Bare-faced Messiah: The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard is a posthumous biography of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard by British journalist Russell Miller. First published in the United Kingdom on 26 October 1987, the book takes a critical perspective, challenging the Church of Scientology's account of Hubbard's life and work. It quotes extensively from official documents acquired using the Freedom of Information Act and from Hubbard's personal papers, which were obtained via a defector from the Church. It was also published in the Australia, Canada and the United States.
The Church of Scientology was accused of organising a smear and harassment campaign against Miller and his publisher, though it strenuously denied this accusation, and a private investigator involved in the campaign denied that the Church was his client. However, a leak of internal Church documents to the press in 1990 disclosed many details of the campaign. The Church and related corporate entities attempted to prevent the book's publication in court, resulting in cases that reached the Supreme Court of the United States, the Court of Appeal of England and Wales and the Federal Court of Canada. The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to let a lower court's ruling stand, denying fair use protection for the book's use of unpublished sources, set a precedent favouring copyright protection of unpublished material over biographers' freedom of speech. Courts in the UK and Canada took an opposite view, allowing publication of Bare-faced Messiah in the public interest.
Reviews of the book have been broadly positive — one calling it "the best and most comprehensive biography of L. Ron Hubbard" — and praise the quality and depth of Miller's research. Some criticise the book for failing to explain Hubbard's success or clarify whether or not he was a fraud. Reviewers have been divided over whether to interpret the book as a polemical attack on Hubbard or a neutral work that leaves conclusions to the reader. The Church of Scientology has been less complimentary; the executor of Hubbard's estate called it "a scumbag book ... full of bullshit" in a court deposition in the U.S.
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... 1987, UK, Michael Joseph (ISBN 978-0-7181-2764-0), First edition, Hardback 1987, Canada, Key Porter (ISBN 978-1-55013-027-0), Hardback 1988, United States, Henry Holt (ISBN 978-0-8050-0654-4), Hardback 1988, UK, Sphere Books (ISBN 978-0-7474-0332-6), Second edition, Paperback 1993, France, Plon (ISBN 978-2-259-02550-8) as Ron Hubbard le gourou démasqué ("Ron Hubbard the guru unmasked"), French translation by Sibylle Lang Serialisation A summary of the book was published in the Arts Leisure section of the Sunday Times over the course of three articles ... "Science fictions" ...
Famous quotes containing the word messiah:
“Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.”
—Bible: New Testament, Matthew 1:18,19.