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The Church of Scientology: A rollicking legacy of belligerence, profanity, paranoia, and violence

The Church of Scientology has long promoted itself as the most ethical group on the planet. However, the following thirty examples, collected by our friend Jeffrey Augustine and listed here chronologically, present a prolific portrait of Church belligerence, profanity, paranoia, and violence in recent years. We sense a trend.

1. September 2004: Scientology OT Tom Cruise in Rolling Stone, “The Passion of the Cruise,” sets the tone for bad behavior. As the world would later learn, the church was secretly auditioning wife candidates for Tom Cruise that year.


2. 2008 and later: New OT VIII Goodwill Ambassador Kirstie Alley is obviously not aligned with the principles contained in The Way to Happiness as she spreads entheta around Los Angeles. Even as Kirstie is giving the “OT Salute” to the paparazzi, she is also on Twitter attacking those who disagree with her views. Alley has grown increasingly belligerent online, including her personal attacks on Leah Remini.



3. 2009 and later: Allegations that David Miscavige physically attacked his high ranking Church staff members become the subject of a major story in the Tampa Bay Times and then in an Anderson Cooper special. The image of a diminutive Miscavige leaping on tables so he can pummel Jefferson Hawkins or tackle Mike Rinder become nearly a permanent fixture in stories about Scientology ever after.


4. 2009: Scientologist and attorney Kendrick Moxon gives the OT Salute while seated at a restaurant:


5. January 2010, Denver, Colorado: Scientology New OT VII Rex Fowler is arrested for shooting and killing his business partner at point blank range. Fowler then turned the gun on himself. His suicide attempt having failed, Fowler was convicted of first degree murder in 2011 and sentenced to life in prison:



6. April 2011: The 199-day siege of former Scientology executive Mark “Marty” Rathbun and his wife Monique at their home in Ingleside by the Bay, Texas begins. In one of its most bizarre operations ever, Scientology sends a goon squad to watch and follow Marty and Monique. The Squirrel Busters operation confirmed the Church’s reputation for vicious lunacy:


7. May 2011: Scientology lawyer Gur Finklestein is indicted on 11 felony charges including attempted murder, sabotage, attempted sabotage, causing damage with explosives, arson, conspiring to commit a crime and aggravated assault. Finkelstein is eventually sentenced to eight years in prison for hiring a hitman to kill his ex-wife’s business partner and was acquitted of the 2011 arson charges in which it was alleged he hired mobsters to burn down the Alhambra Theater, a Scientology-owned property in Jaffa, Israel.


8. June 2011: Scientologist Jan Eastgate is arrested for covering up a case of molestation in the church. After being represented by expensive church-funded lawyers, charges are dropped against her in 2012.


9. October 2011: Russian Police raid the Church of Scientology in Moscow:



10. July 2012: Katie Holmes escapes from Tom Cruise. Cruise would later admit in deposition that part of the reason Katie left him was to keep Suri out of Scientology clutches. Aaron Smith-Levin’s recent interview with Nick Lister served to add additional context to Tom Cruise’s maniacal Scientology control over his family members.


11. October 2012: Vanity Fair reports on the Church’s secret 2004 wife auditions for Tom Cruise:


12. September 2012, Los Feliz, California: Scientologist Johnny Lewis murders his landlady, dismembers her cat, and then kills himself:



13. January 2013: David Miscavige’s comically self-aggrandizing advertorial in The Atlantic turns into yet another PR disaster for the Church. The media lambastes The Atlantic for publishing this story-like ad. The website yanks the ad in less than 24 hours and publicly apologizes for its actions.


14. 2013 and later: Continuing stories of Narconon lawsuits and deaths:


15. April 2013: Narconon in Atlanta raided over allegations of credit card fraud…


16. May 2013: Allegations of multimillion dollar insurance fraud at Narconon Atlanta:



17. June 2013: David Miscavige’s twin sister Denise Gentile is arrested for DUI, misdemeanor possession of marijuana and failure to yield. A Tampa Bay Times story detailed allegations that Denise would take marijuana from her tenant in lieu of rent money. High-priced lawyers later get Denise out of her legal problem:


18. July 2013: Tony Ortega reports new information about the mountain compound where David Miscavige’s wife, Shelly, has been living throughout her apparent exile…


19. August 2013: Scientologist Devon Newman, PR Director of Scientology’s Las Vegas Org, is arrested by Las Vegas police in a bizarre kidnap-murder plot:


20. August 2013: Tony Ortega reports on Leah Remini filing a missing person report on Shelly Miscavige with the LAPD. The disappearance of Shelly Miscavige quickly becomes an international news story.


21. August 2013: A Texas judge issues a temporary restraining order against Scientology’s global ecclesiastical Leader David Miscavige:


22. October 2014: Tony Ortega posts a truly disturbing and well-documented article about Scientology OT and billionaire Bob Duggan shipping his problem children off to Africa:


23. Social media 2014: Becoming increasingly well known for their utter lack of class, Scientology OT’s Grant and Elena Cardone give, viewers the OT Salute:


24. January 2015: The Telegraph reports on wiretapping revelations from Alex Gibney’s documentary about Scientology, Going Clear:


25. February 2015: Scientologist Danny Masterson drops F bombs all over the place in Paper Magazine:


26. April 2015: The Los Angeles Times breaks a blockbuster story about two private investigators paid $10,000 per week for 18 months to spy on Ron Miscavige Sr., father to church leader David Miscavige who, when he was asked about his father apparently having a heart attack, allegedly told the private eyes, “let him die.”


27. April 2015: Tony Ortega posts audio of the police interviews of the private investigators who followed Ron Miscavige Sr. while carrying an arsenal…


28. May 2015: Freedom magazine editor Jennifer Lankheim uses the word “bullshit in an attempt, apparently, to prove she has street cred.


29. July 2015: Scientology spokesperson Karin Pouw responds to allegations that David Miscavige spied on his own father, calling the allegations “provable bullshit” — a new low for Scientology PR.


30. July 2015: Jenna and Bodhi Elfman drop the F bomb and more in a sexually explicit YouTube video. Jenna Elfman at 15:25 – “I’d blow a horse to be able to sit around all day and watch Netflix…” The money Jenna’s parents gave her to attend charm school was apparently spent elsewhere.


— Jeffrey Augustine



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

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

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

August 4: London, Conway Hall, 19:30, (with John Sweeney)

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

Sept 15: Arizona State University

Sept 23: Cleveland, Parma Heights Library, 7pm sponsored by Center for Inquiry – Northeast Ohio

Sept 24: Minneapolis

Sept 27: Portland

Sept 28: Seattle

Sept 29: Vancouver, BC


Posted by Tony Ortega on July 23, 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 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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