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Who are the 8 Scientologists profiled in ‘Going Clear,’ premiering today? We have a guess.


Our countdown is finally over, and today we learn just who is in Alex Gibney’s HBO documentary, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief. But even though the premiere is still several hours away, you didn’t think we were going to head for the theater without at least taking a guess who’s in the movie, did you?

Now, we want to be clear about this. We were interviewed for the film, we think we may have a couple of lines in it, and we answered a few other questions for the folks turning Lawrence Wright’s epic 2013 history of Scientology into this project. But we were never told who the film was focusing on, and we haven’t seen a screener. What we do know is what HBO has said about Going Clear, that it tells the stories of eight former Scientologists and the abuse they experienced in it or witnessed.

But which eight? We’ve come up with our list based on asking a few questions and making some educated guesses. For all we know, we could be way off. But we’re very much looking forward to finding out today who’s really in the movie and then updating our list.

So here they are, our guesses, in alphabetical order…


Jason Beghe: Plays the starring role in NBC’s Chicago PD after his character in Chicago Fire proved to be such a strong part of the series. Jason left Scientology in 2008 and became the first former church celebrity to speak out loudly about what he considered its abuses. “Let’s see a motherfucking Clear,” he famously said, denying that Scientology has ever produced the superhuman abilities it promises.

Tom DeVocht: Once ran Scientology’s building operations in Clearwater, Florida and was a close associate to church leader David Miscavige. Told the Tampa Bay Times after his defection that Miscavige makes fun of Tom Cruise behind his back and has even showed Cruise’s private auditing session videotapes to others in order to mock him.

Sara Goldberg: Profiled in a stunning Tampa Bay Times piece by Joe Childs, Sara suffered one of the most blatant (and very recent) examples of “disconnection,” the toxic Scientology policy that rips families apart.

Paul Haggis: The focus of Lawrence Wright’s 2011 New Yorker story that grew into Wright’s book, Haggis is an Academy Award-winning director and screenwriter and father of two lesbian daughters, and he could no longer ignore Scientology’s deep-seated homophobia.

Mark “Marty” Rathbun: Once the second-highest ranking official in Scientology, Rathbun was Tom Cruise’s auditor before he defected in 2004. When he began to speak out in 2009 with criticisms of Miscavige, he became the target of an intense years-long intimidation campaign out of Scientology’s classic mold.

Mike Rinder: Former top Scientology spokesman who lost his family to disconnection when he decided he could no longer endure stints in the church’s internal prison for executives and extended periods working closely with Miscavige.

Spanky Taylor: One of the surprise stars of Wright’s book, she worked closely with John Travolta in his early days in Scientology, and she ended up being treated horribly as she was trying to raise a young daughter.

Hana Whitfield: Worked closely with L. Ron Hubbard in Scientology’s early days, actually captaining one of his ships as he ran the organization from sea in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

If you were following things here at the blog last night, you know that some of these folks are here in Park City to see the premiere. Marc Headley and your proprietor compared notes and realized that we were each photographed by the same Scientology private eye at the baggage area in Salt Lake City’s airport. (Headley insisted to us, by the way, that he is not one of the eight people the film focuses on.)

We don’t know if the flatfoot snapping photos of us means that Scientology is going to try anything funny today. But at least they have new photos for Freedom magazine or something.

We’ll do our best to update you on the day’s happenings in the comment section, but we expect a pretty chaotic day.


Sunday Funnies

And now our regular Sunday feature, when we look at the latest wacky Scientology fundraising fliers that have been forwarded to us by our great tipsters.

L. Ron Hubbard was born on March 13, 1911, but folks in Los Angeles and other places will be celebrating the date later, after Scientology has had a chance to ship video of the main party in Clearwater, Florida. Mark your calendars!


Things are steamy in Pasadena…


Yes, this is the very definition of sanity…


Detoxification must be real, this flier says so…


As former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder has pointed out, the prices on the Freewinds cruise ship are hitting rock bottom. Ten nights for $2,600 and all meals included? Wow.


Translation, “Why don’t you ever come to events anymore? Sincerely, Dave Petit.”


Yet another fundraiser in the Valley, this time featuring former NFL player and miracle worker Bob Adams!

game time email

L. Ron Hubbard invented Wellington boots? Who knew!


Translation: “This place is a graveyard. Please come to ASHO, the American Saint Hill Organization in Los Angeles, where we can barely keep the lights on.”

marina email

If you remember, Michael Chan is the enthusiastic barnstormer who goes around the country telling Scientologists that someday L. Ron Hubbard’s super secret OT 9 level will be released (Marty Rathbun has assured us it doesn’t exist), and at that point church members will live into their 120s, and they’ll get the ability to clone themselves so they can form an unstoppable Scientology army to take over the planet. (We’re serious. We had a mole at one of his talks.)

michael-chan-17 jan

Linda’s been in a “release state” since she turned over a huge check to Scientology. We have a feeling we would be too!


And finally…”Planetary Clearing is not a fantasy.” Yeah, just keep telling yourselves that — it makes the check-writing easier.


Thanks again to our great tipsters!


Posted by Tony Ortega on January 25, 2015 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 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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