L. Ron Hubbard Christens the Apollo 43 Years Ago Today: For The First Time, His “Orders of the Day”


For you Scientology watchers and Scientology history buffs, we think we have something very special for you today.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard sailed around the Mediterranean in a small armada of vessels, going from port to port. Each day, he issued to the hundreds of crew members traveling with him his “Orders of the Day.” The Voice has obtained hundreds of these documents, spanning from 1968 to 1971, and we are told that these dispatches — many of them containing Hubbard’s thoughts on the state of his religion, his paranoia about enemies, and his praise and harsh discipline for his crew — have never previously been published.

We will be gradually revealing material from the orders in coming weeks. But for now, we wanted to start with a significant anniversary — today happens to be exactly 43 years since Hubbard rechristened his flagship, changing its name from the Royal Scotsman to Apollo. As you will see after the jump, for Hubbard it was a day to feel magnanimous and proud.

First, for you document hounds, lay your eyes on this…

The large collection of documents we have obtained begin in October, 1968, when the ship is still called Royal Scotsman. Each of them, as you can see, begins with a schedule for the day, and officers in leading positions are listed. But we wanted a bit more context about these orders, so we called up Jefferson Hawkins to ask him about them.

Hawkins wasn’t the source of the documents for us, but he was a member of the crew of the Apollo in 1971 and again a few years later. He remembers quite well receiving Hubbard’s orders each morning.

“Mimeo would put them out on people’s desk. Somehow they would get to everyone in the morning,” he told me by telephone last night from California. “Everybody had to write a daily report to the commodore every night, and he would read them, and sometimes he would comment on them the next morning,” he added, referring to Hubbard by the title, commodore, the Scientology founder had given himself.

I asked him to give me a general sense of what the Apollo was like. How many Scientologists were aboard, for example? “There were about 300 people on the ship. It’s not as big as the Freewinds [Scientology’s current floating cathedral], but it was an old troop transport from WWII. It was a cattle ship before that. It had big doors at dock level where they used to load and unload the cattle.”

Hawkins says the ship was in North Africa for most of the six months he was aboard in 1971. “They went to Greece in 1968 and then by the time I was there in 1971, they were mostly going up and down the Moroccan coast.”

I asked him what he remembered about Hubbard’s “Orders of the Day,” and he says that unlike official policy letters, they could be more frank. “They were a lot more casual than his other issues. He would just have his thoughts. Whatever he was working on.”

Looking through the orders leading up to the day of the Apollo’s christening in 1968, there are mundane references to schedules and chores needing done. But for Scientology historians, there are also interesting glimpses at life with Hubbard at sea. November 13’s dispatch, for example, lists Norman Starkey as one of two officers of the day, and two of the people assigned deck watches are John McMaster — the original “Clear” — and Quentin Hubbard, Ron’s son who would commit suicide in 1976. In 1968, Quentin was only 14 years old.

That same day, November 13, Hubbard used his daily dispatch to ruminate on what was clearly an everpresent concern for him: the enemies he believed were out to destroy Scientology.

Here’s what he wrote, typed out:

We have discovered exactly who has been shooting at Scientology for 18 years and know all the names. They are a small group with international ambitions, founded by a madman, taken over by a politically ambitious few.

The fight was their fear we would break them financially. If Scn was the real answer, they would have to cease torturing and killing “patients” and there would go their income.

Well, they have now been hurt bad enough to make them move their HQ.

So the fight isn’t all going one way. Press and public sentiment are swinging to our side. And we have not yet mounted a real offensive.

This is turning out to be a bitter and fundamental war. The forces which seek to bring light and freedom to the world — us — have run squarely into the No. 1 engram of the planet, kept alive by a dark and secret enemy of Mankind. These insist on torturing or killing the insane.

It is a terrible hypocrisy for them to say we hurt people. Anyone who has “suffered” at our hands is still free, well and able to complain. The victims of the enemy in his institutions aren’t like Hitler’s death camps. Their victimes can’t complain. They can’t even talk. They’re dead.

It is the old battle of truth and light against the powers of darkness.

We didn’t ask for this fight. We weren’t even in the enemy’s line of country. We avoided treating the insane.

But they attacked us, for no reason except their own fear. I regret they appointed us their executioner. There are so many other pleassnt things to do.

But, with the enemy active in legislatures and the press, we haven’t much choice but to fight.

And we have begun to fight.

We have already hurt his morale and finances enough to make himi move his HQ.

Our forces are closing in on it again in the new location.

This one we’ve got to WIN. We may not have another chance.

LRH, Commodore

The “old man” — as he was affectionately known — was certainly one for a bit of drama, wasn’t he?

He was reportedly also a terror to work for. From the November 15 order, he does his best to explain his philosophy of management at sea, and he uses the term “hat,” which is Scientology jargon for what the rest of us might call a role, or a function, or a job.

I work on a theory of ‘contribution.’ The way to contribute is to effectively and energetically wear one hat, defend one’s hat and not let anyone else do one’s hat. I contribute to those who contribute.

I wear a lot of hats and I do them. I do a lot more than anyone could even reasonably expect. Therefore I expect people to do at least as much as one could resonably expect.

The way to be completely secure in one’s job under my command is to do the job, wear the hat, defend the job.

And then we come to November 18, clearly a major day for the commodore. With the ship docked at the Greek island of Corfu, he’s feeling so good, he has assigned the condition “affluence,” one of the highest states of being on the tone scale (his concept that emotions can be measured on a scale from 1 to 40). But even here, he can’t shake his concerns about an unnamed “enemy”:

This is no idle Affluence of action. We have here the complete evidence of who has been shooting at us from hiding for 18 years, who just clobbered Perth and who is becoming active again against us in England. We must strike hard and fast with documents, and actions to discredit him to the world. Our actions are legal and extremely within the law. Which makes them deadly. The enemy is criminal. We are turning him over to justice. We have already driven him out of this world HQ in Geneva. So anything can happen. Let’s be ready for anything. Follow the Action Affluence Formula and we will be.

We must end the river of lies he has released to governments and the press for eighteen years.

He is very far from imaginary. The documents we now have say so!

We are succeeding


But enemies aside, this was a day to celebrate:

A transcript of that, for clarity:


I am so very very very very very pleased with the way the Ship’s Company, Missionaires and Staff handled the naming ceremony.

Very professional. Very great. The guests were so pleased. It all went off like clockwork.

The local editor of the paper that is for us (one is, one isn’t) said he would publish an article on Monday that would make all Corfu love us and then all Greece.



And the commodore also attaches a fond report about an elegant dinner he had hosted the previous night for local dignitaries, which he has dated the night before:

A transcript, for clarity:


The dinner for Corfu VIPs went off like clockwork with Mr. Steinhauser of the Achilleion Casino as host and the top Corfu people there.

The only slight mar was a London Sunday Times reporter. Earlier the local British Consul tried to push him into the party, offending the Corfu VIPs. He got a table nearby and bobbed up to introduce himself and again much offended the VIPs. The host confided he had already confiscated the man’s camera. These Corfu people work very hard to protect us. We are grateful that they do.

The dinner itself was excellent and in a very pleasant atmosphere, a large number of VIPs, good music.

Diana, Tony Dunleavy and myself represented the ship. Mary Sue begged off — too worn out fighting for days handling things overseas.

(VIP means “Very Important People,” Cadets).

If we are very much on our good behavior, as we are, and continue to let the shore help us, as we have, they will go on being very happy with us.

The dinner guests were also at our very splendid Christening ceremony. Many spoke English but next time we will drill with a local language interpreter to give phrase by phrase translation of our speeches and it will be even better.

So the dinner and ceremony were a whirlwind success, and very very well done.

17 Nov 68

Sounds like a lovely affair, doesn’t it? Clearly, his ship’s new name has him in a good mood, and the charismatic Hubbard we’ve read about comes through. It’s a moment in time when things looked optimistic, and he was happy with his crew of followers.

As we’ll see in upcoming weeks, that wasn’t always the case.

The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology
#1: L. Ron Hubbard
#2: David Miscavige
#3: Marty Rathbun
#4: Tom Cruise
#5: Joe Childs and Tom Tobin
#6: Anonymous
#7: Mark Bunker
#8: Mike Rinder
#9: Jason Beghe
#10: Lisa McPherson
#11: Nick Xenophon (and other public servants)
#12: Tommy Davis (and other hapless church executives)
#13: Janet Reitman (and other journalists)
#14: Tory Christman (and other noisy ex-Scientologists)
#15: Andreas Heldal-Lund (and other old time church critics)
#16: Marc and Claire Headley, escapees of the church’s HQ
#17: Jefferson Hawkins, the man behind the TV volcano
#18: Amy Scobee, former Sea Org executive
#19: The Squirrel Busters (and the church’s other thugs and goons)
#20: Trey Parker and Matt Stone (and other media figures)
#21: Kendrick Moxon, attorney for the church
#22: Jamie DeWolf (and other L. Ron Hubbard family members)
#23: Ken Dandar (and other attorneys who litigate against the church)
#24: David Touretzky (and other academics)
#25: Xenu, galactic overlord

Tony Ortega is the editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. Since 1995, he’s been writing about Scientology at several publications.

@VoiceTonyO | Facebook: Tony Ortega



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