THE FASCINATING STORY OF THE TECH
( T H E T R U E S T O R Y O F D O N P U R C E L L )
by Art Coulter
(An article appeared on “The Aberree” in November 1961 )
HE PURPOSE of this article is to tell the truestory of Don Purcell and his valiant effort to place Dianetics on an ethical, responsible basis. Much of the story is known to "old-timers", but the full story is known to few - and since hisdeath, Don has been subjected to a resumption of the un-fair and unkind attacks that characterized the period1952-1954. Don and I became very close friends duringthis period, and he confided to me many things that werenever made public, so I was acutely aware of the unjusttreatment he received. Nowadays, Scientologists are full of talk about"overts", "withholds", and "confrontations". Their wordsand actions would be more credible if it were not for themany overts and withholds that were committed againstDon Purcell - and which have recently been resumed. Inthe face of so monstrous an injustice, they standconvicted of rank hypocrisy.Don's outstanding trait, to me, was his sincerity. Hewas deeply devoted to the betterment of man, andDianetics was to him a cause to which he gave freely andwithout stint. His motivation in working for Dianeticswas deeply idealistic and altruistic. When he first wentinto Dianetics he was a moderately wealthy man; to it hegave most of that wealth in an effort to keep Dianeticsgoing. When these efforts met only vituperation andabuse, and he realized that unity could not otherwise beachieved, he gave the Dianetic Foundation back to itsfounder, with no strings attached.But let us tell the story from the beginning.The Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation, after anauspicious start, ran into serious trouble in late 1950 and1951. Perhaps owing to over-enthusiasm, the Foundationfound itself deeply in debt - I believe in excess of $100,000. These were business obligations - bills due for goods and services rendered - not a diabolical plot bycriminals and Communists. Then, on April 24,1951, theUnited Press broke the story of Sara Hubbard's divorceaction, in which she charged that "competent medicaladvisers" had found her husband "hopelessly insane",and in need of psychiatric observation. These chargeswere not true, but the bad publicity was a damaging blow to the Dianetic cause - nor was it helped by the factthat previously there had been a rumor to the effect thatSara was a "clear". Added to this was a considerableamount of internal dissension, culminating in thewithdrawal of five of the seven original members of theBoard of Directors. These included John W. CampbellJr., and Dr. J. A. Winter, whose enthusiasticindorsements had played a major role in the greatinterest Dianetics attracted.Don Purcell was at his best when the going wastough; and he proved it on this occasion. In a letter sentto friends dated May 21, 1952, he tells of it in his ownwords:
"We have received a great many letters latelyrequesting us to answer the accusations that have beenmade by L. Ron Hubbard and James Elliott against myself and the rest of the Foundation personnel. Thisletter is an answer to these accusations."In July of 1950, I took the professional course in Elizabeth, N. J. By the time I had finished the course, I knew that Dianetics offered a greater understanding of mind than any other field of investigation in existence.Mind had been a subject of prime interest and study tome for about 20 years."While at Elizabeth, I determined to do all I could toassist the advance of Dianetics. This was a strong postulate. Just before I left Elizabeth I asked Ron how I could best serve Dianetics ... He told me to go home to Kansas for the time being and develop as much local interest as possible...."When things got rough within the Foundation late in1950, we offered assistance. Our offer was accepted and the Foundation moved to Wichita (in the Spring of 1951.--A.C.)."Ron was in Havana, Cuba, at the time. He was inbad physical condition and quite sure that he didn't havea friend in the world except me. He had left Los Angelesand gone to Havana because he had been told that psychiatrists had been hired who would examine himand adjudge him insane and have him committed to aninstitution.