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The Underground Bunker’s 2015 Scientology year-in-review starts today!

2015

 
And here we are again! Wow, this has, without a doubt, been the best year of Scientology watching that your proprietor has ever experienced. We hope 2015 was as eventful and fulfilling for you as it was for us. It felt like we never got a chance to catch a breath this year, but we loved every minute of it.

Of course, what really makes the Underground Bunker the place to be is our amazing commenting community, and we thank you for another twelve months of discussions, arguments, hot tips, and hilarity.

We knew, as 2015 dawned, that it was going to be a big year for Scientology news. We knew that Going Clear was coming. We knew that we’d be releasing our own book, about Paulette Cooper; that Louis Theroux had a film coming; and that some other big stories were on their way. But there were plenty of surprises that kept us on our toes. We asked Observer, the unofficial official shooper of the Underground Bunker, to give us an image that might capture what a blockbuster year this was.

We think she captured it perfectly.

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2015Entheta

 
So let’s dive into our review of the most significant stories we covered this year, starting with the month of January. On the very first day of that month we launched 2015 with a really fascinating account by TheHoleDoesNotExist of some untold Scientology history: Her 1976 lunch with Quentin Hubbard, second son of L. Ron Hubbard and second child by his third wife, Mary Sue Whipp. Just a few days after that encounter, Quentin took his own life, and TheHole takes us back to that day in St. Louis, when Quentin seemed truly happy to talk about his passion — flying and aircraft.

At the beginning of a new year, Jeffrey Augustine asked Mike Rinder for his predictions of what 2015 would bring. Rinder’s answer: “Pain.” Oh, how right he turned out to be.

On January 9, we began to reveal a series of videos from a source Jon Atack had put us in touch with. In 1997, the UK’s Channel 4 had produced a really great documentary, “Secret Lives — L. Ron Hubbard,” using the interviews of people who had known and worked with the Scientology founder. The documentary is well known, but our source had the more full, unedited interviews with the people who appeared in the show. We started out the series with an interview of the late Forrest Ackerman, a well known science fiction promoter who was once Hubbard’s literary agent. Other interviews in the series featured Hubbard’s early press assistant and lover, Barbara Klowden; one of Hubbard’s fellow science fiction colleagues, Arthur Jean Cox; the former mayor of Clearwater, Florida, Gabe Cazares; Hubbard’s former medical officer, Jim Dincalci; archivist Gerry Armstrong; former Los Angeles Times reporter and postwar Hubbard roommate, Nieson Himmel; Washington State Representative Robert MacDonald Ford, who knew Hubbard and his first wife well; Robert Vaughn Young, who had been Scientology’s spokesman; Mike Goldstein, who had been appointed Hubbard’s finance “dictator”; and a captain of Hubbard’s seagoing vessel, Hana Whitfield.

On January 10, we let slip a couple of days early the title and cover of our book, which would be published in May. Oops! Well, we were glad, finally, to have that secret out of the bag.

On January 15, in anticipation of Alex Gibney’s documentary Going Clear premiering at the Sundance Film Festival, Scientology took out full-page ads criticizing Gibney in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times. Naturally, it backfired spectacularly.

Thanks to a source, we then were able to bring you a short portion of Marty Rathbun’s deposition in the Luis and Rocio Garcia federal fraud lawsuit against the Church of Scientology. It was fascinating to see Rathbun sparring with Scientology’s deposition specialist, California attorney Bert Deixler. Several days later, we posted a second portion. We sure hope some day to bring you the rest.

All year, we had some great document finds from friend to the Underground Bunker and researcher R.M. Seibert. On January 20 we had this amazing nugget from some documents she pried out of the FDA: In a 1970 interview with an FDA inspector, Scientology’s first “Clear,” John McMaster, said that L. Ron Hubbard was grooming his daughter Diana to succeed him as Scientology leader, and that he planned to return as Diana’s son. Wow! Diana is the last member of the Hubbard family still in Scientology, but she had a daughter, Roanne Horwich, and not a son. (Roanne left Scientology in 2012.)

Much of the focus in January, of course, was anticipation for the Sundance Film Festival debut of Going Clear. Your proprietor had been interviewed for it, but when we flew to Utah we still had not seen the film and had not been told who was going to be featured in it. We did a little reporting and some guessing, and the day of the premiere we made our predictions for who would be in the movie. We went eight for eight. Scientology, meanwhile, had posted some smear videos and other material about people it assumed would be in the film — and only went one for six. And another bonus: This post was the first to break the 4,000-comment barrier as we all went a bit crazy over the release of this film.

Wow. 2015 was off to an incredible start.

A LOOK BACK AT JANUARY 2014: We posted the Tommy Davis deposition from the Monique Rathbun lawsuit. Scientology’s own attorney discusses David Miscavige’s “black heart” in open court. Barbara Cordova Oliver goes missing. (She’s doing better now. Details later when we can tell them.) Jefferson Hawkins wraps up his series on Scientology “ethics.”

A LOOK BACK AT JANUARY 2013: Lawrence Wright’s epic book Going Clear debuted, as did John Sweeney’s book, Luis and Rocio Garcia filed their federal fraud lawsuit, and Atlantic magazine screwed up big time.

 
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Scientology appealing Rathbun decision to Texas Supreme Court

The Church of Scientology has requested, and was granted, extra time to submit a petition for review with the Texas Supreme Court, which is how we learned that Scientology does, indeed, plan to ask the state’s high court to review the decision handed down last month by the Third Court of Appeals.

If you’ve been following the case with us, you know that Monique Rathbun filed her harassment lawsuit against the church in August 2013. Scientology then filed an “anti-SLAPP” motion, claiming that Monique is suing Scientology over activities that are free speech, protected under the First Amendment. Comal County Judge Dib Waldrip disagreed, and denied the motion. After more than a year’s wait, the Third Court of Appeals upheld Waldrip’s decision, criticizing Scientology for trying to get First Amendment protection for what amounts to harassment in order to protect its business interests.

Scientology is throwing enormous resources at this lawsuit, showing up with up to 20 attorneys for its hearings, and hiring some of the best local talent — including a former chief justice of the state’s supreme court. And now, it’s pursuing yet another appeal for a motion that’s already failed twice. Why? Because Scientology leader David Miscavige, sitting on billions, has an unlimited slush fund for legal moves, whether they make sense or not. So on to the Texas Supreme Court we go!

The court gave Scientology until January 20 to submit the petition. We’ll bring it to you as soon as we can.

Monique Rathbun v. Scientology: TX Supreme Court Extension

 
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Bonus photos from our tipsters

Christmas at the Belleair mission. Hey, are those gifts for LRH?

 
SciBelleair

 
Hey, girl. With both of us completing the Survival Rundown here in Denver, you’ll have to choose only one of us geniuses.

 
SciDenver12

 
Come on, even Scientology staff has to cut loose sometime. From the festive Seattle Christmas staff talent show.

 
SciSeattle

 
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BOOK NOTES
3D-Unbreakable

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. (But you can re-experience it through this nifty interactive map!) 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)

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on December 21, 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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