Tony Ortega is executive editor of The Raw Story and is formerly the editor of The Village Voice. He's written about Scientology since 1995, and has a forthcoming book about the subject. 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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Denise Brennan, 1952-2014: A former insider who exposed Scientology’s corporate shell game

Denise_BrennanDenise Brennan, a former Scientology executive in the 1970s and 1980s who became a vocal whistle blower about the organization’s structure and finances, died of a heart attack in New Hampshire yesterday morning at about 8 am.

Brennan, 62, had told numerous friends that she had been writing so much about Scientology in recent years in part because she didn’t expect to be around much longer.

“In the past four and a half years I have had three emergency lifesaving surgeries,” she wrote in 2012, as she announced publicly that she was a transgendered woman and wanted to be known as Denise, after having spent most of her life as Larry Brennan.

Continue reading Denise Brennan, 1952-2014: A former insider who exposed Scientology’s corporate shell game

Mark Bunker: Clearwater is being pressured to knuckle under to Scientology (again)

Mark_BunkerThe Underground Bunker is thrilled to debut a short film made by Mark Bunker that should shake up some people in Clearwater, Florida.

We’d read the reports by the Tampa Bay Times that the city had recently paid consultants at the Urban Land Institute $125,000 to help Clearwater plot a new course of redevelopment, and that the ensuing study had recommended a closer relationship between the city and the Church of Scientology.

Continue reading Mark Bunker: Clearwater is being pressured to knuckle under to Scientology (again)

Robin Williams, 1951-2014

Robin_WilliamsNews this evening that Robin Williams was found dead in his Marin home is reverberating around the world and we’ll be dealing with the shock for some time. Early reports indicate he may have taken his own life after a long battle with depression.

Our readers began posting remembrances of him this afternoon, and we hope that continues. Tell us your favorite Robin Williams memories. Also, we can already see on social media that people are trying to use this moment to raise awareness about the debilitating effects of depression — and that it doesn’t care about fame or success.

Continue reading Robin Williams, 1951-2014

Mike Rinder on Scientology’s pathetic PR, and the Freewinds welcomes a famous clown

Mike_Rinder_2Let’s start off the work week with Surviving Scientology’s newest podcast as host Jeffrey Augustine has back former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder.

We really like the question Jeff starts off with — he asks Rinder’s opinion of the performance by another Scientology mouthpiece, Sylvia Stanard at this summer’s Chautauqua, which we featured here.

Continue reading Mike Rinder on Scientology’s pathetic PR, and the Freewinds welcomes a famous clown

Scientology Sunday Funnies: The Sea Org full regalia edition!

Quinn_TauferOn Sundays, we enjoy sharing with you the best Scientology fundraising fliers that have been forwarded to us during the week by our excellent tipsters. We have another great collection of items for you this morning.

For some reason, this week we’re seeing more Sea Org people in their dress uniforms. We don’t know if that means they’re getting ready to go down with the ship or something, but it’s awful fun to see L. Ron Hubbard’s pretend navy looking so snappy.

Continue reading Scientology Sunday Funnies: The Sea Org full regalia edition!

Jon Atack: Escaping the trap Scientology sets for the mind

Jon_AtackJon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. He has a new edition of the book for sale, and for more than a year on Saturdays he helped us sift through the legends, myths, and contested facts about Scientology that tend to get hashed and rehashed in books, articles, and especially on the Internet. He was kind enough to send us a new post.

Jon, over the past couple of years, you’ve written for us about the struggle Scientologists go through to escape the kind of thinking that comes with deep involvement in the writings of L. Ron Hubbard. But this time you’ve really outdone yourself. We’re looking forward to responses from our readers on this one. Take it away, Jon, and help us pierce Scientology’s veil.

Continue reading Jon Atack: Escaping the trap Scientology sets for the mind

DOX: Here’s Monique Rathbun’s response to Scientology’s appeal of its anti-SLAPP defeat

Monique_Rathbun6We’ve got Monique Rathbun’s brief that was filed yesterday with the Texas Third Court of Appeals, and it’s a fascinating read.

The appeals court ruled recently that Monique can’t depose Scientology leader David Miscavige in her harassment action against him, but that was for a jurisdictional matter that didn’t affect the overall lawsuit.

This time, she’s opposing Scientology’s appeal of Comal County Judge Dib Waldrip’s denial of the church’s “anti-SLAPP” motion. And if the appeals court sides against Monique this time, the lawsuit is over.

Continue reading DOX: Here’s Monique Rathbun’s response to Scientology’s appeal of its anti-SLAPP defeat

The axiomatic L. Ron Hubbard, and legal counterclaims from Scientology in Oklahoma!

AxiomOneOur video source came through again, bringing us a short film you normally have to be in a Scientology “org” to view. This one is a treat, because we get to hear L. Ron Hubbard in 1954 telling us to learn and understand Scientology’s “Axioms.”

The short “quote video” is meant to help sell a collection of Hubbard’s talks known as the Phoenix Lectures: Freeing the Human Spirit. Scientology’s Bridge Publications has the series for sale to church members for $350.

And here’s what Bridge says about the Phoenix Lectures…

Continue reading The axiomatic L. Ron Hubbard, and legal counterclaims from Scientology in Oklahoma!

Camilla Andersson on Tom Cruise, and a gift for the Scientologist who has everything!

Tom Cruise, KSW!

Tom Cruise, KSW!

Karen de la Carriere continues her series of interviews with Camilla Andersson, a longtime Scientology Sea Org member who only left the organization in the last two years.

Last time, we told you that Camilla had been put on a round-the-clock project to put together a wedding photo album for Tom Cruise when he married Nicole Kidman. Camilla provides more details in this segment.

The job meant sleepless nights, and the excuse was that having the work done on the Scientology base was for “security” reasons.

Continue reading Camilla Andersson on Tom Cruise, and a gift for the Scientologist who has everything!

Maybe the saddest Scientology promo video ever, and a history lesson from Mark Bunker!

MilestoneWe have a potent set of videos for you today. First, we’re going to show you the very latest Scientology promotional message that’s been smuggled out to us. Then we’re going to go back in time thanks to filmmaker Mark Bunker.

To begin, wasn’t it just the other day that we remarked how Scientology seems to be focusing so much attention on its “Ideal Org” program in the western United States, and the eastern half of the country is almost an afterthought?

Continue reading Maybe the saddest Scientology promo video ever, and a history lesson from Mark Bunker!