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Scientology’s 2013 in review: July fireworks, courtesy of an actress from Brooklyn

Leah_Remini2

We’re continuing our year-in-review, and we’ve come to the explosive month of July. But before we get into the drama created by the biggest Scientology celebrity defection ever, a few other important things happened as the summer deepened.

On July 2, Laura DeCrescenzo finally obtained her “pc files” from Scientology after a Los Angeles Superior Court judge had ordered the files to be turned over to her in Laura’s forced-abortion lawsuit. The church had failed in multiple appeals to stop the judge’s order, even losing in state supreme court. Laura received some 18,000 documents on a thumb drive, and began sifting through them.

The next day, we broke the news that Will Smith’s Scientology school in Calabasas, the New Village Leadership Academy, had closed its doors about a week earlier.

On July 5, we tested the waters — we’d received some pretty strong information that King of Queens actress Leah Remini had decided to leave after nearly her full life in Scientology.

And then, three days later, after receiving a lot more information, we laid it out: Leah Remini had definitely left Scientology, and we learned that her disaffection had begun at the 2006 wedding of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. Wow!

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Almost lost in the hoopla was that the night before, on the 7th, we had broken a big story in concert with Woman’s Day magazine in Australia involving former Scientologist Joe Reaiche. Eventually, the Daily Mail and others would pick up Joe’s story about being abandoned by his children because he’d dared to leave the church. And his kids are all Hollywood celebrities.

On July 10, we had to admire the cheekiness of Independent Scientologists who tried to spoil David Miscavige’s “Super Power” project by releasing the actual Super Power materials online — and they turned out to be extremely mundane and repetitive, just like most Scientology processes.

On July 11, the New York Post put Leah Remini on its front page, and the real media feeding frenzy began. But People magazine and others were considerate enough to point out that we had actually broken the news of Remini’s defection on July 8. Meanwhile, we were still gathering information about the story, including Kirstie Alley’s freakout, and the issuing of marching orders for Scientology celebrities.

One of the key elements to Leah’s story was that she had become concerned about the disappearance of Shelly Miscavige, wife to Scientology’s leader, who had not been seen by the general church membership since late 2005. So on July 17, we wrote our most complete story yet about what was known of Shelly’s vanishing.

Scientology, meanwhile, was spinning like mad, trying to tell reporters that Leah’s complaints about “disconnection” were unfounded — the church doesn’t force families to split up, it said. Oh yeah? We asked our readers for their own accounts of disconnection, and we posted numerous stories that came pouring in.

Meanwhile, Leah Remini’s sister, Nicole, went on a local Minneapolis radio station to tell her own version of what had driven her sister from Scientology, so we then got her on the phone and told the fullest account yet of Leah’s saga.

And the stories kept coming. On July 20, we talked to Michelle Visage, Leah’s friend, who described how longtime family friends were abandoning Leah after the church called for them to disconnect from her. We chastised Perez Hilton for his poor reading comprehension. And we had to clear up a disinformation campaign at the Enquirer.

On the 26th Allison Hope Weiner had us on her show to talk about the developments in the Remini story.

And in one of the best byproducts of the Remini kerfuffle, we learned that actor Christian Stolte is a fan of the Bunker and even comments here on occasion (under a screen name).

And still, July had a few more surprises left for us. On July 29, we reported that Scientology’s reporter, Jim Lynch, had died at only 59. We revealed that a young woman named Amber Bullins had died at a Michigan drug rehab center with ties to Scientology.

And also on the 31st, The Hollywood Reporter published a letter from director Paul Haggis (who gave the Bunker a shout-out), but what was also remarkable about the THR piece was an acknowledgment from Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw that the church supplies material to the anonymous attack websites that regularly smear former members. Wow!

Was July 2013 the worst month for Scientology, like ever? Well it was certainly one of our busiest.

 
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From the video vault: Thetan School!

Last week, we started a new series featuring internal Scientology videos which a source is making available for us.

This time, L. Ron Hubbard tells us about “Thetan School.” Enjoy!

 

 
PS: We feel supremely vindicated by this video, and we’re thinking of every smart-aleck Scientologist who griped when we tried to explain the “thetan” concept by referring to “your thetan” — “You don’t have a thetan! You ARE a thetan!” we had to hear shouted at us. (Scientology teaches that each of us is a thetan, or immortal soul.)

Well, smarty pants, we note that the old man himself here refers, in fact, to “your thetan.”

To wit: “So don’t think your thetan is without education…”

So there!

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on December 28, 2013 at 07:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to tonyo94@gmail.com 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.

 

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