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


Is Scientology really any different than other ‘churches’? Oh, you bet. Here’s one example.

[The “target” Scientology’s Freedom magazine put on Sara Goldberg for appearing in Going Clear]

An 81-year-old former Catholic priest, Australia-born but today living in France, contacted us yesterday to tell us about his blog.

Frank O’Meara spent ten years teaching theology in American dioceses and a Catholic university in Vermont before giving up the priesthood and then ten years later, at the age of 41, Catholicism itself. His embrace of atheism is what his blog is about, and it might interest some of our readers, or it might not — that’s not why we’re telling you about it.

The reason O’Meara reached out to us was that he had just seen Alex Gibney’s 2015 HBO documentary, Going Clear, which your proprietor appears in. He wanted us to know how much he enjoyed it and how much it had taught him about Scientology. And most of all, what it had made him realize about the big difference between what he has experienced in contrast to what many Scientologists have experienced after they had a change of mind.

Here, we’ll quote the relevant passage…

You will be surprised to read me saying here that the Catholic Church which I not only abandoned as a priest and as a believer, but which I use this Blog to denigrate and ridicule, deserves my sincere recognition and gratitude for the exemplary way its leaders and members have reacted to my apostasy. I have never had to suffer the unimaginably cruel vengeance meted out to the brave men and women who abandoned and now attack the sect of Scientology. You will realize when you view the film why that last sentence is an understatement. My “Superiors” in the Franciscan Order, the Church hierarchy, some members of my own family and numerous practising Catholic friends attempted at first to dissuade me. All but two persons, both former schoolmates at Marist Brothers Kogarah, have since come to tolerate if not accept my decision (though many are, naturally, less tolerant of this Blog). But contrasted with the viciousness of Scientology’s vengeance, I can only describe the Catholic reaction as … Christian. Even my two self-declared archenemies have never done anything to harm me.


It’s a simple thing, really. But something we wish more people would understand. You can walk away from a legitimate church. But if you walk away from Scientology, you can end up losing your family, your ability to make a living, and any sense of security.

Fear is the engine that drives Scientology, it’s what holds Scientology together. And it’s what prevents people from leaving and speaking out — even today, when it is so much different than just a few years ago.

Yes, we’re seeing more and more people speak up on places like Facebook about what they endured in Scientology, but we still hear from many more people who know that speaking out can come with a steep price.

And that is truly one of the things that sets Scientology apart. And one of the things that motivates us to continue this website.

Thank you, Frank, for helping to draw that distinction so clearly.


[Frank O’Meara]


Bonus items from our tipsters

We want to thank the reader who sent us this cover of the San Francisco org’s magazine, Gateway, which brings us yet another truly precious Scientology slogan about itself: “The youngest, boldest, coolest religion.”


And from another reader who sent in the latest International Scientology News, we get these great looks at the Sea Org “shoot teams” that were “dispatched around the world” to capture footage for the new television network.


Shoot teams of Sea Org staff from six continents headed to SMP for intensive training by industry professionals. They were then dispatched around the world to tell the global story of Scientology. These international crews have been capturing the stories of individual Scientologists, Scientology Churches and our social betterment programs around the world. Each day they feed raw footage back to SMP where it’s edited, scored and mixed, and made into television shows. The end result is programming unlike any on television. Shows that tell the real story of Scientology and Scientologists who are changing lives and changing the world. It’s no wonder that those who staff SMP love to come to work each day. “It’s very rewarding as an artist to work here and to create television that’s going to impact someone and help them to lead a happier and better life,” said one staff member. “What more could you ask for?”


Make your plans now!

Wow, it’s already April! Our flight and hotel is booked — who’s going to join us in Chicago? Remember, Friday (June 22) is Fly Day, and Saturday night (June 23) Chicago Fire star Christian Stolte will be helping us present things on stage as we hold our event at an actual theater this year. It’s going to be a wild time. 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 5,076 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,679 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 222 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,285 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,059 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,833 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,179 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,673 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,713 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,425 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 951 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,040 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,180 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,500 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,475 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 831 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,133 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,239 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,642 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,514 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,096 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,601 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,845 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,954 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on April 6, 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


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email