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On Day One, 2018’s Writers of the Future party betrays its connection to Scientology’s abuses

[Contest winners greeted on their first day at this week’s festivities.]

Sunday night, Scientology will put on its annual gala to celebrate the winners of the L. Ron Hubbard Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contest. As in past years, we’ll take a peek at some of the annual broadcast to see how many of the contest winners remember to make their obligatory obeisance to Hubbard, whose portrait overlooks the proceedings.

We’ve written extensively about the contest over the years. In 2012, we dug deep to show how the writers and artists who take part in it as contestants or judges for the most part hold their noses and try to ignore that the lavish week of celebrations can only take place because of Scientology’s wealth, with only a few daring to voice their concerns.

That year, we showed definitively the direct link between the contest and Scientology’s abuses — Barbara Ruiz, one of the women who ran the contest for Author Services Inc. (Hubbard’s literary agency, wholly owned by the church), had also helped to run the infamous prison for church executives known as “the Hole” at Scientology’s secretive “Int Base” near Hemet, California in 2004 before she vanished entirely.

Although at least one judge decided no longer to participate based on our reporting, the contest has continued on, with most participants either oblivious or willfully blinding themselves to the Scientology connection.

“The launch parties and general publicity given by Bridge [Publications] to the contest, which at one time appeared to be funded from an almost bottomless pocket, have been so lavish as to send frissons of pleasure or disgust through the entire sf community,” said the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction in a 2017 article.


Well, we’re here to assure you that this year’s contest is just as lavish and just as connected to Scientology’s controversies as ever.

Looking at the blog for the contest, we found the photo you see above, which shows this year’s contest winners on Day One of their festive week being welcomed to Author Services by two people who are very well known here at the Bunker. They are ASI executives John Goodwin and his wife, Emily Jones.

Here’s a better look at both of them, from the same blog, on the right side of the photo…


John and Emily are Sea Org members who have signed billion-year contracts, promising to work for Scientology lifetime after lifetime, and Emily is the daughter of Phil and Willie Jones, two former Scientologists who have been subject to the church’s infamous “Fair Game” retaliation procedures, which cost them both of their children. Emily and her brother Mike Jones have “disconnected” from Phil and Willie, and have cut them entirely out of their lives.

Phil and Willie haven’t taken that lying down. They achieved some measure of fame for putting up billboards in Los Angeles and Florida, simply asking Sea Org members to call their families.

So far, Phil and Willie are still waiting for Emily to call.

We asked Phil for his thoughts on the writing contest and its contestants getting to meet and spend time with his daughter, which is all he’s been asking for.

“There’s no question that the Writers of the Future Contest is all about Scientology,” he tells us. “We were at one of these galas in April 2013 when we were still under the radar. In this photo, you can see us arriving at the event…”


“Emily said I looked like a secret agent. I told her that a good secret agent doesn’t look like a secret agent! After the event there was a party where all the writers were signing books. I was chatting with Markus Wuethrich, Controller of ASI. During the conversation he gestured towards the writers and said, ‘We don’t care about them. The purpose of the Writer’s of the Future event is to safeguard Scientology.’ It was a bizarre thing to say, especially to someone like me who wasn’t even on staff.

“Emily lives a life quite a bit different than other Sea Org members. As an employee of ASI she gets paid better. She gets better perks. But she really needs to see that just 10 minutes away her brother Mike is working like a slave under heavy indentured servitude. I wish both the kids would just get declared for something, anything. Just to get kicked out.”

When, we wonder, is one of these genius science fiction writers or judges going to figure out that there’s a more interesting — and true! — dystopian novel unfolding before their very eyes as they soak up the hospitality of the Church of Scientology?


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 5,077 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,680 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 223 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,286 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,060 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,834 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,180 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,674 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,714 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,426 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 952 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,041 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,181 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,501 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,476 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 832 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,134 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,240 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,643 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,515 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,097 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,602 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,846 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,955 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on April 7, 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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