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A peek inside Janis Gillham Grady’s second volume as ‘Commodore’s Messenger’

[The Commodore]

In June we featured an excerpt from Janis Gillham Grady’s first ‘Commodore’s Messenger’ volume, and now, today, her second volume becomes available for the first time, Commodore’s Messenger Book Two: Riding Out the Storms With L. Ron Hubbard. To mark the occasion, she’s generously shared with us a short excerpt from her many adventures aboard the ship Apollo with the Commodore and, in this case, on land in Tangiers in 1972.

Because the ship was meant to be gone for only a month or so, and a driver’s license was not required in Morocco to ride a 50cc motorbike, several of the auditors and snipes who owned motorbikes loaned theirs to the Messengers to keep ashore with them in Tangier. Dusty Rhodes allowed me to borrow his bike and care for it while I stayed in Tangier and he sailed with the ship to Lisbon. This was great, since it gave us our own transportation between the Tours Reception Center (TRC) and Villa Laure. It also gave us the freedom to ride into town when we wanted to. It took about 20 minutes to ride between the villa and TRC. The villa was located in the north part of Tangier, past the cemetery in the hills on the east side, behind the Kasbah, while TRC was southeast of Tangier, outside of town on the way to the airport.

As Molly and I were getting ready to leave the villa one afternoon, Mary Sue and Nikki had decided to go to town. Molly and I rushed to leave before them in the hopes of not getting stuck behind them driving slowly down the hill towards town. Not a good choice! Molly was driving with me on the back. There were lots of curves which were not a concern to us until she hit gravel as we leaned into the curve. We went flying.

Luckily, I was not hurt but Mary Sue and Nikki were close enough behind us to see us come off. They pulled up to offer help, Nikki pointing out that Molly’s chin had been ripped open and Mary Sue checking to make sure I was OK. Upon our return to TRC, Molly was taken to the doctor to get her chin stitched up. When it was time to have her stitches removed, she asked for me to take her on the bike, which I did. Now I don’t remember this, but according to Molly’s memory of 40 years ago, as I watched the doctor about to take out her chin stitches, I went pale before fainting, having to be caught by the nurse.


Originally, we were not supposed to stay in Tangier as long as we did. We had been told the stay was planned for three or four weeks, but further repairs of the Apollo were needed, so we stayed two-and-a-half months. This actually made Mary Sue happy; she always preferred to live ashore rather than in the cramped quarters on the ship. While aboard, she mostly went between her office on the prom deck and her cabin to sleep or LRH’s dining room (A-deck lounge) for dinner. Suzette and I shared a room and bathroom.

One day, Suzette decided she was going to make cottage cheese. As a consequence, a cheese cloth with curds hung from our bathroom faucet for days, stinking up the place. I guess the Fatimas (a very common female name in Morocco which is used when referring to the female housekeepers/cleaners) didn’t want it smelling up the kitchen. Thinking back on it, the cottage cheese I buy in a store does not smell like hers, so maybe something wasn’t done right.

During this time, I hated that my hair was too frizzy and hard to control due to the humidity. Someone told me if it wasn’t so dry, it would be more manageable and to try putting olive oil on it then wrap it up for the night. The problem was, they didn’t tell me how hard it was to wash olive oil out of hair! Because I had trouble washing the olive oil out, I was left behind when the rest of the Messengers decided to take a trip into town, since I refused to be seen with my hair caked in oil.

16-year-old girls riding around Tangier or any Moroccan town on motorbikes was not a common sight, but it became one for the two-and-a-half months we lived in Tangier. Many locals recognized and accepted us, but others did not. We were in a Muslim country, and unveiled teenage girls zooming around Tangier on motorbikes violated their beliefs on how females should behave. As a result, I had my share of rocks thrown at me as I passed certain houses while riding between TRC and Villa Laure or when driving through the Kasbah. To avoid rock throwers, I found a longer route that was less painful and allowed me to stop at the local market to pick up English biscuits. Also, Laide Lyoussi, (our local Public Relations Officer who was a younger brother-in-law of Badea Mousadek, the “Key to Morocco”) took time to teach me how to swear in Arabic. Learning to swear in Arabic became very handy because nobody expected to hear such words come out of my mouth. This made Arab men back off when they tried to hit on me.


A few days before the ship was set to sail, I was riding a motorbike from the ship to TRC with my future sister-in-law and fellow Messenger Doe on the back. We had decided to take a shortcut through the Kasbah, which turned out to be a bad idea. We were in the center of town when an old lady stepped off the sidewalk in front of us. As I slammed on the brakes and tried to swerve out of her way, I hit the horn to alert her but couldn’t fully clear her. The side of my front wheel hit her and she went spinning to the ground. I flew over the handlebars, while Doe somehow managed to do a flip off the bike and land on her feet. Someone signaled a nearby policeman. He waited with Doe and me until an ambulance arrived to take the old lady to the hospital. He then signaled (as I did not speak Arabic or French) for me to pick up my bike and follow him, which we did.

We ended up at the local police station, where I was held and allowed to make a call. I called TRC and had Laide Lyoussi (a local Public Relations Officer) come to the station to translate and deal with the situation. Amos Jessup showed up with him and tried to make me feel better about my predicament by telling me that if I were in America, I would have been arrested for hitting the old lady. He then went back to TRC with Doe. Laide and I spent about six hours at the station as they refused to release me. A lot of talk went back and forth, including a Moroccan officer telling me I could be put in jail for using my horn while riding in the town. I did not understand a lot of what was going on, and I knew Laide was not telling me everything. He, too, was concerned for me as I sat in silent terror at the thought of going to a Moroccan jail. Finally, I was informed I was not being sent to jail; the hospital said the old lady was fine. They had put a bandage on her leg and sent her home. I was so relieved. Once it was time to leave the station, Laide realized that I was his only means of transportation back to TRC, which he was not happy about. He was scared of motorbikes and had never ridden on one in his life. Now, his only way home was a 16-year-old girl who had just been in an accident. The whole way home, Laide clutched the back of my jacket and kept his head buried into my back, refusing to look at where we were going.

When LRH was informed of my accident, he sent written instructions to Quentin, who was In-Charge of staff enhancement and correction. Quentin was to have me security-checked on motorbikes to find out if I had any transgressions or withholds (secrets) as the possible reason for me to have the accident in the first place. Fred Hare, who had a lot of motorbike experience, then had orders to test me on the workings and operation of a motorbike and drill me on riding one in every condition imaginable. I was not allowed to ride any motorbike until this “cramming/correction” step was completed. After the security-checking and having Fred quiz me on motorbikes, he had me doing wheelies and jumping low ramps. He then instructed me to take the bike out into the field across the road from TRC to do some dirt biking.

What Fred did not take into consideration as part of these instructions was that it had poured the night before, which turned the field to mud. Having no experience riding a motorbike in dirt or mud, off I rode into the field only to end up stuck, with mud caked between the wheel and the mudguard. I found a stick and tried to scrape the mud out. Fred was yelling to me, trying to find out what was going on; he didn’t want to get his own shoes muddy. By this time, I was trying to carry the motorbike through the field while my shoes became more and more caked with mud. Fred finally came out to see what my problem was. Upon reaching me and assessing the situation, Fred said, “This is a job for an Arab. Get the Arab kid (transportation assistant) and have him work out getting the bike back and cleaned up.”

Ahmad was a young boy about my age who was always willing to help any way he could. Fred’s comment hit me; I realized it wasn’t only LRH, but also other Sea Org executives who thought little of the people who were not Scientologists. Non-Scientologists were wogs and therefore beneath them. Ahmad had been a friend and always willing to jump in to help. I think it would not have affected me so deeply if Ahmad had been referred to by name instead of ethnicity.

When Doe driving with Dede on the back later had their motorbike accident, I don’t think anyone mentioned it to LRH, but then they didn’t gain the attention of the local police like I did. Upon leaving the villa, Doe forgot to unlock the front wheel of the bike they were riding. Because it was locked, the front wheel was not able to turn left or right. As they coasted down the hill, all was fine until they had to make the left turn; the front wheel did not turn, sending both of them flying off the bike as it went off the road. Luckily, neither of them was seriously injured; however, Dede sacrificed the back of her hand in her attempt to ensure the answers from LRH to the Daily Reports she was carrying were not damaged.

After the accident, I tried to avoid the Kasbah, but when we wanted to purchase black market cigarettes, we drove in, parked the bikes, and walked around looking for anyone lounging around wearing an overstuffed caftan. Once we spotted one, we approached and asked, Marlboro? or whatever brand we were looking for. The vendor reached inside his caftan and pulled out cartons of all sorts of cigarette brands until he found the right one — or sadly turned us to the next man wearing an overstuffed caftan. On the ship, we were able to purchase cigarettes duty-free, which was better suited to our Sea Org wages, but with the ship having sailed to Portugal, leaving us in Tangier, we had no source of duty-free cigarettes and settled for black market prices.

A turning point in my relationship with the local service staff was the day I sat with the Fatimas in their garage quarters and they put henna on my hands. We had so much fun — laughing and trying to communicate in bits of English, Arabic, French, Spanish and using our own sign language. They told stories of finding scorpions in their beds, growing up in a harem of women and trying to understand how we could dare dance with a male partner in a nightclub. There were also times when the younger Fatimas should have been cleaning the living quarters, but instead, Suzette and I played rock music like the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Kinks, and others and taught them how “Europeans” danced. Women dancing with men instead of for men, or just together privately, was a hard concept for them to understand. In turn, they taught Suzette and me how to belly dance.

— Janis Gillham Grady


Colombian television offers hilarious skewering of Scientology

Oh my. Karen de la Carriere sent over this doozie. Scientology is not going to like this characterization of it by Colombia’s Canal Uno news program.


And for the more traditional PR-heavy piece, there is also this…





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 5,224 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,827 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 370 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 258 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,433 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,207 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,981 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,327 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,893 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,561 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,821 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,861 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,573 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,099 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,188 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,328 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,648 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,504 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,623 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 979 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,281 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,387 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,790 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,661 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,244 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,749 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,993 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,102 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on September 1, 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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