OT III Scholarship Page

Founded Jan. 19, 1997, by David S. Touretzky (dst@cs.cmu.edu)

Space Opera as Theology: Scientology's OT III

This page is dedicated to the analysis and criticism of what Scientologists must consider to be the most significant document in the history of the human race: L. Ron Hubbard's "OT III". (See legal notes below.) The first page of this historic work, jotted down in Hubbard's own hand, is presented herewith:


          Data (1)            (1)
The head of the Galactic
Confederation (76 planets around
larger stars visible from here)
(founded 95,000,000 yrs ago, very space opera)
solved overpopulation (250 billion
or so per planet) -- 178 billion
average) by mass implanting.
He caused people to be brought to
Teegeeack (Earth) and put an H Bomb
on the principal volcanoes (Incident 2)
and then the Pacific area ones
were taken in boxes to Hawaii
and the Atlantic Area ones to
Las Palmas and there "packaged."
His name was Xenu. He used
renegades. Various misleading
data by means of circuits etc.
were placed in the implants.
When through with his crime Loyal Officers
(to the people) captured him
after 6 years of battle
and put him in an electronic
mountain trap where he still
is. "They" are gone. The place (Confed.)
has since been a desert.

How do you know this was actually written by L. Ron Hubbard?

The document was authenticated by Helena Kobrin, lawyer for Religious Technology Center, in a letter sent to Carnegie Mellon's legal counsel on January 24, 1997. Her assistance is much appreciated.

Was Xenu a drug-inspired hallucination?

Prignillius contributed this interesting posting concerning how Hubbard's drug use may have contributed to OT III.


  1. Funny that there is no date on this page. Hubbard dated everything. Two later pages of the 20 page handwritten manuscript bear the date October 28, 1968, but the first three pages have no date. Was he too spaced out when he wrote this to remember such details? Why did he write (1) twice at the top of the first page?
  2. The penmanship in this document is poor. Hubbard switches between cursive and printed styles seemingly at random. Notice the "b" in "billion" is printed the first time and cursive the second.
  3. He underlines three words, presumably for emphasis: the word "then", and the place names Hawaii and Las Palmas. It's hard for a lay reader to see why emphasis is needed here. However, location is very important in Scientology auditing: they believe it necessary to "date/locate" an incident in order to properly identify it and "blow the charge" from the engram. Hubbard's definition of "truth" is the exact time, place, form, and event. Hence, location is emphasized here because this information will be needed later to identify which implant station the person (thetan) was taken to. Note that Teegeeack and Earth are not underlined.
  4. Hubbard writes "volcanoes" where my preferred spelling (and the one used in Wakefield's book and the Fishman Declaration) is "volcanos". However, the version of OT III in Scamizdat #5 has "volcanoes". Dictionaries list both spellings. Equally acceptable spellings are listed in alphabetical order, so "volcanoes" appears first, but it is not marked as the preferred form.
  5. Hubbard capitalizes "H Bomb" where the convention (at least now) is "H-bomb".
  6. Note that Hubbard uses the correct spelling of "principal". He does not appear to be a bad speller. (It would be impossible to check this by looking at printed Scientology literature, since his output was checked and edited by underlings before publication.)
  7. Note the reference to "Incident 2". In both the Fishman Declaration and Wakefield versions of OT III this is transcribed as "Incident II", i.e., using roman numerals, and this convention is also followed in the Vorlon edition of the FLAG NOTs pack. Martin Ottman's transcription says "Incident 2". In Hubbard's original document, arabic numbers or the words "One" and "Two" are used, but never roman numerals.
  8. The heavy use of parenthetical interjections gives the page the tone of a verbal report, but examining the actual document shows that a couple of these were inserted later, so this cannot be a verbatim transcript. The first one, "(founded 95,000,000 yrs ago, very space opera)", appears to be an insert because it uses smaller letters and smaller inter-line spacing than the rest of the text. The second one is "(Confed.)", which clarifies the meaning of "place". This is expanded to "(Confederation)" in the typeset versions of OT III I've seen, such as Wakefield's (cited below.)
  9. On the RJ-67 tape (Ron's Journal #67), Hubbard uses "Confederacy" rather than "Confederation".
  10. Two other insertions are noteworthy. The "with his crime" phrase, the only interjection not parenthesized, indicates that it was Xenu who was "through", rather than the implanting of an individual reaching completion. And the "(to the people)" comment clarifies that the officers were loyal to Xenu's victims, not Xenu. The visual appearance of this comment shows that it could not have been inserted later. On the other hand, it is ungrammatical, suggesting that Hubbard realized the ambiguity at the moment he finished the preceding line, and stuck in the parenthetical comment to resolve it.
  11. The document has a telegraphic style in places, suggesting it was scribbled down in haste. One example is the abbreviation "yrs" in the first parenthetical comment. (All the typeset versions of OT III I've seen expand this to "years".) Another example is the ungrammatical "(to the people)" insertion.
  12. On pages 2-3 Hubbard suggests he may be the only person in 75,000,000 years to have discovered the implant and lived to tell about it. The raw, breathless tone of this document, and the fact that it is still presented to Scientologists in its original handwritten form, heighten the reader's sense of being there with Hubbard in 1967 when he emerges "very knocked out but alive" to scribble down his momentous discovery.
  13. It's hard to see how a galactic confederation could become a "desert" except in a highly metaphorical sense. What happened to all the folks who defeated Xenu's renegades? Is Xenu, still locked in his mountain trap, the lone survivor of his race?
  14. Logical contradiction: how can there be 250 billion "or so" per planet if the average number was 178 billion?

The Xenu/Xemu Controversy

Legal Notes

Isn't this material a trade secret?

No, it's not, according to the sworn testimony of Warren McShane, president of Religious Technology Center:

24 A The very first tab under Tab No. 1. You can see there are
25 references to the Galactic confederation, 76 planets, but

page 229
1 within that there is information on what are called incidents
2 that you see there, Your Honor, in parentheses. Those itself
3 are trade secret. Any descriptions in that first page which
4 actually described what happened to the individual himself is
5 a trade secret.
6 But it may be easier to explain what's not. The
7 discussion of the -- of the volcanoes, the explosions, the
8 Galactic confederation 75 million years ago, and a gentleman
9 by the name Xemu there. Those are not trade secrets. The
10 officers mentioned there are not. But the -- the parts in
11 there that actually described what happened to the individual
12 and how to handle it, especially when it goes onto page 2 from
13 that point forward, that is trade secret.
14 Q Everything thereafter?
15 A Yes.
16 MR. KELLEY: Is page 2 Tab 2?
17 THE WITNESS: Tab 2, I'm sorry.
And later in his testimony:
18 THE WITNESS: This particular exhibit I am looking at
19 is O.T. III. And as I explained to the court the other day,
20 when we were talking about what's generally known in the 75
21 million years ago and Xemu and the volcanoes, which is
22 knowledge that has been known for years, that is contained in
23 bits and pieces in the first paragraph of page 1. This is
24 page 3. Your Honor, if you look at the first full paragraph,
25 it starts with "one's" on the handwritten part.

page 472
1 THE COURT: All right.
2 THE WITNESS: First full paragraph where it says
3 "one's body." From that point on -- at least on that point is
4 what's trade secret. Mr. Hubbard describing what has occurred
5 to the individual, not the general description of what events
6 happened 75 million years ago, but what happened to the
7 individual person. That is a trade secret. That's what's not
8 published in any works. From that point forward is a
9 description of the actual technology itself and how to undo
10 that great catastrophe that occurred.
See also the statement by Scientology lawyer Kendrick Moxon, during the deposition of Jeff Jacobsen in the Arnie Lerma case, that the Xenu story "has been a matter of public record for many years".

McShane is mistaken when he says the OT III data beginning "one's body" remains a trade secret. This material has been published in several places, including Margery Wakefield's book, where the first three pages of the OT III document are quoted in full. And see Jon Atack's ``OT 3 for Beginners'' for a synopsis that spills all the secrets.

Isn't this material subject to copyright?

It may be. The copyright registration number is TXu-290-496. The copyright is currently owned by the Church of Spiritual Technology, and licensed to Religious Technology Center, both Scientology shell corporations. However, the US Copyright Code provides for "fair use" quotation for purposes of comment and criticism, and this web page clearly falls in that category. There is also some evidence that the copyright filing might be fraudulent.

Is this drivel worth anything at all?

Scientology thinks it's worth thousands of dollars. Check out this advertisement and price list for their ``OT III Wall of Fire'' course.


  1. Atack, Jonathan. (1996) OT 3 - Scientology's "secret" course rewritten for beginers.

  2. Fishman, Steven. (1993) Declaration filed April 9, 1993 in connection with civil case 91-6426 HLH (Tx), Church of Scientology International v. Steven Fishman and Uwe Geertz, US District Court for the Central District of California. Pages 76-100 contain the text of OT III.

  3. Hubbard, Lafayette Ronald. (1968) Operating Thetan Section III. Handwritten manuscript. Available online courtesy of Andreas Heldal-Lund.

  4. McShane, Warren. (1995) Transcript of testimony in civil action no. 95-B-2143, Religious Technology Center v. F.A.C.T.Net, Inc., et al., U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. Proceedings before the Honorable John L. Kane on September 11, 1995.

  5. Ottman, Martin. (1996) Posting to Usenet newsgroup alt.religion.scientology titled "New (old) OT III material". Posted in November, 1996, under the name phariz@aol.com. Contains a transcript of the first handwritten page of OT III, and several HCOBs comprising the OT III Course Pack.

  6. Scamizdat Staff. (1995) Scamizdat #5. Contains a partial transcript of L. Ron Hubbard's "Class VIII Course, Lecture #10", commonly known as the Class VIII Assists tape, a lecture delivered October 3, 1968 aboard the Scientology ship Apollo. Hubbard discusses Xenu/Xemu by name. Scamizdat #5 was published on the Usenet newsgroup alt.religion.scientology in May, 1995.

  7. Spaink, Karin. (1996) Summary of OT III. Ruled legal by a Dutch court.

  8. Vorlon. (1996) The FLAG NOTs Pack. This is referred to as the "Vorlon edition". For more information, see the NOTs Scholars Home Page.

  9. Wakefield, Margery. (1991) The Road to Xenu. The first three pages of OTIII are quoted in chapter 13. This chapter also gives the full descriptions of Incidents 1 and 2, which are referred to in OT III auditing.

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