Daily Notifications
Sign up for free emails to receive the feature story every morning in your inbox at


Scientology on the high seas: When L. Ron Hubbard was still making tech ‘breakthroughs’


We have something of a cryptic story this morning. Some months ago, we were asked a question by a researcher and we didn’t have access to the answer at the time. Now we’ve stumbled upon it, and we thought rather than just email that person, we’d post the answer publicly for the heck of it.

Oldtimers will remember a series we did several years ago. Newcomers may be simply bewildered. But bear with us, and we’ll try to make this interesting to everyone.

From 1967 to 1975, L. Ron Hubbard ran Scientology from sea. From his flagship the Apollo, Hubbard — who dubbed himself “Commodore” — led a small armada that also included the Athena and the Diana as it plied the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, and the Caribbean. His ships were crewed by the young members of his “Sea Organization,” and each day, Hubbard and his staff would issue a document called the “Orders of the Day,” which to this day his former crew members still pronounce as “oods.”

In 2011 we were smuggled a large number of OODs that covered the years 1968 to 1971. Over the next year at the Village Voice, we printed excerpts from the OODs each week that were issued during those same weeks in the past. It was a lot of fun, and we sometimes hear from people who now miss that series a lot.


Anyway, back in April, a researcher asked us about a seemingly trivial date problem on one of the OODs we published at the Voice. It was dated January 27, 1969, but in it Hubbard refers to something that happened on January 29 and January 31. Was he clairvoyant or something?

After we took a closer look at that document, we find that the Hubbard reference to those dates came in a postscript that was added to the January 27, 1969 Order of the Day. It is clearly dated February 1, 1969 (in European styling by the affected Hubbard, “1.2.69”). Here’s the entire postscript, which is really a wonderful thing. Those who enjoyed our old series are going to get a rush of nostalgia from it, we wager. It’s a message from Hubbard talking about “breakthroughs” he’d made on Operating Thetan Levels Seven and Eight — secret upper-level courses that wouldn’t be available for high-ranking Scientologists for years yet. And who was keeping that good stuff from getting to them sooner? Why SMERSH, of course!



Hey, I just made a couple wild breakthroughs on VII and VIII on the 31 Jan 69 and 1 Feb 69.

I had VII but suddenly got its “end phenomena” and now have the end phenomena of VIII in full view and working up toward it.

It has taken nearly a year to do these, a year filled with a lot of other things. I keep up my research schedule in spite of it all.

Someday somebody is going to ask why I didn’t keep more extensive records. I’ll tell them it was a miracle to get it done at all.

I realize all Scn should be re-codified and reissued to make it easier to study. And I could have done it if the howling baboons in the “humanities” hadn’t required so much taming.

VII and VIII will be all written up and released when we have SMERSH out of the way and the planet cooled off. So give a heavier hand on these vital actions.

I’ve still got a lot of research and codification to do. If the SO and orgs would take the enemy wholly off my plate and handle him, I could get it done.

LRH, Commodore

Oh, that is such good stuff. Was there anything better than L. Ron Hubbard on the high seas, fighting SMERSH and unlocking the secrets of body thetans?

OK, the newcomers are completely lost now, but we trust you’ll do some Googling and catch up.

As for the researcher who asked us this question? Oh, that’s another tale entirely….


Debbie Cook surfaces, still isn’t talking

Texas attorney Ray Jeffrey posted this photograph to his Facebook page last night. His caption: “Marc and Debra Wiegand at dinner with me and our treasured friends, Debbie and Wayne Baumgarten. What a great evening.”


Ray Jeffrey and Marc Wiegand are both attorneys, and each has been working on Monique Rathbun’s lawsuit. Debbie Cook Baumgarten was captain of the Flag Service Organization for 17 years but then, after a short stay in David Miscavige’s prison for top Scientology executives, “The Hole,” she wrote an infamous email about his misrule that went out on New Year’s Eve 2012. Her devastating critique of Miscavige, using quotes from L. Ron Hubbard, led hundreds and perhaps thousands of longtime Scientologists to ditch the organization. (Leah Remini, in her book Troublemaker, gives Cook’s email credit for helping her make up her mind about leaving Scientology.)

Scientology sued Debbie, citing draconian contracts she had signed when she left her Sea Org job, and by the terms of those contracts she was facing millions of dollars in liability in a San Antonio courtroom. But after Debbie gave devastating testimony about the conditions in the Hole and other matters, Scientology then offered to pay her to end its own lawsuit.

Mike Rinder has written that Debbie didn’t want to take the money and wanted to fight on. But that simply made no sense. With no way of knowing if the San Antonio judge would agree that her contracts had been signed under duress, Debbie still faced millions in liabilities. She made the only sensible choice and took the settlement from the church. With that came an agreement to spend three years out of the country, and she still can’t talk about Scientology publicly. We’d love to interview her now, but she isn’t available. However, she is now back in Texas and, from this photo, it looks like she’s enjoying life. We wish her well.


Mary Sue Hubbard and ‘Marriage Hats’

Our own “Once Born” (a/k/a SciCrit) has a really fun piece today about a rare pamphlet published by the Church of Scientology in 1974. As SciCrit explains, it’s pretty unusual to find anything published by Scientology that doesn’t have the byline of L. Ron Hubbard. In this case, it’s a 36-page item written by Mary Sue Hubbard describing the proper roles of men and women in marriage. As you can imagine, it reflects the values of a couple who were married in 1952, so if you were expecting some 1970s Sexual Revolution liberality, you’re in for an eye-opening experience.

We’d add only one thing to SciCrit’s excellent piece. He makes it sound like Hubbard and his wife never saw each other after 1976. But Sinar Parman confirms to us that there was a final family gathering — L. Ron Hubbard, Mary Sue Hubbard, and Diana and Jon Horwich and their daughter Roanne — in 1978 at the La Quinta estate. Maybe that explains why the pamphlet’s final printing date is 1978?



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 9, 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


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email