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Detroit going Ideal! Scientology throws its invite-only party in Motor City today

The stage is set for Scientology’s Ideal Org grand opening in Detroit today at 1 pm. We hope to have live reports from a couple of correspondents on the scene.

This is the first Ideal Org opening in the US since Orlando in May. Scientology was very secretive about that shindig, but it was even more stealthy about its September grand opening in Stuttgart, Germany.

The local Detroit press has been all over today’s event, probably at least in part because the location is so prominent — no one could miss the giant “Scientology” sign on the top of the old Standard Federal Savings and Loan building on West Jefferson at Griswold, though Scientology kept the sign under wraps until the last minute.

To help set the scene today, we quickly put together a short video, using a couple of shots taken by reader Shorpy, who checked out the location yesterday…



We’re hoping Shorpy and perhaps some others can give us some dispatches today as Scientology does its best to keep prying eyes away from its celebration.

Rod Keller has been doing yeoman’s work tracking Scientology’s Ideal Org program for us in recent years. We asked him for his thoughts on today’s milestone.

Detroit is the org that showed me that Scientology is sincere in planning every single org to go Ideal. Some accused them of buying buildings intending to keep them empty forever, serving only to extract donations from local publics. Many Ideal Org buildings do stand empty for now, but if they can shovel this kind of money to open a disaster like Detroit — which has almost no Scientologists — it shows that in Buenos Aires, Athens, Port Elizabeth and Montreal they have a plan for completing them all as well.

Detroit has the best org location to open in a long time, facing Hart Plaza and surrounded by the city’s main hotels, government buildings, arenas and stadiums. It stands in opposition to recent Ideal Orgs in suburban locations and office parks, such as Birmingham, Orlando, and Perth. (And Boston, to come.) This is an org with tremendous walk-in potential.

Each Ideal Org that opens increases the number of org square feet per Scientologist. They continue to lose membership worldwide at the same time that they add about 300,000 square feet of org space per year. That can’t go on indefinitely. They shuffle in Sea Org members, Russian, Mexican and Taiwanese staff members to fill staff positions, but in a few years the newcomers fade away leaving a small staff in a large building. Scientology’s goal is to reverse that trend, using Scientology TV to attract recruits into gleaming Ideal Orgs and to drive a new era of global expansion. That hasn’t happened yet and Season 2 shows nothing new that Season 1 failed to deliver.

We have to agree with everything Rod said. This is a terrific location for an Ideal Org — Shorpy showed us around when we were in town in 2015 — but like the rest, that potential will be wasted as it inevitably goes empty.

But Dave has his grand opening, and he can boast about it at the New Year’s event to the wealthy donors. And that’s all that matters.


More proof that the Smiths are out — Leah!


Here’s a little something we’ve been keeping under our hat we can tell you about now. Leah Remini will be appearing on an episode of Jada Pinkett Smith’s Facebook Live show Red Table Talk this season.

Producers reached out to us several weeks ago for permission to use some photos in the show, and that’s how we knew it was coming. We’re looking forward to these former Scientologists chat about their time as celebrities in the church.

We’ve been telling people that Will and Jada have been out since 2015, and that Will was only a dabbler to begin with, but Jada was pretty hardcore, we were told. We’ll be interested to see how she describes it in the show.


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

[The Cambridge Ideal Org]

We’re building landing pages about David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, including celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs.’ 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.

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, Billy Sheehan, Judy Norton-Taylor, Terry Jastrow, Eddie Deezen, Sofia Milos, Bodhi Elfman, Rebecca Minkoff, Doug E. Fresh, and Christopher Masterson. 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; Orange County, California; Atlanta, Georgia; Auckland, New Zealand; Miami, Florida; Basel, Switzerland; Berlin, Germany; Birmingham, England; Brussels, Belgium; and Buffalo, New York.

Today it’s Cambridge, Ontario!


Coming November 1

Paulette tells us we can reveal the publication date she has set. We’ll let you know when pre-ordering begins.


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,237 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,870 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 413 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 301 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,476 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,250 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,024 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,370 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,936 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,604 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,864 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,904 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,616 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,142 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,231 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,371 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,691 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,547 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,666 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,022 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,324 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,430 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,833 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,704 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,287 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,792 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,036 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,145 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on October 14, 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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