It's emerged that the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, wasn't content to make up his own hokey 'religion' (although its relationship to 'religion' as such is about the same as my relationship to Mata Hari - i.e. non-existent). It seems he 'bought' fake credentials to support his weirdness. According to a report in the Times, England:
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.
. . .
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.
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.
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.” Dianetics is the so-called “science” founded by Hubbard to provide spiritual healing.
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.
There's more at the link.
Why am I not surprised to hear that Hubbard's academic credentials were as false and fraudulent as his alleged beliefs?