Tony Ortega is executive editor of TheLipTV and is formerly the editor of The Village Voice. He's written about Scientology since 1995, and in May 2015 released a book about Scientology's harassment of Paulette Cooper titled 'The Unbreakable Miss Lovely.' He continues to monitor breaking developments in the Scientology world from an undisclosed location in an underground bunker he shares with four cats and one of them wrinkly Shar Pei dogs. Despite his super-secret security protections, you can still reach him pretty easily by sending him a message at tonyo94 AT gmail.com (Drop him a line if you'd like to get an e-mail whenever a new story is posted.) [Header image courtesy John Rickard]
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A new look inside Scientology’s bomb-proof vaults, and a visit to Hubbard’s final rodeo

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We’re traveling today, and we’re grateful to our tipsters for keeping us supplied with good material while we look for some time to do some reporting on new stories.

We have contributions from two tipsters today that happened to hit on a similar theme — Scientology’s super-secretive entity, the “Church of Spiritual Technology” (CST), and its Space Age underground vaults.

Continue reading A new look inside Scientology’s bomb-proof vaults, and a visit to Hubbard’s final rodeo

Happy Birthday, Miss Lovely: A tribute to the dauntless and unbreakable Paulette Cooper

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On July 26, 1942, Ruchla Minkowski Bucholc gave birth to her second daughter, a girl she named Paula.

Today, the world knows little Paula Bucholc by another name and for her inspiring life story. We wish you a happy birthday, Paulette Cooper.

Continue reading Happy Birthday, Miss Lovely: A tribute to the dauntless and unbreakable Paulette Cooper

A video response to Scientology’s crass celebrities, Jenna and Bodhi Elfman

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Things keep getting stranger and stranger here in the Underground Bunker — and we love it! A couple of days ago, we posted a video of Scientology celebrities Jenna and Bodhi Elfman which was the latest in their series of what they call “Kicking and Screaming,” a series of short videos with the two of them talking about their lives.

Continue reading A video response to Scientology’s crass celebrities, Jenna and Bodhi Elfman

Long before Xenu: Scientology’s actual origin story, as told by a former member

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We have a real treat for you today. Derek Bloch noticed that Scientology’s “Xenu” story that was made famous in South Park in 2005 and was given another great treatment in Alex Gibney’s film Going Clear this year (pictured above) is often referred to as Scientology’s “origin story.” This is simply untrue. The Xenu incident, which resulted in so many beings brought to and vaporized on Earth, took place a mere 75 million years ago. But Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard claimed that the universe itself was some 4 quadrillion years old, and that it had been created by “bored” thetans playing some kind of game. Derek, a longtime presence here at the Underground Bunker, submitted this essay to explain how he was taught to believe the universe got here, and the narrative of the cosmos that he learned as a member of the organization. Here, then, is the overall, overarching purpose of Scientology, which rarely gets spelled out in such detail. We hope you find it as fascinating as we did — and we’d really like to hear from other former members of the church how much of this they were aware of as they were working their way up the Bridge to Total Freedom.

Continue reading Long before Xenu: Scientology’s actual origin story, as told by a former member

The Church of Scientology: A rollicking legacy of belligerence, profanity, paranoia, and violence

The Church of Scientology has long promoted itself as the most ethical group on the planet. However, the following thirty examples, collected by our friend Jeffrey Augustine and listed here chronologically, present a prolific portrait of Church belligerence, profanity, paranoia, and violence in recent years. We sense a trend.

1. September 2004: Scientology OT Tom Cruise in Rolling Stone, “The Passion of the Cruise,” sets the tone for bad behavior. As the world would later learn, the church was secretly auditioning wife candidates for Tom Cruise that year.

 
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Continue reading The Church of Scientology: A rollicking legacy of belligerence, profanity, paranoia, and violence

How Scientology is Tom Cruise? How he put ethics ‘ruthlessly’ in on his own family

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 Aaron Smith-Levin has another clip from his YouTube project, “Growing Up in Scientology,” and this one is really something. Once again, he’s interviewed Nick Lister, who was talked about in Alex Gibney’s documentary Going Clear. Nick has some revelations about working in the Tom Cruise household and how seriously Tom holds Scientology’s concepts of discipline, even as it applies to his own family. Aaron has supplied us with this description of what you’re going to see…

Some in the media have speculated that perhaps Tom Cruise is considering leaving Scientology so he can spend more time with his daughter Suri. More serious media outlets know that this is just spin. Nick has a story which provides some new insight into just how militantly Tom uses the policies of Scientology and to what degree the Church of Scientology has been involved in every aspect of his life, beyond finding him girlfriends and tricking out cars and airplane hangars.

Continue reading How Scientology is Tom Cruise? How he put ethics ‘ruthlessly’ in on his own family

Scientology’s speechwriter, the word of God, and a Hubbard bio that will never see the light of day

 
One of the benefits of our book tour is that we’re getting to meet people around the country who we’ve only known through the Internet or on the telephone. In Denver we finally met Claire Headley for the first time. In DC, it was the amazing researcher Mary McConnell. In Toronto, it’s a list so long we were left stunned.

And then, this week, we made our first ever trip to Dallas and got to know Steve Hall.

Continue reading Scientology’s speechwriter, the word of God, and a Hubbard bio that will never see the light of day

Stacy Murphy is still dead, but Oklahoma gives the Scientology rehab that killed her new life

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We were busy traveling yesterday and didn’t notice what a portentous date it was.

On July 19 three years ago, Stacy Dawn Murphy, 20, died of a drug overdose while she was a patient at Scientology’s flagship drug rehab facility, Narconon Arrowhead in eastern Oklahoma. She was the third patient to die at Narconon Arrowhead in only nine months, and those deaths sparked numerous county and state investigations, as well as a number of lawsuits.

Continue reading Stacy Murphy is still dead, but Oklahoma gives the Scientology rehab that killed her new life

Mile High and climbing: Chris Shelton helps us tell the tale of Scientology and ‘Miss Lovely’

UnbreakableCoverBy Chris Shelton

When Tony Ortega announced his extended tour and that he was coming to Denver, I immediately wanted to do something to secure a location for him and make this a success. Having read The Unbreakable Miss Lovely, I knew this was a work that needed to get as wide a coverage as possible.

The Secular Hub is a group I belong to here in Denver, a sort of umbrella group for local atheists, skeptics, humanists and similar organizations that seek freedom from religion, enforcement of the separation of church and state, and who do volunteer work around town. They had hosted my talk about Scientology and were more than happy to host and promote Tony’s.

Continue reading Mile High and climbing: Chris Shelton helps us tell the tale of Scientology and ‘Miss Lovely’

Do Scientologists consider L. Ron Hubbard God? Part Two of the Aaron Smith-Levin podcast

HubbardThinksJeffrey Augustine continues with part two of his podcast with Aaron Smith-Levin. He sent us this synopsis…

In Part 2, Aaron Smith-Levin continues his fascinating and wide-ranging excursion into the world of Scientology from the eyes of a Sea Org member. Aaron opens by describing how he realized that the highly dysfunctional operating conditions of the six Los Angeles Orgs are a reflection of the same dysfunctional conditions at Int Base.

Continue reading Do Scientologists consider L. Ron Hubbard God? Part Two of the Aaron Smith-Levin podcast