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Tonight on ‘Leah Remini’: Scientology’s front groups, including Narconon, get a special look

[Quailynn McDaniel]

Hey, it’s Sunday, not Tuesday. Why is there a new episode of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath running tonight at 8 pm, and why is it running several days after the series finale?

These are questions only A&E can answer. For two seasons now, the network has seemingly done everything it can to confuse its viewers. But all we know is, we’re glad you’ll get a chance to see Quailynn McDaniel and Fred Oxaal talk to Mike and Leah tonight.

Mike starts off the episode with a great definition of the purpose of Scientology’s “propaganda arms” — what we also refer to as “front groups.” Mike says they serve three purposes.

1. To give the impression that Scientology is doing good works, and so create goodwill with the public.
2. To convince Scientologists that the church is having an effect on the planet.

3. And most importantly, to convince Scientologists to donate money.

Leah says there were five mandatory annual events that all Scientologists were expected to attend, and we’ve seen video presented at those events which show that church members are bombarded with news about the front groups such as Narconon, CCHR, the “Volunteer Ministers,” and The Way to Happiness Foundation. Once again, Leah’s show makes excellent use of video and documents from Scientology itself to make their points.

We first met Fred Oxaal at a backyard barbecue some four or five years ago. And it’s really criminal that he hasn’t been featured before this. We really should have told you about him long ago. Not only was he a Scientologist for thirty years, but he helped found The Way to Happiness Foundation, and he’s really an expert on how many ways Scientologists are financially squeezed coming and going.


[Fred Oxaal]

And he also has a fun surprise. At The Way to Happiness Foundation, Fred was tasked with getting copies of the small 1980 booklet to places all around the world. And the receptionist at their front desk, he says, was a very young Leah Remini.

“How was I?” Leah asks.
“You were just like you are now,” Fred says.
“A pain in the ass?” Leah responds, proving again why we love her.

Fred was also in charge of getting all of those proclamations that Scientology loves to show off, where some local mayor or member of Congress has declared L. Ron Hubbard Day or something.

“We would write the proclamations,” Fred reveals, and says that convincing politicians to sign them was usually just a matter of knowing their procedures and being persistent.

“We figured out how to game it, how to create the document pack and follow it with phone calls to move it along,” he says.

Leah admits that it really burns her that politicians are so easily fooled. By signing such proclamations, she says, politicians are helping to keep people in a fraudulent organization.

We wrote about Quailynn McDaniel in February. Her story is one of the most unique we’ve ever covered. She was a public Scientologist the church used to help pamper its celebrities, including Jenna and Bodhi Elfman, who were close friends. Like so many other Scientologists, Quailynn and her husband Paul eventually became disillusioned, and so their former friends had to cut them off. We even have Bodhi Elfman’s disconnection letter, which we printed in the February story.

As glamorous “publics” who rubbed elbows with Scientology’s celebs, they were expected to get involved with all of the church’s front groups. In particular, Quailynn tells Leah about using her husband’s plane to fly Volunteer Ministers to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005.

Did they bring food, water, or blankets? Nope. They brought Scientology booklets to hand out to the National Guard, including copies of “How to Improve a Marriage.”

Quailynn says the reaction from the guards was one of confusion. But the important point was, they got their photo opportunities.

“It’s all for PR,” Mike says, and he reveals that Scientology had even put together a pamphlet instructing volunteers how to shoot and preserve evidence of their activities. We hadn’t seen that pamphlet before, and it’s a hoot.

It was a real pleasure to meet Quailynn in person, the first time since we wrote about her in February. And we followed up with her yesterday, asking her for an update.

In our story, she was taking care of her mother, and they both have been “disconnected” by Quailynn’s brother and sister, who remain in Scientology.

“My mom posted on her Facebook about the show. She knows she probably will never hear from my brother or sister again. She most likely won’t ever see my brother’s daughter, her granddaughter either. It’s the sad truth. It’s funny this is all happening on Veterans Day weekend. My brother is a Marine. My mom has threatened the church many times with filing a missing persons report on my sister, and she only gets two-line cards from my sister in bold print in return, saying she’s good. Once a month. Mom is accepting the end [of that relationship]. It took me eight years to accept it. We have both done everything we could. She told me I am her only daughter now. But the truth is, if either one of them ever escaped we would help them in every way possible. I hope the church collapses sooner rather than later. And the funny thing, is the show isn’t even about me. It’s about what I saw being on the ground for the Volunteer Ministers at Katrina.”

That’s a good reminder that someone really ought to have Quailynn on their television show to talk about all of the other things she knows — about pampering Scientology’s celebs, taking care of their children, opening a mission, getting hounded for donations, and ultimately jumping ship when they asked her to divorce her husband and steal from him.

It’s quite a story.

UPDATE: One of the groups discussed on tonight’s episode is Youth for Human Rights, a particularly sneaky front that does its best to provide cover for a human rights abuser, the Church of Scientology. One of our Canadian readers sent us this flier this morning, describing an upcoming Youth for Human Rights event…


And he pointed out this part of the description at Eventbrite: “A variety of entertainers and prominent human rights speakers will be participating including representatives from the York Regional District School Board, Hon. Salma Ataullahjan and student activists.”


Says our tipster: “The Canadian senator who is attending this Scientology event? She’s the deputy chair of Canada’s Committee on Human Rights! OK, I’m no journalist, but this just went from ho-hum to holy shit!”

We agree. Maybe those brave folks in Guelph could help raise the alarm.

UPDATE: And as many of you noticed, earlier today Senator Ataullahjan has pulled out of the event…



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,931 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 77 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,140 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,914 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,688 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,034 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,528 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,568 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,280 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 806 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,895 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,035 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,355 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,330 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 686 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 4,988 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,094 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,497 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,370 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 951 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,456 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,700 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,809 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on November 12, 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


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