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Living with Scientology ‘disconnection’: ‘It’s important to never give up hope’

[Renata and Flavio]

Last week, we asked the people on our “Scientology disconnection, a reminder” list — which appears at the end of each story here at the Bunker — about how they are coping with the church keeping them from their loved ones. The result was an emotional outpouring from the people on the list and from the readers of this website.

Two responses came in late, but we thought they were worth posting on their own. Again, as you read these, keep in mind what the victims of Scientology must endure every day of the week.

Claire Headley: No doubt, for any individual, experiencing disconnection from loved ones can be extremely tough. Earth shattering, heart breaking, just plain awful.

I have good days and I have bad days. For the most part, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I may not ever have a relationship with my mother again. I’ve learned to set realistic expectations for myself. Not only because my mother may never wake up to the truth. She is vested, and she is leveraged. My stepfather is a hardcore Scientologist, and my three half-siblings are all in Scientology. She would lose all of them if she were to wake up, and she’s not a strong person. But I also say that because my children are my top priority. And to be honest, even if my mom, or Marc’s mom, were to walk back into our lives tomorrow, I don’t know that I could trust them again, especially not where my children are involved. Scientology is a very special form of deadly poison when it comes to children. I say that from personal experience, from my years growing up in the Cadet Org. Knowing the havoc it wreaked on my mind, on my trust, and on my almost fatal inability to ask for help when I have truly needed it the most.


With Mother’s Day this past Sunday, and one of the biggest reminders of disconnection for me, it is tougher to deal with. But the bottom line, had I stayed in that life, I would no longer be here today. I wouldn’t be celebrating nearly 26 years of marriage to my husband whom I love. And I certainly would not have three awesome boys who I love more than life. (The words I wrote here, are as true now as they were when I wrote them 4 years ago.)

I sometimes wonder, if I were to run into my sisters or my brother randomly, would I recognize them? I’d like to think so, but I’m sometimes haunted by a moment about 10 years ago when I could have sworn I saw my sister. But I hesitated and I was uncertain, so said nothing. Now I’m sure it was her and I regret not saying anything.

In terms of how to deal with it, I know my decisions were the right ones. I have no control, nor did I ever have control actually, over the harsh fact that if I ever left Scientology I would lose my family, likely irreversibly. I can only be reassured that the fact of disconnection alone wakes people up to the fact that Scientology is dangerous.

A story that illustrates this for me: Several years ago I was contacted by someone who knows my family, who knew me as a teenager before I joined the Sea Org. This person is seething mad at Scientology, and with my family. They won’t say who they are, and I truly have no idea who they are. Just keep that there for now: In August 1992, Marc and I were married at Celebrity Centre, by Paul Schobel, a Sea Org member who has since passed away. A great guy, and someone I really enjoyed working with.

Our parents hired a Scientologist photographer to take photos of our wedding. This person asked us to pay her $2,000 for the pictures. Obviously, on Sea Org pay, that was never going to happen. So we never got our wedding pics. All we had were snapshot print outs of some of the best shots, which I had professionally scanned when we left 13 years later, and made into a wedding album as best I could.

Cut to last year. The person I mentioned above, randomly and by complete coincidence came into possession of the negatives from our wedding and sent them to us! How crazy is that! I can’t even describe what a miracle that felt like.

And it was a good example for me that while it is important to move on and live life, it is also important to never give up hope. Because you truly never know. And meanwhile I find peace of mind running and hiking, and I seriously mean that. I do my best problem solving and I find true peace doing something I have learned that I truly love.

Renata Lugli: Thanks for asking us how can we bear the situation related to our son Flavio’s disconnection. Actually, we are just one of the thousands of families destroyed by this horrendous practice, and our pain is tremendous and our loss cannot really be explained. But I will try to give you some of my thoughts.

It’s now eight years that we have not seen our son Flavio and I have no news whatsoever on how he is doing mentally and physically. Those eight years have been very, very hard. I am worried about his health, and I know that if he needs medical care it’s non-existent in the Sea Org. They call a doctor or are sent to the hospital only when it is too late. I will never forget the case of Lisa McPherson not sent promptly enough to the hospital and of Alexander Jentzsch who died because a doctor was not called.

Flavio has an allergy to dust and pollen like his leader David Miscavige. The rare occasions when I talked with Flavio, I knew that he was not taking the medications he was taking in Italy. And he’s not living in the clean and comfortable setting enjoyed by his dear leader.

In 2004 Flavio needed surgery for ligaments in his leg and he had to get it in Italy, because in the USA it would have cost the Sea Org $30,000. So I ask myself, now that he’s disconnected from us, would he still get that kind of help on his own?

Once Flavio told me he had a strong pain in his chest and almost fainted on the street outside the office he was working at Flag. He was brought to the emergency room where he was released, and he was ordered to do a series of medical exams that of course Flavio did not do. Every day for me this is something I have to battle with, I have to cope with this worry about his health. The one thing I can do to lessen my pain is to write on the Internet about what we’re going through.

Twice, Flavio was on the verge of leaving the Sea Org because of its bad conditions — and instead of helping him to get the hell out of there I urged him to stay! I had a blind faith in the Sea Org and Miscavige, and we were made to believe everything was all right under his leadership. I was not able to help my son, and when I think about that I feel really, really bad.

I hope that one day Flavio will be able to see how things are and run from that place and come back home.


Bonus items from our tipsters

From a new Scientology magazine with some photos from Saint Hill Manor in East Grinstead, England — Ron’s outfits!


“Thanks Ron!”


How to write hats!



Make your plans now!


Wow, we’re only a little more than a month out, and Chee Chalker is working hard to make sure things are going to run smoothly at this year’s HowdyCon in Chicago, June 21-23. As in past years, we’re looking forward to meeting readers of the Bunker, culminating in Saturday night’s main event.

The biggest difference this year is that our Saturday night event is separate from that evening’s dinner. Chee is setting up an inexpensive pizza dinner that you don’t need to pay for ahead of time, after which we’ll walk over to the theater where our event, hosted by Chicago Fire star Christian Stolte, will take place. Because it’s a separate event, we’re asking that you pay $10 each to get into the Saturday night event, which will help us recoup what the Bunker paid for the venue. (We have never made a penny on our HowdyCon meetups, we only try to break even.)

Please email your proprietor (tonyo94 AT gmail) in order to reserve your spot for Saturday night’s main event. Seating is limited, and we’re going to have some really interesting people on stage and they may make a few announcements that you don’t want to miss.



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,117 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,720 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 263 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 151 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,326 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,100 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,874 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,220 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,786 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,454 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,714 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,754 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,466 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 992 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,081 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,221 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,541 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,516 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 872 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,174 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,280 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,683 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,555 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,137 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,642 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,886 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,995 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on May 17, 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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