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Flirt with Scientology, and its dogged letter writers will hound you forever

LetterWriter

 
We don’t know if this is a record, but it sure impresses the heck out of us.

Back in 2011, we wrote a story about someone Scientology had tracked down after they left the organization 40 years earlier. The man had moved ten times since then, and across the country, but Scientology tracked him down and called him on his mobile phone to send him a DVD and try to get him to come back to the church.

We’re sure you’ve seen plenty of other examples of this that pop up from time to time on social media. Scientology sends some of the most ridiculous letters to people who may have simply bought a copy of Dianetics 15 years earlier.

And now, we’ve been sent a copy of a letter that sets a new personal record, at least for us. Our newest tipster has sent us a letter showing that Scientology tracked them down 46 years after they took the Comm Course in 1970….

 
sciwash

You donated for the Communications Course in 1970. That’s awesome. That’s when I got introduced to Scientology and Dianetics. Did you complete the communications course back then? Have you read any Dianetics or Scientology books?

Peter

 
Just think of the resources it must take to track down people nearly half a century after they took a single course at a Scientology center somewhere. And then to bother writing such an ineffective letter that comes across as more creepy than helpful. We know you’ve seen some really bizarre ones online, and some rude ones.

In 2011, our tipster still had the phone number from the Scientology telemarketer who had tracked him down. So we called it. Here’s how that went…

My tipster still had the 323 number (a Los Angeles area code) that he’d been called from. So on Friday afternoon, I rang it.

“Scientology information center,” answered a woman with a British accent.

I said hello, and explained the situation — that a friend of mine had been out of Scientology for four decades, but the church had tracked him down to tell him about a new set of books. I told her this must be a pretty special set of volumes.

“It is indeed,” she responded. “And we are doing a whole evolution of digging through our old correspondence files and finding anyone who has ever had any contact with the church.”

That must be a lot of work, I said.

“It sure is. Who is this?”

I told her my name, and that I was with the Voice. And I asked her what her name was. Sylvia, she told me.

“Let me put you on hold and get you to someone who can do a whole briefing for you,” she said.

Um, OK. At this point, I figured that I’d be switched to a media desk or something — which was fine with me. I’ve been trying to get Karin Pouw or someone over at Scientology’s PR department to call me for months, but they never return my calls.

Soon enough, a young-sounding man with an American accent picked up. He asked me who I was. So I told him.

“What’s The Village Voice?” he asked. I told him it was a newspaper.

“I’m a little bit out of the loop on that,” he said.

I didn’t take it personally. Sylvia had apparently just transferred me to another working drone in the book-pushing department, and I reminded myself what so many ex-Scientologists have told me: church members live in a bubble, working insane hours and keeping themselves cut off from media and other influences of the outside world. This guy was just doing his job, clearing the planet, and it’s no wonder that he hadn’t heard of my publication.

I asked the guy his name, and he told me it was Nick Christensen. He was even nice enough to spell it for me.

Nick helpfully asked me to go to the church’s main website, Scientology.org, and under “Landmark Events” I’d find information about “The Golden Age of Knowledge for Eternity” — and that would tell me about this super special new set of books they are pushing.

Isn’t it a lot of work, I asked him, to track down people who haven’t been in Scientology for 40 years, to tell them about these books?

“It is a lot of work,” Nick answered. “But some people were driven away from the church because of errors in the material. We want to make sure they know those errors have been corrected.”

I thanked him for his time, and ended the phone call.

 
An additional note on that 2011 phone exchange. It turns out that the young Sea Org worker we talked with — Nick Christensen — is brother to actress Erika Christensen, who showed up in one of our favorite Scientology videos.

She must be really proud.

 
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Another milestone at the Bunker

Last night, the 1.5 millionth comment was posted here at the Underground Bunker.

We’re humbled to reach this milestone, and we thank all of our readers for keeping this such a thriving website. It’s especially gratifying to hit this mark so near the Bunker’s fourth anniversary, which arrives on Wednesday.

 
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Bonus items from our tipsters

Can you feel the excitement for this year’s IAS gala? People of England, keep your eyes open for a Tom Cruise sighting — he usually makes the scene on Saturday night, at the Patrons’ Ball.

 
ias2016a
ias2016b

 
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3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on September 24, 2016 at 07:00

E-mail 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. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated 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 L.A. 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

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | 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 | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | 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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