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Give Scientology $1,000 and all you’ll get is this lousy T-shirt

L_Ron_Hubbard_HallWe’ve mentioned in the past that Scientology is not finished with its “Mecca” in Clearwater, Florida. Despite the completion of its city-block-sized “Flag Building” (a/k/a “Super Power” building), the church is still raising money for yet another building that will go next door: The L. Ron Hubbard Hall.

For years, Scientology held its big annual Clearwater events at Ruth Eckerd Hall. It’s a fine venue with capacity for 2,180 people and has hosted the LRH Birthday celebration each year, which takes place around Hubbard’s birthday of March 13.

So why the need for a meeting hall on the Scientology campus itself in downtown Clearwater? We assume there are two reasons: Smaller crowds and security.

Scientology just can’t fill venues like it used to. In Los Angeles, for example, the church is increasingly staging events on L. Ron Hubbard Way, a block-long lane amid the “PAC Base” downtown. Such events just can’t fill the Shrine Auditorium or the LA Sports Arena anymore. The church used the Shrine for its big New Year’s Eve parties, and hosted its big “The War Is Over” event in 1993 to announce its victory over the IRS at the Sports Arena.

With dwindling membership and increasing security concerns — a British reporter sneaked into the 2012 IAS gala in England, and protesters got awfully close to the action there this year — it makes some sense for Scientology to have a place of its own on its own property.

So that means, of course, even more fundraising from the fundraisingest organization on earth. And it also means that Scientology has to come up with classes of donations. And this time, it also means rewards.


Thanks to one of our great tipsters, we got our hands on the donation cards being sent around by the Church of Scientology Religious Trust (CSRT) — one of Scientology’s entities, and the one that’s been charged with raising money for the hall. And just look at what you get if you donate money for this super project!

Friend of LRH Hall, $1,000: Commendation, T-Shirt

Benefactor of LRH Hall, $5,000: Commendation, Special LRH Photo

Guarantor of LRH Hall, $10,000: Commendation, Special LRH Photo, CSRT Gift Item

LRH Hall Member, $25,000: All Benefits Listed Above, Name on Display, Priority Access & Seating at Events, Commemorative LRH Presentation

LRH Hall Elite Member, $50,000: All Benefits Listed Above

LRH Hall Key Member, $100,000: All Benefits Listed Above, Special LRH Presentation

LRH Hall Founding Member, $250,000: All Benefits Listed Above, Personalized Gift Presentation

LRH Hall Master Member, $500,000: All Benefits Listed Above, Personalized Gift Presentation

LRH Hall Member with Honor, $1,000,000: All Benefits Listed Above, Personalized Gift Presentation

The mailing also came with a list of loyal Scientologists who have already donated. Can you guess who made the top of the list?


Well sure, the richest Scientologists in the world, Bob and Trish Duggan, lead the list once again. And based on their status — LRH Hall Member of Elite Honor — we’d have to conclude that they’ve given more than a $1 million to the project. (We’ve estimated that they’ve also given about $50 million to the International Association of Scientologists fund.) [UPDATE: Another list shows that in order to get the “Elite Honor” level, the donation by the Duggans must be at least $2.5 million.]

Hey, if Bob and Trish are leading the way, how can this thing lose! Take our check and send that T-Shirt right away!

As a bonus, the CSRT mailing that hits Scientologists up for those donations also included a report about the November grand opening of a house in Bay Head, New Jersey that the church claims is where L. Ron Hubbard put the finishing touches on Dianetics. Attending the event were John Travolta and Kelly Preston, and the mailing preserves their speechifying. We thought you might want to get a look at it.


This house is actually the most important house in my life, because the Man, L. Ron Hubbard, wrote a book called Dianetics that saved my life. And in turn, when I learned how to use this technique to help others and save their lives, or from injuries or from emotional upsets or whatever they had going on, and to watch actual miracles happen right in front of my eyes, was astonishing and miraculous. And I find it the most valuable thing I can do — and really one of my biggest purposes of being here in this lifetime is to help other people. And I find I can do it with this technology — John Travolta


This home here means so much to us. It’s really important when we re-build, we help to restore, but we also help to move on. And my husband and I are all about that and L. Ron Hubbard was all about that. And Dianetics has helped me so much throughout my life. It has saved my life, really. It’s helped me raise a family, it’s helped me have a successful marriage for 23 years and it’s helped me in my career. It has really helped me in every aspect of my life — so I am forever indebted to L. Ron Hubbard. I want to thank you all so much for coming out and for honoring him. Thank you. — Kelly Preston


Monique Rathbun pushes back on Scientology dragging in the Woodward lawsuit

We have a brief update on the Monique Rathbun lawsuit: Monique’s appellate attorney, Leslie Hyman, filed a short document asking the Texas Third Court of Appeals to ignore Scientology’s attempt to bring up a lawsuit in Los Angeles that was dismissed based on the church’s anti-SLAPP motion. The church is also trying to get Monique’s harassment lawsuit in Texas tossed with the use of an anti-SLAPP, which was denied by Comal County Judge Dib Waldrip.

Scientology is appealing that decision, and wants the appeals court to look at the reasons why Vance Woodward’s lawsuit was derailed. But Hyman points out that Woodward’s lawsuit was dismissed because it raised a lot of issues about how Scientology operates as a church. The First Amendment affords an organization that calls itself a church enormous protections, but Hyman points out that Monique — who was never a member of Scientology — is suing for harassment and surveillance, not for religious practices.

That’s been a common theme in many of the arguments Hyman has made both on paper and in a live hearing. We’re still waiting to see how the appeals court rules.


Scientology’s 2014 in review: The original OT 8 mystery solved!

George_WhiteHappy Boxing Day! We’re continuing our look back at 2014 as the new year approaches, and now we’re up to stories we covered in June.

One of the themes we’ve been exploring over the last couple of years is Scientology’s ability to pull in young people even as it faces its biggest crises in its existence.

Early in the month, we talked to Mary Jane Sterne about her daughter, Samantha, who ditched college halfway through her freshman year in order to sign the Sea Org’s billion-year contract. Where, we asked, is Scientology keeping Sami Sterne?

June was also when the family feud over Casey Kasem’s final days boiled over. We think there’s a lot of blame to go around for the sordidness of that family mess, but one thing we looked into that no other news outlet did — we established that Kerri Kasem’s involvement in Scientology was much more extensive than she was letting on.

On June 11, we broke the news that Oklahoma’s multicounty grand jury was hearing evidence about allegations of insurance fraud at Scientology’s flagship drug rehab facility, Narconon Arrowhead. Later in the year, the grand jury declined to produce indictments, but encouraged the state to continue investigating the troubled facility.

Among the twists and turns in Monique Rathbun’s harassment lawsuit against the Church of Scientology this year, one development that we couldn’t contain a grin about was Scientology’s contention that our Village Voice coverage of the 2011 “Squirrel Buster” siege of the Rathbun home was a sign that the church’s goon squad had attained its goals. Yowza.

On June 17, we posted a rare audio clip of Ron and Mary Sue Hubbard using a 1952 auditing session to come up with the “entities” idea behind Scientology, some 15 years before Ron would unleash “OT 3” on church members. As we pointed out at the time, “If Scientology’s con has a smoking gun, it may be this recording.”

As his new film Third Person opened in theaters, Paul Haggis told us his favorite Bunker stories of the year.

On June 24, we looked at a longtime Scientology mystery: Was the infamous “Antichrist” version of Original OT 8 really delivered to a few lucky church members in the summer of 1988 before it was torpedoed for upsetting people? George White came forward to say that he was among those few who received the disputed document on the Freewinds that summer — and he had the certificate to prove it. Several experts, after looking at our evidence, agreed that this mystery is now solved — the bizarre Hubbard Antichrist version of OT 8 is legit after all.

A LOOK BACK AT JUNE 2013: Channel 4’s Scientologists at War, Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and Joe Childs on Denise Gentile’s blunts.


Posted by Tony Ortega on December 26, 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


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