A diploma mill, is a phony university that sells college diplomas that are not based on any actual participatory educational experience – meaning where a person actually attends classes with live teachers and so on. A diploma mill offers “degrees” for a fee and requires little or no course work. Although, in some cases, especially in intelligence cover-building work, a fee is not always necessary but usually is.
That is how Ron Hubbard got his ‘degree’ in philosophy.
Dr Joseph Hough was a chiropractor who ran a successful practice from a house in Los Angeles and conferred ‘degrees’ on whoever he thought merited them. Dr. Hough was the owner and president of Sequoia University located at 915 South Grand View Street, Los Angeles 6, California.
915 South Grand View Street, Los Angeles 6, California
Richard DeMille was one of Hubbard’s early CIA pals who had a Sequoia University philosophy degree conferred on him by Dr. Hough. On 27 February 1953, Ron Hubbard urgently requested that Richard DeMille arrange a philosophy degree from Sequoia University for Hubbard. Richard DeMille then arranged for Dr. Hough to issue the degree.
Hubbard was in London at the time of his urgent request for credentials that were vitally needed for some work he was doing. You know, most likely needing some documents to provide cover for his intelligence work. But, the phony degree is only the beginning of the story. This rabbit hole goes even deeper, as you are about to see…
* * *
Before I get started, a little background.
I had forgotten (well, not really forgotten, more like put on the back-burner) about this document that I had found in one of the files from the recently declassified FDA records that were obtained in January of 2015. These records were publicly accessible of a Muck Rock/FOIA request as part of the dedicated research of activist R.M. Seibert (Anonlover) – who apparently requested them in order to find/feed scientology story material to journalist Tony Ortega.
The particular documents that I’m about to talk about today are on CD #1, in Folder 3 starting on page 6.
* * *
So now, away we go
Hubbard claimed that he had a degree in philosophy from Sequoia University. In this post I detailed a letter from Ron Hubbard himself claiming his degree from this (unknown to most people then) Diploma Mill university. (it was on page 466 of this same Folder 3 pdf).
Here’s the full text of the letter – note the bolded part.
In November of 1970, FDA attorney Bud Loftus was preparing items for the case against Scientology. He had written a sort of preparatory progress report (required by the judge) to “The General Counsel” attention Mrs. Sisk.
That’s this document that starts on page 6 of FDA documents CD #1, in Folder 3-
Butted up right after this letter, was this really interesting flyer from Sequoia University, sporting an entire Department of Scientology!
It’s dated 1953.
I’m going to go through the flyer one page at a time.
The first page here shows that it’s on a ‘perpetual charter’ (whatever that means) and that it’s located at 915 South Grand View Street, Los Angeles 6, California.
That’s over by MacArthur Park. It was sold back in 1978 for $37,500 and is a multi-family home with 4 single apartments (or bedrooms).
Not a real likely place for a ‘university’, is it.
But, yep, that’s where Hubbard’s Ph.D came from.
Here’s something else that will blow your mind. Right in that exact same area where this house is, even the same block, literally directly behind it, is where my husband Mike lived with a number of other scientology staff people starting just after this place sold in 1978! It was Keith Fozzard who told him about the places for rent there (rooms or partial floors). Keith was already living in one of the houses.
The back yards all formed sort of a center square. This map shows where Mike was living with the red arrow and the Sequoia University address is the blue. Sequoia had already moved somewhere else by then, incidentally.
Mike had this huge, really old Chris Craft boat up on blocks right in that grey empty area on the map (that the houses are formed around), and I remember actually looking at the house behind it and getting an extra creepy feeling. It was the Sequoia University house I was looking at!
I felt like Dan Akroyd saying Mebs! in Coneheads.
This is a picture of Mike standing right in the grassy area by one of the houses that the scientology staff were living in.
So, how weird is that, that all these scientologists were living next to and perhaps even in that same house where Hubbard set up his Department of Scientology under Sequoia University.
Whoow. Talk about kismet.
Mike says the houses (which includes the Sequoia address) were all sort of dilapidated, run down slummy houses (all scientology staff could afford) so that just really completes this slime fly-by-night picture of the Sequoia University.
I remember going to Mike’s place once when we were first dating back in 1983 and I was literally scared to even get out of my car and walk around that area – that’s how creepy it was.
To add another source that verifies this was the address and that it was even being advertised in some sort of French directory in 1957 check this out. There was this odd site here that quoted:
Bulletin de la Société d’agriculture, sciences et arts de la …Commission métérologique de la Sarthe, 1957
J.-W. Hough, president of Sequoia University, 915, South Grand View Street, Los Angeles 6, California, U.S. A.
But the link it gave didn’t work at all.
It took some untangling and creative google searching, but I finally tracked it down.
A google search of that french book title and sequoia yielded this –
When you click on the result, you get this – which doesn’t show you the part the other page did but does show you that there is indeed one page having the word Sequoia on it.
So now we know for sure that’s the address for Sequoia University in 1957, right at the same time Hubbard is sending his letter to the BBB mentioning that.
Here’s just that part again –
Now we’ll move on to the rest of what’s on this first page of the flyer – here’s the image again so you can follow easier.
The Flyer says (including the de-scrambled bottom contact layout) –
That 7070 address for the “Executive Offices” tracks to a large building that seems to have been used in various sales/scam operations in the 1950’s, including an exact match on p. 90 in Life Magazine (July 19, 1954) for selling miniature kids cars.
Did you notice that Scientology Council part that I just typed out?
That’s Dianeticists Joanna and Hardin Walsh.
The evidence is in Hubbard’s Phoenix publications of the Journal of Scientology.
Issue 8-G has this on its front page –
And there’s an ad for the Scientology Council and Hardin Walsh on p. 6 –
Note the phone number of HI 0257. See how that’s a match for the actual specific phone of this? HOllywood 4-0257
The designation of HI versus HO is interesting. I figure either Ma Bell must have changed the designation (they did that as more and more people got phones) or the number on the Sequoia flyer is deliberately wrong, which scam artists sometimes do to make it hard to contact them in person versus by mail, or its wrong in the JOS ad.
It’s in Journal of Scientology 10-G that we strike paydirt.
Check out this ad on page 5 –
It reads –
Well. There you have it.
Its the Walsh’s running that particular show and who obviously made the affiliation with Sequoia University – not Ron Hubbard directly, you understand.
A note on that phone number –
That phone number matches up with one Maurine Oliver who is listed in The Radio Annual and Television Yearbook, 1954 on p. 117
under Radio and TV Artists Agencies –
That’s rather interesting. Who’s Maurine Oliver? Is that Joanna Walsh’s real name, or another fake name she used? She has been known to do that. I had written about the Joanna and Hardin Walsh back in July of 2011 because Hardin was running ads in Mystic magazine in this time period as per a Hubbard plan for ‘expansion’ of scientology. One of the things I tracked down in that post was that Joanna had gone by some ‘star woman’ name of Orayna Orr.
See Scientology Explained – Mystic Magazine March 1956, Raymond A. Palmer posted July 25, 2011
Here’s what I found about Maurine, she was an actress and Hollywood agent.
Maurine Oliver, 93, actress and Hollywood actors’ agent. Born in Dublin, Oliver began her theatrical career in Ireland as an apprentice at the Abbey Theatre. She moved to California in 1929 and acted on stage, including in the play “Parnell,” and in film, including John Ford’s “Long Voyage Home.” She became an agent in the 1940s and operated her own Maurine Oliver Agency for four decades. The business later became the Brooke Dunn Oliver Agency, where she remained until her retirement in 1989. Oliver was known particularly for representing British and Irish actors. On Jan. 9 in Culver City.
– LA Times obituary Maurine Oliver; Actress and Hollywood Agent, January 24, 1997
The Maurine Oliver Agency, which Oliver formed in the early 1940s, primarily represented British and Irish actors.
She had come over from London and started the agency in 1946.
David Frankham was interviewing Sir Alec Guinness for the BBC in 1955 then quit and went to Hollywood where he ran into Guinness who referred him to Maurine Oliver “who specialized in representing beginning Englishmen.”
Trekkies might get a kick out of knowing that Maurine’s protege’ Frankham played a role in the third season Star Trek episode “Is There in Truth No Beauty?.” He played Dr. Lawrence Marvick, which many people still remember him for.
Frankham also played in a movie (Masters of the World) with Vincent Prince, which I got a kick out of finding.
Frankham left, Price middle
The December 16, 1950 Billboard magazine, page 6, lists Maurine in their Agents for Television section.
She was born Maurine Ryan in Ireland, but she also went by the stage names of Maureen Roden-Ryan and Maureen Rodin-Ryan.
The reason that I’m bringing her up is that it was probably her that was connected to Richard DeMille, the son of famous producer Cecil B. Demille, who was Hubbard’s ‘aide’ starting back in 1950 with the first Dianetics Research Foundation, which puts him in the time period where OSS man Charles Parker Morgan is on it’s board (as well as two FBI agents, if I recall correctly).
It’s also when John Starr Cooke, CIA asset was helping funnel money in from one of the Rockefeller family, by the way.
So, the fact that this Sequoia University/Department of Scientology flyer –
lists Maurine’s phone number that matches up with her listing in The Radio Annual and Television Yearbook, 1954 on p. 117
under Radio and TV Artists Agencies –
Which matches up with the last 4 digit numbers of Joanna and Hardin Walsh –
Can’t be a coincidence.
Now that we’ve pretty much nailed down some of these details of the first page of the flyer, let’s dig into the backstory of this now.
We’ll start with page 178 of Barefaced Messiah, which Jon Atack provided the research for.
Jon Atack statement –
6. I was the principal researcher for Russell Miller’s Bare-Faced Messiah…
Miller’s book quotes –
In February 1953, Hubbard decided it was necessary to bolster his status with the phlegmatic British by acquiring some academic qualifications. He knew precisely where they were available – from Sequoia University in Los Angeles. The ‘university’ of Sequoia was owned by Dr Joseph Hough, a chiropracteur and naturopath who ran a successful practice from a large house in downtown Los Angeles and conferred ‘degrees’ on whoever he thought merited them. Richard de Mille was awarded a Ph.D. from Sequoia, somewhat to his surprise, for a slim volume he had written under the title An Introduction to Scientology.
On 27 February, de Mille, who was then living in Los Angeles, received an urgent telegram from Hubbard in London:
‘PLEASE INFORM DR HOUGH PHD VERY ACCEPTABLE. PRIVATELY TO YOU. FOR GOSH SAKES EXPEDITE. WORK HERE UTTERLY DEPENDANT ON IT. CABLE REPLY. RON.’
De Mille found Hough thoroughly agreeable and replied the following day:
‘PHD GRANTED. HOUGH’S AIRMAIL LETTER OF CONFIRMATION FOLLOWS. GOOD LUCK.’
It was in this way that Hubbard acquired the distinction of appending letters to his name – a mysterious ‘Doctorate of Divinity’ would follow shortly, along with a ‘D. Scn’.
The thing is – the degree was dated February 10th, 1953, more than 2 weeks earlier.
Plus, the wording of the first telegram to Demille clearly indicates there was already earlier discussion about this degree.
The part where it says: “PLEASE INFORM DR HOUGH PHD VERY ACCEPTABLE” obviously indicates Hough and the Walsh’s, or Hough and Maurine Oliver, more likely, since it’s the two of them that have the same dang phone number, and the fact that DeMille is ‘Hollywood’ to the nines with Maurine being the main BRITISH film agent – I figure that THEY had offered to provide Hubbard with this degree.
NOT that Hubbard asked for it necessarily, as Atack/Miller portray it. You would think Miller would have noticed that, but I digress.
There’s an affidavit done in 1968 by Joseph W. Hough, that I found in a Wikipedia discussion page about Hubbard’s entries. Hough discusses in the affidavit when he gave Hubbard the degree – which is where that February 10th date comes from.
The relevant part states –
A young Richard DeMile with his father Cecil B. DeMille
When it comes to that Richard DeMille connection, things get decidedly uglier revealing both a CIA and MI6 connection into this whole thing.
From the Just Dox Mind Control section of our Reading Library –
ARPA Project Echo 1966-69 – PDF – This is a project involving (amongst other things) psychological manipulation of the “ideology of groups”.
One of the scientists involved was Santa Barbara psychologist Richard Demille.
Richard also had helped L. Ron Hubbard write/create a number of early materials for Scientology/Dianetics – see Just Dox section – Scientology.
DeMille would be directly involved in doing just that with Ron Hubbard and CIA man Bob Mandelstam in 1954.
From my article of August 8, 2015 titled: Scientology – A CIA Tailored Religious Front Group for “Political Action” – Why It Became A Religion
Hubbard, armed with Mandelstam CIA tech on surveying populations, conducts a survey of apparently predominantly Catholics in Phoenix.
This is very important, because if you look closely at the following analysis by Hubbard of this survey, you will see a number of things that were then incorporated into what would become the CHURCH of scientology – exactly as Mandelstam and the (slavemasters) CIA wanted. It would now, in a complete turnaround from the first issue of JOS this year, begin the religion route.
Now you know why the change – Hubbard was asked to do this and he had to make it look like it was just his idea and “spontaneous” activity, get it?
Note: He would later inculcate this same “survey tech” into scientology, going so far as to try and say he learned it from some ancient Galactic space-opera civilization in one later reference. See my post Trained In L. Ron Hubbard’s PR Tech – Do We Really Think We Aren’t Being Played? for some very real examples of this that are being utilized by the supposed EX-scientologists in the media right now.
Journal of Scientology issue 35g is a fall issue, but it references a Religious Opinion Poll that had been conducted in the first part of August, 1954, in Phoenix, Arizona.
Just before this survey, Hubbard had done a mass-mailing of a little known circular called the Golden Dawn – which was billed as an “invitation to freedom” and contained the test-form of the Creed of the Church of Scientology.
We can accurately pin down when this mailing went out by the discussion of it contained in a split-off group of Dianeticists who published a magazine called the Aberree.
It was mailed out between August 4th and 6th, 1954. August 6th being the ninth anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima as mentioned by Richard deMille (who was himself a CIA asset).
This was the beginning of a WHOLE LOT of psychological manipulation of the “ideology of groups” in Scientology, I highly suggest you read the whole article.
Ok. So, that’s ugly.
What’s really disgusting is watching British intelligence, through one of their favorite forms of disinformation aka ‘news’ articles, begin trying to cover their ass on this in 2009.
On August 6, 2009, The Telegraph published an article called: Britain’s secret mission to expose Scientology leader as ‘fraud’ . Britain’s Department of Health files on Hubbard were supposed to stay sealed until the year 2019 (why, one wonders, and that’s a rhetorical question) but strangely, for this ridiculous little article some ‘diplomats’ were able to get some of Hubbard’s records released in response to Freedom of Information request.
Here’s the problem areas of Dominic’s article –
The founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, was exposed as a fraud 30 years ago by British diplomats who were investigating his qualifications.
The science-fiction writer, who invented a religion now followed by celebrities such as Tom Cruise, awarded himself a PhD from a sham “diploma mill” college that he had acquired, the diplomats found.
There’s those ‘diplomats’.
You realise what that means, right?
Foreign Intelligence, as in MI6.
Scientologists threatened to sue the British Government for libel after it acted in 1968 to ban followers from entering the country to visit the sect’s world headquarters in East Grinstead, West Sussex.
Times Archive, 1968: State acts to curb ‘harmful’ cult
To defend itself, Britain needed to establish whether Lafayette Ron Hubbard was a charlatan.
Department of Health files, some closed until 2019, have been released early to The Times by the National Archives after a successful request under the Freedom of Information Act.
Thirty years later Britain needed to defend itself?
or should I say whom…
That’s just so thin as an excuse its a wonder they could even type that with a straight face.
The papers include a signed statement by a former senior Scientologist who said that he had been informed of the doctorate scam by one of Hubbard’s collaborators.
“I understand it is asserted that L. Ron Hubbard was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy by Sequoia University on February 10, 1953, in recognition of his outstanding work in the fields of Dianetics and Scientology and that the said degree was recorded with the Department of Education of the State of California,” John McMaster stated.
“The position is L. Ron Hubbard [and others] acquired premises somewhere in Los Angeles which they had registered as a university called Sequoia and immediately awarded each other doctorates.”
Well, now. That doesn’t exactly line up with the facts, now does it.
I’ll tell you what I think. I think they are trying to cover the very thing I am showing in this post. That this was more than just some sham – this was intelligence cover building.
And not all the Brits were in on it.
Whitehall officials, keen to learn if Hubbard was truly a man of letters, asked the British Consulate in Los Angeles to investigate him. They sent an urgent confidential request asking whether he had founded the university, if the degree was self-awarded and what was the standing of the institution. “Grateful if you will make discreet and confidential inquiries and telegraph early reply,” said the author of a telegram from London.
The answer came from Los Angeles on April 26, 1977:
“After exhaustive enquiries we have now tracked down organisation named which was closed down by state authorities in 1971 and all documents impounded. The facts are that it neither has nor ever had approval and its status is not recognised in California . . . It is a ‘will of the wisp’ organisation which has no premises and does not really exist. It has not and never had any authority whatso-ever to issue diplomas or degrees and the dean is sought by the authorities ‘for questioning’.”
The diplomat said that Californian authorities had voluminous files on the college.
In other words – no, Hubbard didn’t start it, and apparently the writer of this article (or the cable answer) didn’t seem to want to associate what names were associated with this Sequoia University.
Papers released by the National Archives include a Sequoia University brochure offering an osteopathic medicine qualification that was supposedly internationally accredited. A memo from the California education department dated 1974 states that this shows that the “diploma mill” is “still in business as usual, in a new field this time”.
A letter from the bureau of school approvals states: “This institution has never been approved or recognised by this office. Repeated attempts have been made to obtain compliance with the legal requirements. None of these attempts have proved successful.”
And yet…still no names, no address, no real details.
The remarkable allegation that Scientologists were suspected of posing as doctors to rid themselves of an inquisitor and evidence against them emerges in a further British telegram.
On May 18, 1977, Louis Sherbourne, of the British Consulate-General in Los Angeles, wrote a confidential message showing how nervous US officials had become of Scientology. “We have now come up against the usual brick wall of missing files and silence, each and every person and organisation treading very warily for fear of a libel or slander action.”
Mr Sherbourne wrote that Sequoia had been founded by “Rev Fr Damian Hough alias Dr Joseph William Hough” in 1939 as a “diploma mill”.
“Apart from the suspicion that Hubbard bought the university from Hough to serve the needs of the Scientology organisation, we can establish no other positive connection,” he said.
Oh look! A name. Finally.
“United States Internal Revenue Services tried hard to obtain firmer evidence but appear to have failed. A recent attempt to resurrect the enquiry resulted in all the papers from 1939 to 1963 being sent to Sacramento to the office of the State Attorney General.
“By ‘an amazing coincidence’ the Deputy Attorney General dealing with them was taken ill and after seeing some ‘doctors’ was retired ‘due to his mental health’. My very incensed informant in the California Department of Education is convinced that the ‘doctors’ were scientologists who hypnotised him into mental ill-health and he feels very bitter but can do nothing about it.”
This just turned into an obvious hatchet-job.
Not because Hubbard was innocent. On the contrary, he was guilty of a lot of things. But one of those things is being a long-term intelligence agent for the British and the CIA.
You don’t see that in the article.
A spokeswoman for the Church of Scientology said the suggestion that Scientologists had hypnotised a deputy attorney general was “simply reflective of how astronomically paranoid they were”.
That’s a perfect example of supposedly opposing views that are not, and are aligned in BOTH staying off the real subject.
Hubbard’s career as an intelligence agent.
Hubbard also started the Freudian Foundation of America that same year of 1953.
He had this to say about that, in a taped lecture titled: LRH Definition Notes.
Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation was the first organization of Dianetics. This organization was first put together by myself in Elizabeth, New Jersey in May 1950.
The Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation has two appendant groups. One is a civil defense group. The other is the Freudian Foundation of America. It is the only authorized agency of any kind in the United States authorized to use the name and works of Sigmund Freud. All other Freudian Foundations have no charter or franchise from the old Master. But we have one from the Freudian Institute of Vienna, which makes us the only legal Freudian Foundation. This organization knows that as a sequence to the great work of Sigmund Freud, Dianetics is the solution to psychoanalysis and it freely says so. So we have the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation being ably supported by the Freudian Foundation of America and by the American Society of Civilian Defense.
He planned to work the Foundation in with the degrees at the Department of Scientology at Sequoia University.
Ready for the rest of the flyer we started with?
Next page –
There’s some really choice things here.
Oh noes! Not the evolving into higher energy thing!
I bet most scientologists don’t know it wasquite so British SPR* angled – all that obsessing about thought energy.
(SPR = Society of Psychical Research)
No wonder it doesn’t work.
Next page of flyer –
Oh boy. Some juicy details here.
Was it? Let’s see. Off to check California State online corporation lookup….
I’m back and nope, there is NO record of it being filed with the state.
So much for that then.
Why do this make me think of this –
It’s a mystery. (ha)
Well, that’s certainly one way of skirting the issues at hand, but notice the various places about the city, what’s that about? More houses?
Oh…the Oxford method. Well, I’m suitably impressed. Not.
Now, where have I heard that before…
Next page –
That sounds like some kind of dance step.
Last page – (this one is kind of hard to read)
Whoa. Did you see that? This is a scientific scientologist now? That’s a little too many scien‘s for me.
Hard to read, but here’s what I can read –
Oh man, with an acronym of SAS – as in…the British special forces unit?
Does Operation Gladio experience in Las Palmas count towards this degree?
Well, that’s all of the pages. Here’s a PDF of everything for you.
Hey – What about Joseph William Hough?
In 1954, Chief Court Justice Warren was caught having an ‘honorary’ degree from the very same Sequoia University that Hubbard had been just given a degree by.
San Bernardino County Sun, February 23, 1954, FRONT PAGE –
Note the part I highlighted – it’s our very own Dr. Hough!
Joseph W. Hough was under investigation again in 1957.
He invoked the Fifth Amendment 22 times in refusing to answer a question about Hough’s own doctorate being bogus, reportedly having been purchased from the unaccredited Free University of Mexico in 1938.
The Times, San Mateo October 24, 1957 –
Sequoia University was shut down by court order in 1984.
And just like that –
It was gone.
Researched and written by