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How Scientology schools prepare young minds for the rigors of the Sea Org


Wow, Nick Lister and Aaron Smith-Levin are on a roll. Last week’s video segment from their series, ‘Growing Up in Scientology,’ described Nick’s discovery that Tom Cruise had banished a 14-year-old niece for two years from his family because she’d been caught on video kissing a boy. That story got picked up by Radar Online (which keeps a close watch on this website) and then spun out to a number of other worldwide outlets.

This week, Nick gives us a fascinating look behind the scenes at Scientology schools, which are used for recruiting children in their early teens into Scientology’s Sea Org after several years of indoctrination. Here’s Aaron’s description of the clip…

In this segment of Nick’s interview he discusses how Scientology ethics and justice policies are applied to children who attend Scientology Private schools like Delphi Academy, Clearwater Academy, Washburn Academy, etc, including the writing down of “Overts and Witholds,” which are basically transgressions or “bad deeds.” The written account of these bad deeds were sent to the church for permanent storage in church files.


In most schools the threat that “this will go on your permanent record” is usually an empty one, but not in Scientology schools. Students are encouraged to turn in reports on each other and these reports are also sent to the Church to be addressed outside of school.

Nick also reveals how these private schools are used as recruiting pools by the Sea Org, with students being taken out of the classroom during school hours for lengthy recruitment sessions with Sea Org members who themselves had never finished school. When students would join the Sea Org they would be brought back into the classroom to announce this fact to all the other students, explaining that it was “on purpose” and “the right thing to do.”



Miss Lovely gets major treatment Down Under

Our thanks to ABC Australia, which finally posted its recent story about Paulette Cooper and our book to YouTube so we can embed it here…



Joe Reaiche in the Daily Mail

There’s a nice long piece in the Daily Mail about Joe Reaiche and his celebrity children, who disconnected from him once he left Scientology. Joe was featured on a really good Australian TV piece about Scientology some years ago, and then two years ago we wrote about him and his estrangement from his kids. At the end of the Daily Mail piece, there’s a reference to his daughter Alanna dating Tom Cruise’s son Connor, and saying it’s the worst thing in the world for her.

The Daily Mail doesn’t say it, but that was our story, which we did with Australia’s Woman’s Day. Fun times.

Meanwhile, TMZ’s runs interference for Scientology with its own strange take on the story. (Someone doesn’t understand “disconnection.”) For a long time, TMZ was reliably friendly to Scientology, at least until the recent story of the Wisconsin private eyes following Ron Miscavige Sr. was dropped in TMZ’s lap. Now that several months has passed since then, is TMZ reverting to form?


Claire on the Air

Claire Headley can be heard today on WBEL-AM 1380 in Madison with host Stan Milam at 11:05 am Eastern talking about Scientology and disconnection. Give it a listen!


Join us today in Paris


Hey, that’s us walking the streets of Paris with British journalist Jonny Jacobsen yesterday. Jonny will be translating for us today as we talk about our book The Unbreakable Miss Lovely and about Scientology in general at Le Bistrot Landais in the 6th Arrondissement today at 19:00. Come on by and have a glass of wine with us!


Bonus photos from our tipsters

Bros forever! Bob Duggan and Grant Cardone will become Homo Novi any day now!…


That’s an OT 8 bracelet. My, my.


Special edition!




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.

Tony Ortega’s upcoming appearances (and check out the interactive map to our ongoing tour)…

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: Barrett the Honors College, Arizona State University, ASU in Downtown Phoenix campus

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, Seven Dining Lounge, 7 pm


Posted by Tony Ortega on July 29, 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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