We asked some former members of the Church of Scientology if they had a message for the people still in the organization on this Christmas Day…
Paul Haggis: I wish my friends in Scientology courage; the courage to seek what Scientology promised: the truth. I wish them the courage to face that truth when they see it. And I want them to know that their true friends are still here for them, and will be, when they find that courage.
Nora Crest: To my friends and family who are still members of the Church of Scientology and to my friends who are still in the Sea Org, this Christmas I wish you health and happiness and love. I am waiting, with arms wide open, to hug you and help you to recover and make it out here in the great big world any way I can.
Karen de la Carriere: To those still in, “hung up in doubt,” you can flourish and prosper only after you depart. Your immortality and higher states do not happen when you are spirituality handcuffed. Be aware that there are complete support systems for those who leave. Read the Internet, go to YouTube and evaluate both sides of the issue for yourself. Christmas blessings…there is no Disconnection from us to you.
Pete Griffiths: I would like existing members of Scientology to experience the gains and knowledge that I now have since leaving and finding out the awful truth and that people you have trusted have lied to your face.
Jefferson Hawkins: I wish all the best to my friends still in Scientology. I know this time of year can be hard. I know that staff and Sea Org Members in particular are under heavy pressure to try to shore up Holiday statistics and prepare for year-end events, and they often have to work long hours when they would rather be enjoying the Season with friends and family. I know that you miss your friends and loved ones who have left Scientology, even though you are not allowed to express or even think that. I know you miss your family. And I know that you think back with longing to earlier times when your life was more under your own control and you could spend the holidays any way you liked. I also want you to know that there is a whole world of love and friendship and happiness waiting for you should you ever decide to leave Scientology. It is not an easy step to take, I know that as well as anyone. It might seem you will lose everything, but in fact you have so much to gain. There is a very large and growing support community of former Scientologists that is here for you. You know, in your heart of hearts, that today’s Scientology is far from the group you thought you joined. Trust your instincts. It is time to step away and take back your life. I wish you love, peace, and courage in the coming year.
Claire Headley: Christmas is a time where we all focus on family, friends, and those we love. For me, the only dark shadow that fleets across my celebration of this, my favorite time of year, is my love and hope to reunite with my family some day. There is light, peace, and love in this world, and while you may have thought you would find that in Scientology, I know, only too well, it simply does not exist there. Scientology is a hollow shell of false promises that is cracking at its core. Save yourself and your family and get out! The world is not a dangerous place, as you’ve been misled to believe. This is a beautiful world we live in, full of love and hope. Sure, it’s not perfect. No one is claiming that. As hard or daunting as it may seem to leave Scientology, the world out here will welcome you with open arms. Your family will welcome you back. We, and they, miss you! The mental torture that has your mind twisted into believing it is hard to leave is just that. Mental torture. Pick yourself up and leave. One step at a time out the door. And don’t look back. You don’t need permission and you certainly don’t need a reason, those already exist in the thousands! Think for yourself. Believe in yourself. Communicate with those you love. You will find peace.
Mary Khan: Do your due diligence and find out the truth for yourself. Merry Christmas.
Cathy Schenkelberg: May the heartbreaking policy of “Disconnection” bring you warm and merry thoughts this Christmas season in your “freedom to think for yourself” religion. And may 2017 be the year families are reunited again and your tax exempt status is revoked.
Amy Scobee: For Sea Org members: Your family loves you and misses you. They don’t deserve your continuous absence and neglect. This Christmas, reach out and let your heart be free. You will see the amazing love your family has for you. Family is forever.
Chris Shelton: I sincerely wish you and yours the very best this holiday season and in the new year. Despite what you might think, my intentions as a “critic” have never been anything but the best for you. Maybe we can’t agree on that now, but hopefully one day we will. All the good will, joy, and survival that you are looking for in the Church of Scientology actually exists out here in the world beyond L. Ron Hubbard and David Miscavige. I know how euphoric and amazing Scientology can make you feel, but at what cost? The exchange demanded of you by the Church is far more than you should have to pay, and I’m not just talking about money. May this new year bring you freedom and the happiness you want and which I know you can find if you would look further than the confines of Scientology. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
And finally, we heard from one non-Scientologist. Jamie DeWolf is the great-grandson of L. Ron Hubbard, and we think you’re going to be seeing a lot more of him soon.
Jamie DeWolf: My message for those still inside is to never forget the door is always open, you just have to push. The whole world is waiting for you with open arms. There are resources out here, homes, families, people to help. No matter what you’ve had to do, no matter how afraid you’ve been, true freedom is having your choices back. You don’t have to have all the answers today, but tomorrow doesn’t belong to L. Ron Hubbard or David Miscavige. Tomorrow belongs to you.
Our Scientology year-in-review: May
We’re continuing our look back at the year of 2016 here in the Underground Bunker, and today we’re looking at the stories we published in May.
As the month of May began, the buzz was all about Ron Miscavige’s book, Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me, which had been previewed on an episode of ABC’s 20/20. The program gave considerable time to Scientology’s denunciation of the book, including a claim by one of Ron’s former colleagues that he’d actually been a poor musician and no leader. But we heard from one of Ron’s early collaborators, drummer David Haskins, who gave us a great glimpse of what it was really like back in the day to perform with Ron Miscavige, trumpet player and band leader.
May 9, 2016 marked 66 years since the first publication of L. Ron Hubbard’s major opus, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. We marked the occasion by pointing out perhaps the most disgusting passage in this truly vile collection of misogyny, malapropisms, and crackpot pseudoscience…
A week later, we noticed that a 1952 quote from an L. Ron Hubbard lecture had kicked up a fuss over at the ESMB forum. And for good reason. At one point during his lecture, Hubbard had suddenly admitted, seemingly, that he didn’t really believe all the outlandish stuff about the universe he’d been telling his follower: “I’m just kidding you mostly. I don’t believe any of these things and I don’t want to be agreed with about them,” he said. Was Ron on the level? We drilled into the passage with the help of some of our technical experts to show what was really going on — that Hubbard did want his followers to believe what he was saying, but he wanted to convince them that, during auditing, they had come up with the knowledge on their own.
The next day, we reported a pretty crazy development in Laura DeCrescenzo’s seven-year forced-abortion lawsuit against the church. The latest judge on the case, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John P. Doyle, suddenly announced that he had cousins in Scientology’s Sea Org, but that he believed his relationship with them was so distant, it wouldn’t affect his ability to preside over the case. Doyle had only recently knocked down Scientology’s second motion for summary judgment in the case, which was steadily moving toward a trial. Scientology then said it planned to call one of Doyle’s cousins to testify at trial, which then made it automatic that Doyle would be disqualified — and so Scientology wanted his recent order denying their motion to be overturned. They didn’t get that wish.
When we noticed that Tom Cruise was being used as the butt of a joke on the new AMC series Preacher, we thought it was time to point out that back in 2012, we warned Tom that this kind of thing was only likely to get worse.
On May 26, we got to reveal something really special: Kate Bornstein told us about the time, the previous December, that she and Caitlyn Jenner had walked into Scientology’s Los Angeles Org asking to see Kate’s daughter. Kate hasn’t seen her daughter Jessica Baxter in more than 30 years. Jessica is a Sea Org member who was moved from the Flag Land Base to the LA Org in recent years. During a break in shooting at I Am Cait, the reality show that Kate had become a regular on, she and the show’s star made their trip to Scientology’s LA headquarters. We only wish cameras had been rolling.
The next day, we landed another big scoop: Former Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis, who is still a big favorite around here, has a new job. In February, he became the “general manager North America” for Australian billionaire James Packer, a former Scientologist. The two had met while Davis was still running errands for Tom Cruise, who had gotten Packer into the church around 2001. Packer had left in 2006, but we found it pretty suspicious that he’s now employing Davis, who lost his job in the Sea Org in 2011 but who testified under oath that he’s still a member of the church. Is Tommy trying to get Packer back in the Scientology fold in order to curry favor with his previous master, Scientology leader David Miscavige?
Speaking of Miscavige, May’s big event for the church leader was the grand opening of the Scientology Media Productions complex, a television and radio studio compound on the grounds of the old KCET studios in Los Angeles. Our sources told us that Scientology’s celebrities were being heavily recruited for the May 28 event, but on May 31 we showed with Scientology’s own photos that the only celebrities who had bothered to show up were Jenna Elfman and her husband Bodhi. And six months later, the place still isn’t putting out any of the much promised media that Scientologists had raised millions to produce. What gives, Miscavige?
A LOOK BACK AT MAY 2015: Our book about Paulette Cooper, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely goes on sale and it’s featured on the front page of the Daily Beast. Paulette joins us for a talk on our book just two blocks from Scientology’s Los Angeles headquarters. At Spanky Taylor’s house we witnessed the meeting of Paulette and Leah Remini. Jamie DeWolf threw a twisted party for Paulette and your proprietor in San Francisco. And for once, Greta Van Susteren gets called out for her Scientology affiliation.
A LOOK BACK AT MAY 2014: Florida horse doctor Lee Shewmaker told us about what drove him away from Scientology. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden asked the IRS to review its policies on Scientology. We obtained the Clearwater Police report on the strange death of Russian Scientologist Evgeny Zharkin. And the National Association of Forensic Counselors files a massive lawsuit.
A LOOK BACK AT MAY 2013: Lori Hodgson makes a surprise visit to see her son in Austin, Ron Miscavige Sr. resurfaces by selling gym equipment, Wise Beard Man reports from Portland, and we review Marty Rathbun’s book Memoirs of a Scientology Warrior.
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E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.
Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.
Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…
BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts
Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ
Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield