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Attempted murder, a fancy lawyer, and the long path to healing: A Scientology life, exposed


This week Chris Shelton finishes his series about Larisa Smith with a disturbing conclusion — so prepare yourself. Here’s how Chris has chosen to introduce this final episode in his series…

This is the third and final part of my interview with Larisa Smith and her family. All of what was gone over in the first two parts has been leading up to this. I think you’ll see why we wanted to cover her early life and experiences in such detail, so as to put everything that she describes here into a full context. For most of its members, Scientology is a series of misadventures and sometimes horrifying traumas which never end up with them experiencing the full promises or gains that L. Ron Hubbard talked about in his books and lectures. Sure, some people feel like they benefited from some of their auditing or training, but when you compare those gains to the cost in human misery, broken lives, and outright criminal activities, there is really no question whether or not the Church of Scientology is a beneficial organization. For those raised in it, they never had any choice as to whether they wanted to participate or not. By the very fact of being raised in a household of Scientologists, they were indoctrinated with L. Ron Hubbard’s philosophy. As Larisa described earlier, they often received little more than a passing knowledge of the subject and were told by their parents that Scientology was the one and only true path to spiritual salvation and happiness. The culture of Scientology permeates every aspect of their lives and its influence cannot be easily discounted.

Now consider for a moment what it must have been like for the children of Sea Org members. All but taken away from or abandoned entirely by their parents for most of their upbringing, taken care of by overworked and indifferent adult supervisors who themselves were castoffs and “those who could be spared,” the children raised at the Canyon Oaks Ranch in Los Angeles or the International Gold Base in Hemet, California were given short shrift, hardly any education to speak of, and were mostly left to fend for themselves. These children were victims of Scientology in ways that most of us cannot imagine and which I hope in the future to expose in much more detail. In this video, you will see the the results of this upbringing. I am in no way justifying or apologizing for the evil behavior described here, but I am saying that by understanding where it comes from, it makes the tragedy of Scientology that much deeper. There is an entire generation of these kids, mainly living around the Sea Org bases around the world, who will never be able to lead what anyone would consider a normal life because they were cut off at the knees before they were able to walk.

L. Ron Hubbard said that Scientology is the only game where everyone wins but I would say that getting as far away from Scientology as possible is the only way to “win” and this video series shows exactly why. Larisa and the whole DeWall family managed to escape from Scientology and are never going back. In the end, their story is a success against very difficult odds which should be shared far and wide.


— Chris Shelton



Scientology’s ‘Super Power’ Building on fire last night

A woman visiting Clearwater from Arkansas filmed this short video and posted it to her Facebook page last night at about 8 pm. It shows smoke coming out of the top of the Flag Building — also known as Scientology’s “Super Power” Building, which was dedicated in 2013 after more than 20 years of planning and construction.

At one point in the short video, you can see a lot of Sea Org youngsters shuttling back and forth to the Fort Harrison Hotel across the street. At 5:16 pm, Pinellas County 911 recorded the incident at 210 Fort Harrison Avenue, which is the hotel location — probably where the call was made to emergency services.

Know what happened inside, and what the extent of the damage is? Drop us a line.



Bonus items from our tipsters

Well, look who was making the rounds at the Flag Land Base yesterday, and hopefully didn’t have to make a run for it when the Super Power building caught on fire. We find it a little bit interesting that after we recently listed actor Michael Peña as one of several celebrities who might be ready to jump ship, he subsequently gave an interview extolling Scientology (something he usually doesn’t do) and then shows up at spiritual HQ itself. Coincidence? Who knows.


We’re still waiting to see if any photos of Tom Cruise emerge that place him at Saturday night’s Patron’s Ball during the International Association of Scientologists’ big weekend at Saint Hill Manor. And you’ve no doubt seen photos of some other celebrities that made the scene. But we were particularly struck by a series of photos posted by Charlie Wakley, the young Public Executive Secretary of the London org and son of Peter Wakley, who helped take Scientology to Russia in the early 1990s. Charlie was at the Patron’s Ball Saturday night with his wife Kate…


Charlie and his buds had fun taking a series of photos mugging for the camera…


And they grabbed Freedom Medal winners and other notables for their shots. Including major whale Tom Cummins…


…and the biggest whale of all, Bob Duggan and his daughter…


…and their best get, Kelly Preston and Chill EB.



Paulette_Cooper‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely’ audiobook now on sale has released the audiobook version of The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper and you can get the book for free if you’re signing up at Audible for the first time!

Read by the author (that’s us), the book tells the incredible tale of a journalist who was among the first to expose Scientology’s controversies, and nearly paid for it with her life. Go to Audible’s website for more details — [US version] [UK version]

To support the Audible launch, Paulette Cooper joined us for an “Ask Me Anything” session at Reddit on September 29, which covered a lot of topics about the book and about this website.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on October 13, 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, Kindle, and audiobook versions. 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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