MYTH: Werner Erhard a Scientologist?
PLAIN TRUTH: No. In fact Werner Erhard is a life-long Episcopalian. In the 1960’s Werner Erhard explored a myriad of disciplines and courses in the arena of personal development and philosophy, including courses with a company named Dianetics. Where the confusion lies is that Dianetics was not Scientology.
When Werner took these courses L. Ron Hubbard, who wrote the book Dianetics, had already lost the rights in a bankruptcy. So when Werner was exposed to Dianetics it was a “franchise” type business with no affiliation to Hubbard.
Werner investigated a multiplicity of ideas or disciplines during his professional search for useful techniques to employ with his sales force in his book business. Dianetics was a self help system, also referred to as a counseling system, and contained techniques that could be utilized to maximize the results of sales people, and Werner employed the techniques for that purpose.
After Hubbard lost the rights to Dianetics, Hubbard published Scientology, a belief system that was established as a religion.
While Werner has acknowledged the value he received from Dianetics “auditing”, he did not study or subscribe to the belief system of Scientology (the religion).*
The myth/allegation that Werner Erhard was ever a Scientologist came from Scientology itself as part of a campaign to defame Mr. Erhard personally and co-opt Mr. Erhard's work as their own.
As best reported in the December 1991 Los Angeles Times article, the Church of Scientology engaged in a 20 year campaign designed to destroy Werner Erhard's reputation. At the heart of Scientology's campaign was Mr. Erhard's refusal to have any association with Scientology. According to the Los Angeles Times, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, whose "hatred" of Erhard was passed along to his followers after Hubbard's 1986 death, was jealous of the meteoric rise of est in the public perception in the 1970s.
Neither The est Training nor any other work of Mr. Erhard's was based on Scientology's beliefs, principles or ideas. In fact, none of the work or programs designed or presented by Werner Erhard have been religious in nature and none contain any belief system of any kind. The est Training, as well as all of Werner Erhard's ideas, are a product of Erhard’s own independent thinking and it would be inaccurate to attribute this to any one discipline that Mr. Erhard explored.
*By the time W. W. Bartley wrote Werner Erhard’s biography Werner acknowledged many of the programs that he explored along the way. Werner even referred to his work with Dianetics as Scientology given that was the Hubbard organization name, however it was not an accurate reference as it was not actually Scientology that Werner was exposed to in his self-education during the 1960’s.
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