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Scientology’s 2013 in review: The Super Power-ful finish to an eventful year

MikesHeliWe’re finishing up our look back at 2013 as we prepare for tonight’s festivities.

November began with a fun reveal: We unmasked the master satirist behind OTVIIIisGrrr8!

The next day, we broke the news on the dates for Scientology’s big events: The Golden Age of Tech II and Super Power Building opening would be the weekend of Nov 15-17, the IAS gala would go off Thanksgiving weekend, and New Year’s Eve would happen on December 27.

A few days later, some interesting documents in Tom Cruise’s defamation lawsuit against Bauer Media were put into a court file, including a deposition of Cruise.

As our “tech” series with Claire Headley moved into the “Operating Thetan” levels, we picked up some additional help from Bruce Hines.

On November 17, we had one of our oddest and most fun live-blogging experiences as Mike Bennitt and Mike Rinder sent us photos from a helicopter over Clearwater that showed the anemic size of the crowd at Scientology’s Super Power Building grand opening. What a wild day!


The next day, a big scoop: We published the first interview with Jacqueline Olivier, who was the founding principal of Will and Jada Smith’s Scientology school in Calabasas, California. She opened up and let us know that the rumors had been true: The school was thoroughly steeped in Scientology practices even as the public was told it was “secular.”

On November 27, a bizarre story: reclusive Scientologist Vivian Kubrick, daughter of the late great film director, surfaced in the strangest possible way, as an enthusiastic Alex Jones supporter at a Dallas rally.

Early in December, Marc Headley took us through the oddities of the new Mark Ultra VIII e-meter.

A couple of days later we broke the news that Silvertail Books is putting Russell Miller’s great biography of L. Ron Hubbard, Bare-Faced Messiah, back in print soon.

On December 7, we provided some behind-the-scenes information after Lori Hodgson appeared on Inside Edition in another attempt to recover her kids.

Five days later we reported that the Luis and Rocio Garcia fraud lawsuit against Scientology is moving into a new phase as Judge James Whittemore gave an order allowing the Garcias to gather evidence about the church’s murky trusts and their trustees.

And speaking of legal orders, on December 13 we reported what was perhaps the biggest story of the year — Comal County Judge Dib Waldrip granted Monique Rathbun the right to depose Scientology leader David Miscavige in the jurisdiction phase of her harassment lawsuit.

On December 16 Roslyn Cohn did us the favor of letting us premiere her one-woman show skewering Scientology, “DiffiCULT to Leave.” On the 18th we noted the Church of Scientology’s actual 60th anniversary (the church itself will say it’s in February). And two days later we debuted a new series as a source is beginning to post formerly secret internal Scientology videos for public consumption. Also, Tom Cruise dropped his dumb lawsuit against Bauer Media and its magazines after it had become yet another publicity nightmare for him.

And that pretty much brings us up to date. What a year. And thanks again to all of our great tipsters, readers, commenters, and the many people who have let us into their lives to help us understand a little better what it’s like to join or leave the Church of Scientology. David Miscavige’s organization’s various crises are only worsening, and it’s been great to have a front-row seat while we watch what’s going on. And something tells us 2014 is only going to be more entertaining.


Posted by Tony Ortega on December 31, 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.


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