Bibles, 'Way to Happiness' share space at Ashland Springs

The nightstands at the Ashland Springs Hotel are a little more crowded than in most hotels. Alongside Bibles donated by the Gideons are copies of "The Way to Happiness," a moral code written by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the Church of Scientology.

"This book ... has contributed greatly to my own personal happiness and success, and it's something that I wanted to share with others," said Rebecca Neuman, a Scientologist who owns the hotel with her husband Doug.

Neuman said she got the idea to distribute the books in her hotel after seeing Buddhist and Mormon writings during her own travels. The books, which list 21 different "precepts" for better living, including instructions to be temperate, honor parents, set a good example, and be industrious and competent, have been available in the hotel since July 2006.

The hotel sells both a hardbound copy of the book and smaller $2 booklets for interested guests. In the year and a half they have been available, the hotel has sold about 250 copies, Neuman said.

Two or three guests have complained about the books in that time, but most either don't notice or are supportive, said Don Amway, general manager of the hotel.

"If it was offensive, we wouldn't be selling them," he said. "I think where people get offended is the creator of Scientology is the one who wrote it."

After the books were introduced at the hotel, David Miscavige, who leads the Religious Technology Center designed to preserve Scientology, announced the news in his 2007 New Year's speech where he reviewed the 2006 campaign to "break the dark spell cast across Earth by psychiatry."

Global distribution of "The Way to Happiness" through hotels, schools and corporations was part of the 2007 "Operation Planetary Calm" also outlined in the speech.

Most guests don't seem to have strong opinions on the book. The hotel books have comment cards, but none have been returned, either positive or negative, Amway said.

"I've been here for two nights and I didn't even notice it was there," said Shauna Mosgrove, a guest of the hotel over the weekend from Walla Walla, Wash. "I'd be interested in that I'm fascinated by that religion. It's so completely bizarre. I would look at that before I would look at the Bible, just out of curiosity."

Trina Stewart of Rogue River said she was neither excited nor upset that the book would be in her room.

"I'm always open to learning new things," she said. "I wouldn't be offended because it's there."

Placement of the book inside a drawer and not on the tabletop is meant to be unobtrusive, Amway said.

"People can believe and practice how they wish to," he said. "Putting the book in the room isn't putting anything on them. They can choose to open the book or choose not to."

Staff writer can be reached at 482-3456 ext. 227 or .

Share This Story