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When Scientology leader David Miscavige targets you for a beatdown: A Jefferson Hawkins classic

Last week, we enjoyed an excerpt from Marc Headley’s 2009 book Blown for Good, a stunning narrative by a longtime Scientologist describing his life in the church and how he broke away. Another account with a similar theme which came out a few months later was the remarkable Counterfeit Dreams by Jefferson Hawkins.

Like Headley, Jefferson had a compelling story about his rise in the organization, and what it was like to work at some of Scientology’s most secret locations and up close with church leader David Miscavige. We asked Jefferson to share an anecdote from the book for our newer readers who might not have yet had the privilege of reading his gripping tale.

He picked out a key scene, and we hope you find it as interesting as we do.



Manu [Spencer] was now running the Dianetics Campaign, and she wanted to do a new infomercial. She asked me to write it. I contacted some of my old infomercial people, specifically Tim Hawthorne, author of The Complete Guide to Infomercial Marketing. He gave me some data about current infomercial trends, then hooked me up with one of the most successful infomercial writers in the business. I put together a script under her direction, which she finally pronounced as excellent. I submitted it to Miscavige.

The next day, we were all called up to the CMOI trailers for a meeting with COB. CMO Int was housed in a big double-wide prefab office trailer. It had been surrounded with pathways and plants to make it seem less transient. In the middle of the trailers was a large conference room, surrounded by cubicles. When I arrived, the space was filled with 30 or 40 people – all of WDC, all of Exec Strata, and key Gold Execs. One side of the table was empty, for Miscavige. Everyone was crammed on the other side or at the ends. After a nervous wait, Miscavige strolled in and threw my script on the table.

“Did you see the crap this guy’s writing?” he announced. Then he picked up the script and began to read out sections of it, in a voice laden with sarcasm.

I wanted to say something about why I had written it the way I had, some of the research and thought that had gone into it. After all, it had been pronounced as excellent by one of the top infomercial writers in America! I stood. “Sir, if I could just…”

That was as far as I got. “You see how he talks to me?” Miscavige screamed. “You see how he talks to me? This is the kind of crap I get from Gold. This is how I’m treated around here.” He turned on me. “All I want from you is what your crimes are. Why don’t you just confess right now, in front of this group, what your crimes are.”

I said nothing. I was frozen again.

“Look at him!” Miscavige yelled. “See how he looks at me? See how he looks at me?”


Then to my horror, he leapt up on the conference table and launched himself at me, shoving me back against the cubicle wall behind me, grabbing my shirt and half tearing it off me, striking me in the face again and again. Then he shoved me onto the floor. My feet ended up tangled in his. “Let go of my feet!” he shouted. I complied, terrified. Miscavige turned and stalked out of the room. As I lay on the floor, one thought raced through my head: I had just been beaten up by the head of the Church of Scientology.

No one else had moved, they all sat like so many frozen statues.

“Get up, get up,” someone hissed. “Don’t just lie there – don’t make him wrong for hitting you!”

Don’t make him wrong? Was that all they could say? I staggered to my feet and somehow managed to crumple into my chair. Miscavige came back in and ordered me to stand up. He ordered Foster to be brought up to the conference room.


Once Foster arrived, he demanded, “I want you to decide, between the two of you, which one of you lied to LRH about that survey? Go on, discuss it amongst yourselves. Which one of you lied to LRH?” [Note: This was an old charge Miscavige continually threw at me. It was based on a deliberate misreading of a Sec Check report from Marty Rathbun. I had disproved it several times, presenting the actual dispatches to and from LRH showing that not only had I NOT lied, but Hubbard had commended me for my work].

I told Foster I’d take the heat. I told Miscavige I was the one. I was in no mood to re-litigate it. I was escorted out by the MAAs and into a room, where I spent the next several hours on an E-Meter, confessing my “crimes.” Then I went back down to the basement rooms of Building 36, the HCO (Ethics) offices, awaiting reassignment to the decks. An envelope arrived for me. In it were the buttons from my torn shirt and some loose change. Amy Mortland, one of the WDC members, had found the items on the floor of her cubicle, where I had fallen. Then an RTC messenger arrived – with a shirt, sent down from COB. How thoughtful. Except the shirt he had torn had been a $50 shirt I had paid for myself. The replacement shirt was a used shirt from Costumes that looked like it had been made in the 70s, stained and worn, with a button down collar. I put it straight into the trash.

I never told Cathy about what had happened. She asked me why my face was scratched and bruised, and I told her I had fallen down. Cathy would hear no ill about Miscavige. She had worked directly for him for a while, making all of his travel arrangements, and she had even traveled with him and Shelly in Europe. She had pictures of the three of them together. Even her dismissal from RTC hadn’t tarnished her opinion of him.

After a few weeks on the decks, I was again deemed fit company for honest people, and rejoined CMU as Copywriter. But I felt even more broken and despondent. Everyone assumed it was my fault, something I’d done, that had enraged COB.

And I half believed it – but I had no idea what it had been. My attitude?

— Jefferson Hawkins



Bonus items from our tipsters

A reader pointed out to us that a 2011 Scientology fundraising video was posted this week to a Scientologist Facebook group in order to announce that the Austin Ideal Org had finally reached its funding goals. We first noticed this wonderful music video back in 2014.

But in solidarity with the Austin folks, who are so excited to have met their goal, we’ll present again an Austin night to remember, and this time with lyrics…



You people ever see a real Ideal Org?
I’m talking true blue.
Center of town.
Oh, and we’re friendly.

She’s an Ideal Org in Austin, see
Just the kind of place I’d like to be
Where the guitar’s loud and the stress-test free
It’s a party all night, diversity
It’s a ragin’, blazin’
Fire-hot hay-ride
Best org in sight

With a thick Southern drawl
We’ll bring the Tech to all
Brother she’s called
Austin, from her live music to her smoking-hot org
She’s Austin, from her cowboy boots to her capital halls
This org is made to save the day
And we ain’t afraid to say
Austin, can’t beat Austin

We know Austin is the place to be
When all hell breaks loose and it’s time to go free
I’m dreaming about the day that we open up
Going to start this party up like my pickup truck
She’s Texas crazy
Rocket them to freedom, go on and bring the children
With a thick Southern drawl
We’ll bring the Tech to all
Brother she’s called
Austin, from her live music to her smoking-hot org
She’s Austin, from her cowboy boots to her capital halls
This org was made to save the day
And we ain’t afraid to say
Austin, can’t beat Austin

With a thick Southern drawl
We’ll bring the Tech to all
Show ’em how it’s done!

I’m talking about Austin, capital city of the Lone Star State
Home to you too, Silicon Hills and Whole Foods
We got Barton Springs, the Colorado River
We got a million bats and a few armadillos too

Austin, from her live music to her smoking-hot org
She’s Austin, from her cowboy boots to her capital halls
This org was made to save the day
And we ain’t afraid to say
Austin, can’t beat Austin

Austin, Austin


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 5,119 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,722 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 265 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 153 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,328 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,102 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,876 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,222 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,788 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,456 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,716 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,756 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,468 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 994 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,083 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,223 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,543 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,518 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 874 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,176 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,282 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,685 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,557 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,139 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,644 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,888 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,997 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on May 19, 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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