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Scientology ‘disconnection’ and the incalculable damage it does to children

This photo shows the day my mom disconnected from me.

My parents literally had a shotgun wedding. My mom was pregnant with my brother, my dad refused to marry her. My grandmother forced them to marry, literally, with a shotgun. Yeah, that’s Texas for you.

My mom became a Scientologist at the Austin Org in 1969. She had my brother in early 1970, then she was pregnant with me while she was on staff there. She had not told me much about this time period, but she did tell me two things: She always wanted a daughter and had decided that she would keep having kids until she had a daughter (There is just my older brother and myself, her two kids), and she also told me that I made her miss Yvonne Jentzsch’s speech (my fault) because she went into labor with me the night that Yvonne was at the Austin Org speaking.

Their marriage was tumultuous to say the least. He was also on staff. My mom allowed my dad to believe that he was not my dad, and another org staff member was. There was much fighting between them and he eventually ended up leaving the marriage and Scientology, getting “SP declared” (Scientology’s version of excommunication) in the process. That was in 1975.


Although disconnection was not as enforced back then, we were still disconnected from my dad. He would, however, invite my brother for visits for brief periods. I was never invited, and I didn’t know why (I found out in 2009 that he thought I was not his child; a DNA test proved he was my dad).

This photo was taken the day my mom was packing up to leave for the Sea Org. She had finally gotten herself free of her husband, who was the only thing stopping her from joining. She packed up that car and drove three states to Los Angeles, to join the Sea Org at ASHO. I was 3 years old, my brother was 5. From that day, my brother became, by default, my parent.

I’ve told my friends many times that I was a rebellious teenager by the time I was 5. That is true. I spent a lot of time and effort trying to get the attention and affection of my mother, which she just did not respond to. Maybe there was a bit of Benjamin Button phenomena, where it was never the right time for either of us, except one moment, and in that moment, we were on opposite sides of the U.S., who knows?

I had been going through some Sea Org documents about children with Tony and discovered, to my horror, that my mother was in fact in charge of childcare during those early years. I had thought for so long that she just left me there. No, she knew about the squalid and horrible conditions and was the one responsible for correcting it. She was unable to, and ended up moving on to another post, Missionaire, which took her completely physically out of our lives, as she was sent all over the world to fix failing orgs. She knew intimately and exactly the squalid conditions she was leaving us in.

Meanwhile my brother was trying to help me, and trying to be a loving family member. Thankfully we have, for the most part, been close, extremely close. Despite everything.

Many years later, in the 1990s while I was working at Scientology’s Hollywood Celebrity Centre, incredibly, my mom was too. It was a rare time we saw each other occasionally. She told me she was planning to visit our family, and asked if I could do her sec check (security interrogation) so she could go. (To go on vacation you need to get a sec check to make sure you are not planning to “blow” — Scientology’s word for escape.) Yeah, I should have refused to do it. But I agreed. I had to study her files to audit her. What an awful, terrible idea to do that. I won’t say much about it, but I will tell you that what I saw convinced me absolutely and unquestionably that it was not in my head, she just did not love me, and it had been going on from when I was a very, very young child.

I still had to sec check her, because I said I would. It was the hardest thing I have ever done, to keep a straight, smiling face while doing these sessions. But I did. But it was over for me right then and there. Something turned in me. She was definitely, unquestionably, no longer a parent to me.

It would be another 10 plus years before I would get SP declared. I saw my mom occasionally through those years, but I was grown up and on my own by then. My encounters were brief, my conversations were petty. I could not connect with her. At all. There was one time when I had to get my first abortion, I did not have money for it. I borrowed it from a family member (without telling them what I needed it for). My mother became furious with me for “taking it outside of Scientology.” She explained that she would have gladly paid for the abortion and I did not need to involve non-Scientology family.

I have shown the documents on this, but I got SP declared in Feb 2004, yet I was still on PAC Base until mid May 2004, on decks, getting sec checked. (I recently found out from some people who were there back then that my SP declare issue was on notice boards and people still saw me around… probably confusing them). I spent those three months under 24/7 watch and deck work (heavy construction and cleaning) while finishing up a sec check that went nowhere because I wouldn’t tell those perverts anything… another story for another time.

Anyway, February to May of that last year I was there, my mom somehow had permission to visit me. She was actually the one who told me I was getting SP declared. She even begged me to show some change. I was surprised a little that she was trying. I think that last three months we had were the best of all of our years of terrible relationship.

Meanwhile, my brother, who I rarely talk about anywhere, has had things very, very rough. He has had four children. One lost to cancer, one lost to the Sea Org, and two he still has in his life. He has his wife, of course, but there are some things that one needs to confide in another person. I am it for him. He has not had a proper mother or father to be there for him either. He has toughed out some serious shit alone. I am saddened that I could not be there in the end when his child passed. Complicated disconnection aspect prevented it. But since then, we are very, very close. And we always will be. We have been through something together that is just indescribable.

My grandmother has repeatedly told my brother and I that she did not raise her daughter to be this way. We have not told her much about what we endured, but she has seen enough to know. Sadly, in this situation, we have no way of knowing really what of this is caused by Scientology, and what is just a parent who clearly never wanted to be one.

Since leaving Scientology, I have spent a lot of time wishing my mom was back in my life, but then at the same time, I remember that it has always been her choice. When I piece the whole story together, I feel like my brother and I have gotten along just fine without her. She chose her life. She is not trapped in the Sea Org. Financially, she could blow any time she wants to. She chooses to stay there.

This does not mean if she showed up at my house that I would not accept her back in my life. But I’m not holding my breath, and I am certainly not waiting for her any more. I waited for her from 1975 to 2017, when I said enough.

I guess you could say with my brother and I with our families, we have decided in a sense to start our families over again from us. We will be their parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, whatever we need to be to show them they are loved. And to be tough on them. And to let them grow physically and emotionally.

If our mom wants to come back and try to show love for this family, she will be welcomed. We don’t want explanations or excuses. Just start over. But again, I ain’t holding my breath anymore. Amen.

— Sunny Pereira


Underground Bunker TV

Tuesday we premiered our new video series with a 90-second piece that asked the question, “How is ABCMouse helping Scientology stay in business?”

Yesterday, we followed that up with another video that asked another very specific question — about how the best selling drug in the world is helping to keep Scientology afloat. And today, we have another very short video for you that brings up an issue we’ve covered here before. We hope these vids will draw people back here to the Bunker to seek more information. Please help us get them out into the world!



Scientology’s celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs’ — our new project

[Greta Van Susteren and the Las Vegas Ideal Org]

We’ve started a new project, building landing pages about two of David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, his celebrities and his ‘Ideal Orgs.’ For the next several weeks, we’ll post a couple of pages each day, and we’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about each of them, in order to build a record and maintain a watch as Scientology continues its inexorable decline.

Previously, we posted pages for Anne Archer, the Portland, Oregon Ideal Org, Beck Hansen, Sydney, Australia, Catherine Bell, San Diego, California, Chick Corea, and Denver, Colorado, Elisabeth Moss and Nashville, Tennessee, Erika Christensen and Perth, Australia, Ethan Suplee and Tokyo, Japan. Yesterday it was Giovanni Ribisi and Sacramento, California.

Today it’s Greta Van Susteren and Las Vegas, Nevada!




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 5,243 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,846 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 389 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 277 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,452 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,226 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,000 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,346 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,912 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,580 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,840 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,880 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,592 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,118 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,207 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,347 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,667 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,523 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,642 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 998 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,300 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,406 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,809 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,680 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,263 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,768 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,012 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,121 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on September 20, 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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