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Nick Lister: Scientology asked me to seduce Mike Rinder’s wife in a spy operation

Nick_ListerAaron Smith-Levin and Nick Lister have released the second of their clips for their “Growing Up in Scientology” video series, and it’s another jaw-dropper.

Lister was talked about in Alex Gibney’s documentary Going Clear. He’s the son of Sara Goldberg, who was forced by the Church of Scientology to choose between her son Nick and her daughter Ashley. Nick had been kicked out of the church, and by sticking by him, Sara herself was kicked out (“declared a suppressive person”) and then her daughter had no choice but to “disconnect” from the two of them in order to remain in the church.

Nick’s story is much more complex than what was relayed in the film, as he’s beginning to explain in these clips. In this segment, he talks about trying to get back into Scientology’s good graces by doing his “A to E steps” — programmed measures of contrition that are supposed to allow a fallen member to regain his or her status. But Lister found that doing these steps weren’t enough.

Scientology wanted more from him, Nick says. At one point, he claims, Scientology’s Kathy True, an ethics officer in the Office of Special Affairs, the church’s spy wing, asked him to do something for her. Lister says that True told him Mike Rinder, the former Scientology spokesman, was going to be out of town for three days (Rinder is under constant surveillance by Scientology agents), and while he was gone OSA wanted Lister to seduce Christie Collbran, Rinder’s girlfriend, who he married in 2013…



We asked Rinder and Collbran to comment on the allegation, but they declined.

In the video, Lister says that True’s request was the last time he talked to her. “Fuck all of this,” he says he told her, and he gave up trying to get back into Scientology’s good graces.


Texas Governor Greg Abbott aids CCHR, and hears about it

The Texas Tribune broke a fun story yesterday, blaming Texas Governor Greg Abbott for caving to pressure from Scientology’s Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) and vetoing a bill regarding doctors and mental health. The bill would have allowed doctors a four-hour window to hold a patient who might be a danger to himself or others for further assessment, but CCHR seems to have convinced Abbott to kill the new legislation.

CCHR is Scientology’s anti-psychiatry freakout organization, rabidly opposed to even the most sensible mental health care measures, and it was part of a coalition of knuckle-dragging groups that opposed this measure, including homeschoolers, anti-vaxxers, and LULAC.

Wait a minute. LULAC? The usually level-headed Latino group? Its leader says he joined the coalition worried that his constituents might find themselves detained by bigoted cops and doctors, or something.

Anyway, it seems pretty clear that CCHR had taken the lead on this collection of idiots who opposed the bill, but then every bill is opposed by some group of wackadoos or another. The real question is, why did Abbott listen to them? Gov. Abbott has already raised eyebrows for his less than sober reaction to the Jade Helm morons in his state, and this is another troubling sign about his susceptibility to the irrational. The Tribune found some records that indicate CCHR might have specifically targeted Abbott’s wife for influence, and it will be interesting to see if more documents emerge about how the Abbotts came to agree with L. Ron Hubbard’s wackiest front group. Meanwhile, we enjoyed Lawrence Wright’s reaction…


Kirstie Alley’s Organic Liaison still a big, fat flop

Radar Online is continuing to have a whale of a time taking things out of a lawsuit involving Kirstie Alley and calling them “bombshell” revelations. As we noted back in June, this is actually a lawsuit which grew out of a botched movie project that had nothing to do with Alley or with the Church of Scientology.

While Radar has fun with the “bombshell” and “blockbuster” allegations being made by the plaintiffs, we still see it as a complex (and dull) business dispute that partly turns on Alley’s failed Organic Liaison business. We described the dispute’s backstory in our earlier piece (second item).


Bonus items from our tipsters

Ooh, Scientology offering seminars in “other practices.”


The “Life Repair Group” appears to be a Nation of Islam offshoot in Slough, Berkshire, to the west of London, and they send their members to the London org for courses. Here, Brother Sakou Nkrumah Muhammad is awarded for learning Study Tech. Another group member, Brother Alexander Muhammad, has been congratulated for going Clear. So we’re seeing more NOI folks doing Scientology and not just Book One Dianetics. But what does it mean for Scientology? For NOI?


Another packed Scientology courseroom — hey, wait, that’s us again! Our great thanks to the Mark Twain House for hosting us in Hartford last night, and to Dan Perkins, a/k/a Tom Tomorrow, for moderating. Now, on to Denver!



We didn’t get a chance to include photos in our book, so we’ve posted them at a dedicated page. Reader Sookie put together a complete index and we’re hosting it here on the website. Copies of the paperback version of ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely’ are on sale at Amazon. The Kindle edition is also available, and shipping instantly.

Our upcoming appearances (and check out the interactive map to our ongoing tour)…

July 17: Denver, The Secular Hub, 7 pm (with Chris Shelton)

July 20: Dallas, Times Ten Cellars, 7 pm (with Robert Wilonsky)

July 22: Houston, Fox and Hound, 11470 Westheimer Road, sponsored by Humanists of Houston

July 24: San Antonio, Folc Restaurant/Park Social, 6 pm

July 25: Austin, Cafe Express, 3 pm, Center for Inquiry

July 29: Paris, Le Bistrot Landais, 19:00 (with Jonny Jacobsen)

August 4: London, Conway Hall, (with John Sweeney)

August 24: Boston, Boston Skeptics in the Pub, 7 pm (with Gregg Housh)

Sept 15: Arizona State University

Sept 23: Cleveland

Sept 24: Minneapolis

Sept 27: Portland

Sept 28: Seattle

Sept 29: Vancouver, BC


Posted by Tony Ortega on July 15, 2015 at 08:30

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 mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill
The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield



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