Daily Notifications
Sign up for free emails to receive the feature story every morning in your inbox at


Making the Grade: Scientology Prepares Us for the Future

DocBrownClaire Headley is taking us on our journey to train as Scientologists. She and her husband Marc were Sea Org workers who escaped from Scientology’s International Base in 2005. She spent years working with Scientology’s “tech,” and was trusted to oversee the auditing of Tom Cruise. Go here to see the first part in this series.

Last week, Claire, you introduced us to Scientology’s “security checks” — tough interrogations that all Scientologists eventually experience on their way up the “Bridge to Total Freedom.” Next on our way up the Bridge is Expanded Grade 3, which seems less menacing, but still carries some pretty steep prices.

CLAIRE: Well, after this and Grade 4 we’re on to Dianetics and the state of Clear…

THE BUNKER: In that case, where’s our checkbook!

CLAIRE: And this is what you get for your money: “Freedom from the upsets of the past and ability to face the future.”

THE BUNKER: What a bargain.


Up_The_BridgeCLAIRE: The focus of this grade is on one’s ability to experience change. Specifically, the theory is that all major life decisions are preceded by some event that one did not easily deal with. I don’t believe that’s a theory unique to Scientology. I’m sure there are parallels in psychology.

For example, someone goes through a divorce and then makes a major career change and moves to a completely new area, let’s say.

THE BUNKER: Sounds pretty common.

CLAIRE: The focus of this grade is to address and handle the upsets or traumatic events that took place prior to those major life changes. The focus is on one’s ability to accept change and not dwell on past upsets.

THE BUNKER: Those sound like common sense concerns, certainly.

CLAIRE: For me, this was a point where I resigned myself mentally to the cycle of “powering through” situations I ran into no matter how tough or overwhelming they seemed. And I’m not saying that was necessarily a good thing.

After all, isn’t a vital part of accepting change first evaluating, criticizing, and analyzing what went wrong? How one dealt with a situation and not blindly accepting change? Perhaps this was unique to my perspective, but “ability to experience change” for me, equated to accepting the hand you’ve been dealt here in Scientology.

THE BUNKER: Well, let’s look at some specifics from the grade. Here are some sample questions that you’ll be asked, over and over…

“What does another want unchanged about you?”

“Walk over to this spot. Now decide you have to appear there.”

“Find something about this universe you can accept.”

“Can you recall a time when others failed to change some energy in this Universe?”

“Can you recall a time when you failed to change another’s body?”

“What change of yourself have you avoided?”

“What have you not changed about yourself?”

“What could another make unknown to you about that (room object)?”

Except for the awkward wording, some of these could certainly make legitimate questions in any kind of therapy. But again, we wonder why it should cost so much money to be asked these questions, and about the robotic repetition.

Can you give us some sense of how this went when you experienced it?

CLAIRE: It was just more of the same, going through the motions because that’s what I had to do.

And yes, I agree with you in regards to some being possible therapy questions.

What I’ve never been able to reconcile, personally, is the fact that in Scientology auditing, they stress that you are never to evaluate for someone or tell them what to think about their case, and yet the steps that every single person needs to do are the same — this became a much more exaggerated discrepancy for me on the upper levels. But we’re getting to that.

THE BUNKER: In the grade material, we saw some references to exteriorization — when a Scientologist goes “outside” his or her body. Is that a key part of this grade?

CLAIRE: I don’t remember that being a focus at this stage. In Scientology auditing, if someone says they are exterior, the auditor will end the session immediately so the person can “enjoy their win.”

THE BUNKER: Note to self: When tired of auditing, claim to be exterior so auditor bugs off.

Claire, you figured that the last level would run about $30,000 in part because of all the sec checking. How about this time?

CLAIRE: No sec checking on this level, apart from the rudiment check for missed withholds at the start of each session. I’d estimate 15k as a fair average at this level.


COST SO FAR: $103,197


Posted by Tony Ortega on September 3, 2013 at 07:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

If you’d like to help support The Underground Bunker, please e-mail our webmaster Scott Pilutik at


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email