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Desperate to hurt Going Clear‘s Oscar chances, Scientology goes down a dangerous path


We’re still jonesing for the next issue of Scientology’s propaganda magazine, Freedom, which completely missed putting out an issue in October. The magazine had been chugging along with monthly issues after it was retooled and relaunched in July 2014 with a new, very earnest focus on issues of the day rather than goofy attacks on Scientology’s critics.

Did David Miscavige finally realize, after assembling what was probably a very expensive staff of editors and writers pretending to be doing actual journalism, that no one was reading this stuff? Well, we found it really amusing, anyway. And we hope a November issue shows up.

While we were at the magazine’s website, we checked to see if there was anything new on the special page where Scientology collects its attacks on Alex Gibney and the people in his film Going Clear. It turns out there was yet another new video calling Gibney names and accusing his film of ignoring Scientology’s glorious expansion and good works. But we’re glad we forced ourselves to sit through the whole thing, because in the second half, the new video goes after someone Scientology normally pretends doesn’t exist.

And that’s L. Ron Hubbard’s second wife, Sara Northrup.

If you’ve seen Going Clear, you know that Sara plays a big part in it. Lawrence Wright got access to diaries of Northrup that have never been made public before, and her descriptions of what it was like to be Hubbard’s wife are used to devastating effect in the film. She married Hubbard in 1946 when he was still married to his first wife, Polly. Besides his bigamy, Hubbard’s history in these years is especially crucial because Sara was with him as he wrote and published Dianetics in 1950 — just weeks after their child Alexis was born — and then was with him as Hubbard enjoyed enormous success followed by dramatic failure. Their marriage eventually became a nightmare of allegations and abductions, with Hubbard absconding with Alexis at one point to Cuba. All of this played out in the press at the time. Finally, in 1951, in order to get out of the marriage, Sara signed a document retracting her statements about Hubbard’s state of mind.


But if you’ve read our book The Unbreakable Miss Lovely, you know that in 1971, Sara wrote to Paulette Cooper, and she reiterated the kinds of things she was saying before her official retraction. Clearly, Sara still felt the same way about Hubbard.

Sara Northrup and her diaries are very bad for Scientology. They show L. Ron Hubbard in the worst possible light in exactly the period when he was supposedly coming up with his biggest ideas about the human mind and the nature of the universe. After the nightmare year of 1951, Hubbard did everything he could to pretend that he had never married Northrup or that he’d fathered Alexis. We have showed previously how hard Scientology has worked to erase Sara entirely from history, as these photos prove…


The photo on the left is an actual newspaper snapshot taken of Hubbard and Sara sailing in 1946. The one on the right is from Scientology’s “official” biographical encyclopedia of Hubbard. Hey, where’d she go?

Years after he had divorced Sara and married his third wife, Mary Sue Whipp, Hubbard was still doing what he could to erase Sara from his life. In 1968, he gave a famous interview to the UK program World In Action, which produced this exchange…

Hubbard: How many times have I been married? I’ve been married twice. And I’m very happily married just now. I have a lovely wife, and I have four children. My first wife is dead.

Interviewer: What happened to your second wife?

Hubbard: I never had a second wife.

Oh, that Hubbard, what a card. Not only had he been married three times, but he actually had seven children. (Four of them are still alive today — Alexis, Sara’s daughter; and Diana, Suzette, and Arthur, Mary Sue’s children. Only Diana is still affiliated with Scientology, and she lives at the International Base near Hemet.)

Anyway, we thought it was really interesting that all of these months after Going Clear first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and with Oscar season approaching, Scientology is still putting out videos attacking the documentary, and now, David Miscavige and his Golden Era filmmakers are apparently desperate enough to go there — yes, they’re attacking Sara Northrup.

But not by name! Here, check out the transcript of how the new film attacks Gibney’s use of Northrup without uttering the name of She Who Must Not Exist…

Gibney decided to tell the story of the founder of a worldwide religion by ferreting out a source even a tabloid journalist would consider “questionable” at best.

His “source’s” credentials:

Gold digger…

… fabricator of misinformation to the media…

… and accessory to forgery – knowingly filing documents in court later proven to have been counterfeited by her attorney.

All a matter of public record…

And all in a sleazy attempt to take over the Hubbard Dianetics Foundation for personal gain.

In other words, an opportunist, just like Alex Gibney…

Whoo-boy! That’s great stuff. We’re really surprised that Miscavige is even going near this material, because any actual investigation into Sara Northrup digs up some of the most damaging material there is on Hubbard. There’s how they met, for example, at the Pasadena home of eccentric rocket scientist Jack Parsons, where he and Hubbard performed bizarre sex magick rituals. Hubbard later ripped off Parsons as he and Sara went east to supposedly buy and sell sailboats. And we love the claim that Sara was a “gold digger” when it was Hubbard who told a newspaper in 1933 the tall tale that he’d dug up gold on his first wife’s family farm in Maryland! Hubbard was the gold “digger”! (And, in 1946 he was pretty much flat broke, so Sara couldn’t have been after money he didn’t have.) Oh, there’s so much fun stuff in this period. It’s a rich vein, and we heartily recommend that you read about Sara in Russell Miller’s Bare-Faced Messiah and in Lawrence Wright’s book Going Clear if you haven’t already.

As for these attacks on Gibney, are they going to pick up again now that Oscar voting is near? And does David Miscavige really think they’re having the effect he intends? Tell us what you think.


Jeffrey Augustine interviews Bill Franks, part two

Jeffrey continues his podcast series with another in-depth conversation with Bill Franks, who was once Executive Director International and one of the highest ranking officers ever to work directly for L. Ron Hubbard…




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 book tour is concluded for now. We’ll let you know about future appearances. Previous events: Santa Barbara (5/16), Hollywood (5/17), Orange County (5/17), San Diego (5/20), San Francisco (5/22), New York (6/11), Chicago (6/20), Toronto (6/22), Clearwater (6/28), Washington DC (7/12), Hartford (7/14), Denver (7/17), Dallas (7/20), Houston (7/22), San Antonio (7/24), Austin (7/25), Paris (7/29), London (8/4), Boston (8/24), Phoenix (9/15), Cleveland (9/23), Minneapolis (9/24), Portland (9/27), Seattle (9/28), Vancouver BC (9/29), Sydney (10/23), Melbourne (10/25), Adelaide (10/28), Perth (10/30)


Posted by Tony Ortega on November 7, 2015 at 07:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com 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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