Jon Atack asked if I would write down something about the name “Jonnie Goodbugger” that Omar Garrison came up with for L. Ron Hubbard.
Atack spelled it Johnny Goodbugger, but I believe it should be Jonnie, after Jonnie Goodboy Tyler.
In October 1980, right after Garrison signed his contract to write the LRH biography, I gave him a copy of Hubbard’s manuscript for Man the Endangered Species, which was published in 1982 as Battlefield Earth. The hero in the book is the humanoid stone age villager Jonnie Goodboy Tyler.
Hubbard had sent a copy of the ms to his PR Bureau, and I got assigned to copyedit his introduction. I also read the ms version around the same time Garrison read it, and we talked about the book on many occasions.
Garrison recognized very early in his reading and research in the biography project that Hubbard standardly made the heroes in his fiction physically astonishing versions of himself. “Jonnie Goodboy stood […] a muscular six feet shining with the bronzed health of his twenty years […] wind tangling his corn-yellow hair and beard, looking […] with his ice-blue eyes.”
No doubt Jonnie’s surname came to Hubbard from the famous American children’s novel Toby Tyler; or, Ten Weeks with a Circus. He had read it in his childhood, just as I had. He signaled his affection for the book, to me at least, when in the early 1970’s he started addressing Toby Young as “Tyler” in his communications to her. She was then the LRH Communicator US, and they communicated directly for a while, mainly about children in the orgs in the US. He invented cute pet names for a few female messengers or juniors who got close to him at different times, and “Tyler” was such a name for Toby Young. Perhaps Hubbard was feeling a little sentimental when, on the lam and hiding out in 1980, he called the hero in the monumental science fiction book he was writing “Tyler.” Or maybe it was marketing, or garden variety luciferian cynicism.
“Goodbugger” replacing “Goodboy” arose in Garrison’s mind, I am quite sure, from reading a page of Hubbard handwriting about Leon Brown and buggery. Hubbard implicated them both in something unsavory, and then commanded himself in this writing to “plow up Leon Brown.” I interpreted this to mean that for his health or progress in life he would have to confront the whole truth of whatever he and Brown had been into.
Leon Brown is recognizable to every on-board Scientologist from one of Hubbard’s most famous scriptural policy letters, HCOPL 7 December 1969 “Ethics, the Design of:”
To give you an example, when a little boy this life, the neighborhood a block around and the road from home to school were unusable. A bully about five years older than I named Leon Brown exerted a very bad influence over other children. With extortion by violence and blackmail and with corruption he made the area very dangerous. The road to school was blocked by the 5 O’Connell kids, ranging from 7 to 15 who stopped and beat up any smaller child. One couldn’t go to school safely and was hounded by the truant officer, a hulking brute complete with star, if one didn’t go to school.
When I was about six I got very tired of a bloody nose and spankings because my clothes were torn and avidly learned “lumberjack fighting” a crude form of judo from my grandfather.
With this “superior tech” under my belt I searched out and found alone the youngest O’Connell kid, a year older than I, and pulverized him. Then I found alone and took on the next in size and pulverized him. After that the O’Connell kids, all 5, fled each time I showed up and the road to school was open and I convoyed other little kids so it was safe.
Then one day I got up on a 9 foot high board fence and waited until the 12 year old bully passed by and leaped off on him boots and all and after the dust settled that neighborhood was safe for every kid in it.
So I learned about justice. Kids would come from blocks away to get help in their neighborhood. Finally for a mile around it was a safe environment for kids.
At one time I had the O’Connell kids’ ages, and Leon Brown’s too. I’ve posted and spoken years ago about all the details I could recall, I think. It is probably quite easy to check in the Helena, Montana records. The youngest O’Connell kid that young Hubbard said he’d pulverized might have been younger than Hubbard. I do not possess this information now. I don’t think Leon Brown was five or six years older than Hubbard, but closer in age.
Hubbard issued “Ethics, the Design of” on December 7, 1969, while he was probably in Casablanca, Morocco. I was in Vancouver, Canada and enrolled on his Standard Dianetics Course. This PL would become basic and essential throughout my years in the SO. Here were the “psychopathic personality,” “psychopathic criminals,” “people who suppress,” who got away with it because nobody said “No.”
This PL also identified the cult’s command channel:
It occasionally happens that [the SP] is someone high up in the org. It sometimes happens [the Ethics Officer’s] seniors or the EC scold him for daring to report on things or to them. Then he knows the suppression is high up and he is delinquent in duty if he does not report it to the next highest org and if no action there right on up to the Sea Org.
Although Garrison was every inch a wog, he also picked up the organizational and historical importance of Hubbard’s public PL “Ethics, the Design of.” It contrasted dramatically with Hubbard’s private writing I had given Garrison that revealed something about the real relationship with Brown. Garrison was also familiar with Hubbard’s notoriously homophobic scriptural precepts and attitude, and it was in their light he viewed the Brown thing, and coined the name Jonnie Goodbugger. There were a few of us who had known Hubbard and occasionally would refer to him after that, I think always kind of kindly, as Jonnie Goodbugger, or just Goodbugger.
Hubbard’s childhood ethics heroics are noted in Russell Miller’s Bare-Faced Messiah, and Jon Atack’s A Piece of Blue Sky:
On 2 January 1917 Ron was enrolled at the kindergarten at Central School on Warren Street, just across from the new cathedral which, with its twin spires and grey stone facade, towered reprovingly over the city. Most days he was walked to school by his aunts, Marnie and June, who were at Helena High, opposite Central School. Ron, who was known to the neighbourhood kids as ‘brick’ because of his hair, would later claim that while still at kindergarten he used the ‘lumberjack fighting’ he had learned from his grandfather to deal with a gang of bullies who were terrorizing children on their way to and from the school. But one of Ron’s closest childhood friends, Andrew Richardson, has no recollection of him protecting local children from bullies. ‘He never protected nobody,’ said Richardson. ‘It was all bullshit. Old Hubbard was the greatest con artist who ever lived.’ 1
Hubbard was certainly an enthralling story-teller. He once told an audience that when he was six, his neighborhood was terrorized by a 12-year-old bully called Leon Brown, and by “the five O’Connell kids,” aged from 7 to 15. Ron learned “lumberjack fighting” from his grandfather, and took on the two youngest O’Connell kids one after the other. The O’Connell kids “fled each time I showed up … Then one day I got up on a nine-foot high board fence and waited until the 12 year old bully passed by and leaped off on him boots and all and after the dust settled that neighborhood was safe for every kid in it.”
Shannon located school registration cards for five Helena boys called O’Connell. When Ron was six, the oldest O’Connell boy was 16, and the youngest five. Shannon did not find Leon Brown, but he did exist, living a few doors away from Ron, and he was 12 in 1917. Ron Hubbard must have been a very tough six-year-old!2
Somewhere I heard or read that our Leon Brown had been killed in Seattle. But I have never confirmed this, or pursued the story further.