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California is on fire, and Scientology naturally sees a golden recruiting opportunity

Rod Keller has another sobering look at what Scientology’s “Volunteer Ministers” are really up to…

The Carr fire has been burning in Northern California since July 25. It’s a large and destructive fire, and despite the work of thousands of firefighters it’s no more than 37 percent contained. Redding, California remains at risk with more than 90,000 residents. For Scientology the fire is an opportunity to put on the yellow Volunteer Minister T-shirts and head north. As we have seen during the Hurricane Harvey recovery and more recently in Manchester, England the VMs are promoted as one of the most important disaster response teams on the planet. And as with previous disasters the VMs are gathering donated supplies at the last minute rather than prepare supplies in advance as major relief agencies do.


[Carr fire area]


[Map provided to Scientology VMs]

CARR FIRE UPDATE — VM’s have sprung into action up in Redding with VM In-Charge for Western US leading a team from Sacramento and Chico. The VM tent is set up in right next to Incident Command. VM’s are working with a local church to bring in and distribute relief supplies for people who’ve lost homes or been displaced.

Local So Cal VMs have been bringing donations to So Cal VM HQ and the first wave of VMs from Los Angeles are leaving today to help in Nor Cal. 25 VMs are needed IMMEDIATELY from the LA area to go up to the Carr fire. We also need donations (supplies and cash) and people willing to drive up north.

Donations needed include:
– Pre-packaged non-perishable food (protein bars, beef jerky, etc.)
– Hygiene kits with toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, washcloth, tampons, shampoo, hair brush, etc.
– Work gloves
– Water
– Instant Coffee
– Paper Plates and plastic utensils
– New Clean Socks
– Diapers and wipes
– New toys for kids

The VM Tent is set up in front of Church of Scientology of Los Angeles to collect donations. Contact Betsy 323-953-3200 or Damian 213-514-2651 for info on donations and how to go help.


115,538 acres burned
35% contained
Evacuations: 38,000 affected
Structures destroyed: 1465 (1,018 residences, 12 commercial structures, 435 outbuildings)
Structures damaged: 248 (181 residences, 6 commercial structures and 61 outbuildings)
Fatalities: 2 firefighter, 4 civilians (1 person missing, down from 20)
Cause: Mechanical Failure of Vehicle
Total Fire Personnel: 4,151
Total Fire Engines: 366
Total Fire Aircraft: 17 helicopters and numerous fixed wing aircraft


[Chico Mission is the staging area for dozens of volunteers]

[Assembling hygiene kits for delivery to the disaster area]

VMs are gathering at the Chico Mission before driving to Redding to deliver their snacks and hygiene items. We have been unable to verify if they have been provided access to any command centers when they arrive. VMs have come to Chico from Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Sacramento in their distinctive yellow vans. We think there are two from LA, and one each from San Francisco and Sacramento. The call has gone out for drivers with vans to volunteer to carry more VMs to the area.


[San Francisco VMs load diapers and blankets for evacuees]

[VMs at an area school where relief agencies have been working]

VMs need money for gasoline, but this fundraiser on Facebook hasn’t come close to its goal. Even $2,000 wouldn’t bring many vans from LA to the Chico. The need for donations will only increase if the VMs follow through on their plan to bring 500 VMs to the area. The dozens that have come so far are being housed at the mission or at the homes of local Scientologists. 500 VMs will compete with the thousands of evacuees for sleeping arrangements, but there seems to be no plan for that.


As usual for the VMs, it’s all last-minute arrangements, urgent calls for donations lacking preparation or coordination. It’s not supposed to be that way. Scientologists are told that their donations to the International Association of Scientologists (IAS) are used to fund VM relief efforts. If that were true they could prepare in advance for the fire season in California. The Carr fire is worse than most, but there will be fires and evacuees every summer, and the disasters will only get worse as the population increases in formerly wilderness areas of Northern California.


The International Association of Scientologists raises money for a variety of causes such as Ideal Orgs, but also for VM “emergency response teams.” In reality there are no teams. All you need to join is your yellow shirt. There are no pre-positioned supplies such as the Red Cross keeps. There is no money being spent in advance by the IAS to supply and train teams of VMs. The VMs either pay for everything themselves, or rely on public Scientologists calling in with their credit card.

RE: DONATING THINGS FOR THE CARR FIRE on the ground VM’s and fire victims.

Honestly – the list of what items are needed changes by the minute so the VERY BEST way to help is to make charitable donation of just plain old $$$ via Riverpark Mission and then we convert to cash that they can use to shop with on the ground and get what is needed. We also use for gasoline to and fro AND to help defray costs of sleeping arrangements for out of town volunteers. etc etc etc..

So if you want to put it on a credit card – call Callie Daly – treas sec xxx-xxx-xxxx . IF SHE DOESN’T IMMEDIATELY ANSWER – leave her your name as a TEXT message and that you are calling about disaster relief donation. IF SHE DOESN’T CALL YOU RIGHT BACK .. then do the SAME with ME Tree Nebeker – xxx-xxx-xxxx. ONE of us will be back to you within 15 minutes of your text. We are experiencing heavy traffic as you can imagine, but your energy in the form of $$ is very welcome.

There are a multitude of important uses it is going to immediately … so flow away!! Other option – is to order certain things via amazon – and have it shipped to the Chico Mission – but if you do that message me first so I can give you the details as to what really is wanted and address etc.


[VMs heading for the area of the Carr fire]

We will see if 500 well-meaning VMs really arrive in Chico. It seems unlikely given the scale of past disasters. If they do arrive this relief effort may turn from a last minute scramble to a fiasco of poorly supplied volunteers, as we saw in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. The VMs are not one of the largest independent relief forces on earth. They respond to the immediate disaster rather than prepare for the next or the one after that. That makes them slow and inefficient. They exist primarily for public relations, “extending the gift of Scientology itself” and to allow Scientology to deflect allegations of abuse by pointing to the good works of the VMs.

— Rod Keller




Please join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,197 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,800 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 343 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 231 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,406 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,180 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,954 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,300 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,866 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,534 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,794 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,834 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,546 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,072 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,161 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,301 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,621 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,477 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,596 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 952 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,254 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,360 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,763 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,635 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,217 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,722 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,966 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,075 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on August 5, 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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