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


Oh gross: Scientology Sea Org now saluting donors who give for ‘Ideal Orgs’

Rod Keller has a great new report on just how wacky and desperate Scientology fundraising is becoming…

We’ve been following the progress of the Columbus, Ohio org to renovate their future Ideal Org home, and last week they held another fundraiser. We have an unusual level of detail on how everything happened.

This money is all for renovations — the building was purchased in 2010 and has sat empty since then. The event theme was “Boots in the Sky,” referring to the 1952 essay by L. Ron Hubbard on individual responsibility. Despite the surreal imagery of floating footwear, it is one of the most inspiring writings in Scientology and is frequently used in fundraising and to recruit volunteers. It comes with a hint of guilt: if you want to improve yourself with Scientology you should be ashamed not to take responsibility for the success and expansion of the group.

You see, anybody has this job, and there was this great big pair of boots and they were sitting right in the middle of this universe and they were awfully big boots and you could get down amongst them with telescopes. You could look the length and breath of them and find absolutely nothing inhabiting them.


And it says – in these boots, it just simply said, “These are the boots which go down a road which leads out of this joint.” Other people had been driving spaceships through them and playing hopscotch in them and so on, which they ever did see them and so on. They were sitting right there.

These boots have a catch to them. They aren’t just one man’s boots. They were every man’s boots. And because I essayed to take a few steps in them and square them around and find out where the road was and what leather they were made out of, didn’t absolve a single individual who cared to benefit from those boots, from wearing them.


Money is pouring into Columbus from around the country. Stacy Sass has been leading the drive for Austin’s Ideal Org, and is president of a building supply company there. John Nesbitt is an Atlanta public and runs a consulting company for chiropractors. Nancy Cartwright is the voice of Bart Simpson and an Ohio native. Roy Finley is an Ohio dentist. Cathy Stone is a Chicago public. Barbara Lamb is a Clearwater public. Greg Winteregg is a dentist and Vice President of MGE, a WISE consulting company in Clearwater.


The nearby Cincinnati Ideal Org contributed as a group to Columbus. John Miani is a Clearwater public. Gary Howes is from Columbus and works at a building restoration company. Richard and Rae Willis are Columbus publics, and Scott Null is a Columbus dentist.


Sea Org members saluted the top donors who have reached the level of New Civilization Builder for their contributions to the ideal org. Lynn Hinshaw is president of a Columbus area roofing company. We asked former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder if this is typical or not. He tells us “This is amazing. This would have been unthinkable to ‘the Commodore.’ He said the lowliest Sea Org member would be ‘lionized’ anywhere they went. He positioned Sea Org members as the Masters of the Universe. But it is hardly a surprise in today’s Scientology bubble where money is the God that has replaced Hubbard.”


The policy he is referring to is Flag Order 137 issued 12 September, 1967 as Hubbard was refitting ships that would become the Sea Org fleet. But times have changed in Scientology, and now SO members can salute publics. We asked former SO member Aaron Smith-Levin for his reaction. He agrees with Rinder about the past, but added, “Even if I was still in the SO, this would not be a big deal. Unlike the actual armed services, saluting is not really a thing in the SO. There are no policies about saluting. Not even COB [Miscavige] is saluted. If COB walked into a room everyone would stand up, but no one would salute.”


[David Miscavige and Tom Cruise salute each other as Cruise receives his Freedom Medal of Valor in 2004.]

“So my take is that it is just the SO trying to show their respect to the public who are actually doing what the SO wants of them. It’s kind of like saying, ‘You may not be in the SO, but by your actions you show you are one of us.’ One could say that Miscavige saluting Cruise began to blur the lines between how an SO member could be viewed compared to how a public could be viewed. If Miscavige did it then it’s OK to do it.”


Clint and Rita Anthony, Craig and Tina Slack, Brad and Alice Spence are all Columbus based Scientologists. With the awards and salutes completed the fundraising began. Scientology fundraisers are emotional events. “Shills” are prepared on whom the master of ceremonies can call on to keep the momentum going. Members are encouraged to match or exceed the other donations to show how dedicated they are to the cause. At least two of these donations were for $100,000.


The event climaxed with Nancy Cartwright encouraging Columbus publics to make a final donation to reach the event’s goal of $1.6 million. Perhaps they would have donated this much without Cartwright, but the power of celebrity to influence one’s decisions is high, in society as a whole but even more in Scientology. Achieving wealth and fame is an indicator how being a strong thetan and that you are at cause over your condition and environment. The size of your donation can indicate your spiritual progress in Scientology, and everybody wants to be seen as a success.


Millions have been raised for Columbus’ Ideal Org at past events, and now $1.6 million more. We don’t think they are finished, as the traditional “Done Sir” banner did not make an appearance. Even after the renovations goal is reached, some orgs have additional fundraisers for the numerous video screens, decorations and furniture needed before opening. “Renos,” as renovations are known might start later this year or in 2019. It would be a surprise if Columbus didn’t open next year, but more than one Ideal Org has been late when international management demanded substantial changes at the last minute.

— Rod Keller


Never buy a steak from a Scientologist

Over at the Daily Beast today, a fun look at one of the marginal businesses Scientologists found themselves in back in the day, in this case selling meat door-to-door in Los Angeles. Fun stuff.




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 5,211 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,814 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 357 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 245 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,420 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,194 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,968 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,314 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,880 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,548 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,808 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,848 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,560 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,086 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,175 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,315 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,635 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,491 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,610 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 966 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,268 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,374 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,777 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,649 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,231 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,736 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,980 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,089 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on August 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


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email