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


Hey, Dr. Phil, get a clue about Scientology and stop stiff-arming Lori Hodgson

Lori with Jeremy and Jessica before they disconnected from her.

Lori with Jeremy and Jessica before they disconnected from her.

If you’re a longtime reader of the Underground Bunker, you know that for several years we’ve paid close attention to the story of Lori Hodgson, a California mom who has fought the Church of Scientology over access to her children.

Like many other longtime Scientologists in recent years, Lori grew disillusioned about the church. When she sought advice from former high-ranking church official Marty Rathbun in 2010 by visiting him in Texas, she was spotted by the church’s agents watching Rathbun’s home, and Lori was then formally “declared” a “suppressive person” — Scientology’s version of excommunication.

Lori’s ex-husband is still in the church, and he helped convince their children, Jessica and Jeremy (now 24 and 21), to “disconnect” from their mother. Lori has said repeatedly that she doesn’t care if her kids want to stay in the church, she just wants to communicate with them and spend time with them. But in Scientology, once someone is declared an “SP,” all members who want to remain in good standing with the church must cut off all ties, even if it means splitting up a family. Despite Lori’s repeated tries to visit with Jessica and Jeremy, they refuse to see or talk to her.

To enforce the disconnection, Lori’s ex-husband and the kids moved to Texas, where they live in the Austin area. We’ve brought you detailed coverage each of the two times that Lori made surprise visits to the motorcycle parts store where Jeremy was working. The first time she went on her own; the second time, she went along with a crew from Inside Edition. Especially during that second visit, and for other reasons, Lori felt that she’d got through to Jeremy about some things. She said he seemed to understand the reasons she could never go back to the church, even though he was trained to tell her that she needed to do her “A to E Steps” (get back in the church’s good graces) before he could talk to her again.

Now, the news is more grim. Lori tells us Jeremy has suddenly walked away from his job at the motorcycle parts store. At least as long as he worked there, he was around a lot of non-Scientologists, and Lori was able to find him there for her surprise visits. Now, she says, he has gone to work for his father’s construction firm, and he’s also stepped up his involvement in the local Scientology “org.” Surrounded by Scientologists and Scientology, Jeremy is making it even tougher for his mother to get through to him.

She’s distraught about it, and we can understand why. Jeremy is still very young, and could still get his life back on track. Maybe what he needs is a good jolt.


For a couple of years now, Lori has been hoping to give him that jolt by getting herself on the Dr. Phil show. Lori has kept us informed as she’s made multiple attempts to get on the show — and repeatedly, she’s been told that the show is interested in having her on. In fact, she was told again recently that the show would like to have her as a guest.

But only, she’s been told, if her kids will also be on the show so Dr. Phil can attempt some kind of on-air reconciliation.


Hey, Dr. Phil, buy a clue. This is Scientology we’re talking about. Even though Jeremy Leake is only 21 years old, he’s a former member of Scientology’s Sea Organization, its most hardcore inner circle. And although he was only in the Sea Org for about seven months, Lori has reason to believe he was involved in some highly sensitive operations that makes him important to upper church managment. He and his sister are highly controlled church members, and can’t, on their own, make the decision to be on your show. As for the church’s interest, leader David Miscavige has pulled back from media like never before. The mighty Church of Scientology doesn’t even have a spokesperson they’re willing to put on camera when the media calls.

And you think Miscavige is going to be willing to allow Jessica and Jeremy Leake to come on your show for some kind of happy talk about a reunion?

That’s not going to happen. So stop stiff-arming Lori Hodgson, and have her on your show to talk about what she’s been through, maybe along with someone who can calmly and skillfully explain disconnection and what Lori has been through — we recommend former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder. He’ll be able to explain to your audience quickly and concisely why the church is too terrified to allow Lori’s children to be on television, and why Scientology in general can’t risk being asked difficult questions on camera.

The Dr. Phil show could have had Lori on more than a year ago, when producers first expressed an interest, but now Jeremy’s situation is even worse and the show is still dragging its feet because it has unrealistic expectations.

Lori’s story deserves to be told. So stop putting her off and get her on air, Doc McGraw.

At least, this week, Lori will get some facetime from David Pakman, who is interviewing her tomorrow. Pakman’s isn’t a network show, but he’s gaining reach and he already had good interviews with Marty Rathbun and Jamie DeWolf.

We can only hope that after Lori appears on Pakman’s show, Dr. Phil’s producers will get motivated.


Posted by Tony Ortega on December 1, 2014 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.

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS (We read Scientology’s founding text) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25

UP THE BRIDGE (Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48

GETTING OUR ETHICS IN (Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING (Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49

PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer
The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email