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


Scientology’s messiah? ‘Hubbard believed he was as great as Jesus, Buddha, & Mohammed’

This week in our series from books about Scientology, we have an excerpt from Nancy Many’s fascinating 2009 testament, My Billion-Year Contract: Memoir of a Former Scientologist. Nancy is the only former church member who has written about the “messianic project” of the late 1970s, and we’re glad she gave us this section to show you…

In the late ’70s, I worked on a series of public questionnaires that had been ordered by L. Ron Hubbard entitled the messianic surveys. There were a series of them, and some involved research and finding specialized information. I did the parts that I was handed by going to the library to research information on how individuals and some small groups made it to the international stage. How did these obscure individuals actually make it to the forefront seemingly overnight? I had discovered that while the public seemed to see them as appearing overnight, there had actually been a lot of work behind the scenes to create just that impression.

Cathy was a member of Abigail’s group who worked in Clearwater. She had a private office, no windows but very nicely decorated. It was just large enough for her desk and a file cabinet, not the clunky metal ones like the rest of us had but a credenza that matched her desk and gave her space for decorations and another lamp. Image was important when working directly for L. Ron Hubbard, so extra money was allocated. She had a lamp that gave a soft light to her desk instead of the overhead fluorescent glare the rest of us had. The privacy was impressive. Space at the Clearwater base was at a premium, and few people had private spaces. Even though I was working at a senior level of management, I had to wear headphones and listen to music just to block out the ambient noise that surrounded me all the time. But Cathy, she could just close her door and concentrate within the silence of her small oasis.

When I was called to her office, I took the seat opposite her, wondering what the topic of conversation would be. The last and only other time I had been here was when she had sat me down and informed me that L. Ron Hubbard’s son Quentin had died in Nevada. “Yes,” she said, “the rumors are true, Quentin is dead.” Just like that. I had not even heard any of the rumors, so it took me a while to catch up with her thoughts; she knew I was close with Quentin’s sisters and did not want me to make some uneducated question that might upset them. So here I was again, sitting in the same quiet office, wondering what she was going to enlighten me with this time.


She informed me she was going to brief me on the overall picture of these surveys I had worked on several years ago. The surveys had been part of something called the Messianic Project. She handed me the project orders that covered the overall program. It was based on briefings that L. Ron Hubbard had had with Abigail, one of his personal PRs. I read the pages and saw that the intention of the program was to create the image of L. Ron Hubbard as the next messiah, just like Christ, Mohammed, or Buddha. I had not been involved with all the messianic surveys or research, so this was the first time I was able to see the entire picture. I suddenly saw that the direction Hubbard wanted to go with the organization was that of his being the next spiritual messiah, the new savior of mankind. As I sat in the chair in front of Cathy while reading this material, I tried very hard to maintain the appearance that I was excited with these revelations. Meanwhile, within the confines of my head I was screaming, He thinks he’s on the same level as Jesus or Buddha? This is unreal! He can’t really be serious, can he?

I took a break from reading, looked up at Cathy, and saw from the smile on her face that she believed it. She was not only of the opinion that he was as great as Jesus and Buddha and all the other major religious figures from history, but she was going to work very hard to make sure the rest of the world saw him that way as well.

I continued to pretend to read the paper while madly working to control my galloping emotions. I had no doubt that L. Ron Hubbard had something to offer the world; I knew and experienced courses and counseling that helped me in my life and there was much that had worked for others. But to think of him on the same level as Jesus and Buddha, I was reeling.

I flashed at L. Ron Hubbard’s treatment of his own family; his own son had just killed himself! His daughters hardly ever saw him. He had at least two children whom he had disowned. Recently I had been listening to a private briefing tape where he had been yelling so loudly that I had to put the headphones down on the floor, but I could still hear the screaming and I could still make out what he was saying. No, this man was nothing like Jesus or Buddha. I didn’t know much about Mohammed, but I knew them and LRH was no Jesus; he was no Buddha.

I knew this was not the time or place to discuss this. I had always heard L. Ron Hubbard speak of himself as a normal man, a person just like the rest of us. That’s who I knew, warts and all. But this program showed that he had envisioned a plan to impact the world as a modern messiah like Jesus and Buddha. L. Ron Hubbard always said, “What’s true for you is true for you,” and this was never going to be true for me.

Cathy let me know she had briefed me on this incredibly important project because she needed help to staff this program with additional personnel so we could get the rest of the surveys and research done ASAP. Once complete, they could move forward into an aggressive campaign that would create L. Ron Hubbard’s messianic image across the world. His new image was to be built based upon the nine consistent qualities that had been discovered to exist and as perceived by people everywhere to be the essential spiritual qualities of a messiah. L. Ron Hubbard was the spiritual leader and messiah of our time, and he would lead the peoples of the world to a spiritual freedom on Earth and beyond.

I told her I would do what I could do to help her and left her office. Shortly after that meeting, I was sent to the Rehabilitation Project Force. No one I knew had even heard of this incredible project. Whom could I discuss it with anyway?

My knowledge and feelings about these inner-circle plans were buried so deeply I honestly did not give it a passing thought for many years. Any negative thoughts I might have had were especially suppressed during my pregnant months on the RPF. If my disagreements had hovered anywhere near the surface, they would have been brought out for analysis and rehabilitation. Instead, as some part of a primal survival instinct, I denied any knowledge of a grand plan to create a Scientology messiah and buried deep my disagreements with it, hiding everything even from myself.

And now here I was years later with the one person Hubbard had actually spoken to, revealed, and tasked to execute his messianic plans with: Abigail. As I grew more comfortable with her, I felt I could reach out, put my thoughts out on the table, and see what else was there.

Sure enough, she confirmed for me that L. Ron Hubbard truly did believe he was as great as Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed. Not only that but he also had many plans and programs in place and in motion to create that image of himself in the world. I knew from my research and from my years of working at the Celebrity Centre that celebrities and other opinion leaders were a major factor in this plan. If Scientology could get one credible and important celebrity to speak of L. Ron Hubbard as if he were the messiah, then by a careful crafting and guidance of public opinion, others would begin to follow that thought and it would take on a life of its own. I had learned from my own public relations studies that people often don’t think their opinions through. They look to people who resonate with their feelings and thus can articulate what their opinions are or even should be. The public relations and marketing world call them opinion leaders.

Celebrities are the most coveted opinion leaders one can have in one’s corner. They earn their positions by pure popularity and so can have the power to sway many. That afternoon, Abigail confirmed for me that L. Ron Hubbard really did envision himself as the next messiah, compared himself to Buddha and Mohammed, and that his massive worldwide organization already had the plans drawn up and geared to bring about that reality.

On Sunday afternoon, Abigail and I listened to some metaphysical tapes she had brought along. My mind, however, was unable to keep fully on track with them; it was racing with what she had released from deep inside of me. The position I now found myself in had been simmering for years, and it was now here and tangible.


Chris and I stood in the doorway as we said goodbye to Abigail. She had spent the weekend with us, and unbeknownst to her, it was all a planned setup. I was supposed to spy on her and gather as much information as I could and then report back to my OSA handler who would relay the information to the top levels of Scientology. 60 Minutes had a show in the works, and Scientology already knew that Abigail had been interviewed. One of my specific targets was to find out what she had told them, the slant the story was taking, and if she got any compensation from them for doing the interview.

I felt so unsettled by her visit that as the door closed, I turned to hug my husband and said, “The only person I trust and care about is you. I no longer care about sides and fights and who is right and who is wrong.”

He held me for a while and softly said that I did not have to do anything I didn’t want to do. I told him then that I didn’t want to report on Abigail. He lifted my head and told me to look at him. “You don’t have to.”

I was so confused.

“I don’t care about sides… I do not care about the Scientologists, and I don’t care about the anti-Scientologists. All I care about is you and the kids, that’s it. I don’t want to report in on Abigail. She’s been through enough. She’s a good person.”

“Listen to me, you don’t have to,” he repeated as he held me.

I didn’t call in that Sunday or the next day, Monday. I replayed my weekend with her over and over in my head.

Tuesday came and went.

On Wednesday, I got a call from Donna, my case officer at the time, at my place of work. I knew it was she on the phone, and I had butterflies when the receptionist told me I had a call. I thought at first of just saying I was busy, but I knew she would just keep calling. I walked into a private room, closed the door, and took the call.

“Hey, kiddo, how are you?”

“I’m OK,” I mumbled.

“How did the weekend go?” she asked.

“It went fine.” I held my breath for a second. “But I really have nothing to say to you. I don’t want to talk.”

Donna was silent for a bit.

“OK, well you want me to call you later?”

“Yes,” I said.

“OK, I’ll call in a few days.”

We hung up, and I went back to work. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I knew I wasn’t ready to see her or talk to her. I went back to my work.

Several days passed, and my mind was still not clear. Donna called me again, and I gave her a brief overview of my meeting with Abigail. I told her 60 Minutes was going to do a double segment on Scientology, not just the normal fifteen- to twenty-minute one. I don’t know if Abigail told me that to feed it back to Scientology or if at one time that really was the plan because that’s not what eventually happened. The piece that ran was the single segment.

After the weekend and a week after my meeting with Abigail, I got a call from Donna and was told that they wanted to meet with me in the main Scientology building. Her superiors had requested it, and even she did not know the details.

I was scared. I was shaking; I knew I was on unstable ground personally, uncertain of where I stood and what was to come of me. It was a big moment when I parked my car and went in the doors and up to the RTC space.

I was brought in to meet with Scientology’s top lawyers. There were several other people in the room. I realized that they wanted me to be a witness in the case they were having with David Mayo. I wondered why because I really didn’t have much information for them.

I was being brought in from the cold.

Once you are turned over to the legal machinery, everything seems to move at a rapid pace. They put together a statement for me to sign and placed me on their witness list. I was brought into another room and briefed as to what I should expect as a witness. All the while, I sat nervously and wondered what I would say on the stand. I wondered if I would actually lie for Scientology. There was a time when I had no doubt I would have said or done anything including lying under oath. I was so dedicated that I would have gone to jail or thrown myself on the proverbial sword to protect them. However, I had grown up, I had learned a lot, and I did not think that was true any longer.

Over the next few days, the conversation I’d had with Abigail rumbled through my head. I knew that Scientology had at least two long-term spies in David Mayo’s center, reporting every minute bit of information including any legal strategy they could gather.

If I lied for Scientology, how could I live with myself? Moreover, did they deserve to be lied for? Scientology always tells its members that they have to take responsibility. Doesn’t that apply to them as a group as well? But I also realized that if I told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, I would find myself as a target for Scientology. I would become the traitor that they placed in the center of the bull’s-eye. I knew firsthand what they did to people who crossed them. Was I ready for those consequences?

In the end, I never did get called to the stand so I never had to deal with the question of honesty. To this day, I don’t know for sure if I would have lied for them, but I’d like to believe that I wouldn’t have.

Many years later, I found out from someone who was present at a meeting where Gary, my RTC handler, had doubts about me. He had noticed the signs that I was burned out and could see the possibility that I might turn to the other side. He said that was the real reason I was openly disclosed as an undercover agent for them. They didn’t need my testimony as a witness in their trial against David Mayo. They wanted me dead-agented, so no one from the other side would ever believe or trust me again. They wanted my connection to any anti-Scientologist to be closed down.

— Nancy Many


Ron Miscavige talks to Karen Pressley

Hey, we got some technical things figured out and we’re happy to feature a new video from Ron Miscavige. This is actually part two of a conversation Ron had with Karen Pressley, whose book we featured recently. This video is new and hasn’t been online before…



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,168 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,771 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 314 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 202 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,377 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,151 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,925 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,271 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,837 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,505 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,765 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,805 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,517 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,043 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,132 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,272 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,592 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,567 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 923 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,225 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,331 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,734 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,606 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,188 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,693 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,937 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,046 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on July 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


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email