Daily Notifications
Sign up for free emails to receive the feature story every morning in your inbox at


Coming to grips with Scientology’s most vile secret, which was hiding in plain sight

About two years ago, a reader first made us aware of a shocking passage in L. Ron Hubbard’s book Dianetics that somehow seems to have been overlooked by generations of commenters on that important volume, the very basis for what became the Church of Scientology.

We had missed it ourselves. We blogged Dianetics cover to cover in 2013, and didn’t notice it.

In our first edition copy of the 1950 book, the passage appears in Book Three, Chapter IX, Part Two, under the subheading “Differences” on page 336…

The seven-year-old girl who shudders because a man kisses her is not computing; she is reacting to an engram since at seven she should see nothing wrong in a kiss, not even a passionate one. There must have been an earlier experience, possibly prenatal, which made men or kissing very bad.


We’ve checked, and that same passage is present in every edition of Dianetics to the present day. Here it is, for example, in the “Basics” edition of the book published in 2007, supposedly after Scientology leader David Miscavige made sure that every word in these early works was gone over meticulously for a set of reprints…


Not only had critics not commented on this quote, but former Scientologists themselves have told us they are stunned that the passage exists, suggesting to us that although Scientologists are required to read this book multiple times, many end up skipping through the latter chapters, which are especially turgid in a turgid book.

In the last year, we’ve been bringing up this quote frequently on social media, and someone who apparently noticed was Leah Remini, who cited the quote recently on her A&E series, Scientology and the Aftermath.

Leah has been working hard to bring to light shocking cases of child abuse and child molestation in Scientology, an organization that has a long track record of keeping allegations of abuse from reaching law enforcement agencies. Her sidekick Mike Rinder, at his own blog, has documented that Scientology has shielded child molesters from prosecution. And here, in Dianetics, is a blatant description of blaming a child for resisting an act of molestation.

Some former Scientologists, however, have tried to explain to us that we’re misreading Hubbard’s quote, and that he is not saying what we see with our own eyes.

The passage, they tell us, is about auditing, and rooting out engrams, and is not a statement of pedophilia.

This has led to some pretty lively debates in social media, but this week one person with some personal experience in Scientology’s condoning of pedophilia spoke up to push back against this interpretation.

It was Mirriam Francis, who was featured on Aftermath‘s opening episode of the second season, on August 15, with her story of being molested by her father, and how the church protected him.


[Mirriam Francis]

Mirriam, the first thing you did in your lengthy statement this week was to make it clear it’s a mistake to say that the existence of this quote is a reason to accuse individual Scientologists of endorsing pedophilia.

Mirriam Francis: That’s right. It is simply not a true statement to say that all Scientologists must think that pedophilia is acceptable just because they read this book. That is just too broad a statement. However, I do believe that the support of or adherence to an organization that has this line written in its text and not calling for it to be removed is, by definition, condoning it.

The Bunker: It is a shocking, shocking statement by Hubbard. Yes, he’s talking about an engram, but he makes an unequivocal value statement — a 7-year–old girl should see nothing wrong in a grown man passionately kissing her. But several former Scientologists — and they all happen to be men — have tried to explain to us that this line literally does not say what it says, and that it is not condoning pedophilia.

Mirriam: There are two distinctly different things here. Firstly, one’s interpretation or rationalization of this passage based on and due to prior indoctrination to Hubbard’s teachings. And secondly, what it actually says: “The seven-year-old girl who shudders because a man kisses her is not computing; she is reacting to an engram since at seven she should see nothing wrong in a kiss, not even a passionate one.” Here Hubbard clearly affords power to the sexual abuser and completely abolishes the child victim of their right not to receive unwanted sexual advances from a man. He is saying that the child is having an irrational reaction: she is not computing. She is reacting to an engram (a prior painful incident). She should see nothing wrong with it. He is overriding the child’s right to say no when in fact by law (and common sense) the “no” is always implied when it comes to children. He is denying the child of protection from a sexual abuser and further, we see victim blaming here in that he is saying that the child is reacting incorrectly. That she should see nothing wrong in a kiss, not even a passionate one.

The Bunker: And we don’t doubt that Scientologists, as they are reading this book for Scientology courses, can easily ignore what Hubbard is saying here about little girls. But what shocks us is that a few former Scientologists are telling us that they read it that way now, even though they are no longer in the organization.

Mirriam: I understand that a person at the time of reading Dianetics possibly could have skipped it over completely or didn’t take notice of it at that time. Or let’s say for example, that they themselves have no prior experience with sexual abuse or are simply uneducated on the subject, they could somehow make it fit in their mind in order to assimilate Hubbard’s teachings. But anyone else would see it for what it says and would not be any less than morally outraged by it. In this day and age, and after everything that sexual assault victims have been through and what advocates have fought so hard for, there just simply is no tolerance for this type of statement to exist in any book or form of writing, let alone in a book that is the basis of the teachings of a “religious” organisation.

The Bunker: None whatsoever.

Mirriam: There are several aspects as to why this passage is harmful. That it affords the abuser power over the child, that it is a statement of denial of the child’s rights and protection, that it says that the child’s response is incorrect when it is not. But further to this, it is an instruction to the person applying Hubbard counselling techniques wherein you are addressing painful incidents, to then further inflict the abuse on the victim.

The Bunker: Honestly, we’re still coming to grips with it. That Hubbard should express such an idea in Scientology’s holiest book is something that the organization still putting out this book today should have to answer for, and we’re going to continue to press this issue.

Mirriam: I agree and I completely support what you’ve done to bring awareness to and expose this passage in Dianetics. And why is this particular piece so important? Because it is L. Ron Hubbard’s own words of blatant support of child sexual abuse. But more than that, this is one piece of a broader fight to eradicate Scientology’s culture of protecting sexual offenders and denying victims of their rights. Thank you for what you continue to do to bring all of this to light.

UPDATE: Have to admit, we didn’t expect to see this — Scientology’s own official response to this passage. Amazingly, they’re trying to forward misdirection on the word “passionate.” Of course, Hubbard says “Not even a passionate one,” making it very clear that he’s not talking about a chaste kiss or a parental one. Wow. So even the church is not trying to use the “it’s about an engram and doesn’t say what you think it says” excuse, but instead is trying to pretend that Hubbard was talking about a peck on the cheek.


MIRRIAM FRANCIS RESPONDS: Their excuse for this is actually incredibly damning and is a direct window into the very culture that we are exposing. The child didn’t want the interaction. It’s that simple. The fact that to this very day, Scientology wants to take an official stance that affords an abuser power or right over a child and denies the child of the right to object to an interaction or interference with them by a man. I mean, this is just plain as day. Hubbard is saying the child’s response is invalid and here we have Scientology backing it up. They see no issue with a man imposing an unwanted kiss on a child. Hubbard does not say “a friendly kiss from a parent or child sibling.” He is making it clear that the child is “reacting” incorrectly since she should see nothing wrong with a man kissing her. Even if he never used the word passionate. But he did because he wanted to make this distinction clear.

Thank you, Mirriam. Hey, Scientology, instead of trying to bullshit us by defining “passionate,” how about defining “passionate kiss,” which is what Hubbard actually was referring to.

UPDATE: We’ve heard from a few ex-Scientologists (all male, of course) who are trying to use narrow dictionary definitions to prove that when Hubbard referred to a man “passionately” kissing a 7-year-old girl, he wasn’t referring to what he’s obviously referring to.

One of them even insisted to us that in 1950, the word “passionate” had no sexual content based on the dictionary he consulted.

Well, that’s funny, because here’s how L. Ron Hubbard used the word in 1950 in Dianetics to refer to dad’s rough sex with mom…


Give it up, Hubbard apologists. This is not the hill to die on.


Bonus items from our tipsters

The world’s tallest leprechaun is scheduled to be in Dublin today for the opening of the new Ideal Org in the suburb of Firhouse. But what’s this? The locals are standing firm, at least as far as one bit of overreaching by the Scientologists. According to the application which was just denied two days ago, the new Ideal Org wanted to put in some obnoxious exterior lighting or something, and got turned down. So maybe they won’t be entirely steamrolling their way to what they want at the new location…


Keep an eye on the comments section as reports begin to filter in today about the big grand opening.

And McGhee, try not to get arrested ya feckin eejit.

Meanwhile, across the Irish Sea, the lads in London never give up…


And back in this country, it’s been a while since we’ve had an entertaining fundraising video like this. Savor it, Bunkerites!



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,902 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 48 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,111 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,885 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,659 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,005 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,499 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,539 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,251 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 777 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,866 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,006 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,326 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,301 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 657 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 4,959 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,065 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,468 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,341 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 922 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,427 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,671 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,780 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on October 14, 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 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


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email