In honor of Will Smith's apparently imminent conversion to Scientology, I present this link to the full text of Russell Miller's biography Bare-Faced Messiah: The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard. Those who have read The Gospel According to Science Fiction may have wondered why I didn't discuss Scientology, and the short answer is that I don't really have anything to say about it that Miller didn't say first. He details Hubbard's pathological lies about his life and the dubious ethics with which he ran his church, exploring both the wacky and the downright sinister tales spun by one of the greatest con men in history. One of my favorite bits is the story in chapter 14 in which Hubbard poses as a "revolutionary horticultural scientist," proving that plants can feel pain by hooking them up to an E-meter.
Be sure to also read "Suppressive Persons," which describes the Church's attempts to suppress Miller's book. The Church's tactics are the same now as then: they're rumored to be filing a $100 million lawsuit against St. Martin's Press, publishers of Andrew Morton's forthcoming Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography, which claims that Cruise is one of the Church's top leaders).