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Tonight on ‘Leah Remini’: L. Ron Hubbard gets the Russell Miller treatment

[Russell Miller]

Leah Remini concludes her “special” episodes of Season Two tonight at 10 pm by having on two real experts on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard: author Russell Miller and former “Deputy Commodore” Hana Whitfield. (One final show for Season Two is scheduled for next week, when Leah will answer viewer questions in a Reddit-sponsored episode.)

We’re really glad that Leah has taken on this subject. In the first season, Leah was pretty vocal about sticking to Scientology’s abuses, and made a point of not going near Scientology’s beliefs. But earlier this season, she took on Scientology’s beliefs head-on with one of the best episodes she’s done — she had on Bruce Hines and her own mother, Vicki Marshall, to take apart Scientology auditing and the “Bridge to Total Freedom.”

And now, she’s going even more basic than that, taking a hard look at the man behind Scientology, its inventor, Hubbard. “As a child, I saw him as some sort of deity,” she says to open the show. “Me too,” Mike responds. “My goal was to join the Sea Org and go work with L. Ron Hubbard.”

They then start things at the end, by talking about Hubbard’s death in 1986. Scientologists were told that Hubbard had elected to discard his body in order to perform “research” unhindered by his physical form. And to accent that, at a January 27, 1986 event at the Hollywood Palladium, Scientology attorney Earle Cooley lied his ass off and said that Hubbard’s body was very sound and could have served him for many more years.

The truth, of course, was that Hubbard, a lifelong heavy smoker, had been in bad health for years, and died at 74 after a series of strokes. But Rinder points out Scientology is selling a way to beat the life-death cycle, and so they couldn’t admit to members that Hubbard had proved to be a mere mortal.


Hana then explains what it was about this mortal man that made her want to dedicate her entire life to serving him. And she talks about the legends that had built up around him.


[Hana Whitfield]

And that’s a perfect set up for Russell, who then delivers a truth bomb.

“Everything about him was a lie,” Russell says.

Russell’s 1987 biography of Hubbard, Bare-Faced Messiah, is still the definitive volume about the man who started Scientology, and it’s a cracking great read.

We especially enjoyed Russell’s debunking of Hubbard’s myths about his wounds suffered in World War 2. As Russell explains (and once again, Leah’s crew makes excellent use of actual documents and other supporting evidence), Hubbard never saw a day of combat and suffered from ailments like an ulcer and pink eye.

It’s a wonderful deflating of the Hubbard myth, and we hope some current church members sneak a peek at the episode.

The round table also gets into a discussion about Hubbard’s family, including his three wives and all seven children and the fate of each.

With Hubbard’s first wife, Polly Grubb (1907-1963), he had two children, L. Ron Hubbard Jr. or “Nibs” (1934-1991), who was very involved in Scientology for some of its early years, and Katherine, known as Katie or Kay (1936-2010).

Hubbard married his second wife, Sara Northrup (1924-1997) in 1946, a year before he and Polly were divorced. Hubbard and Sara had a daughter, Alexis, born in 1950. She lives on a horse farm and declined our request for an interview several years ago, but recently she surfaced online. She was never involved in Scientology.

Hubbard’s third wife was Mary Sue Whipp (1931-2002), and they had four children, Diana, b. 1952, Quentin (1954-1976), Suzette, b. 1955, and Arthur, b. 1958. Diana is the only one still involved in Scientology. She lives and works at Int Base near Hemet, California, but we’ve noticed that recently she’s been let out to go to a few Scientology events, probably for PR reasons.


Quentin committed suicide in 1976. Suzette and Arthur both live in Los Angeles, and neither are involved in Scientology.

All of Hubbard’s wives and children have been entirely erased by the Church of Scientology in its publications and on its website. And Mike refers to how the church has even gone so far as to erase Nibs from a color film, the only one showing Hubbard presenting a “congress” in 1958.


But even if the church has given up on Hubbard’s legacy of children and grandchildren, it still never gives up hope that the man himself might return some day. Mike points out that there’s a $10 million mansion waiting for him to move into — the “Bonnie View” residence at Int Base.

Mike wraps up the episode by getting a little verklempt, as he thanks Hana for the work that she and her husband Jerry have done over the years to help people leave the Church of Scientology and re-adapt to life on the outside.

“Hana, thank you for everything that you and Jerry have done. And for coming here today. Leah and I are following in the footsteps of a lot of other people who did a lot of the hard work before we showed up on the scene. You being one of them, Russell being another. You took the slings and arrows when there wasn’t much to support you…it’s only because of people like you that the truth is being exposed to so many more, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,933 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 79 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,142 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,916 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,690 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,036 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,530 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,570 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,282 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 808 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,897 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,037 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,357 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,332 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 688 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 4,990 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,096 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,499 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,372 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 953 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,458 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,702 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,811 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on November 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


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