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Scientology’s 2012 in Review: Narconon Goes Into Withdrawal [UPDATED]

Stacy Dawn Murphy

Stacy Dawn Murphy

Happy Boxing Day! We’re still looking back at this amazing year for Scientology watchers, refreshing your memory about what got our attention in 2012.

We hope you have plenty to say as we look back at the stories that mattered in the past twelve months…

One of the most surprising things about 2012 was the way that Narconon’s meltdown kept stealing the spotlight from celebrity divorce and other crises for Scientology.

UPDATE: AND RIGHT ON TIME, THE STATE OF GEORGIA FINALLY WAKES UP. In a deceptively soft-pedaled piece, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported today that state regulators are planning to revoke Narconon Georgia’s license after yet another investigation into allegations that it is running an unlicensed residential program. Damning documents produced in the Patrick Desmond wrongful death lawsuit made it crystal clear that the Scientology drug rehab facility runs a housing unit even though it is not supposed to, and its own internal paperwork shows that its housing was plagued by drug use. The best part of the story is that Narconon has requested a hearing — we can only hope that it is an open event, and that the state will put on a devastating show based on what is clearly spelled out in Narconon’s own paperwork. First Quebec, now Georgia — Oklahoma, are you ready?

Back to our year in review…

In August and September in particular, Scientology’s drug rehab operation repeatedly took center stage as its deceptions and calamities became the stuff of nationwide news coverage.

Sadly, much of that momentum was owed to the July death of Stacy Dawn Murphy at Narconon’s flagship operation in Oklahoma. By August, outrage over her overdose death was reaching a boiling point.

Hers was the third death in only nine months at Narconon Arrowhead, which sparked multiple investigations on a local and state level into the facility. We launched an investigation of our own, and it yielded a couple of interesting results. After hinting that we had begun talking to a prominent former employee of the rehab center, we revealed that our source for information on Narconon Arrowhead’s shaky state certification was coming from none other than its former president, Lucas Catton. The former Narconon executive confirmed that there is almost no drug counseling going on at the rehab centers — instead, patients are getting “watered-down Scientology” training instead.

We also revealed a stunning bit of news that so far no one else has followed up: The president of the Scientology umbrella organization that oversees the supposedly “secular” Narconon operation has been a prisoner of the church’s ecclesiastical prison — “the Hole” — since at least 2007. If Narconon centers are, as its executive directors tirelessly insist, independent from Scientology, why has its organizational president not been seen in public in years? Where is Rena Weinberg?

Meanwhile, in Atlanta, another Narconon crisis produced shocking court documents and a rare view inside the deceptive way the drug rehab centers operate. In the lawsuit filed by the family of Patrick Desmond, who had died while an employee and former patient at Narconon Georgia, stunning testimony suggested that executive director Mary Rieser had intentionally deceived a Florida drug court in order to hide the center’s lack of state certification. Rieser’s conflicting testimony and the center’s delaying tactics earned it a rare “death penalty” decision from the judge in the case, and we’re still waiting to see how that plays out in the lawsuit. It was particularly gratifying, however, to see local media in Atlanta banding together to cover this story.

Local media in Oklahoma has also been all over the Narconon crisis, and in August, the deaths of Stacy Murphy, Hillary Holten, and Gabriel Graves went nationwide as NBC’s Rock Center produced a powerful segment about Narconon Arrowhead.

In September, there was another explosion of national interest in Scientology as Vanity Fair published Maureen Orth’s look back at “auditions” that were held by the church in 2004 to find Tom Cruise a new mate. British-Iranian actress Nazanin Boniadi was selected for that process, and lived with Cruise from November 2004 to January 2005, when Cruise dumped her (through an intermediary). Coming so soon after the news of his divorce to Katie Holmes, the Cruise brand was taking a serious hit from a publication that is almost synonymous with the Hollywood establishment.

Also in August and September…

— Amy Scobee, John Brousseau, Mike Rinder, and others help us put together a comprehensive guide to all of the Scientology Sea Org officials who have spent time in the church’s bizarre office-prison, “the Hole,” since it was created in 2004.

A visit from Andreas Heldal-Lund leads to an unexpected visit to the New York org!

— Reality TV personality Mimi Faust gave us an exclusive interview about how, at 13, she was abandoned by her mother, who chose Scientology over her own family.

Jason Beghe was happy to leave a lawsuit with the church behind him.

— Tom Cruise’s daughter Isabella Cruise found herself facing a dilemma — follow her boyfriend into the Sea Org or cut off all ties with him.

We wrote about Keith Relkin, who for a time had acted as Scientology’s token gay guy in West Hollywood. After Relkin’s death, his e-mails and other documents showed that privately, he was exasperated by the church’s homophobia.

— Scientology is sued by two of its own private eyes, who were employed for 24 years to follow just one man. We’ll have more about this later.

— And finally, perhaps no story this year meant as much to us personally as breaking the news that Scientology had tried to get Marc and Claire Headley to spy for the church in order to forgive more than $43,000 in court fees. Instead, the Headleys told the church to go fish, emptied their savings, sold their van and the kids’ swing set, and came up with the money. They then created an online fundraising account, and our readers rapidly helped them raise the entire amount to make them whole.

We are still recovering from that display of the human spirit. Our natural cynicism may never recover.


Links of Note

Former Class IX auditor Caroline Letkeman has posted some wonderful old FBI documents regarding L. Ron Hubbard and the early years of Dianetics and Scientology. If you’re familiar with Russell Miller’s definitive biography of Hubbard, Bare-Faced Messiah, you’ll recognize some of them. But researcher Jeff Jacobsen pulled out the gem in the pile: a 1954 letter from Hubbard (well, from his Hubbard Association of Scientologists) to the Better Business Bureau. Obviously concerned about all the negative information about him floating around, especially since the nasty press over his divorce to his second wife, Sara Northrup, Hubbard attempts to snow the BBB with an accounting of Scientology’s early years that is pure fantasy. As Jacobsen pointed out at WWP, nearly every statement in this letter is the opposite to the truth. And such fun. We particularly loved the notion that Dianetics was published against Hubbard’s own judgment and with a title imposed on him for popularity’s sake. We really are having a hard time stopping the giggles over here in the bunker.

Also, our friends at Seattle Weekly, the Village Voice newspaper in that fair city, asked us to write a profile of one of Seattle’s favorite sons, Jason Terry, who now plays for the Boston Celtics. We went up to Beantown last month to meet Terry, and talked to people important in his life, like his irrepressible mother, Andrea Cheatham, and his college coach, Lute Olson. Our thanks to Weekly editor Mike Seely for the assignment.


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  • John P.

    Narconon: The coverage of all the events at Narconon Arrowhead in the US raised my hopes that this cynical attempt to prey on the desperate for more cash and for new recruits to the cult would be stopped. The breadth of the different dimensions of trouble that befell Narconon just as the TomKat divorce craziness was fading was breathtaking. It’s important to understand that the cult’s decision making, centralized in David Miscavige’s ineptitude and insanity, is not able to withstand multiple crises at once. While the death of Stacy Dawn Murphy is obviously a tragedy, the great news is that for the first time, the cult lost the ability to cover up similar tragedies at the Narconon facility. In particular, it was impressive to see local press operate without much in the way of retribution from the cult, where in the past, the average beat reporter would have been completely unprepared for the cult’s retaliation.

    Nazanin Boniadi article in Vanity Fair: Just when you thought that Tom Cruise couldn’t possibly be a worse advertisement for cult super-powers, what with the Scientology “tech” unable to help him hang onto a wife, we find out that this “big being” is not only unable to keep women on his own, but he is also utterly unable to get women, even when the cult is spending enormous sums of money to run a dating service. As the avalanche of bad press from the TomKat divorce began to settle, it was hard to imagine how the cult’s already dismal brand image could be dragged any deeper in the mud. But, as is becoming common, they somehow managed to find another way to embarrass themselves. I don’t think the revelation to long-suffering cult public caused that many defections, but it had to add fuel to the fire to get people to wonder why the cult would spend donations waiting personally on Cruise.

    FBI documents and 1954 Better Business Bureau letter: Read some of these notes; my favorite is the rebuff from J. Edgar Hoover telling Hubbard that they don’t want fingerprints and loyalty oaths from his people — it’s quite difficult for someone to be too paranoid and anti-Communist for J. Edgar Hoover, but Hubbard has managed to out-crazy the ultimate in blackmailing, sadistically punishment obsessed paranoids.

    Just because the link is buried in the footnote at the end of the article doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read this one. It is Hubbard at his finest: throwing a bunch of steaming poo onto paper and hoping it sticks. As Tony said, the claim that Dianetics was practically dragged out of Hubbard and turned into a best-seller with him practically pleading to let it molder in obscurity is a delicious image, and it is so upside down to every other bit of evidence about Hubbard and the cult that it is laughable. But while each paragraph lays turns black into white and tries to invert gravity, the best paragraph for unintentional irony is by far the last one.

    Aside from offering public services, the firm two-year policy of the HAS will continue to be followed. To neither defend nor attack on the public stage but to keep a good, orderly house, financially and ethically sound.

    There is so much that one could write about all these stories. But this period reinforced two separate realities: the cult really is a dangerous killer when its “tech” is practiced at Narconon, and that the cult is laughably, staggeringly inept in dealing with almost everything that happens. I continue to believe that laughter and mockery is an effective tool in opposing with this arrogant, humorless and excessively self-important organization.

    • sugarplumfairy

      I tried to read the BBB letter, but my short attention span had other ideas.. I find all hubbard’s writing long-winded, redundant, verbose, rambling, wordy and windy.. It amazes me that anyone anywhere ever finished anything he wrote..

      • Axton

        I love how he always tries to bring up his “membership” in the Explorer’s Club to impress people. I believe he claimed to be a lifetime member, which of course has been denied by the Explorer’s Club. At one point, Hubbard owed the Navy some money, and when they tried to collect, he told them that that his mailing address was the Explorer’s Club, NYC chapter. The Navy never heard back.

        • Observer

          What a sorry excuse for character that man had. And yet he duped thousands into following him. Ugh.

          • Axton

            I love the radio interview he did, during a time when he was insisting he had only been married twice (when in reality he had been married three times).

            The radio interviewer asked Hubbard about his second wife. He answered “I never had a second wife.”

            • Observer

              LRH: humanity’s shining example of ethical behavior.

            • LemonLemon

              LOL to which the radio interviewer SHOULD have responded, “Never had a second wife. So you’ve only been married once?”

            • Guest

              No shit….Love how he said…I didn’t have a second wife while acking what “should have been” ..uh…his second wife…
              DUMB ASS

            • grundoon
            • richelieu jr

              There’s film of that..See the BBC Doc that Tony put up last week…. A little smirk with that strangely prosthetic-like lip-unit of his, and then a total denial of realty. Basically Scientology in microcosm right there…

        • The letter is such a gem that I had to share the mind-numbing contents with my significant other (risking accusations of mental cruelty) whose observation about Hubbard’s membership in the Explorer’s Club was, “What’s next? ‘I was invited to join the National Geographic Society?'”

          • richelieu jr

            I may already be a winner at Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes! Ed MacMahon told me so himself!

      • BuryTheNuts2

        Huh? Somebody actually “did” finish some of it????

    • JPC wrote:

      “There is so much that one could write about all these stories. But this period reinforced two separate realities: the cult really is a dangerous killer when its “tech” is practiced at Narconon, and that the cult is laughably, staggeringly inept in dealing with almost everything that happens. I continue to believe that laughter and mockery is an effective tool in opposing with this arrogant, humorless and excessively self-important organization.

      When I now look at L Ron Hubbard, and the Scientologists, I see the Illinois Nazis in the Blues Brothers.

      DM makes a great Henry Gibson.

    • InTheNameOfXenu

      Things have indeed changed. The tide is against the cult. They seem to have at Miscavige’s orders to just hide behind their ‘Idle’ Orgs and hoping their high paid lawyers and PI’s(Wogs) can save them. The main reason OSA is no longer effective at harassment and intimidation is because they lost 2 of their top bull-dogs, Rinder and Rathbun. Now the cult’s former top henchmen are unleashed against the very organization that they terrorized people for. How ironic.

      • Observer

        Ironic, poetically just, and deeply satisfying to watch.

    • nobs

      IMO, Cruise is in an untenable situation re women to be in relationships with: the woman must be approved by miscarriage. Cruise can get all the female action he can handle all by himself, all he has to do is show up. But he can’t have a long term relationship unless the woman passes multiple tests. It’s hard to believe that he doesn’t say to himself on a daily basis, “This is such BS. I don’t give a f**k if this woman wants auditing, I WANT TO BE WITH HER!” As for revelations to long-suffering public: I remember clearly that whilst “in” it was ridiculously easy to never, ever look at a newspaper, watch tv news, listen to radio news or check the computer for news. A good public bubble-head does not know what’s being said in the media about her “church.” Not kidding. That is why, when Anons show up at an org or mission, the public are shuffled in side doors or through quickly erected tunnels, etc. — they must be shielded from the signs as much as possible. Public scnists gladly go along with this.

      • LemonLemon

        Of course Tom could date whomever he wants, without the constraints of scientology but she wouldn’t stick around once Tom started spouting off about how great it is and insisting that she get auditing, etc. Arguments would rise up and Tom, not exactly being good at compromising would issue an ultimatum and the woman would leave. What Tom needs to do is just rid himself of the blood-sucking leech that is, Scientology. Then and only then, can he finally have a relationship that might work. PS: SOOOO glad Katie and Suri got the hell out of there!

        • nobs

          Yeah, that’s kind of what I was getting at.

    • California

      2012 is ending on a great note and 2013 is starting off with a bang:

      How many Narconons are being shut down under Narconon of Georgia

      By Christian Boone

      The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

      The state Department of Community Health has notified Narconon of Georgia it intends to revoke the clinic’s license for misrepresenting itself as a residential drug treatment facility.

      • ze moo

        “Narconon of Georgia plans to take all steps allowed under Georgia law
        to respond to and oppose any sanctions against it as they are unfounded
        and unwarranted and appear to be based solely on disputed documents
        produced in connection with an ongoing and very contentious civil
        lawsuit against it related to events that occurred more than four years

        While NarCONon may oppose the ‘death penalty’ the state of Georgia is seeking to impose, I think the staff will be packing up and running for the hills. Next they’ll be blaming ‘bitter defrocked apostates’…

        Thank you California, I hope the Atlanta Journal-Constitution comments section gets very busy.

      • DeElizabethan
  • Observer

    It was such a privilege to be able to contribute to the Headleys. And regarding the “church’s” publishing of their spy pics of roof repairs on the Headleys’ house in an apparent attempt to make it look like they were splurging with the money raised for them: GOOD. I hope they spent that money getting bigger and better everything than they sold to pay the court costs. After what they have endured they deserve it.

  • TheHoleDoesNotExist

    Even I am always learning some new methods of scientology scamorama. When Luke Catton spilled the beans of the considerable cash cow Narconon had become, evidenced by Top of the Dumpster executive echelon screaming via phone and email Every Single Hour. You can always measure how much dough Miscavige is pulling down by a) how high on the officer chain gang he is using, and b) how often the screaming, I mean, Hubbard’s excellent management tech is being employed. Then the facts about using the customers, still dazed and hurting, as salesmen and counselors, the spidey web of websites Not mentioning Narconon much less scientology, the big time commission amounts for websites as well as new raw meat … was staggering. So much research and work has been done so in the future, frantic parents will Know when they search online for rehab locations if it is one of the bogus Narconon sites. This level of fraud is a new high mark in evil fraud and f’kery, even for scientology.

    I agree wholeheartedly about the spirit and attitude lift of the Headley fundraiser. Also, I get the distinct impression Davey boy made a Huge mistake in virtually stealing children’s swingsets and Spying on them. Huge mistake on top of not paying up whatever his long term henchmen and detectives named as their price.

    The result of all his mistakes have been (finally!) media coverage not of the bizarre scientology sci fi crazy, but the sinister sociopathic criminal acts, coverage of some of the torturous Holes, and the shocking family ransom type manipulations of the scientology world of human rights abuses. This was The major breakthrough that started the snowball of educational coverage worldwide. January is going to be a full blown blizzard. Counting down ….

    • I don’t think I’ve ever said this before while living in Illinois, but I can’t wait for January.


    • CoolHand

      There are a lot more beans to be spilled the more I look at everything. I’m going to join the ranks of those compiling information into one readable form. Turns out there is a hell of a lot more than I realized at first…

      • sugarplumfairy

        Yay, Luke!!!

        • Midwest Mom

          Luke, you have been very busy! Congratulations on writing “Have I told you All?” Thank you for speaking out and exposing the truth about Narconon and the Co$. We know this has not been an easy time for you, and we appreciate all that you are doing. You are making a difference in the lives of others for the better and that’s a significant contribution which deserves recognition and many thanks from the grateful public. Thank you, Luke!

      • TheHoleDoesNotExist

        Wow, and thank you, sir! There’s going to have to be an SP party Just for Narconon SP’s this coming year.

      • BuryTheNuts2

        coolhandluke…you rock!

        You are proving extremely dangerous to Davey.

      • 1subgenius

        You sir are made of win and awesomeness.

      • CoolHand is proving to be an extremely ethical guy. It takes real courage to speak out so publicly. What could be better than a tell-all about Narconon right about now? Timing is everything!

      • nobs

        Excellent! Will you publish this title as a book? We will happily add it to our list of new books for the coming year!

        • CoolHand

          Yep, that’s the plan, and thanks!

  • BuryTheNuts2

    Tony Ortega!!!!!
    That Jason Terry article was a seriously sweet piece of work.
    Sometime’s I get so lost in our “subject” I forget how good a writer you really are.

    Damn that was good.

    • Sherbet

      Tony, ditto what she said.

  • ze moo

    As the daughter of one of CO$ largest ‘whales’, Isabella Cruise was never in danger of being a real sea orgre. I suspect someone decided to put the kibosh her relationship with Eddie Frencher and used the sea org to do the job. The CO$ is a very privileged community, the ‘big beings’ make the rules and everyone else jumps to their tune. Isabella could still see Eddie, on his 1/2 day off every other week, but that would cut down on his personal laundry time.

    Tom Cruise is the gift that keeps on giving. Ever since the ‘only scientologists can help at car accidents’ video, he has been the poster boy for the cult. Every fart and bad haircut have come back to ‘enturbulate’ the faithful clams. The divorce has been on every supermarket checkout since July, 6 solid months of ‘what the hell is scientology?” for general public. If the stories of large numbers of third world clams running american orgs is true, it just shows that the CO$ has outsourced its day to day operations to countries that don’t see news sources like People, the National Enquirer and InTouch. There may not be enough american raw meat to continue the scam. Maybe Darwin was right after all……

    • sugarplumfairy

      “…If the stories of large numbers of third world clams running american orgs is true, it just shows that the CO$ has outsourced its day to day operations to countries that don’t see news sources like People, the National Enquirer and InTouch. There may not be enough american raw meat to continue the scam….”

      ahhh, you said it, my erudite bovine.. Let’s hope you’re spot on..

      • ze moo

        While I only mentioned tabloid news sources, mainstream news does cover the CO$ more and more. I just wish that ABC and other tv networks would take some the stories they have in the ‘can’ and broadcast them.

        The stories of non-americans being staff at the idle morgs in the far east and west of the USA should be very disturbing to all of clamdom. The use of latin americans and taiwanese and south africans has been documented in NY and Florida. The race is on between the Immigration Service and FBI. Anyone bringing human trafficking charges could end the Miscavige era for CO$.

  • Johnson

    “Narconon Goes Into Withdrawal.” …nice one Tony.

  • I know it’s shallow to say… but her stunning beauty makes it even harder to deal with. In fact, all those whose pictures I saw, looked to be regular all-American people (if there is such a thing). I guess your standard meth-head could not come up with the 30k fee.

  • TickTockDM

    On a sad note, Italian ex-Scientologist Maria Pia Gardini passed away on September 23, 2012, at the age of 75. Maria Pia followed her daughter Federica into Scientology after Federica entered Narconon and became an unconditional Scientologist. Tragically, Federica died from AIDS contracted by sharing needles while inside Narconon. Maria Pia left Scientology and became one of its most vocal critics, appearing on televison and publishing books about her years in Scientology and about the stories of other ex-Scientologists.

    • mook

      RIP Maria!

    • Yes, Ms.Gardini’s videos are well worth watching. Not the least because she discusses Debbie Cook using commissions from money extorted from Gardini to buy herself (Cook) a car. I admire all the whistle-blowers and wish them well, but let us not forget that some of them have very dirty hands, and much to make up for. It’s heartbreaking to watch as Ms. Gardini describes how the COS bled her dry.
      I had not been aware that Ms. Gardini’s daughter contracted AIDS while at Naronon. Do you have a link to this info?

      • TickTockDM

        “Maria’s daughter died of AIDS, contracted when she used a dirty needle given to her by another drug user while being treated at Narconon. Her daughter was OT7 when she died.”
        – Stacy Brooks, March 2, 2001

    • I’m sad to hear about Ms. Gardini’s death. Her books were published in Italy by the Daughters of St. Paul. They are a Catholic order of nuns founded in Italy, but with communities in several countries including the United States. I remember that the Co$ threatened to sue them, setting up a potential confrontation with the Catholic church. As far as I know the books are still in print.

  • mook

    can anybody find more info on this Cynthia Jorge? (then again, I don’t take anything from In Touch Magazine seriously and she may be a fictitious person; no pics = not real)

    • nobs

      possibly helpful:

      • BuryTheNuts2

        This chick definitely looks his “type”….and besides, if he marries her quickly she should get the seven year itch at …………you guessed it……….33 years old.

        • nobs

          Wait, what? what does 33 yrs old have to do with anything? I guess I need to lurk more — maybe his other wives were 33 when they finished with him (or him with them)?

          • BuryTheNuts2

            Yep….all marriages derailed when the wife was 33.

            • Maybe the key to the puzzle is Rolling Rock Beer. Its label has the number 33 on it. Maybe TC is a fan.

            • 33 is just another magick number in the occult. I have really been reconsidering my nonchalant attitude re: the current mentality of the CO$ in terms of its roots until I read a rather hair raising story about s.o. Members being called to stage set a special, what’s could only call an implant station for some guy who had crossed them. It was constructed in the kvetching studios (back before the church purchased it) and the production involved plenty of $cn. Symbols, volcanoes ect. I gotta relocate that story, surely it was on esmb, which I haunt.

              Not kvetching studios lol… KCET studios, that was too good to correct;)

            • LemonLemon

              I’ll bet Cruise hasn’t made that connection yet or he would start locking the doors once his wives turn 32.

      • Midwest Mom

        Maybe Tommy’s trying to find a replacement for Karin Kung Pouw or some other Co$ person currently imprisoned in the hole (in marketing, party planning, or as a “backgammon partner” for Davey…)?

        It would be just like Davey to try to pass her off as Shelly.

        New Year’s Party Guest: “Who’s the pretty brunette, COB?”

        COB: “What do you mean, you imbecile?! It’s my wife Shelly!”

        Guest: “She looks great! She almost looks like a different person.”

        COB: “No she doesn’t! You’re a bleeping moron! You just volunteered yourself to some long-term RPF time. Leave your credit cards here first, you bleepety bleep S.P.!!!! Happy bleeping New Year!!!!”

  • dagobarbz

    If anyone wants to know what you get for all the money spent “going up the Bridge,” just look at the depositions in the NN Arrowhead case. They offered an “expert witness” whose only qualifications are a MA in Theology, and offering pastoral advice and counseling. This is Narconon’s expert witness, a guy who thinks his non-drug related degree and talking to people qualifies him as an expert witness in a drug rehab case. Yes, he is also a Scientologist, which instantly qualifies him for any field, as he can rummage around in his Whole Track for answers.

    Then there’s the doctor listed as the Medical Director…she denies holding that position, insisting her role was merely giving prospective inmates a physical exam. Later in her deposition, she admits she signs as “Medical Director,” only not for Narconon Arrowhead, but rather her own clinic. That there is suspicious, and should be seen as such. When people start fudging in depositions…it doesn’t look good.

    The lies are piling up faster than the body count. Little wonder that lawsuit in Florida is trying to keep Narconon and Scientology from being mentioned in the courtroom.

    • nobs

      snicker snicker indeed.

  • I’m enjoying the year in review. Some stories I have forgotten about or need to remain front & center in our minds! This is great! Thanks again, Tony!

  • mook

    Scientology End of the Year Scorecard for Celebs Who Have Left/Possibly Left the Cult:

    Definitely Out: Jason Beghe, Lisa Marie Presley, Paul Haggis, Katie Holmes, Riley Keough, Larry Anderson, Michael Fairman, Diana Canova, Nicole Kidman, Mimi Rogers, Al Jarreau, Josh R. Thompson (voice of Geoff on Late Late Show w/ Craig Ferguson)
    Possibly Out: Leah Remini, MC Lyte, Priscilla Presley

    anybody I’m missing? Who do you guys think might leave/speak out against the cult in 2013? (my bets are on either Travolta, Jenna Elfman or Kirstie)

    • BuryTheNuts2

      I whacked Leah Remini on twitter a while back and she actually answered me….
      She pretended she didn’t even know what Scientology was…
      She said she believes in God…Interesting, eh?

    • Observer

      I think Jenna Elfman will go down with the ship. She’s the only celeb I’ve heard of screaming “Have you raped a baby?!” at someone wearing a shirt she didn’t like. Not even Kirstie has gone that far. That said, i really hope I’m wrong.

      • 1subgenius

        She ain’t leaving. She’s too stupid.

  • nobs

    I really loved that Marc and Claire Headley did not have to take that financial hit co$ so desperately wanted them to take. Shame on that “church”. Yaaaay for true compassion and for helping our brothers and sisters in their time of need and yaaay for doing it so effortlessly.

    You guys rock!

    • BuryTheNuts2

      It sure was fun to go donate under assumed names!

      It felt great and probably enturbulated the shit out of DM!

      So in my case at least…I admit pure unadulterated selfish delight in that particular endeavor.

      • nobs

        Assumed names? If I had thought of that at the time I would have used David Miscavige. For the lulz.

  • thetaesque

    As a long-time reader, but an infrequent commenter, I’d like to start by saying: Tony Ortega, you are a Most Excellent Dude. I appreciate the thoughtful, insightful, and knowledgeable approach you bring to the Co$, and your columns variously make me laugh and cry. Sometimes both at the same time.

    Just for shits and giggles, I compared Hubbard’s 1954 bloviations with the August 2012 letter from attorney Jeffrey Riffer (but obviously either authored or heavily edited by David Miscavige) to Graydon Carter at Vanity Fair in response to Maureen Orth’s article, available here:

    Both are striking for several things. One is the thread of malignant narcissism, which runs the gamut from grandiosity to a misplaced sense of entitlement to a complete lack of empathy for the miseries Hubbard inflicted on Sara Northrup in 1954 and the horrors Nazanin Boniadi endured as a result of her association with Tom Cruise in 2004-05. Another is their total cluelessness, combined with their unintentional irony and hilarity.

    John P. has already commented on the money shot in the 1954 letter:

    “Aside from offering public services, the firm two-year policy of the HAS will continue to be followed. To neither defend nor attack on the public stage but to keep a good, orderly house, financially and ethically sound.”

    Irony-wise, I’d put this up against the following statement in the 2012 letter:

    “Mr. Miscavige is the ecclesiastical leader of a worldwide religion; a man of impeccable character who is dedicated to his faith and to the service of its parishioners. He respects the institution of marriage and those who enter into it.”

    IIRC, when the link to this letter was originally posted, a number of your readers asked: Really? Then where’s Shelley? As a commenter said on Why We Protest, “Where’s your wife, Miscavige — why are you out 2D?” Imagine everyone’s surprise when there was no response from the cult.

    All narcissists fear ridicule, and one of the great delights this year has been watching DM and the cult become fair game for all manner of mockery and open derision. As vain and as self-centered as the dwarfenfuhrer is, he must be spending enormous amounts of energy keeping his balloon of self-delusion inflated.

    • Axton

      Great post!!

    • nobs

      It’s too bad that inmates of the international base don’t have cell phones or cameras. I’d really love to see a wee video of the dwarfenfuhrer as he melts down — perhaps like the wicked witch, screaming, “‘Ohhh – you cursed brat! Look what you’ve done! I’m melting! Melting!
      Oh – what a world – what a world! Who would have thought a good little
      girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness!? Ohhh! Look out!
      Look out! I’m going. Ohhhh! Ohhhhhh…’.
      That’s a great comparison — lrh’s letter and riffer’s letter. Nicely done.

      • Midwest Mom

        nobs, It’s funny how they always have video cameras copiously taping everyone else at the drop of a hat (arr arr – hat pun bonus!) but never seem to think of using the cameras to record the wrong doing by their own people, isn’t it?

      • Jgg2012

        I think he is really the man behind the curtain.

    • ze moo

      “keeping his balloon of self-delusion inflated.” ah, thetaesque, you worked a dick joke in. Nicely done…

  • Anononyourside

    Lucas Catton is certainly one brave individual. I went back and read the post and I am appalled that he was worrying about being allowed to see his child at the same time Tom Cruise is telling the world that he sees his daughter every chance he gets. I hope Lucas is doing well and that he is able to see his child. I also hope 2013 is David Miscavige’s most unlucky year, and I thank Tony for writing such a fine blog and for his decade (or more) of courageous journalism. It’s too bad that there are not more real investigative journalists like Tony.

  • Captain Howdy

    Thank you Tony and everyone else for giving this perennial adolescent a place to go and stay out of trouble..well, most of the time.

    As always PLAY LOUD and Happy New Year !

  • DeElizabethan

    Such good things, except the deaths, happening to NarConon this year and David Love doing such a fine job.

    Tony what a marvelous story you wrote in the Seattle Weekly. I’m not familiar with Jason Terry nor up on basket ball, but it’s sure to be bravoed from those that are. It is a well written, detailed, interesting, and in a word, a very ‘Handsome’ article.

  • That letter has to be one of the largest loads of dung I have encountered. As for his “writing style” (a term I use only because we are discussing the string of words that constitute the letter and with apologies to every English teacher I’ve had), I find it unfathomable that this man was able to find publishers. I can only attribute that to the fact that the need for stories to fill the pages of pulp magazines was greater then.

    • BuryTheNuts2

      Can you imagine him alive…now…in this day and age…
      In our world of instant self published madness!

      Blogs,Twitter, Facebook, Self-pub books,…Oh my goodness can you imagine it!
      I can envision LRH taking one of those pictures of himself in his bathroom mirror with his iPhone like a tween girl…

      Maybe LRH is trolling TO’s blog right now in another meat body?

      I wonder if they made him forget who he is/was at the implant station?

      Ok, my psychotic break is over now.


      • Observer

        In this Internet day and age he’d get more of the public ridicule he so richly deserved than he did in the naive era in which he started his con.

        • BuryTheNuts2

          I dunno Observer…you would think that would be true…I wholeheartedly agree that people call “bull shit” faster than ever before…


          Here are three reasons why I am not so sure:

          1. Sarah Palin was able to walk out on a national stage for a (honest to god) “Vice Presidential debate” for our nation. (can I call you Joe?)…sorry…it is embedded in my brain like a LESION, even if it has been a while.

          2.The Lohans…Pick any one you want….they are equally, ridiculously offensive. (My personal pick for un-encumbered idiocy is still Michael)

          3. Reality TV. It is a pathetic insult to each and every “artist” alive or dead! But it is cheap to produce. So it has been an economical “no brainer”.

          Yet, It stimulates not the left or right brain.
          It makes the entire frontal lobe numb and paralysed!
          The only reality TV I allow myself to watch is “Andrew Zimmern”….(but that is just because I like to watch people eat bugs).

          (Hey, everybody has their own perverse interests, eh?)

          • Observer

            I ack your response, and offer this in return:

            1. Sarah Palin is an attractive woman, which explains (IMO) the majority of her popularity. LRH most emphatically did not have the attractiveness card to play. Blargh.

            2. The Lohans are, to most of the populace I know, despised laughingstocks. The only reason I can see that Lindsay still gets work is because people love a good trainwreck. LRH’s life was certainly lurid, but in a dull, bloviative (hey, if he could make up words so can I!) way, at least after he split with Jack Parsons.

            3. Again, people watch reality TV for the trainwreckiness, and in my experience most people–present company excepted–find LRH’s trainwreck (the Venusian Express?) requires too long an attention span and is too convoluted to enjoy.

            I have never been a fan of Reality TV; real life is far more interesting and dramatic than manufactured “reality”. But I also have a freakishly long attention span.

            • Guest

              Observer….I truly like you and your “observations”.
              Check, Sarah is pretty…but pretty is skin deep…..and once you look at the “object”… you begin to look past it…and then it either dis-apoints(?) or not……
              LRH in my opinion, well…he knew how to “baffle with bullshit” beyond his asthetics…and please understand…oh, please….He did it so well.
              You have a freakishly long attention span?
              I wish I did…
              I bet you only read one book at a time…start to finish, eh?
              Too cool…
              That is going to be my NYE postulate…
              “I will read no more than 3 books simultaniously(?s).
              cuz i just get confused and befuddled.

              However I am excluding blogs…which means…back to the hypo of special K directly into my Corotid.
              Shit already! LOL..

            • Observer

              Thank you, BTN, and I have to say I really enjoy it when you get on a roll. The long attention span comes with the territory when you’re an introvert, as does the social awkwardness which I’m still waiting to outgrow in my middle age. As for my nick, it really doesn’t have anything to do with what I say here but everything to do with this:


              It just seemed appropriate for this subject. 🙂

            • Guest

              Damn Observer…I knew I had an “affinity” for you…I wasn’t sure why…but sometimes one must go with the gut. While I may be an “extrovert”…let me tell was a “learned behaviour” on my part. It was not natural…
              But oh well.
              Like I said…I like you …A LOT…
              And I am sorry for when I was in the valence of “Diana” and I fucked with you a bit…It was not aimed at you…
              That was my one and only “Oops” into someone…something else…And I appologize….Cuz I know I hurt ur head that day….I hurt mine too…because I became that bitch…and I did not like her…
              But I adore you Observer…truly.

            • Observer

              Thanks, but no worries … I have been online for nearly 20 years and have developed quite a thick Internet skin. I was more confused than anything because it seemed like you had mistaken me for someone else.

            • Guest

              Nope…I did not…and again..I am sorry.
              that seems so long ago now…

            • Observer

              It’s all good.

            • Guest

              i know. that is what is so cool….that i know…:)

  • opisphaget

    Opression by its very nature creates the power needed to destroy itself,for a champion arises a champion of the opressed.
    Tony and you guys are absolute champions.
    Heres to another bad year for the evil little hobbit DM.

  • grundoon

    The unexpurgated BBB letter, signed by John Galusha, and many other fascinating historical records were obtained by Michael Linn Shannon. At you can read Shannon’s short biography of L. Ron Hubbard, and examine these materials. I first saw the BBB letter, with transcript, at and posted the link in the 10/28/2012 Sunday Funnies.

  • California

    By Christian Boone

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    The state Department of Community Health has notified Narconon of Georgia it intends to revoke the clinic’s license for misrepresenting itself as a residential drug treatment facility.

    How many Narconons will be shut down with this order?

    • DeElizabethan

      Thank you California!

  • Guest

    OP is faggot?

    What an interesting choice of name.

    We are the champions…ah…Freddie Mercury…

    I adored Queen.

    Who am I?

    I am Sam?

    or not.

  • Headline: State may revoke Narconon of Georgia license

    “By Christian Boone
    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    The state Department of Community Health has notified Narconon of Georgia it
    intends to revoke the clinic’s license for misrepresenting itself as a
    residential drug treatment facility.”

    Full story at

    Isn’t that special?

    ’til next time;

    • Guest

      Fuck Yeah wynot…

      Fuck yeah 😉

      May Mary R, rot…That Lyin Bitch.!

    • Guest

      Hey Tony…Thanks…U rock. 🙂

    • Guest

      Soto voce?…..’til next time;
      can you feel what I am pressing into your arm?

      It is talking about being “whole” and happy.
      (Hugg’s my dear, dear friend)

      • Guest

        Really? That bad? So, So Sorry,,,,,realy

        • Guest

          PFFFTTTT…..!!! uh huh.

      • For years I have wondered what the heck ‘knowingness’ is supposed to mean, and I think I finally understand: it means the refusal to use one’s brain, combined with a belief that one already knows everything…

        ’til all the prisoners in the Hole are freed (even Heber);

  • LemonLemon

    Oh that is amazing news about Georgia! Narconon is a moron for requesting a hearing. All their dirty laundry will be aired. Not sure what they hope to accomplish by having a hearing. The facts are indisputable. They are unlicensed. They are housing when they said they were an out-patient facility. No medical doctor on hand. The list is endless.

    • N. Graham

      Not to mention the untrained staff, watered down Scio counseling, and quack treatment.

  • Anononyourside

    How callous Narconon spokespeople are, what difference does it make if someone died yesterday or four years ago? 2013 is going to be the year this blows up, no amount of money or white shoe law firms are going to make the Narconon problems go away.

  • Joe Hone

    Tony! Off point, but the Jason Terry story was a great read about a compelling person. Well done.

  • Xique

    My favorite just might be your visit into the Ny Org with Andreas Heldal- Lund. Sorry you had to suffer through the film, but how funny to be welcomed into the building. I loved this! We used to call this ” bodies in the shop”, if you can believe. People plucked from the street for a film, a personality test or a book sale. I admire Andreas and his approach with Scientologists. He’s not in their face and yet he gets them to somehow think even if only for a moment. Sometimes it’s this kind and intelligent approach that is what works best when trying to awaken someone on the inside. I love the guy. I love you both in fact.