Turning Hubbard House into Museum
The Phoenix New Times has a great, lengthy article about Scientology converting a house in which Hubbard once lived into a museum — without permission, of course.
Jeff Jacobsen is interviewed for the article and he predicts the outcome:
The Scientologists will prevail in reopening their museum, Jacobson insists, either with the help of their deep-pockets legal team or because the city will cave in to the intimidation tactics he says the church uses to get what it wants.
“The city is probably scared,” Jacobson says. “Or at least they should be.” He’s referring to the numerous controversies and conflicts that are — next to Tom Cruise’s allegiance — all that most laypeople know about the religion. There’s Operation Snow White, a ’70s project reportedly designed to purge unfavorable public records and published criticisms of Hubbard and Scientology. And there are the alleged attempts to legally force search engines like Yahoo and Google to censor Web pages that disparage the church. And, perhaps most infamously, there’s the death of Scientologist Lisa McPherson, who died while in the care of the church.
Scientology’s crummy reputation is by no means news; things began going awry from the beginning, back when the religion was still headquartered in Phoenix. In May 1955, a woman named Estrid Anderson Humphrey sued the Church of Scientology for damages to her Paradise Valley home. The lawsuit, which was eventually settled out of court, alleged that a house Humphrey leased to the church was smashed up by what an Arizona Republic story called “one or more persons with assertedly deranged minds” who were placed there “for care and treatment.”
Jacobson refers to this as among the first of Hubbard’s many “experiments with crazy people,” in which Hubbard would allegedly isolate mentally ill people in a room or small house while treating their psychosis with Scientology’s “present time awareness” techniques. They’re still using these methods today, according to Jacobson.