Mary Sue Whipp Hubbard
3rd wife of L. Ron Hubbard (founder of Scientology)
Mary Sue Hubbard (née Whipp; June 17, 1931 November 25, 2002) was the third wife of
L. Ron Hubbard, from 1952 to his death in 1986, and was a leading figure in Scientology
for much of her life. She had four children by Hubbard Diana (born 1952), Quentin
(born 1954), Suzette (born 1955), and Arthur (born 1958).
She became involved in Hubbard's Dianetics in 1952, while still a student at the
University of Texas at Austin, becoming a Dianetics auditor. She soon became involved
in a relationship with Hubbard and married him in March 1952. She accompanied her
husband to Phoenix, Arizona, where they established the Hubbard Association of
Scientologists the forerunner of the Church of Scientology, which was itself founded
in 1953. She was credited with helping to coin the word "Scientology".
Mary Sue Hubbard played a leading role in the management of the Church of Scientology,
rising to become the head of the Church's Guardian's Office (GO). In August 1978, she
was indicted by the United States Government on charges of conspiracy relating to
illegal covert operations mounted by the Guardian's Office against government agencies.
She was convicted in December 1979 and was sentenced to five years' imprisonment and
the payment of a $10,000 fine. She was forced to resign her post in July 1981 and
served a year in prison from January 1983, after exhausting her appeals against her
conviction. In the late 1990s, she fell ill with breast cancer and died in 2002.
Mary Sue Whipp was born in Rockdale, Texas, to Harry Whipp and Mary Catherine Hill. She
grew up in Houston, where she attended Rice University for a year before moving on to
the University of Texas at Austin, from which she graduated as a Bachelor of Arts. She
originally intended to work in petroleum research, but a friend persuaded her to travel
with him to Wichita, Kansas in mid-1951 to take a Dianetics course at the Hubbard
Dianetic Foundation. She soon began an affair with Hubbard, who had just been divorced
from his second wife Sara, and moved in with him within only a few weeks of arriving in
Wichita. She obtained a Hubbard Dianetic Auditor's Certificate and joined the
Foundation's staff, abandoning her previous career plans.
She became pregnant in February 1952 and married Hubbard in March. By this time the
Foundation had filed for bankruptcy, and Hubbard's erstwhile backer, Don Purcell, was
left to deal with its substantial debts. A bitter dispute broke out between the men
over the ownership of the Foundation's remaining assets, with Hubbard resigning to
start a rival "Hubbard College" on the other side of Wichita. Mary Sue was given
partial responsibility for running the new Dianetics establishment. It remained in
business for only six weeks before being replaced in April 1952 by the Hubbard
Association of Scientologists, established in Phoenix, Arizona to promote Hubbard's
newly announced "science of certainty" Scientology.