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Believe it or not, a second season of Reza Aslan’s ‘Believer’ is coming

[Reza Aslan and Rick Ross]

We’ve told you about cult expert Rick Ross many times in the past. We first wrote about Rick more than 20 years ago when we were living in Phoenix, and he still shows up here at the Bunker from time to time.

And then yesterday, he sent us an email chain that we knew you’d want to see. He generously agreed to let us share it with you.

On Monday, Rick was approached by a CNN producer who works with Reza Aslan, and since that’s punishment enough, we’ll do them a solid and hold back their identity. Here are the key lines from the email they sent Rick:

I’m a producer for Believer, a CNN series that premiered earlier this year and follows noted author, scholar and adventurer Reza Aslan as he immerses himself in six different that are largely misunderstood by outsiders.

Our first season ended very successfully, and we’re now working on research and development for season two. I’m writing to you because we’re interested in exploring active cults in America. Given your immense knowledge and expertise on the topic, I was wondering if we could set up a time to speak with you over Skype. Do you have a free hour this week to talk? If so, that would be fantastic.

Hey, that’s news — a second season of Believer is on the way. We wonder if it will generate as much criticism from religion experts as the first season did. (We had our own criticisms of Aslan’s episode on Scientology, which we called ‘dishonest.’)

So here’s the response that Rick Ross sent to the CNN producer, in its entirety…

I don’t think Reza Aslan has any coherent understanding concerning destructive authoritarian groups called “cults.” He has demonstrated this repeatedly in interviews and very specifically in the episode about Scientology.

Aslan didn’t even begin to penetrate the surface of Scientology in any meaningful way that could be understood by people interested in objective facts about the organization. Instead, he seemed intellectually lazy and apparently didn’t bother to seriously research Scientology.

I deeply respect CNN. And have worked on many news programs for CNN over the years. For example, I have helped producers at “Anderson Cooper 360.” Cooper has done excellent work reporting on Scientology.

But Aslan appears to be interested in sensational entertainment rather than anything serious or substantial.

Sincerely,

Rick Ross

Ouch. That’s going to leave a mark.

 
——————–

Jeffrey Tambor shows up only blocks from Big Blue

One of our tipsters notes that actor Jeffrey Tambor is making an appearance today at a store he partly owns, Skylight Books, which is only a few blocks from Scientology’s “Big Blue” headquarters in Los Angeles.

In his memoir, Are You Anybody?, Tambor takes a few swings at the church, which he was involved with for several years. He ditched Scientology when it asked him to dump his wife and spend more money on his courses.

It might be interesting to see if he provides any more details about that today, so close to Scientology’s L.A. fortress. Instructions on how you might get into the event, which is free, can be found at Skylight’s website.

 
——————–

Countdown to Denver!

 

 
HowdyCon 2017: Denver, June 23-25 at the Residence Inn Denver City Center. Go here to start making your plans, and book your room soon!

 
——————–

Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,760 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,517 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,863 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,357 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,397 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy in 1,109 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 635 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,724 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,864 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,184 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,159 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 515 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin in 4,817 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 924 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,326 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,199 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 780 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike in 1,285 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,529 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,638 days.

 
——————–

3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on May 24, 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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  • Espantapajaro

    Breaking News!!! Miscavige arrested, cnn news report coming up shortly..

    • Karen

      What???

      • Supper Powers

        It’s a troll.
        ETA and so are you.

        • Liberated

          You’re right. It was a week ago bad things happened.

          • Puget Buckeye

            No wait! Were those 2 behind that nastiness?

            • Liberated

              No, but they displayed the same characteristics.
              No, upvotes – 1 or 2 comments….and Latino sounding names.
              Plus, I just knew they were suspicious. Tony said they originated from Chile.
              They appear with another troll like they’re having a conversation.

        • And Poof! They’re gone.

      • Espantapajaro

        I was told that if you speak things into existence they will happen..I’m sorry if I got anyone excited.

  • Disingenuous Malfeasant

    Sounds like Mr. Aslan is up for some regging! Get him on the mailing list.
    He didn’t have to spend a lifetime, or 100’s of 1000’s of dollars, or lose loved ones to the dangerous
    crime syndicate headed up by the Punching Pope. All HE had to do was watch South Park.
    Go immerse yourself in that ya douche.

  • Mick Roberts

    Just a quick evening drop-in. In my opinion, this is what it looks like Aslan is thinking during his forced intellectual/contemplative pose. Good night everyone.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b29107178deadf97ec1be9f2de2ade4e1c628d6c993fff74319ecc6aea34ae75.jpg

    • EmmaDaoust

      You did, Reza. You did.

    • RexAinsfree

      You nailed it! All I can think of when I see that pic is the episode of “Friends” when Joey Tribbiani explained the “Smell the Fart” style of acting.

      • dreamcatcher

        Haha, my thoughts exactly
        https://youtu.be/8c4YhwpiaKU

        • RexAinsfree

          Thanks! Ever since I saw that episode, I see a lot of that style of acting, even though I don’t think the actors are actually doing it … I just see it in some ‘concerned’ looks.

      • Mick Roberts

        Yes! I remember that. You’re exactly right, that’s the “Joey Smell the Fart” look!

  • Puget Buckeye

    O/T Please indulge me. A few weeks ago, some helpful Bunkeroo gave me instructions on how to add an avatar. I was unable to find that discussion. (I should say I’m technically challenged!) I can MacGyver my way through just about anything, but computer stuff baffles me. But I did it. Now I’m making a fool of myself doing a happy dance.

    • WhiteCentauress

      Good job!!!

    • Liberated

      I had to have my kid do it for me.
      Don’t feel bad.

      • Puget Buckeye

        I know what you mean. Often when I have problems with my cell phone, I have to ask a young co-worker.

        • Since 1960 i think things has become really complicated while young people tell’s me how simple it is! I thing they got it wrong.

    • daisy

      I learned how to put up a X-mas avatar up and promptly forgot how to change it. I know the feeling of accomplishment when I did it. Good job. I like the new avi

      • WhiteCentauress

        I really like the Santa hat…makes you stand out in the crowd, and it fits you somehow.

        • daisy

          I leave my x-mas lights on all year round. It helps me maneuver in the trailer park on a drunken stroll home.

          • WhiteCentauress

            Oh, I’m imagining that…what fun you must have.

      • Puget Buckeye

        Thanks. I thought a good long time about it. I wanted to pick something that would represent me.

    • OOkpik

      Try this:

      Click on your “blue head” (or current avatar). Your Discus page will open.
      Click on the circled blue head. You will get your profile page.
      Click on “Edit Profile”, next to your name. Voila! Your Profile.
      Next to blue head Avatar, click “Choose a Method” and hit the little drop-down arrow to the right.

      I always choose “Upload from Computer” and select an image from Pictures that I have previously saved.

      Hints:
      I suggest something simple since the avatar will be tiny (92×92 pixels), and approaching square. If you want help with anything, like cropping, just ask.

      OK, so when you have uploaded your picture, hit “Save” at the bottom of the page.
      DONE. Refresh the page and behold your new avi in all its glory. Have fun. Can’t wait to see it.

      eta: OOoooh, I see it! Nice!

      • Puget Buckeye

        Yeah, it was you that gave me the hints! Thank you! I couldn’t find our conversation but remembered just enough to be dangerous. Watch out world, I’m on a roll!

        • Baby

          Pretty Buckeye..

          • Puget Buckeye

            Thank you. Speaking of avatars, what’s that you smokin’ in yours?

            • Baby

              ** Wink Wink ** Tobacco of course…

              It really is..ha.. E juice American Tobacco.. : D

            • Puget Buckeye

              Bummer

            • Baby

              I was stopped once by the police when I was walking to ask me what was in it.. ha..

              They said… ” We do have those who put pot in it.. ”
              And I said.. ” Oh Really? Where do they get it? ” Fer relz

    • Juicer77

      Nicely done!

  • WhiteCentauress

    Deleted at Tony’s request.

    • Supper Powers

      Do you follow them around and drop these little nuggets after they leave comments about how great Scientology is? That has to irritate them.

      • WhiteCentauress

        No. I don’t have time to do that. I’d rather just make them, and let Dice and the others have a go at them. I spend most of my day at the Bunker or shooping. Dice talked me into Twitter. It’s more fun than I thought, but I’m too lazy to fight or troll, (except with the shoops).

        • Supper Powers

          Dice is good!

          • WhiteCentauress

            He’s an anti-troll weapon.

          • I heard that :-O

            • NOLASlut (#ImWithMimi)

              Dice, you’re the RGM-84 Harpoon of Scientology reverse trolling. 😘

            • Ha ha! – Thanks. The Indies and other apologetic’s don’t like it, so it’s a fine-line and it does help, to know how Scios Think! Also to keep a tap on “outsiders” and know how Twitter works.

  • Observer

    We’re still under the tornado warning for another 20 minutes, but it’s to the north and east. The closest it got to us was 10 miles or so.

    http://www.whio.com/weather/nws-wright-patt-reports-tornado-among-multiple-touchdowns-spotted/8A1cfKKrbHmRB0PgGfsmwL/

    • Tony Ortega

      Hold on to something, Observer.

      • Observer

        We got some very strong winds and a deluge, but no damage.

    • WhiteCentauress

      They’re saying it hit the base.

      • Puget Buckeye

        Wright Patt?

        • WhiteCentauress

          I followed her link in the top post.

      • Observer

        There were at least six businesses destroyed. I haven’t had the news on today so I don’t know what the extent of the damage was.

        • WhiteCentauress

          Glad you’re okay.

    • MarcabExpat

      Got my fingers crossed the worst is over now for the whole area. How are you and yours now?

    • ReallyMGM

      Glad you are ok. Hope others are too.

    • Juicer77

      Scary!

    • 3 times i had to strap myself to the water-heater when this sound of a freight train and the warning sound from the TV was extremely loud. And that was not even a Tornado!
      Eta: Same area btw

  • WhiteCentauress
    • Puget Buckeye

      I wonder, does he have a booster seat under there?

      • WhiteCentauress

        😂

      • Juicer77

        Snortle!

  • WhiteCentauress

    I won’t……

    • RexAinsfree

      I hope you’re OK. Just going on vacation?

      • WhiteCentauress

        My grandson plays games on my computer. His isn’t fast enough for the newer games. I’ll be keeping up, just not much shopping. Thanks.

    • Juicer77

      Have a good break! Hope to see you back here as soon as possible.

      • WhiteCentauress

        Oh, I have my iPad, just can’t do anything on it but read and reply. I read every text every day.

    • chukicita

      His…temper?

      • WhiteCentauress

        😂👍

  • Sweet blast from the past. Be safe.
    Paul van Dyk – nothing but you – Nature mix

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUfTfr6FSec

  • Independent Scientology Scientolidepia blames Chris Cornell’s death on “Big Pharma & psychology (Psychiatry),” and retweets CCHR. [Again, Independent Scientology News / @IndieScieNews is NOT associated with Independent Scientology.]

    https://twitter.com/Scientolipedia/status/865636458991730688

    • ReallyMGM

      My FB timeline went crazy with this same message last week. They weren’t Scientologists that I could tell. (I checked through profiles randomly) A few I knew were families of suicide who have previously posted such thoughtful and sensible messages. I knew the CCHR was coming when I saw his wife’s interview in Rolling Stone.

    • mandymarie20

      Some of his entourage now say he was on illegal drugs – not psychological drugs.

  • Brother Raymond Muhammad III claims the relationship between the Nation of Islam and Scientology was his idea. Notes the 1994 date in the second tweet below.

    https://twitter.com/BroRaymondIII/status/867488057808879616

      • WhiteCentauress

        Maybe they’ll have a big fight over who thought of it first.

        • Brother Raymond Muhammad III clearly believes he has not received the recognition he deserves. Within the Nation of Islam the allegation that the “MMM” (i.e., Million Man March) was his idea is far more significant.

    • Puget Buckeye

      What’s MMM?

      • Baby

        Million Man March Buckeye..

        • Puget Buckeye

          Thanks Baby

    • Juicer77

      So it’s all about the money. Got it. Thanks for clearing that up, Mr. III.

    • balletlady

      Goes to show you how getting punched in the head so many times can destroy one’s thinking.

  • Intergalactic Walrus

    “I am in the sauna with crazies basically,” Lamas recounted. “After five hours of sweating it out for five days, you start to lose your mind.” https://thedirty.com/scientology/exclusive-shayne-lamas-i-was-lured-into-scientology/#post-2196619
    (refresh)

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7e57ab012265bcc2095ffaee266ca16084175058d11cbc8a9f8ba66d01e18b59.png

    • balletlady

      I recall the “Sweat lodge” incident, where some died while “cleaning their body”. Geeeez, go take a shower instead.

  • dreamcatcher