CRAIG BROWN BOOK OF THE WEEK: A shouting match with Scientology - 2013-01-12
The name L. Ron Hubbard is hardly one to inspire confidence, its elongated version – Lafayette Ronald Hubbard – even less so. It's hard to imagine Christianity would ever have got off the ground with a founder called L. Ron Christ.
Against these odds, L. Ron Hubbard's Church of Scientology, founded by the former pulp science-fiction writer in 1954, has been surprisingly successful. It now claims to have ten million followers worldwide, most famously Tom Cruise and John Travolta.
It has been even more successful in accruing property, owning 11?million square feet of property around the world, including a very grand building in the City of London, and a seedy-looking 'Life Improvement Centre' just along from The Church of Kentucky Fried Chicken in Tottenham Court Road.