suing me
his confidence in people. Ron, Margaret (Mrs. Purcell), for one million dollars ...
and I would sit up until 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning,
"I am not trying to destroy Dianetics or Ron
discussing Dianetics. When Ron's mind is working on
Hubbard. I am not prepared to spend $500,000 for this
this subject, he has no equal.
purpose. All my liquid assets have already been spent
"As Ron's self-confidence returned, he began to during the past year trying to build the Foundation, in
develop more and more ambitious schemes to rapidly spite of Ron Hubbard's talent for spending money on
advance Dianetics. In fact, he wanted to advance it more wild schemes. I paid the court approximately $6,000 for
rapidly than the society would accept it. I was chided the Foundation and all its assets, copyrights, etc., in
when I tried to inject conservatism in these plans. order to protect the investment of cash and work that
had been previously put into these things. I did not
"The old creditors -from New Jersey were hounding
receive $500,000 from the American Medical
us with lawsuits.... I suggested we put the old
Association to put the Foundation into bankruptcy as
Foundation in bankruptcy so we would have an
Ron claims I did. None of the other accusations made by
opportunity to rebuild without the pressure of litigation.
Ron or Jim Elliott are true. Ron told me in a recent
Ron would not agree to such strategy. He preferred to
telephone conversation he made these accusations only
have me pay these creditors off as the occasion arose.
for the purpose of enlisting public opinion on his side
"Finally I arrived at the conclusion that we just had ......
to adjust our spending to our income. My available cash
For the next two years, Don worked long and hard on
surplus was about gone. After informing Ron of this fact,
behalf of the Foundation, supporting its activities at a
things were not the same between us. He apparently did
loss, doing everything he could to build it up into a
not believe there was an end to my cash and that I was
reputable and socially acceptable institution. On advice
just plowing his schemes under by refusing to finance
of his lawyers, he filed countersuit against Mr. Hubbard;
them.
but this was purely defensive and he several times
"Ron decided acute measures were called for to raise assured me he would gladly have dropped his suit had
cash and initiated his Allied Scientists of the World Mr. Hubbard done the same. Again and again he tried to
scheme. persuade Mr. Hubbard to rejoin the Foundation.
"It was a money raising scheme launched One can question Don's judgment in this matter, and
independently by Ron from Denver, Colo. Ron solicited I, for one, did. on several occasions I suggested that he
funds thru the mails from many scientists. including try to terminate the struggle and let Mr. Hubbard have
scientists working on secret Government projects. The the Foundation back again. But Don believed in
Department of Justice became very much interested in Dianetics, and he continued to hope that some day he
his activities and took a dim view of the whole thing. could induce Mr. Hubbard to return.
Ardent work on the part of the Foundation staff and
As time went on, it became increasingly clear that
particularly on the part of Jean Moore finally got the
this was not going to happen. Finally, in August. 1954,
mess straightened out.
Don gave the Foundation and all its assets back to Mr.
"Our creditors were still pressing hard and finally Hubbard after having spent over $100,000 on its behalf.
threatened a liquidating receivership for the Foundation.
Don died of cancer in June, 1959. In Hubbard's
To escape this litigation, Ron quit the Foundation. He
REALITY (December, 1959), there appeared a
released all his interest in the Foundation, implied and
statement, alleging: "A millionaire in the U.S. once tried
contractual, gave all his stock back to the Foundation,
to seize all of Dianetics, but the effort failed. And, sad to
and resigned. Ron did this to set up a screen between
tell, the millionaire died the other day."
himself and the creditors. From his subsequent actions,
it seems that his reasons were more deeply seated than The students in Scientology aren't the only ones with
he would have us believe. "overts" that should be "run out".

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