L Ron Hubbard - endorsed by Econo Lodge motels

Ignoring its location directly beneath the I-15 freeway, the EconoLodge motel in downtown Salt Lake City is a pleasant enough place to stay. Arriving unannounced, we paid $60-odd a night for single rooms with a king-sized bed, an en-suite bathroom, wireless internet and breakfast included.

Also included was the obligatory Gideons' Bible, which I had dipped into whilst staying in Motel 6 in Green River. There I learnt (Leviticus 11:19) that bats were amongst the species of birds that should not be eaten, because they are unclean. As bat is one of the most popular Sunday roasts in Britain, this came as a shock, but I was also surprised to discover bats were not mammals. Still, this was the word of God, and He should know the difference between homology and convergence.

However, in EconoLodge there was an extra surprise. The Gideons were deemed insufficient for our spiritual needs and an extra tome was in the bedside drawer. The Way To Happiness, A Common Sense Guide to Better Living, had the EconoLodge logo on its front cover, so at first glance I presumed it to be some kind of new-age hotel self-help book. I am in the USA after all.

Then I wondered if, given my location, it wasn't in fact something Mormon. So I dived in. Oh, it was better than Mormon. It was...

...L. Ron Hubbardological!

The blurb says:

"This may be the first nonreligious moral code based wholly on common sense. It was written by L. Ron Hubbard as an individual work and is not part of any religious doctrine."

Its chapter headings are:

1. Take Care of Yourself
(this includes 1-3. Preserve Your Teeth, although the appropriate preservative is not divulged)

2. Be Temperate
(Don't do drugs, Mm-kay? Drugs are bad, Mm-kay?)

3. Don't Be Promiscuous
(But polygamy is ok in Utah, presumably?)

4. Love and Help Children

5. Honor and Help Your Parents
(whatever Philip Larkin might think)

6. Set A Good Example

7. Seek To Live With The Truth
(but make sure you have a big enough bed)

8. Do Not Murder
(conclusion - "The way to happiness does not include murdering or your friends, your family or yourself being murdered")

9. Don't Do Anything Illegal
(even if these laws were imposed under tyranny, apparently)

10. Support A Government Designed And Run For All The People
(although it is not clear whether all people means all people, including paedophiles, terrorists and other ne'er-do-wells)

11. Do Not Harm A Person of Good Will

12. Safeguard and Improve Your Environment

13. Do Not Steal

14. Be Worthy Of Trust
(so do not award yourself a Ph.D. from a non-accredited institution that you control)

15. Fulfill Your Obligations

16. Be Industrious
(or perhaps be idle, as Bertrand Russell suggested)

17. Be Competent
(or amusingly incompetent)

18. Respect The Religious Beliefs of Others
(unless they are Scientological, of course)

19. Try Not To Do Things To Others That You Would Not Like Them To Do To You
(so I shall never serve anyone broccoli, or make them watch Strictly Come Dancing in the hope that they shall never do it to me)

20. Try To Treat Others As You Would Want Them To Treat You

21. Flourish And Prosper
(or whatever it was them blokes from Star Trek said. Goddamnit, why did Gene Roddenberry's science fiction do better than mine?)

You can acquire your own copy here.