The Church of Scientology has finished a long-running project to recover and restore many of the writings and recorded lectures of its late founder L. Ron Hubbard. It's the first time Hubbard's original works — some previously unavailable — have been broadly accessible to parishioners, the church says.
Church leaders announced completion of the project's final leg — the restoration of 1,020 lectures from 1953 to 1961 — at Scientology's New Year's celebration in Los Angeles.
The lectures and accompanying booklets include discussions of how Hubbard arrived at the principles of Dianetics and his research on everything from decision-making to personal responsibility.
"This is the result of the single-most sustained and embracive program in Scientology history — more than 25 years of concerted research, recovery, restoration and verification," church spokesman Tommy Davis said.
The release was part of a five-year project by church leader David Miscavige, begun in 2005, known as "the Golden Age of Knowledge." The church says it sought to "ensure the purity of all Scientology scriptures" found in Hubbard's writings and recorded lectures. The project uncovered numerous errors and omissions that the church blamed on long-ago editors, transcribers and others who had a hand in turning Hubbard's writings into published materials.
That led to the 2007 release of 18 books and 280 lectures known as "The Basics." All Scientologists are being strongly urged to buy the Basics, even though they may have read or listened to the materials before. The corrected versions are more complete and understandable than their predecessor volumes, the church says.
The church sells the materials to parishioners in various packages. In one recent Scientology magazine, the packages ranged from $3,500 to $7,850, but other publications and church organizations offer discounts.
Some former parishioners and church staffers have criticized the Basics as a repackaging of old materials designed to get Scientologists to spend more money. They say the church billed previous releases of books and lectures as complete and pure.
In May, Davis said he knew of no parishioners who had complained about having to buy the Basics. He compared the release of newly recovered Hubbard materials to the recovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. He called it "a full recovery of our religion" engineered by Miscavige.
For the project, Davis said, the church dispatched teams to the homes of people who worked with Hubbard in the 1950s. They found tapes and writings in a basement in Wichita, a storage trailer in Phoenix, a garage in Oakland and other locations.
Information from Associated Press was used in this report.