A Tribute to Mary Sue Hubbard
Mary Sue Hubbard Lafayette Ron Hubbard

A TRIBUTE TO MARY SUE HUBBARD

Wife of L. Ron Hubbard

Remembered with Respect and Honor


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Mary Sue Hubbard Quote
"...To my dear husband, auditor, teacher and our Founder, go my thanks and acknowledgement for having given the most precious gifts of Freedom and true Beingness to me and my fellow Man. Without him, none of this would have been possible; and so to Ron goes my everlasting gratitude for having provided for all of us the Road to Clear."

Friendly Recollections of Mary Sue Hubbard

By

Ken Urquhart

Reproduced courtesy of IVY Magazine and grateful acknowledgement is made to Ken Urquhart and to Antony Philips of IVY for permission to reproduce these reflections about the First Lady of Scientology.

I FIRST SET EYES on Mary Sue Hubbard in 1958 or thereabouts. LRH was to give a public lecture in London near the then HASI, one evening in summertime. The lecture hall was in a building that accommodated Indian or Pakistani students, and was in the building's lower floor. The entrance to the hall was at the bottom of a graceful, open, spiral staircase. I was going down this staircase to enter the hall. The stairs were clear except for one couple who were about half-way down and descending. In those days, my normal treatment of stairs was to gallop down two steps or more at a time, or, if really restraining myself, to trip down quickly and lightly, one step at a time. Feeling a little restrained, as everyone at the bottom of the stairs was peering upwards, I tripped down lightly. As I approached the couple, something of the strength and power emanating from the well-built and thick-set frame of the man I was about to pass told me that this must be LRH himself, and the slight, almost weightless-seeming creature by his side had to be MSH.

To have stopped my motion down the staircase would have attracted more attention to me than my simple, if not very polite, continued rush. So I went quickly by them (there was plenty of room) and joined the small crowd at the bottom gaping up at the illustrious couple. He was beaming, she smiled graciously, and with all her dignity there was a hint of impishness ready for a bit of fun.

As with many women, MSH presented more than one enigma. She had hair of a very plain color, a dull lightish brown or darkish blonde, but plenty of it, and it grew on her head in rather unusual way. The hair that fell to the sides and back of her head was fairly straight but ended in curls; from the top of her head the hair seemed to grow forward in a reverse bouffant style (so to speak) and ended in a riot of curls on and above her forehead. At first sight, it was a distinctly `homey', unsophisticated style yet there was something about the way she carried herself that made it look quite regal. Someone told me that she once had changed the style of her hair but LRH had her change it right back, and she never changed it again. It always gave me a slight impression of belonging to a bygone age. As I said, she was slight of build, not tall but not noticeably short in stature. She gave an impression of weighing very little. I never saw her in any figure-hugging dress; her shirts and blouses were always loose. Her face was overall narrow and long; her nose was fairly prominent, uneven, and sharply-defined, her lips rather tightly drawn even when relaxed. Her distinguishing features were the set of her mouth, chin, and jaw, the piercing blue of her eyes, the sharpness of her gaze, and the strength of her brow. They all spoke very loudly of a very strong will and of a deep capacity for determination and persistence.

Her smile could dispel all fear of her as a hostile eminence. Unforced, her smile had an engaging simplicity and natural lightness (as have most people's natural smiles, or something similar). It revealed uneven teeth, the two front teeth being crossed. The smile was generally a little lop-sided and that gave it added charm. When amused, her face would light up, her eyes glow radiantly, and the flesh wrinkle beguilingly.

My next sighting of MSH was at the party given at SH Manor for the conclusion of the first (and last) SH ACC. This must have been in 1960. We all assembled and sat in the Monkey Room at the Manor, had refreshments, and talked. Mary Sue came into the room, very attractively dressed in a voluminous white blouse, dark blue flared skirt which came well below the knees, and high heels. She looked extremely efficient, very much in control, and happy in what she was doing. She was handling some administrative and perhaps financial matter with a couple in the room not far from where I was sitting. Her communication with the couple was energetic, focused, clear, and certain, with plenty of give-and-take, and much smiling and laughter. As I recall, she finished her business with them and then left the room without returning. I found her very attractive as a person but more than a little daunting; I was not at all focused while she seemed to be all fierce focus.

In my third encounter with Mary Sue Hubbard, things were very different. I had just begun my tenure as butler in the Hubbard household. I'd had my interview with Hubbard's secretary, Irene Thrupp (who had responsibility for the household) and with LRH. To this day, I don't know why MSH introduced herself to me in the way she did, and I never asked her about it. Looking at it now, she may have felt slighted in that she had not had a chance to look me over before I'd arrived and put myself in a position to affect her children. For this, one could not blame her if it were so. Again, she might have looked into my background and found something she didn't like. Anyway, here we were in the big kitchen of SH Manor, alone, and seemingly divided by an enormous gulf.

Getting to know MSH at SH

I think I arrived at SH on a Friday or Saturday. In my first full day there, one of the domestic staff, Doris, who had been helping in the kitchen, did most of the work in getting the children's breakfast and lunch (the new cook was to arrive a week later and I was to cook for that week as well as being butler). In the afternoon, Doris saw to the Hubbards' breakfast; LRH kept a late schedule and MSH followed him. After this breakfast, Doris left and I was on my own. I saw that for dinner that night MSH had called for fillet steak. As I was wondering how I'd find out what were their tastes in steak, MSH suddenly came into the kitchen and proceeded to walk here and there but taking no notice of me whatever. I felt very strange, and watched her in some surprise, as you might imagine. She began preparing the steaks and some frozen vegetables to go with them.

To my amazement, she covered the bottom of a heavy frying-pan with salt, heated the pan and put the steaks in them. Then she spoke to me, tersely, telling me how long to cook the steaks on each side, and then to bring them into the Winter Garden, the room they used as a dining room.

I followed her instructions and served the steaks. They were both seated at the table. As I entered, MSH had her back to me. LRH was to her right and at a right angle to her line of vision. I could therefore see his face - and it was anything but welcoming and happy. I couldn't afford to let that worry me, however, having a job to do. I served the steaks, waited a moment for further instructions and since none came, left the room. I don't think anyone said a word, although I think LRH gave me a nervous smile as though wondering what on earth this lunatic suddenly in the midst of his family might do next.

When I returned, he had eaten very little of his steak. As soon as he saw me, he told me, very plaintively, as though he'd been most unjustifiably abused and disappointed, that his steak was too salty. Without hesitating, Mary Sue immediately told him that it was her fault, that she had started the cooking of the steaks in that way - that she thought he liked his steak cooked - and that I had simply followed her instructions. He accepted this, silently. I removed the plates, expecting some instruction or action from MSH to put something else in front of him, but none came. I must have served a dessert but can't recall it. Her action in telling him about the steak as soon as he brought it up immediately inspired some respect in me (as distinct from supposed respect for what I imagined she might be) and lead me to forgive her for the treatment she'd given me earlier. At the same time, I wondered how or why she had said nothing during the meal when she saw he was not eating his steak.

Despite that rocky start, she and I came to have a good relationship at SH, not that I always behaved or performed as she considered I should. But I was definitely not on her enemies list (if she ever called it that). I don't think she was too impressed with the performance of the woman who cleaned the children's quarters and who generally looked after them during the day. This person was my responsibility but I have to confess I was always so busy taking care of LRH's immediate needs and then of MSH's as he ordered me to, I paid too little attention to how this lady, Ruth, swept under the children's beds. One day, MSH got on her hands and knees to scrub the floors in the four children's bedrooms. I felt very bad and embarrassed that she was doing it but had my hands so full I couldn't go to her aid (and what a lame excuse that is). She never said anything to me about it, although I felt her disapproval) and she must also have not told LRH about it - he most certainly would have reproached me if he'd known about it.

An example of MSH's ability to take command of a situation occurred when Vixie, her Welsh Corgi pet dog, was out with the children in the drive just in front of the house. I was in or near the kitchen. Suddenly, the four children were screaming. Vixie had been hit by a car - or so they thought - and the next thing was that the four of them were huddled in a corner of the nursery dining room (down some steps from the kitchen, by the back door to the Manor), still screaming over Vixie, who shook in the corner. I rushed into the room and stood for a moment, nonplussed at the prospect of dealing with the four hysterical children, something completely beyond my experience. While I was searching for an answer, MSH swept into the room and had the children quiet as sleeping doves in two ticks flat. She checked Vixie out and found she was not hurt. I think there was a bruise or two. MSH had entered the room and without slowing her motion had summed up the situation, had gone straight to the heart of the matter, and established order without raising voice or hand. Well, yes, she was in her own home and with her own children; even so, the control was instant and effective.

On Saturday afternoons, during the year, Mary Sue would drive the children into East Grinstead for some shopping and goodies at some cafe, probably Forte's. But at Christmas time, I would clean up after the family celebration around the tree, when the presents were opened. There were always mounds of nicely-wrapped boxes for all the children to open. MSH wrapped every one herself. Each child would leave a neat stack of opened gifts in the drawing room while the family were off somewhere so I could clean up. Of course, I never inspected any of the piles, but one could easily see that a large part of each stack consisted of underwear, socks, shoes, shirts, dresses, and so on. It seemed just a little strange firstly that they would go to town every Saturday and not buy all they needed of those things, and secondly, to buy so much of it all at once and make Christmas presents out of them. But that was her way, and I could see that it suited everybody to do it her way, and that was fine with me.

In November, or thereabouts, LRH had a merchant bring him racks of women's clothing and they must have been all of MSH's size. LRH would select what he wanted, and the items he selected would in due course become MSH's wardrobe for the next year.

The Hubbards Together

At Saint Hill Manor, the Hubbards had separate bedrooms. Quite often, as I came up the stairs in answer to his afternoon call that he was getting up, Mary Sue would come out of his room dressed in white flimsy nightgown and robe, and trip lightly across the landing on the way to her own room on the same floor. Later in the day, as I served breakfast to LRH in his room, she would join him, fully dressed, and they would have their meal together. In the evening they had dinner together with coffee afterwards in the drawing room where the children joined them. They usually watched some television. Vixie, Mary Sue's corgi, was always there too. I remember one evening coming through the dimly-lit drawing room after clearing the dinner table. I had a full tray in my hands. As I said `Goodnight' first to LRH and then to MSH, I unsuspectingly ran into Vixie who was lying on the carpet in my path. Even had I been paying attention I might well have missed her as she blended so well with the colors of the rug in the poor light. I kicked her right in the midriff in the middle of my long stride. I hardly felt the impact but I saw the dog rolling over and over in front of me, and what had happened was quite obvious. I had kicked MSH's dog. Everybody was silent for a moment, and I waited for the storm to break around my head. Vixie got up and immediately became the centre of attention. She looked a little sheepish, looked at me, and wagged her tail as she came towards me. She accepted my apology. Everybody laughed, and all was well.

Ron, Mary Sue & family As I look back at my term of about eighteen months in the Hubbard household, I think that MSH and I established quite a good relationship without ever becoming intimate or `friendly'. She never (that I know of) interfered with my area of responsibility nor attacked me in any way. She seemed to come to accept me as one of her household, and to some slight degree, as one of the family circle. I always had respect for her, and I never had the temptation to tangle with any of her powers. There was always enough character about her to lead me to become fond of her, though from some distance. We had one essential difference she was fully committed to her husband and his cause, while I felt a commitment without ever fully sacrificing my independence, a viewpoint that a woman who worked for her husband in those days could not maintain, especially when the husband was the leader of her group.

Mary Sue had friends in the Saint Hill community but none of them, so far as I saw, played any important role in her life. She didn't really have any life apart from her husband, her family, and her work. The one time a friend of hers disrupted her routine as Ms Hubbard that I witnessed was when MSH was talking to Mary Sheldon on the terrace outside the Winter Garden. LRH was already at the table, waiting for me to serve the first course, which I could not do as MSH was not seated. LRH called her, rather imperiously: `Suzie!' The two woman continued their conversation. He called again, three or perhaps four times, getting grumpier and louder. The conversation came to its own close. MSH came in happily, sat down, and smiled cheerfully. I don't think she knew or cared how many minutes had ticked away while she enjoyed her intense chat with her buddy. The grumpiness to her right had no effect on her at all, and I think she was quite right in that.

Mary Sue was naturally very controlling of her environment as regards her own responsibilities. She took it upon herself to ensure that everything around her for which she was accountable should be in the best possible condition. She did not do it for praise or admiration, or to be right, but because it felt right to her that it be so. On the whole, I think she made an excellent mother despite working through the night with her husband. I recall no thought of mine that the children might appear to feel neglected or abused in any way. I'm sure that they would have preferred to have their mother start their day and be at hand all morning and afternoon. But none of them showed through illness or bad behavior, or mopery-dopery, any real dissatisfaction with their daily lives. On the contrary, they seemed to enjoy their classes with the governess, and to be very happy playing their games together on the extensive lawns and in the shrubberies around the Manor.

Neither did I ever see any indication that the Hubbard marriage was at all unstable. They did not display any unusual affection for each other, to my observation. He would call her `Doll', or `Honey', and she called him `Sugar'. They voiced these salutations in fairly ordinary, very composed, tones and I took from this that they had a high regard and fondness for each other that did not call for any special rituals to reinforce it.

She once got quite annoyed with him before me. I returned to the Winter Garden in the course of serving dinner. They had been discussing something to do with the PE Course. When I entered the room he was doing a TR3 on her. He was asking her, `What is the PE Course?' and was not getting the answer he wanted. Instead of clarifying his question, and finding out what her difficulty was, he simply repeated his question over and over. When I joined them, he had just given her the question again, and she exploded. `I don't know! I don't know what you are asking for. I don't know what it is. I don't know. I don't know!' He remained silent while I was in the room.

Other conversations between them that I remember from those moments while I came and went from their dining table: One time he was telling her that people would attack those around a leader, thinking it might be easier to get away with that, only because they didn't have the courage to attack the leader himself. Another time, he just told her that the leader would be hardest on the #2 of the group than on anyone else within the group. Each time, she was subdued, and I got the impression that he was helping her deal with an upset.

There was one time I really riled her, quite unintentionally, and it was not me that she got upset with. It was on the day she and LRH were to leave together for a holiday in Spain. She had been trying to get a young fellow named Chris to find better storage space for a large number of empty e-meter boxes stacked in the passage in the Manor basement. I knew nothing of this. But I was charged with spring-cleaning and redecorating their respective bedrooms, and getting new, double-glazed windows put in. My first task would be to remove all knick-knacks and other items from cabinets, shelves, drawers, and so on. I was looking for a good way to keep everything in order in such a way that I could put it all back in its rightful place. When I spotted the empty e-meter boxes in the basement I had the perfect solution. Of course I wanted to start filling and labeling the boxes just as soon as they got into their car and were driven off to the airport. On the morning of their departure, before either was up, I quietly stacked up some of the boxes outside her bedroom and some outside his. They got up and started getting themselves ready. I was in his room; he was in his bath just off that room. To my great surprise, Mary Sue burst into the room, something she'd never done before. She rushed over to the bathroom door, sat down on the step leading up to it. Shaking with fury, informed her husband loudly that that Chris had had the unbelievable audacity to put his empty boxes right outside her bedroom door. To forestall any further fuss and trauma, I jumped into the conversation and explained what I'd done and why. LRH got the idea at once, and quietly reassured her. She returned to her suitcases somewhat pacified, but still clearly harboring deep suspicions about that Chris. Anyway, my scheme worked perfectly well, and I didn't hear one word from Chris about his empty boxes. We got the windows and the redecorating done somehow. I wanted to hire a professional to do the windows but Herbie Parkhouse, who signed the checks, insisted on dragging a student off the SHSBC who just happened to be a carpenter. We managed. I spent a few weeks trying to match the wallpaper in her bedroom until I realized that the color of her wallpaper had faded markedly over the years and that I had actually found its match on my first trip to London in search of it. This taught me a lesson I have never forgotten, and it has been of no use to me whatsoever.

John Henry, Hubbard's Cook

The other domestic staff at Saint Hill were not scientologists. All of those who served over time adored MSH. One cook that I employed, John Henry, was so attached to her, and, by extension, to LRH, that he followed them on to the ship and served them there for some years until he left to return to his home, St. Helena.

By that time, I was on the ship myself, and was a Commodore's Staff Aide. All the staff aides had dinner at 6.30 p.m. with LRH and MSH at a table in the A Deck Lounge. John Henry cooked for all of us. The table usually was friendly, although there were always undercurrents of political jockeying either for personal favor, or to bring disfavor to another aide by bringing up something about the other Aide's area of responsibility that reflected poorly on the receiving Aide. My responsibility included the ship's Engine Room. We could all hear the hum of the generator down there. If LRH himself didn't listen intently for a moment to the comment that the generator was running rough (a terrible charge), another Aide would be sure to do it for him. Likewise, John Henry was one of my responsibilities, he being in the Personal Household under me. If anyone could denigrate the food, it was an effective blow against me. An anecdote closely involving Mary Sue, or CS-G as she had become by that time, a story about a meal at that table amidst Staff Aides some of whom were eager to snipe at another, occurs to me. Although Mary Sue rather enjoyed the cut-and-thrust of the Aides' endeavors to do each other down, and would laugh, not unkindly, at the discomfiture of the victim when the blow was effective, she never herself, that I recall, spoke an unkind word at the table. To tell the truth, most of the Aides either refrained or reluctantly joined in with the sniping.

Mary Sue herself gave me a clue as to how to protect myself at that table. She remarked one day during dinner that she always watched my face when I started eating as she could tell from it if the food was good or not. I simply smiled, but thenceforth never forgot not to let my face reveal if I didn't like a dish. Shortly after that, John Henry served us veal chops in batter and breadcrumbs. The chops were thin, but good. I finished the first one. As I began the second, something made me wonder how well cooked was the under-surface of the chop. I started to turn it over but stopped as soon as I saw something black stuck to the bottom of the chop. I looked more closely, but (I hoped) nonchalantly, and was horrified to see that cooked into the batter were two fried cockroaches. I remembered to show no reaction, thanks to Mary Sue's alert about her keen eye. But not only that, nothing on earth would have induced me to reveal to anyone at that table that I had two cockroaches on my plate. The result would have been instant hysterical disgust, refusal to eat another morsel, and insistent demands that I punish this loyal and affectionate servant remorselessly. Or so I thought. I simply didn't eat the second chop and nobody seemed to notice. I couldn't say a word to Janet, the Commodore's Steward, as she worked around the table. After the meal, I quite forgot to say anything to anybody about the unwelcome addition to my dinner or about the terrible fate for John Henry that I had forestalled.

Just after John Henry left the ship, Mary Sue asked the collected aides if they had given him a tip. None of us had. Mary Sue scolded us for our meanness.

Mary Sue as Administrator at Saint Hill

I have skipped ahead of the chronological sequence, in dealing with memories connected with John Henry and his time with the Hubbards. I have left out the period I spent at SH on admin posts while LRH was away or had finally left. At one time I was Dir. Comm SH and had a desk in the Monkey Room. LRH had been away again, and had sent me a postcard. Other people had sent me postcards. I had taped them all to the wooden barrier (erected at LRH's order to protect the murals) by my desk. Shortly after LRH had returned to SH once more, MSH marched into the Monkey Room, clipboard at the ready, marched up to my desk, tore the postcards off one by one and very noisily, in a very marked manner. I don't recall what she did with the postcards but they were definitely not approved of. She marched out of the room as silently and as coldly as she had entered. While the action certainly left me unlikely to repeat the experience (her intention, no doubt), it detracted from rather than added to my respect for her. She had revealed a side of her character that was immature and which misunderstood the nature and use of power. I wondered if LRH had upset her by showing her a similar side of his character by making her feel bad that she hadn't already spotted and removed the offensive but entirely innocent images. Not to make her wrong for her action: I came across, much later, a very old policy forbidding the taping of postcards.

Two third-hand accounts of interactions with MSH illustrate more of what it was like as an administrator at that time. I remember Herbie Parkhouse, who was either Dissem Sec SH or Org Exec Sec SH, laughingly telling another in my presence how he'd been answering MSH's questions on the phone. She interrupted an answer from him by saying, peremptorily, `Herbie, stop pulling the wool!' It amused him greatly, presumably because he had been trying to pull the wool over her eyes and she had got the better of him. Then, soon after the 1965 HCO Policy Letter came out about Suppressive Persons, Monica Quirino, who was either HCO Area Sec SH or HCO Exec Sec SH, and a close associate of MSH's, reported that she had gone to MSH's office upstairs in the Manor, and found her seemingly desperate. Monica soon found out that MSH had convinced herself that she was herself a Suppressive Person. And she was sure that when Ron returned to SH, as he was expected to do in a few days' time, he would declare her and she would have to leave her family and SH. Monica said that she laughed and showed `Suzie' the line in the PL which says that if you think you are SP you are not. This seemed to restore MSH's faith in herself. Nobody at SH would ever have dreamed that Ron would declare her SP, except perhaps a few to whom she had shown her immature side (as she did to me) very hurtfully. But I think that part of her softened greatly as she aged.

I heard, again from Monica, that MSH appreciated greatly a report from me that corrected a figure I had sent her, MSH, when I was Director of Income SH. I gathered from Monica that MSH considered me a stickler for accuracy and uprightness. That was very nice in its way, but it was not at all how I saw myself. I didn't argue the point.

The one other exchange I had with her that I recall from this period towards the end of her time at SH occurred when she had to go into hospital to have her appendix removed. She was to be in hospital for a few days and then at home in bed for a while. A few months before that, I had visited the neighboring town of Tunbridge Wells. Wandering about there, I had come across a small secondhand bookshop on a quiet street that climbed up a steep hill. Never able to resist such places, I went in. As I browsed, I came across a shelf of P.G.Wodehouse novels in their bright red covers. Many of them I hadn't read or heard of before. They were very cheap, and I was very delighted, as I really enjoyed these silly tales about silly aristocratic people. I had found out that MSH was also a great fan of P.G.Wodehouse. By the time she went into hospital, I had not told her of my find, as I rather suspected that any of these books borrowed would become a book seen no more. But I couldn't withhold them once she was confined to her bed, and I sent them up to her through her then secretary, Corrie Ellis, a devoted South African woman (who followed MSH to the ship, became her Steward there, and died on the ship around 1970). Mary Sue sent me a very happy little note to acknowledge receipt of the books. Some weeks later, Corrie brought me four or five of the books back. There were at least six or seven more that I never saw again. Ah, well: such is the price we pay for basking in the celebrity's glow.

On the Ship

In November, 1968, when I was HCO Exec Sec WW, LRH told a Sea Org Mission to WW to send me to Flag, quietly. He meant that my departure should be low-key so as not to destabilize WW or SH in any way. I didn't know that he meant that, and couldn't for the life of me figure out why I had to go `quietly'. In British police novels, if the just-arrested suspect goes meekly to the police station, he is said to 'go quietly'. I had no intention of joining the Sea Org or of being on the ship. I suspected I was to be keelhauled and sent back, soaking wet. At the ship, in Corfu, the crew welcomed me as a new recruit. I didn't disagree with anything. I soon bumped into MSH. She was very happy to see me partly because I had brought to the ship, at her request, some British bacon. She seemed to think that I had arrived to stay for good. Not long after that, I was in the B Deck dining room when she entered and sat at a table across the room. Vixie was with her. I didn't bring myself to her attention, but Vixie did. The dog must have picked up my scent and suddenly realized that an old friend was aboard. I heard the patter of her paws on the linoleum floor as she scampered towards me. We had a very friendly reunion. Mary Sue, who always paid attention to Vixie's likes and dislikes of people (she said the dog was an Ethics Officer) was duly impressed. Mary Sue was CS-G (`G' for Guardian) when I came on to the ship and soon became also the Controller. I had very little to do with her until I became CS-7 and then LRH Personal Communicator. As such, I handled all her written submissions and reports to LRH. Much passed between them verbally that I was not privy to. This was expected: I was responsible for LRH's comm. lines but had no executive responsibility at all with regard to MSH's lines.

When I became CS-7, I inherited a log of LRH orders. The log and the entries were very inadequate. I supposed this was due to pressure of work; around LRH there was rarely time for admin. I determined to improve the log but of course had a hard time finding the chance to do it. Before I could, MSH asked to see the log. She returned it via her communicator with a very scathing comment. There was nothing I could do. I did eventually get it in order, but spent no time in telling her about it.

There were few informal encounters with her. She was devoted to her work and had a very heavy load. Often, we other aides would meet in the wee hours in the B deck dining room for a snack, and sometimes MSH would join us, and be very cozy and friendly. On one occasion when she did, I was late for some reason and on that night she made a particular show of making me welcome and comfortable, and ensuring that I had something to eat. I don't remember what event triggered this. At another of these informal meetings, she, seated at the far end of the table, suddenly called down to me at the other end, `Ken, have you ever been in the Tower of London?' I replied, `Yes, for fifteen years'. She was a little bit annoyed by my smartie-pants answer, and said, `No, I mean in this lifetime?' So I said, Yes, I had visited there and found it very uncomfortable except that I really enjoyed seeing the crown jewels. She continued her conversation at her end of the table.

One night, she complained bitterly to LRH that she had gone to my desk in my absence looking for a very confidential report she'd submitted through me to LRH. She wanted to change something on it. It didn't have to go to him at once, and I had it in my office. I couldn't leave it in full view of anybody who might bring something else to my desk to go to LRH, as people did, constantly. So I hid it on a shelf when I left my office on an errand. MSH came looking for it then and of course couldn't find it. She was furious. She quoted to LRH a policy letter that documents should not be taken off desks and comm. lines. When LRH, not at all disturbed, mentioned this to me, I told him why I had taken it off the comm. lines. He sent his messenger to explain this to MSH. The messenger came back with no response.

Quentin, her eldest son, and his father were not getting on too well. Quentin was friendly with Cathy, who was then in charge of the Household Unit. Suddenly, out of the blue (to me, at any rate) LRH assigned Quentin to the RPF, a rather extreme disciplinary move. There was some hint that Cathy was somehow involved in what had happened to cause LRH to take this action. It was no part of my duty to censor who Quentin spoke to about what and I shrugged the development off as something between father and son that the father wasn't involving me in. I took it that he had seen something in Quentin's pc folder that triggered the decision. Whatever the truth or gossip, MSH heard something of it if not all of it. She was already beside herself about what her husband had done to the boy. What she found out drove her to ungovernable fury. Suddenly she was at the door of my office, severely agitated. Unable to control herself, she yelled, `And whose evil purpose are you dramatizing?' The question, of course, could have no answer. She went back to her office without any answer from me. That kind of attack could be extremely upsetting not only because of the venom that came with it but because one would be tempted to introvert on it. I did introvert on it for a while, but not for long.

There were a couple of times when she was driven to a similar kind of state by something or other that was going on between herself and LRH. Twice, I remember, she marched up to his office door, yelled, `All right, I resign!' and marched away again. After each time, he spoke with her in his office, closing the door. She came out smiling, and got on with her job. A rift was growing between the two of them. He was becoming more and more bad-tempered, harder and harder on the people around him, particularly those in his Household Unit, who could do nothing right. The unit was administratively under me and each time he yelled about the cleaning, the laundry, the cooking, or whatever, it was a bad mark for me. He had his messengers all over the unit, further upsetting and destabilizing it. In despair at fixing his own personal servants, whom he was busily putting down, he made a show of taking the Unit out of my control and putting it under MSH. As time went by, I was not sure that anything was getting any better. He didn't seem to be yelling any less than before. In front of me, MSH's Communicator told Rick, the long-standing and long-suffering Commodore's Steward, that some error on his part was `pure evil'. I couldn't see how this approach could help anyone towards doing a better job, supposing that any criticism was in fact justified. After a little while, LRH whispered to me one day that CS-G was doing no better than I had with the Household Unit. So much was already obvious to me but I was very sorry to see him running down his wife to me.

Not long after that, he confided in me that unbeknownst to MSH, he had personally hired his own attorneys in Washington DC to look after his interests, as he had lost confidence in CS-G and the Guardian's Office. Again, I was very sorry to see the writing on the wall and to know that he had put himself self-righteously on the path of alienation from his most loyal and effective supporter.

Her Hardest Times

Mary Sue had a number of setbacks that had affected her greatly. One was the award of huge damages against the Church in the Johnson-Smith case in England. LRH ordered her to agree to pay ten shillings a month, but she had to tell him that the law would not allow that there was no choice but to hand over the amount awarded in full. There were other legal losses that we didn't hear much about. The worst single loss for her was, of course, the death of her son, Quentin, in what was apparently a suicide although there was no acknowledgement of that rather evident fact. I did not personally witness her grief and desolation, but someone who did told me that the keening (grieving) was agonizing and did not stop for a long time. It was continuous, whether she was breathing in or out. After we had settled in Clearwater, the local GO asked me to answer questions from a police officer in Las Vegas (where Quentin died). I was asked to say that I was a close friend of Quentin's and to give the officer the clear impression that at no time did I see Quentin depressed or even mentioning the possibility of suicide. I did as requested and later received a call of thanks from Mary Sue.

After the FBI raids on the Church's offices in LA and DC, and after it became clear that the FBI was aware of the Church's infiltration of government offices in DC and that criminal charges would be coming down, LRH ordered me to send him a package of anything he had issued forbidding the illegal actions that the GO had taken. In other words, `My wife faces criminal charges for carrying out my orders. Cover my rear end.' I was appalled, but complied. He also ordered that there be no PR announcements from him on the subject of his wife and her legal situation. Perhaps this was based on very sound legal advice that he didn't bother to explain to me. This order of his deeply disturbed me as being a move to abandon her to her fate and to save his own bacon. I thought that if this were true, it would be disgusting behavior on his part.

In 1982, it became very evident that the CMO, the Commodore's Messenger Organization, had interfered at the highest levels of the GO. Although I couldn't support some of what I heard about some GO activities (`gang sec-checks' in particular), I was very sad to see what I felt was his repudiation of his wife before the whole group.

Despite the Negatives

Whatever her faults and failings, Mary Sue Hubbard was a brilliant woman with high, clean energy. She had the potential, in my opinion, to match her husband's brilliance and energy. Had he remained true to his own sanity I am sure she would have fulfilled much of her potential, and the organization would today be in a much stronger and saner position. Together, they could have inspired affection and support across the globe.

There are women who, like the grapevine, rely on a solid support on which to grow to their best, to bloom, and to produce beautiful and bountiful fruit. Such women are blessed when their husbands provide such support. It was Mary Sue's tragedy that she gained L. Ron Hubbard as a support when his strengths could overcome his weaknesses, but when his weaknesses overcame his strengths, she went down as she had no support. She fell, and could not regain her footing. As I understand it, the RTC did whatever they could to keep her down, and she accepted the suppression. Ill-health, which had dogged her since the late 1970s, no doubt increased her difficulties and sapped her strength.

In 1966, LRH charged MSH with setting up the Guardian's Office and, with it, protecting his organizations from attack from its internal and external enemies. Alas, at least a part of LRH's concept for the GO included elements of his own paranoia. Alas, Mary Sue did a magnificent job of carrying out her instructions. In doing so, she helped bring about the destruction of the organization she was so determined (and so able) to save and grow. By doing her job so well, she thoroughly alienated governments, and helped spread the org's adverse public reputation. She also built up her part of the overall organization to be the most powerful and most wealthy; it also manifested a degree of loyalty and affection towards her that was in no way paralleled in the rest of the organization towards LRH who, by contrast, was not able to build up similar strengths on his side of the org board. This is partly due, of course, to the fact the he pushed so much power in terms of authority, personnel, and money towards her and the GO, that he drained the rest of the organization and enfeebled it. It was all partly due to the differences between their respective abilities and strengths.

Had LRH given MSH the power to take care of the whole organization, and had they both been able to allow their respective strengths to support each other's, then, I would say, the results would have been magnificent in terms of movement towards a `civilization of which we can be proud'. It was not to be, not this time.

In the late sixties, before I joined the ship, LRH had put the Royal Scotsman (later the Apollo) in Liability. Mary Sue volunteered to captain the ship in its way up through the lower conditions. She did so. Every crew member that spoke of that period under her captainship spoke of it in terms of high praise and great personal affection. What could have been the status of the international organization, what would have been its impact on the world, if she had been at the helm over the years, and had engendered in staff all over the world, such pride and affection?

(c) 2005 Ken Urquhart

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