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Behold, it’s Scientology Jesus as you’ve never seen him before!

[Recognize your lord and savior?]

It’s one of the questions we’ve been getting the most in recent weeks as A&E’s hit series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath has brought around a lot of curious new folks here and at Twitter. Is it true, they ask us, what Scientologists say — that you can join the Church of Scientology and still remain a Christian, or a Muslim, or a Jew?

Former Scientology spokesman and Leah’s co-star, Mike Rinder, gave the best answer to that question we’ve ever seen over at his website a couple of weeks ago, and if you haven’t seen it yet, you really should.

Rinder starts out by making it clear that there is only one correct answer to this question:

Scientologists, Celebrities and PR spokespeople dish up this line routinely to make themselves sound benign and unthreatening. They talk about “respecting the religious beliefs of others” (as long as they are not former Scientologists) and other pablum that sounds sort of “religious” and makes them seem more “acceptable”…

This is a lie.


He then goes through L. Ron Hubbard’s writings in a meticulous way to firmly establish the case that all Scientologists, after they have been in the organization a certain amount of time, will be asked to drop what are referred to as “other practices.”

“This indoctrination that Scientology is the ONLY path to spiritual freedom continues to be reinforced as you progress in Scientology,” Rinder writes. And then he really sinks in the knife: Hubbard explained — scrawled in his own handwriting, no less — that Earth’s modern religions were merely “implants” forced on thetans some 75 million years ago, and are carried around as mental image pictures by people today.

In other words, it’s not just that Scientology doesn’t “believe” in Christianity or other religions, it actively denigrates them. L. Ron Hubbard told his followers that Christ and other Earth prophets were fakes foisted on humankind by a sadistic galactic overlord.

We’ve tried to explain this to people for a long time — that Scientology teaches its members that they are superior to other people and their stupid fake religions — but Rinder really knocked it out of the park with his December 31 blog post.

The reason we’re bringing it up today is that we scored a really great photo that helps make this point. You see, when we think about the way Scientology talks about other religions, we tend to recall a remarkable image that first came to our attention more than seven years ago thanks to our Kansas City pal, now Village Voice film editor Alan Scherstuhl. (Yes, the old friend we mentioned just a few days ago who writes the “Studies in Crap” column.)

Alan had found a copy of the 1994 Scientology Handbook, which includes a stunning double-truck photo-illustration helping to put in perspective how Scientology conceives of itself in relation to the world’s ancient faiths.


The photo features various religious figures from the past, but standing over them, as if he were the end result of the evolution of faith on Earth, is the Scientology auditor.

“The implication: all of religious history has been building to this schmoe measuring your thetans,” Alan observed. “What truly startles, though, is the inclusion of Mohammed just to the left of that bored looking Bed-Sheet Jesus. Yes, only the prophet’s eyes and hands are visible, but that’s not likely to comfort followers of the Hadith rules that strictly forbid any such depiction. Remember those Danish cartoons a couple years back?”

Alan then provides a close-up of Mohammed and “Bed-Sheet Jesus”…


“When it comes to offending all faiths with garish Photoshoppery, the Scientologists hit for the cycle,” Alan quipped.

But here’s a fun piece of trivia about that photo that some of our oldtimers probably know. It turns out that Bed-Sheet Jesus was none other than an old friend of the Underground Bunker and a featured guest on Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.

It’s Marc Headley!

“See my ankles? They felt like they were about to crack,” he says, remembering the grueling day when he and the other Int Base workers put on costumes, got into some red hatchbacks, and drove up into the San Bernardino mountains for the location shoot. What they were told to do, he says, was re-create a similar image that had been a part of a previous book, the 1977 Scientology Volunteer Minister’s handbook, which had been directed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard himself…


“They shot it on one of the islands, Corfu or something. And Hubbard said exactly how he wanted it. So we had to do the same thing for the new handbook,” Marc says. (Actually it was Curaçao in 1975, one of our readers learned.)

Besides having to ride up the mountain in costume and then dealing with uncertain footing on the rocks, Marc says there was another reason the shot was difficult to get right.

“Confucius had gas,” he says, referring to Gary Lew — who went by the code name “Luigi” — dressed as Confucius, who was standing next to him. “He was farting full time, and everyone behind him was laughing and giggling while we were trying to get the shot.” (The models: Mohammed/Casavius Tabayoyon, Jesus/Marc Headley, Confucius/Gary Lew, Buddha/Hiro Kimoto, Lao-tse/Terrence Une, Zoroaster/Robert Barry, Moses/Carrol Alexander, Abraham/Bill Price, Zeus?/John Gonzalves)

All of the figures of world religion were taken up the mountain to pose, except for one — the Scientologist. “He was added later,” Marc says, “because they wanted the light just right on him.”

In that original image for the 1994 handbook, the Scientology auditor is actually a Sea Org worker named Uwe Stuckenbrock. His story is one of the saddest cases of a Sea Org worker being confined to the Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF), the Sea Org’s prison detail. He was in the RPF for years while he was suffering from MS, and then he died. Amelia McDonnell-Parry lays out the basics of Uwe’s story in a piece at The Frisky (second item).

After Uwe died in 2007, the church decided to replace him in the photo — and there was a problem with Jesus, too. Marc and his wife Claire Headley had escaped from Int Base in 2005, as viewers learned on Leah Remini’s show. So here is the new shot with the replacement Scientologist (Kenny Seybold) and a new Jesus, that Marc thinks was just a photoshop manipulation of his previous image. The sky, meanwhile, has changed from blue to orange. But otherwise it’s the same shot.


We asked Marc if he was aware, when they were making the photo, that including Mohammed was a controversial move. “At the time, I was oblivious to who all these guys were supposed to be. I mean, I know Jesus,” he says with a laugh.

Even if Marc didn’t have a background in comparative religion, he says the point of the photo was crystal clear.

“This is a visual representation of how they see themselves compared to all other religious people. They think the average Scientologist is higher and smarter than all of those other people,” he says.

And now, a delightful reminder of that memorable photo has suddenly showed up. Mark found a photo of himself that had been put into a book the church had returned to him and Claire. He doesn’t think the church realized that it was in there.

“It’s me after we got back from the shoot. I took off the wig, but I kept the beard on for a while,” he says.


We think it’s a great shot. Scientology Jesus, who had to escape Int Base in 2005 on a motorcycle and got run off the road.

Marc and Claire told their harrowing escape story to Leah Remini in episode 5 (“Golden Era,” which first aired Dec. 27), and Claire got to tell a national television audience about having to go through a forced abortion. (She actually had to go through two of them while she was in the Sea Org.)


As a result, Scientology predictably posted a video calling the Headleys “losers” because a lawsuit they filed against the church failed, and also calling Marc a thief for selling Gold Base equipment on eBay — something he was authorized to do, he says.

“If I was such a criminal, then why did they dress me up as Jesus and put me up on top of a mountain?” he asks.

Well, he’s got a hell of a point there.


June will be here before you know it


HowdyCon 2017: Denver, June 23-25. Go here to start making your plans.

[Thank you, Observer.]


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on January 17, 2017 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.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

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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