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In the Sea Org, under suspicion: ‘I accepted that I was, in Scientology terms, an ethics particle’

[Our man in Hungary, Péter Bonyai]

This week in our Scientology book series, we have a bonus for you — not one, but two excerpts from Péter Bonyai’s book about his life in the Sea Org, Money, Power, Servitude: Adventures in the Wonderland of Scientology. In the first, he gives us a glimpse about what it’s like to be the target of Scientology’s secret police, OSA. And in the second, he has some great insights about the start of the ‘Ideal Org’ program, the special obsession of Scientology leader David Miscavige…

Three Church security guards were waiting for me at the airport. They escorted me to a car and I was brought directly to the European OSA office. Two female Sea Org officers were awaiting me.

They introduced themselves as Wahida Hickey, investigations director of OSA Europe and Natália Nemes (a young Hungarian lady of my age), who was the senior investigations and reports officer for Scientology in Europe. I knew I was in bigger trouble than I had expected. The presence of these two senior executives confirmed this was not just a misunderstood situation to clear up.

They told me briefly that I was considered to be a covert informant, sent by the National Security Office of Hungary. Wahida added that the game was over as a Scientologist had recognized me as one of the students of Dr. András Veér, the No.1. enemy of Scientology in Hungary. According to their theory, Dr. Veér had joined forces with the National Security Office and they sent in one of his best students (i.e. me) to spy on the church. In their view, the “destructive actions” I supposedly committed on the translations mission and my “suspicious behavior” (I was caught a few times reading communications addressed to other people, when my curiosity got the better of me) confirmed the accusation.


Therefore they were conducting a full and thorough investigation. At this point Natália took over. She called in a security guard (a young Hungarian named József ) and informed me that from now on, József would escort me everywhere and I would be under 24-hour watch until all my security checks and interrogations were complete. Also, we were to move in together in a separate room in one of the crew berthing buildings. I was forbidden to go anywhere alone; a security guard had to accompany me wherever I went. Note: security personnel had additional duties in the Church, not just the safeguarding of assets and personnel. They were also supposed to watch whether crew members were working hard and send back to work anyone they found loafing or taking unauthorized breaks. If someone slept in, it was security that sent a guard to get him out of the bed and drag him into work.

Natália also told me that I would receive a very long, e-metered Security Check called the “Germany Sec Check.” It was originally developed for Germany, where infiltration attempts by their national security agency were supposedly common. A specialist was flown in from Germany – a man trained by Miscavige’s direct underlings to conduct such special interrogations. The questions were not limited to suspected espionage activities – I had to confess every harmful act or transgression that sprang to mind during the sessions, even if these had nothing to do with the main line of questioning. Priest-penitent privilege did not apply, so they could use anything I said against me. Finally, the sessions were videotaped.

I was also told that the whole procedure might take several months because a) my auditor had other suspects to interrogate, so he had maximum 2-3 hours per day for me; b) all questions had to be fully cleared, i.e. the auditor asks the question repeatedly and extracts every associated harmful act of commission or omission until the question fails to produce any reaction on the E-meter; and c) the so-called Case Supervisor reviews the notes and worksheets of the auditor each night and if he made a mistake, then he had to restudy and/or drill certain procedures. In other words, they really wanted to make sure that nothing was missed.

Natália left the worst for last: as I was officially a suspicious individual who had caused a lot of problems for the Church and because they were being forced to provide food and shelter for such scum, I had to work in exchange for their generosity. For such untrustworthy lowlifes, heavy manual labor was the only option. The security guards were the appointed taskmasters and they were always briefed what I should do next.

The first major task was the construction of the new security office, scheduled to begin in the next three to four days. I had a fleeting thought that it was like forcing the inmates to build a new prison, but I dispelled this ill-intentioned idea from my mind at once.

It was already late, so József escorted me to our room. I already accepted the fact that I was now, in Scientology terms, an ethics/security particle [in Scientology, everything is considered a “particle” that travels on communication lines (including people) – Peter Bonyai], so I had no illusions regarding the quality of the berthing space I was being assigned. When I first entered the room, I knew instantly that I was considered a very dangerous operative. It was likely the worst room in the worst of the Sea Org hotels. The room was clearly targeted for renovation. All the plaster had been removed and the resultant debris was lying all over the floor, along with and a bag of cement, a bucket of paint etc. The solitary light source was a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling. The room was otherwise empty. József brought me to the attic to look for mattresses. We found two mouse-chewed mattresses and two sleeping bags, which were probably World War II vintage (or perhaps earlier). It was better than sleeping directly on the floor. Then I learnt the bathroom/shower usage rules for people like me. When I used the bathroom or shower, József waited outside until I finished; when he had to use the facilities, he called another guard to watch me until he was done.

So, I cleaned up the room a bit and prepared my mattress and sleeping bag. It turned out József had special nighttime orders: he had to place his mattress right in front of the door, then lock it and place the key carefully under his mattress.

I gave some thought to this whole new situation I found myself in. I was still a true believer, so I reluctantly accepted my fate and decided to fully cooperate.I thought that I now had a chance to fully clear my name and I would not have any barriers later to progress on the Bridge and achieving total spiritual freedom. I did not want to lose this opportunity, thus I had no other option.


The Buffalo Project

In July 2004, Miscavige found the underlying Why for all of our problems. It was now the second time he has done that – the first was the “Golden Age of Tech” in 1996, which according to the promises at the time should have solved the majority of our problems by then. European management sent two people, who showed us a video of a three-hour briefing that Miscavige had given aboard the Freewinds to OT VIIIs gathered from around the world.

We also received the transcription of the briefing for translation. Accidentally, Golden Era Productions sent the unedited version of the speech at first, which they hastily corrected by sending an “approved” transcript. My curiosity got the better of me, so I secretly copied both files and compared the two versions in my office. I found out that he had his speech censored. Two sentences were cut from the final version.


The first was a complaint about an org building where “pimps and prostitutes” were around and “people were fornicating” in its vicinity. The second was about Buffalo Org, and he made a remark that “he was sick of only hearing bad news from there.” It was not hard to guess why these were removed. His use of the word “pimp” was probably an image-related problem, and he did not want to confirm to staff members that there were indeed certain orgs in the world which were not doing well. I also suspected that the first version we received had already been edited once.

The briefing itself was centered on two new major international campaigns. The first was the “ideal org” campaign. Every org in the world (there were still around 150) was supposed to purchase a large (at least 3,000 square meters in size) building in a good location. The money was to be collected from local Scientologists by fundraising. He mentioned that a few locations of strategic importance (Washington D.C., London, Berlin etc.) would be financed centrally, but every other org had to solve this problem on its own. Budapest was not considered important, so we had to gather the full sum locally.

His explanation was simple. First, he told us what we already knew deep down – though Scientology did go through a great deal of expansion since L. Ron Hubbard had founded it, in terms of planetary Clearing, “we barely scratched the surface.” His “Ideal Org Program” was created to resolve this – he wanted huge org buildings in each major city in the world, and their effect on society would kickstart the creation of a new civilization and ultimately, a Cleared planet.

The second big announcement was the impending re-release of the fully “on-Source” versions of all the 18 Hubbard books on Dianetics and Scientology (called “Basics” in Scientologese), and the Congresses Hubbard had conducted for Scientologists (which we were already translating). Miscavige wanted all these materials released in one month. (Note: the Congresses were published in October, and the Basics were released two years later.)

We were required to watch the briefing three times, so we would not miss anything. A day or two later, the implementation order from Walter arrived – we had to restart fundraising for the building with a bang, and we had to find a building, get the money together and purchase it this year, and it had to be fully renovated and opened by 13th March, 2005. Additionally, we had to get as many dignitaries and celebrities to the grand opening as possible, and we were to convince the Mayor of Budapest to be one of the speakers and say a few good words about Scientology.

We also got instructions on how to proceed with fundraising. The write-up was primarily based on the experiences of a successfully completed building acquisition project in Buffalo. The key point was the recruitment of a head for the project. According to the write-up, it had to be one of the wealthiest local Scientologists (the richest one if possible). We were to convince the targeted person by telling him that taking responsibility for this project was totally in full adherence with the writings of L. Ron Hubbard (the self-appointed “Source” of Scientology) or written or authorized exclusively by him his best interests, as this way he could make sure that he would not be the only one making big donations. Also, the more he collected from others, the less he would have to donate himself.

There was also an ulterior motive – this prospective fundraising in-charge would have do a lot of convincing about the importance of donating for the purchase of the building, so he would also inadvertently convince himself to give much more than he originally planned. Somewhat surprisingly, the Church turned to an external source for the “technology” of fundraising. As part of our crash training to be fundraisers, we had to read a book called “Asking: A 59-Minute Guide to Everything Board Members, Volunteers, and Staff Must Know to Secure the Gift” by a top American fundraiser named Jerold Panas. According to the write-up, the most important rule in that book was the following: 90% of the donations come from 10% of the donors. So, the idea that we would need a large base of donors for a big project was false – which essentially meant that we were trying to do it the wrong way. Ganging up on the whales was preferred to getting everyone involved and contributing.

These short instructions were accompanied by an order – we were to fire a mission which would collect the money needed (around 2.5 million USD), find a suitable building and purchase it for the Church. It was not hard to guess who would get the job. I was not too happy about it, though. I knew the financial situation of most of the Hungarian Scientologists pretty well. It was not impossible to collect that much money, but a select few would have to make extraordinary sacrifices in order to make it happen. Additionally, these people were already contacted and “regged” numerous times for the building and had already given a lot of money.

There was one solution, though – mercilessly invading the privacy of the wealthiest people and ruthless and consistent use of high pressure tactics and manipulation techniques. I simply did not feel that I could do this for a prolonged time. There was always a line in fundraising I never had the inner strength to cross – when I felt that pressuring the subject further would cause too much distress or hardship for that individual. I think despite the conditioning I got in Scientology and its utilitarian ethics, I was still too empathetic to completely ignore other’s feelings. I knew this “blind spot” would be my downfall, but as a good Sea Org member I had no choice but to accept the mission. I felt it was my duty, and I had to put my personal feelings aside.

As a part of the briefing and preparation process, I have finished reading the book by Jerold Panas. In the previous eight years 100% of the materials I studied for training purposes was either written by Hubbard or directly recommended by him, so it was a strange feeling to read a book from a “wog” author.

Hubbard dedicated a separate policy letter to “false data” and the dangers associated with it. He even devised a procedure called “false data stripping” to nullify the effect so-called “false data” (i.e. anything that was not in alignment with Hubbard’s writings). So, as a good Scientologist, I tried to steer clear of “wog” textbooks to avoid any contact with all that dangerous false data floating around in society.

The Asking book was really good though. Unlike the writings of Hubbard, it was easy to understand, was not full of supposedly funny anecdotes which had nothing to do with the subject matter and it contained rather useful information.

As I already had some experience with fundraising, I could relate it to the contents of the book. I was in a bit better mood after reading it, but the goal still looked very distant and very hard to attain. I secretly hoped that Miscavige would present this plan to the general Scientology public in one of the upcoming events and sell them the idea so they would really fork over all their money.

I followed the instructions and started to interview and push the richest Scientologists to recruit a suitable leader for the project. Our sustained efforts were successful – eventually the three key people in the Scientology field (the CEO of the largest WISE management consulting company and the two wealthiest Scientologists) agreed to form a committee to raise the money. Cooperation was not always smooth in the beginning, as the enormity of the sum we needed made most of the members a bit tense. For example, one of the big supporters came to visit the org on a Wednesday afternoon (needless to say, this project was also subject to the “Thursday 14:00” rule) and brought 13,000 USD in cash with him. As “no one asked him to donate,” he went back to his hometown without giving the money, so I had to drive to his house Thursday morning to pick it up. As Scientologists were afraid to lose the “only path to spiritual freedom,” they rarely dared to do anything more drastic; that was about the most extreme level of passive resistance they put up.

— Péter Bonyai


Under the big tent in England

Some images from last night’s IAS gala in East Grinstead have started coming in…


Tonight it’s the Patron’s Ball, and the whales will get their trophies. Will Tom Cruise show up wearing his Freedom Medal of Valor? Tipsters, send us your snapshots!


Scientology’s celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs’ — now with comments!

[Judy Norton-Taylor and the Atlanta Ideal Org]

We’re building landing pages about two of David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, his celebrities and his ‘Ideal Orgs.’ We’re posting pages each day, and we’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about them, in order to build a record and maintain a watch as Scientology continues its inexorable decline — and yes, we finally have comments working on these new pages! Head on over and help us with links and photos and comments about all of your favorite celebrities and failing Ideal Orgs

Previously, we posted pages for celebrities Anne Archer, Beck Hansen, Catherine Bell, Chick Corea, Elisabeth Moss, Erika Christensen, Ethan Suplee, Giovanni Ribisi, Greta Van Susteren, Jenna Elfman, John Travolta, Juliette Lewis, Kelly Preston, Kirstie Alley, Laura Prepon, Marisol Nichols, Michael Peña, Nancy Cartwright, Tom Cruise Danny Masterson, Stanley Clarke, Edgar Winter, Alanna Masterson, and Billy Sheehan. And for the Ideal Orgs of Portland, Oregon; Sydney, Australia; San Diego, California; Denver, Colorado; Nashville, Tennessee; Perth, Australia; Tokyo, Japan; Sacramento, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Silicon Valley, California; Rome, Italy; Orlando, Florida; Moscow, Russia; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Seattle, Washington; Dallas, Texas; Melbourne, Australia; San Fernando Valley, California; Pasadena, California; Bogotá, Colombia; Budapest, Hungary; Phoenix, Arizona; London, England; and Orange County, California.

Today it’s Judy Norton-Taylor and Atlanta, Georgia!


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,259 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,862 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 405 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 293 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,468 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,242 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,016 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,362 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,928 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,596 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,856 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,896 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,608 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,134 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,223 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,363 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,683 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,539 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,658 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,014 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,316 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,422 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,825 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,696 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,279 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,784 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,028 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,137 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on October 6, 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

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates

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

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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