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A video Scientology doesn’t want you to see: “Boots in the Sky”

Starting today, we’re beginning a new weekly feature that we think is going to impinge. (That’s Scientology talk for “have a big effect.”)

The Underground Bunker has heard from a source who has access to a large number of Scientology’s internal videos. We believe that some of the videos have never been online before. Others, like today’s, did make it to the Internet, but then were pulled down by threats from Scientology.

We’re not getting a lot of information from our source about the videos except where to find them online. But we did some quick research and so we know that today’s piece, “Boots in the Sky,” is something that Scientologists know very well. The words you will hear are spoken by L. Ron Hubbard — it’s from a lecture he gave as part of the Philadelphia Doctorate Course in December 1952.

We’ll have more to say about the PDC and the origin of this video in a minute. First, give it a look…



Oh, where to begin. Before we get to what the heck Hubbard is jawing about, let’s talk about the video itself. As we mentioned before, this item has been leaked previously. We found a mention of it at the Ex-Scientologist Message Board (ESMB) in 2009. But that posting of the film at YouTube was taken down after complaints from Scientology.

Inside Scientology, the video is very familiar to members. We wondered when it might have been made, and so we called upon Marc Headley, who spent years working on movies and other audiovisual displays as an employee at Scientology’s secretive International Base in California until his 2005 escape. Marc, it turned out, was very familiar with the video.

We shot this video in the early 2000s — maybe 2001 — for the release of the Philadelphia Doctorate Course on Compact Discs. This was a huge deal in Scientology. Until then all of L. Ron Hubbard’s lectures were being sold on cassette tapes. So after nearly 20 years of the CD era, Scientology decided to get on the CD bandwagon.

In the early 90’s when a cassette series was being released, they would just have a visual effects graphic of all the binders of tapes fanning out with some music. For the CDs we started making full videos with an excerpt from a lecture within the series for the big sales release at events. These were called “quote videos.”

This quote video was shot with Int Base staff as actors. The guy walking around in the boots is Adam Reuveni.

I was around when this video was shot, and I remember it well. There were many fog machine shots where we would blow out the background and have a bunch of people doing things in the “orgs,” and then cut to a bunch of space shots. You can always tell when we had no time to shoot or no real script as you will see a boatload of space and VFX shots.

Also, as a note, when these CDs were released at an event aboard the Freewinds, a special edition version of the PDCs were made — Gold CDs. Most of those Gold CDs were one-off CDs, made one at a time with paper- or thermal-printed labels. I’m pretty sure it was around $3,000 for the set of 70 or so CDs.

Wow, that’s steep. But hey, for this kind of wisdom, what’s a few thou?

As Jon Atack has explained to us, in 1952, Hubbard was scrambling to regroup after a disastrous year once the initial Dianetics craze had died down. “Even though 150,000 copies of Dianetics had been sold by that point, there were only 38 people on the PDC, an indication of how much the original 1950 Dianetics craze had died down,” he said.

Well, if the attendance was low, Hubbard was still in rare form, as you can tell from this short excerpt. But what the heck did he mean about a giant pair of boots floating around in the universe? (Go here for a transcript of the segment at ESMB.)

We asked former Scientology executive Jefferson Hawkins to help us understand Hubbard’s tortured metaphor.

When I was a Scientologist, I always took it to be about taking responsibility. Hubbard seems to be saying that the answers were always there and just because he discovered the answers and took a few steps “out of the trap” didn’t absolve anyone else from the responsibility of discovering these answers for themselves and taking their own steps. I always took it to mean that everyone should be taking responsibility for going OT and forwarding Scientology.

I don’t think that he meant that everyone should find their own answers, or take any steps outside Scientology, but that they should “take responsibility” for forwarding his answers (Scientology) into society. Hubbard loved these sorts of grandiose allegories — although, in retrospect, it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

We look forward to further interpretations of Hubbard’s words from our great commenting community.


Mark Bunker tells Clearwater City Council about Scientology’s latest antics

After about a decade away, Mark Bunker has moved back to Clearwater, Florida, and right away the long-time critic of Scientology has run into unwanted trouble. He told us several days ago that representatives of the church had supplied his landlord with copies of a court injunction from his last time in town. They want Bunker’s landlord to evict him. But Bunker has talked to an attorney and plans to take action to resolve the injunction. He also went to the city council to give them an earful…


Posted by Tony Ortega on December 20, 2013 at 07:00

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