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Tales from Scientology’s Hollywood Celebrity Centre: A new film, and a new death

Steven_MangoWe have two very different reports for you today that share one thing in common — Scientology’s Hollywood Celebrity Centre.

Steven Mango spent four years in Scientology, hoping that his involvement with the Celebrity Centre would help his acting career. A year ago, he left Scientology after he’d had enough of the church’s constant requests for money.

Most people who leave Scientology keep quiet. Steven had a different idea — he made a two and a half hour movie about it. He’s debuting his film this Sunday at the ACME Theater in Hollywood (go here for tickets).

Steven was good enough to provide us with this trailer of his film, “Inside the Scientology Celebrity Centre.”

 

 
Let us know what you think!

 
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Tayler_Tweed6Tayler Tweed: Death of a young Scientologist

On Friday, January 10, Tayler Tweed killed herself with a gunshot to the head. She was 27.

On Saturday, a memorial was held for her at Scientology’s Hollywood Celebrity Centre as family and friends gathered to remember the attractive young woman who had been working on a career in music and acting (as Tayler DeBari).

Before her death, Tayler had begun voicing doubts about Scientology publicly, and complained bitterly about the church’s “disconnection” policy on her Facebook page. She later was convinced to take those posts down. But even just a few weeks before her death, she was telling friends that she was done with Scientology.

Scientology’s “disconnection” rips apart families by requiring members to cut off all contact with people who have been excommunicated from the church — even if that means children turning away from parents, or vice versa. It’s one of Scientology’s most toxic policies, and the reason that many longtime members have defected in recent years.

After her suicide, Tayler’s memorial aimed to portray her as a Scientologist in good standing.

We talked yesterday with Tayler’s mother, Cathy Tweed, and she assured us that Tayler’s “upsets” with Scientology had nothing to do with why she took her life.

(The Underground Bunker agrees with her on that point. People kill themselves because they are depressed, and Tayler certainly suffered from depression. We think it’s a mistake to conclude that Tayler’s issues with Scientology had anything to do with why she took her life.)

When we talked to Cathy yesterday, she told us that she and Tayler’s half-sister were getting “memorial tattoos,” which was helping them cope with what had happened.

“We had the most beautiful ceremony for her. It was incredible,” Cathy told us.

Cathy, who is a Scientologist herself, denies that her daughter was turning away from the organization. “She had some upsets with the church,” she acknowledges, but she puts it down to Tayler’s anger when an ex-boyfriend began dating someone new. “She made one slight comment and then she retracted it,” Cathy says.

Tayler_Tweed13Her daughter was becoming increasingly frustrated with her career options, she adds.

“She couldn’t figure out what she wanted to do with her life. She felt very overwhelmed. She just got so nasty and mean to her friends,” she says. “It didn’t have anything to do with Scientology.”

Cathy says that Tayler was staying with some non-Scientology friends in Fullerton, California who were trying to get her on track. They had signed her up for a course to learn to be a recording engineer and were trying to get her to go to the class when she managed to find a revolver in the house.

“She just went into a bedroom and shot herself and that was it,” Cathy says. There was no question that it was suicide, and Cathy says she’s trying to respect her daughter’s choice.

“We were shocked that she did that,” she says. “But I’m at peace with what happened.”

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on January 20, 2014 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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