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How Scientology responds to adversity: A classic example from its golden era

FDAAgentWith just days to go until the beginning of what may turn out to be the biggest challenge the Church of Scientology has ever faced, we’re watching in awe as the organization fires back on several different fronts.

With Alex Gibney’s documentary “Going Clear” opening Sunday at the Sundance Film Festival and then airing March 16 on HBO, we’re seeing church leader David Miscavige respond with a full page ad in the New York Times, an advertising blitz on network television, and other major pushes to get Scientology’s message out on its own terms.

It turns out, there’s plenty of precedence for this. As former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder pointed out to us, this is exactly the way Miscavige responded to a previous threat — the devastating 1991 TIME magazine cover story about Scientology by journalist Richard Behar. Scientology ran full page ads in USA Today, pursued a major legal onslaught with multiple lawsuits that lasted for years, and denuded whole forests so it could counter the bad publicity with its own publications to ‘set the record straight.’

And Miscavige was just following earlier examples by the organization’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard, and we have a great example to prove that today.

Our thanks to the tipster who, noticing that we’ve been having some fun over the last few days digging into the Food and Drug Administration’s January 4, 1963 raid of the Church of Scientology, sent us a real gem.

It’s a 1968 pamphlet put out by L. Ron Hubbard blasting the FDA for the raid, and it’s just chock full of fascinating material — and it proves to be a great model for the tactics that Miscavige is following today as he deals with the nightmare of the HBO documentary.


We still have quite a few interesting items coming from the records request that yielded raw research from the FDA’s files and that have never been put online before. but in the meantime, this pamphlet from Scientology is a gold mine.

In fact, it has so much fun stuff, we haven’t really been able to get to all of its best nuggets. But rather than make you wait for us to get around to it, we thought we’d just post it online and have our great Scientology researchers in the Bunker pore through the thing for its hidden treasure!

One example, we love the suggestion by Hubbard that President Kennedy was interested in Scientology’s applications for the space program, but it was his meddling brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who was out to ruin things for Hubbard and his organization. Now that’s comedy gold.

Another classic is the way the pamphlet begins, by trashing the very idea of the FDA as a meddlesome and unnecessary agency.

Please pull out your favorite items and tell us about them in the comments….

The Findings


We’re big in France, apparently

Some time back, we helped out a reporter who was asking really interesting questions about Vivian Kubrick after seeing our coverage of the famous director’s daughter here at the Underground Bunker.

And here’s the result — a spread from the most recent edition of the French version of Vanity Fair. (We’ve taken down the article for now and will repost it at a later date after VF France has had a chance to sell some issues.)




Bonus photos from our tipsters

Caption: “Another happy Dianetics customer. #melbournestreets #melbourne #winning”


Miss New York, in your schools, spreading the L. Ron Hubbard gospel! (Caption: “Jillian and I had so much fun speaking at #StVincentFerrerHS #AllGirlsSchool yesterday @missnewyorkmao We gave the seniors some #CollegeTips #DontTrustBoys #Freshman15Happens #StayTrueToYourself #StayFocused #BeALeader #LeavingAPartyIsCool #DrugFreeCampus #DrugFreeWorld)


Scientologists are using social media more than ever. Drop us a line if you spot them posting images to Instagram or Facebook!


Kim Masters on Alex Gibney and ‘Going Clear’

The Hollywood Reporter has a great piece about Alex Gibney and his documentary about Scientology, and the profile is written by Kim Masters, who we had the pleasure of meeting about a year ago.

Your proprietor is waiting until Sunday to see the film, but Kim got an advance look and spills some details about it. She also explains what makes Gibney tick, and gives us some sense of how he’s able to put out so many projects at the same time. Give it a read!


4 days until Alex Gibney’s film Going Clear: Scientology & the Prison of Belief opens at the Sundance Film Festival at 2:30 pm on Sunday, January 25 in Park City, Utah


Posted by Tony Ortega on January 21, 2015 at 07:30

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 cover to cover with the help of LA attorney and former church member Vance Woodward

UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists

GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice

SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

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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