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First person: In Scientology, children are punished for being kids

[Sunny Pereira at 15]

Once again, our technical expert Sunny Pereira has supplied us with a remarkable glimpse into growing up in Scientology and serving in the Sea Org. We learn that when you have a planet to clear, terrorizing children is just an unavoidable feature of the job.

It was 1989, and I was 16 years old. I had already signed a billion-year Sea Org contract (so I could get out of the Children’s RPF and be able to listen to music again). Now I was the receptionist for the Golden Era Productions office in the big blue Scientology building in Los Angeles.

Looking back, I might have had an eating disorder. The way I saw it back then, I had no desire to eat anything. I had simply stopped eating. The whole idea of food and what could be in it just made me sick to my stomach. I was already a size zero, which was loose on me. I’d probably need a smaller size soon. Even though they had children in the Sea Org, I don’t know if they had children’s uniform sizes. The only food that did not completely sicken me was, of all things, a bagel with cream cheese on it. This was an item that was not available in the dining area, where food was available for the staff. It was something I would have had to buy, with money. I did not ever have any money in those days. But, in the reception desk there was some money that had been sitting in an envelope for almost a year with a name on it. Would anyone miss it? I decided to use it to get something to eat. I hadn’t eaten in a week, I think.

Within five days, the guy whose name was on the envelope showed up to pick it up. I shrugged. It was gone. Needless to say, I was caught and busted. Within a day I was escorted to security. I thought I was being kicked out of the Sea Org. That would be great, I thought. I didn’t want to be there anyway. It turns out they thought I still had potential, and forcibly “offered” me to do the adult RPF. So now was my chance to be rehabilitated with the big kids!


Well, if nothing else, the Rehabilitation Project Force, the Sea Org’s punishment detail, pulled me out of starving myself. All that running around and hard work made me so hungry I didn’t care what was in the food anymore, I ate, and ate and ate. I didn’t particularly gain any weight by doing it, but I didn’t lose any more either.

A few weeks into the RPF program and I was put onto Objective processes, the grueling exercises that have you walking around touching and weighing and talking to things in order to get you in “present time.” They can be extremely exhausting both physically and mentally, and I had a very hard time with them. It felt like I was on them for many hundreds of hours. I was going crazy looking at the wall, walking over to it, touching it, and turning around. No matter what I said or did, the auditor just would not stop. I did not understand what I had to do to make it stop. Yes, we’d would stop for sleep and food, but then keep going with the same processes over and over and over and over. I had to make it stop somehow.

In between getting these Objective sessions, I had a responsibility in the RPF to move around the counselling folders of others on the RPF (bring them to be checked by this or that person, then put them back, things like that). Sometimes I had time on my hands to think. And so, think is what I did.

Here I am, running around in black clothes, not allowed to talk to anyone outside the RPF, trying to get through these never-ending Objective processes. What was the point of all this? We are here in the Sea Org, trying to Clear the planet, and to make OT’s — Operating Thetans, the goal of going up Scientology’s “Bridge.”

I was in a room full of thousands of files. Some of these had OT markings on them. That meant that OT information would likely be in them.

I figured if I had signed up for a billion years, it would seem only fair I should be able to get a peek into what it was all about. I was terrified of two things: I might get caught or worse, the information might ruin me. But my curiosity was stronger than my fear.

I looked around. Of course no-one was there but me. And all these files. I saw one marked “OT II.” I thought when I opened the manila folder that it might burn me with a bright light, or the information
would sear my eyes. I carefully opened the folder, my eyes mostly shut. As I peeked, I didn’t see any bright light. What was so great in here?

I saw the word “platen” and a series of letters (later I found out the letters were markings of e-meter reactions as the person was processing the level on themselves).

I had no clue what I had seen.

Back in my RPF room that night, one of the people in my room was an OT. I thought I should just ask her what a “platen” was. And so I did. Her eyes got wide, her face angry. “Where did you get that?”

Immediately I was under investigation by Ethics. I told them immediately that I had looked in the file. (What was the big deal? I didn’t even understand it anyway.) There was a massive panic, as if I had broken a sacred artifact. Yeesh.

I was immediately sent to the RPF’s RPF, which was grueling, heavy work. Think thick grease, heavy dust build up in ducts, sledgehammering concrete. The heaviest and nastiest work that could be found was given to this bunch of terrible people.

That night they wanted me going in session. I did not want any more of those Objectives and I was upset. Turns out I would not be getting any Objective sessions. I was being interrogated to see if I had been sent in to disrupt and destroy Scientology.


There are several ways that a person can be convinced to do something like this (against their will or not), according to L. Ron Hubbard:

— Pain: Torture someone with pain and give them instructions to do something
— Drugs: Heavily drug someone and give them instructions to do something
— Hypnosis: Giving someone commands to do something while hypnotized

I was first interrogated to see if someone had gotten a hold of me and done any of these things to me. I was surprised by the odd questions but thought nothing much of it, because I had nothing on them. This did not convince anyone.

A sample of them, written by L. Ron Hubbard…

In this lifetime, have you ever been a victim of pain-drug-hypnosis?
In this lifetime, have you done something destructive without knowing why you did it?
In this lifetime, have you been hypnotized?
In this lifetime, did anyone ever put you into a hypnotic trance and give you suggestions to do things to Scientology or a Scientologist?
In this lifetime, have you ever been ordered to forget something you had been told to do?
In this lifetime, have you ever been commanded to not remember something?
In this lifetime, have you had an impulse you couldn’t account for?
In this lifetime, have you ever had a “nightmare” in which you were told to do bad things to someone or some organization?
In this lifetime, have you ever had any visitations in the night?
In this lifetime, have you ever had a dream that seemed very real?
In this lifetime, have you ever experienced an abrupt shift in behavior pattern?
In this lifetime, have you ever experienced an inexplicable change in the way you acted?
In this lifetime, have you ever experienced an inexplicable change in your attitude toward someone?
In this lifetime, have you ever had a sudden hatred for someone?
In this lifetime, have you ever had an inexplicable feeling of rage or desire for revenge against a person or activity?
In this lifetime, have you ever been given any form of shock treatment?
In this lifetime, were you ever given electric shock while you were drugged?
In this lifetime, have you ever been implanted with commands to do something to someone?
In this lifetime, did something happen that was so bizarre or incredible, you thought it must not have happened?
In this lifetime, have you been given an implant to do harmful things to Scientology or any of its principals?
In this lifetime, have you been forcefully given a false purpose or destructive impulse?
In this lifetime, have you been pain-drug-hypnotized and then told it never occurred?
In this lifetime, have you had a sudden impulse to do something that you knew wasn’t in your best interest to do?
In this lifetime, have you had an impulse to do something that you normally would never have done?

The next set of questions were to determine which government agency sent me in to infiltrate Scientology.

I pointed out to these idiots that I was born in Scientology, so how in the hell could any government agency get a hold of me and train me to infiltrate Scientology? Ask my mom, if you can find her. She was somewhere in the Sea Org of yours. Of course I lost track of her when I was around five years old and only saw her occasionally anyway.

This information went back to the higher ups, who then changed all the questions to “in your past life” and also “in between lives.”

Could this have all been avoided? Well, yes, maybe. I had learned early on that there is no “simple explanation” or the idea that something could have just been a misunderstanding. Had this option been available, a simple conversation would have discovered that I did not understand a billion-year contract, I had no idea what the Sea Org was really for or about (and thought reading about OT levels might help me see the importance of this group and make me want to stay), and was not sure I wanted to do the RPF.

I eventually finished the RPF’s RPF, still wondering if I had been planted there by a government agency. Seemed to me I was questioning a lot more than those around me. Did that make me a teenage infiltrator?

— Sunny Pereira



Hey, we’re just six days from this year’s HowdyCon in Chicago, June 21-23. Here’s what we have in store for you…

Thursday evening: Author Alec Nevala-Lee joins us for a casual evening of discussion. We’ve read his forthcoming book, Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction, and it has some wonderful insights about how Hubbard moved from the pulps to Dianetics. Take this opportunity to get to know him and hear about his book before it makes waves in October!

Friday afternoon: Friday is Fly Day at HowdyCon Chicago! Our buzzing insect can only join us for this event, so plan to hang out with us. Bring your own LEGOs.

Saturday evening: Our big event this year features Chicago Fire actor Christian Stolte, who tells us he’s cooking up a good show for us. It takes place in a theater, and you need to reserve a seat by dropping a note to the proprietor at tonyo94 AT gmail as soon as possible.



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,146 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,749 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 292 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 180 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,355 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,129 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,903 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,249 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,815 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,483 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,743 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,783 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,495 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,021 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,110 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,250 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,570 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,545 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 901 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,203 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,309 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,712 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,584 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,166 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,671 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,915 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,024 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on June 15, 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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