Lafayette Ronald Hubbard, better known as L. Ron Hubbard and often referred to by his initials, LRH, was an American pulp fiction author and the founder of the Church of Scientology. After establishing a career as a writer, becoming best known for his science fiction and fantasy stories, he developed a self-help system called Dianetics which was first published in May 1950. He subsequently developed his ideas into a wide-ranging set of doctrines and rituals as part of a new religious movement that he called Scientology. His writings became the guiding texts for the Church of Scientology and a number of affiliated organizations that address such diverse topics as business administration, literacy and drug rehabilitation.
Although many aspects of Hubbard's life story are disputed, there is general agreement about its basic outline. Born in Tilden, Nebraska, he spent much of his childhood in Helena, Montana. He traveled in Asia and the South Pacific in the late 1920s after his father, an officer in the United States Navy, was posted to the U.S. naval base on Guam. He attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C. at the start of the 1930s, before dropping out and beginning his career as a prolific writer of pulp fiction stories. He served briefly in the United States Marine Corps Reserve and was an officer in the United States Navy during World War II, briefly commanding two ships, the USS YP-422 and USS PC-815. He was removed both times when his superiors found him incapable of command. The last few months of his active service were spent in a hospital, being treated for a duodenal ulcer.