The Church of the SubGenius has been variously described as a parody religion, a true religion, and a mix of the two. This article treats both it and SubGenius sources nonjudgmentally.
How many religions promise its believers an escape on space-alien-piloted pleasure saucers right before the hostile invasion of Earth? How many religions follow a supernaturally lucky, full-blooded Yeti, pipe-smoking salesman prophet? How many honor that prophet’s perpectually youthful shapeshifting (and reportedly wiser) wife who’s about to celebrate her 100th birthday? And what religion offers you eternal salvation—or triple your money back?
None other than the Church of the SubGenius.
Church of the SubGenius
According to church documents, the Church of the SubGenius was formed in the 1950s by salesman J.R. “Bob” Dobbs. (The church insists the name of the prophet “Bob” always includes the quotation marks.) This was in the American state of Texas. The salesman Dobbs preached about the “wrathful alien space god from some corporate sin galaxy” named Jehovah 1 or JHVH-1. The church’s founding secretary was Constance Marsh, “Bob”‘s then future first wife now known as Constance “Connie” Dobbs.
But the publisher of the SubGenius “Bible,” The Book of the SubGenius, has a different story. Simon & Schuster claims the church aka Subgenius Foundation began in the 1970s. The 2019 documentary J. R. “Bob” Dobbs and The Church of the SubGenius credits the founders as Rev. Ivan Stang and Dr. Philo Drummond.
In any case, the church encourages people to “Repent! Quit your job! Slack off!” That message is taught through various media including the 1991 film Arise!: the SubGenius Video. While Slack is the goal, it is largely left undefined.
The church also teaches that the X-ist pleasure saucer rescue will happen on X-Day, July 5th. In 1998. But while card-carrying church members assembled at an outdoor event on that date, the saucers never arrived. So the church then claimed the X-ists use a different calendar on their home world, Planet X. So no Earthling knows what Earth year their 1998 will be. Therefore X-Day has been planned for July 5 every year since, generally in person, recently online. X-Day 25 was set for July 5, 2022. (To add to the confusion, a recent “schism” in the church arose because some claimed the 7/5 date actually means the 7th of May).
But one date is clear, or about as clear as anything SubGenius: Connie Marsh was born on July 4, 1922. That’s according to “Excerpts from the Diary of Constance ‘Connie’ Marsh Dobbs,” SubGenius.com, SubGenius.Fandom.com, ConnieDobbs.com, and the as-yet-unreleased book The Early Church of the SubGenius.
Connie, who was born in Dallas, Texas, was childhood friends with both Juicy Johnson (after marriage known as Juicy Retardo), and with her then future husband Bobby Dobbs. Some claim that, while “Bob” may be incredibly lucky at making money, Connie is the practical brains of the duo.
Connie did exceptionally well in school. An analysis of her diary shows she was writing at a 4th grade level when she was in 1st grade. And Bobby Dobbs allegedly did better than he would have by copying her papers. Connie worked as a model from her girlhood to adulthood, and as an adult also worked as an actress. She reportedly had a swimming encounter in 1939 with then President Franklin Delano Roosevelt that was allegedly covered up in White House records. She later went to college, where Dr. Drummond unknowningly re-introduced her to “Bob”.
The “Siren of Slack” not only acted and modeled, she was the primary founder of the orphanage chain Home for Slackless Children. This was after she became “Bob”‘s first and primary wife. She and her husband had six children together: Barbara, Bubba, J.R. “Bobby” Jr., Adam Kadmon, Shem, and Shaun. According to Rev. Stang, there are good reasons Barbara looks remarkably like the Barbie doll.
In 2017, Connie, along with actress/singer/composer Miley Ray Cyrus, was named to the Order of the Pineapple. This honors those who have given “extraordinary service to the participatorial study of comedic attitudes and eccentric tendencies.” Winners with verifiable existence who have accepted the award include the famed comic book author Alan Moore. They also include the astronomer Michael E. Brown. Brown led the team that discovered “Planet X” which was later named as the dwarf planet Eris, leading to the demotion of Pluto.
Rev. E.W. Modemac said about the famed Connie, “She has appeared in many forms, but none of those images is the True Connie. She morphs constantly….”
While there are few if any remaining witnesses of her early life, there were reportedly dozens of witnesses the weekend of June 10 – 12, 2022. That’s when Connie Dobbs led a Sunday service at the Grove Gathering. The annual event, held on private land in the American Southwest, has a different name each year. This one was called both “Rainbow Grove” and “Connie’s Grove,” the latter in Connie’s honor.
Mrs. Dobbs was introduced and assisted in the service by Charlie Muck. Dr. Drummond described Muck as J.R.’s “John the Baptist.” Charlie reportedly prophecized the church decades before Connie was even born, and like her can morph. Appropriately enough for a prophet of a church that favors the X-ists and “Bob”, Muck is more formally known as JoX the Bobtist.
Connie spoke for a bit, then went behind a curtain. Then she came out, looking and sounding quite different, and danced. After going behind the curtain again, she came out as she looked at first, and spoke. Then, after another curtain trip, she had transformed once again. Fitting the event’s theme, she sang the 1939 The Wizard of Oz classic “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
After a final trip behind the curtain, she came out looking and sounding like she had at the beginning. The advice JoX gave to the audience was, “Pay no attention to the women—woman—behind the curtain!”
So happy 100th Birthday to Connie Dobbs!
While some claim Alden Loveshade is a card-carrying member of the Church of the SubGenius, Alden will deny it. Unless you’re with the crew of a pleasure saucer. Alden will admit to having written professionally for Yahoo News, NBC Sports Network, SubGenius game publisher Steve Jackson Games, and, of course, for SCIFI.radio.
Alden Loveshade first thought of emself as a writer when in 3rd grade. E first wrote professionally when e was 16 years old, and later did professional photography and art/graphic design. Alden has professionally published news/sports/humorous/and feature articles, poems, columns, reviews, stories, scripts, books, and school lunch menus.