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Lori Hodgson’s fight with Scientology for her kids is now a book you can pre-order

Scientology’s ‘disconnection’ policy is an abomination. It’s a form of political extortion, pitting family member against family member in order to further Scientology’s tight control of its followers’ lives.

Every disconnection story is heartbreaking, but Lori Hodgson’s saga is particularly cruel and baffling.

As revealed in her forthcoming self-published memoir, A Mother’s Heartbreak: How Scientology Destroyed My Family, her two adult children have somehow been convinced by the church to cut her out of their lives in the most heartless ways possible. (Pre-orders can be made at Amazon. The book comes out May 1.)

In the book, Lori fills us in on her background with details we didn’t know before, about some of the hardships she went through growing up and how they inspired her not to be held down by them. We enjoyed, for example, the detail that despite a congenital problem with her leg which caused her to limp, she tried out and made the men’s golf team in college.


But she was also the kind of vulnerable and naive youngster that gets sucked into something like Scientology. While only a teenager, she was working on staff at the Stevens Creek mission in San Jose, California.

Looking back, she thinks about all of the bad decisions she made — including getting involved with Jim Leake, a Scientologist whose promises never came true.

Lori beats herself up repeatedly in this book, but it’s Leake and his selfish focus on Scientology that comes through as the real problem in their lives.

Lori and Jim were married in 1988 and had two children, Jessica and Jeremy, and Jim insisted that they be brought up as Scientologists. And sure enough, once the kids hit puberty, Scientology was all over them to give up their futures and join the Sea Organization, with its billion-year contract.

It’s stomach-turning to see how Scientology went around Lori, who desperately wanted to keep her kids out of the Sea Org and was struggling at the time with physical problems. At one point, the Scientology recruiters took advantage of the fact that Lori needed blood transfusions after an operation for a knee replacement.

Jessica and Jeremy seemed especially susceptible to the recruiting efforts, and we had to wonder why these two kids were so determined to throw away their lives after childhoods that were so rich with love and kindness.

Jessica and Jeremy both had short and disastrous stints in the Sea Org, but they remained dedicated to the Church of Scientology just as Lori decided that she’d had enough of it.

Confused and hurt after leaving the church, Lori reached out to another former Scientologist who seemed to be finding a way to move on from the organization in interesting ways — Mark “Marty” Rathbun, who had been a top Scientology official and had reemerged in South Texas as a sort of leader to others seeking some recovery from their experiences in David Miscavige’s movement.

And that may be the key to all of Lori Hodgson’s suffering since. She visited Rathbun in 2010 and 2011 during the period that Rathbun was most radioactive to Miscavige. She also reveals that she was an FBI source as the agency was investigating Scientology in 2010 for human trafficking in the Sea Org.

In 2011, she was targeted by the “Squirrel Busters,” the goon squad Scientology sent to Texas to harass her while she was at Rathbun’s house near Corpus Christi, and she was smeared on Scientology’s anonymous websites. Then, her kids were forced to disconnect from her.

Seven years later, Rathbun himself has made a 180-turn and, if he’s not back in Scientology itself, has become its go-to attack dog. But for Lori, her children still apparently consider her previous association with Rathbun unforgivable. Or, at least, that’s what they’ve been told by the church.

Lori goes through the steps she’s taken to fight Scientology and its disconnection policy. For a few years, she sought out media appearances, and took part in an ambush-style episode of Inside Edition. But then she decided to take a quieter approach.

We remember speaking to her then, surprised that she’d taken such a passive approach. But like many others, she held out hope that if she kept a lower profile, Jessica and Jeremy might be more apt to reach out to her.

That didn’t happen. And so now, she’s determined to make noise again. We hope she gets the attention she deserves after publishing this book. It’s raw. It’s honest. And it gets to the heart of how Scientology destroys lives for no good reason at all.



SMERSH Madness 2018

It’s day two of our big dance! We’ve chosen 24 of the people we think are working hardest to defend Scientology against its enemies. These are not only Scientologists, but also the people who enable the church as it works against its foes. Which of them do you think deserves the most recognition for Keeping Scientology Working, spreading disconnection, and litigating former Scientologists into the ground?

If you weren’t around for our first tourney, five years ago, it’s really very simple. Cast a vote for your favorite, and in 24 hours we’ll make the call about who advances to the next bracket.

In our first match today, our #13 seed is notorious Scientology “dirty tricks” private investigator Dave Lubow. After the retirement of former L.A. cop Gene Ingram, it was Lubow’s turn to carry out Scientology’s scumiest retaliation efforts against former church members and other critics. Mike Rinder was a favorite target of Lubow’s for years, and the guy even showed up at the house of your proprietor’s mother a couple of times. But it was the “Squirrel Busters” operation that he ran in Texas, targeting Marty and Monique Rathbun in 2011, that cemented his reputation. In 2013, however, he really stunned us when he submitted an affidavit in the harassment lawsuit filed by Monique Rathbun and claimed that what motivated him was that he was actually a devout Scientologist. Say what? We sure wish that lawsuit had not been dropped by the Rathbuns so that Lubow might have had to answer some questions from a witness chair.

Lubow is taking on our #20 seed, Scientology attorney Kendrick Moxon, whose credentials as a Scientology henchman go way back — he was even an unindicted co-conspirator in the Snow White prosecutions of the late 1970s that sent 11 top church officials to prison for taking part in the country’s largest domestic espionage scheme. Years later, Moxon really didn’t appreciate it when we discovered that he was still doing questionable things with documents on behalf of the church in our story about his battle with lawyer Graham Berry. And of course, Moxon was intimately involved in Scientology’s sneaky operation that resulted in the church taking over one of its most bitter enemies, the Cult Awareness Network. This guy sure gets around.


[Dave Lubow and Kendrick Moxon]

In our second matchup, our #12 seed is actress Elisabeth Moss, who grew up in Scientology, doesn’t seem to have a lot of course completions, and doesn’t seem particularly vigorous about her involvement in the church. But on the other hand, her success starring in Hulu’s version of The Handmaid’s Tale caused one of Scientology’s more memorable press flaps in recent days because so many people wondered, how could Moss play a victim of a totalitarian society with a straight face?

She’s pitted against #21 seed Bodhi Elfman, who isn’t as famous as his wife Jenna, of course. But we felt Bodhi deserved his own berth in our bracket after we got a look at a disconnection email he sent to former close friend Paul McDaniel. In our long feature about Paul’s wife, Quailynn, we revealed the contents of that letter, which Bodhi sent when he found out that Paul had dared to “like” a Facebook post by Leah Remini. “I would rather not associate with those who support ‘whistle blowing’ or investigations outside of HCO/proper channels, or criticisms of Scientology or with someone who avoids auditing,” Bodhi wrote his former close friend. “I genuinely wish you and your family well and I, with all my heart, hope you go to Flag very soon, get on the cans and find harmony….Until then, let’s please not communicate anymore.” Harsh.


[Elisabeth Moss and Bodhi Elfman]

There are your matchups of the day. Who deserves to move on as champions of Scientology? Who has done more to perpetuate the church’s reputation in this time of crisis? Cast your votes!


Yesterday’s winners: Mike Ellis defeated Laura Prepon, and Grant Cardone edged Jenna Elfman!


Make your plans now!

Head over to our HowdyCon 2018 website to start making your travel plans!



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,053 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,656 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 199 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,262 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,036 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,810 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,156 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,650 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,690 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,402 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 928 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,017 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,157 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,477 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,452 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 808 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,110 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,216 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,619 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,491 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,073 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,578 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,822 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,931 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on March 14, 2018 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, 1995-2017 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2017), 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 | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news


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