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


Academic goes ‘Among the Scientologists’ to bring back what we already knew

[Westbrook appeared on Reza Aslan’s ill-fated CNN series]

Your proprietor spent a lot of time in academia and has a huge respect for the scholar who wants to advance knowledge in a particular area by doing the scholarly thing — investigating, listening, measuring, while trying to be as objective as possible.

That, however, does not describe what’s going on in Donald Westbrook’s newly published Among the Scientologists: History, Theology, and Praxis, and so we don’t really feel a motivation to dive into it too deeply. From the beginning, Westbrook’s sneering contempt for the journalists who have risked their careers, their livelihoods, and perhaps even their lives to get us information about what’s really going on in Scientology is tiresome.

This is a book that takes potshots at consummate professionals like Russell Miller and Lawrence Wright and then admits that its 69 interviews with Scientologists were arranged by the church’s own notorious Office of Special Affairs.

OSA may have hand-picked his interviews, but OK, let’s see what Westbrook actually came up with. He tells us that he’s the first person ever to get this kind of access, and that finally, we’re going to learn what Scientology is for the average, non-celebrity member, because that’s not what the public has been getting from lazy journalists.

Here are the major points that Westbrook learns from his revolutionary interviews with 69 members of the church.


— Scientologists consider Scientology less a faith than a workable philosophy they use in all aspects of their lives.
— Scientologists really do think they lived past lives that they can call back up during auditing.
— Scientologists don’t like to say that L. Ron Hubbard is a god, but their esteem for him borders on worship.
— Scientologists rationalize the high prices they pay for services by saying how much being a Scientologist means to them.
— Scientology is bringing in almost no new members by its traditional methods of outreach, and nearly all younger members were brought up in the church.
— Scientologists attribute mostly vague ‘gains’ to going ‘Clear,’ with some anecdotes of minor healing.
— Keeping Scientology Working is important because that’s the way Ron wanted it.
— Current Scientologists say David Miscavige is doing a hell of a job.
— Scientologists don’t consider themselves to be part of a cult.
— The social betterment groups are doing wonderful work.
— Psychiatrists are evil and have been sabotaging thetans for trillions of years
— Scientologists consider the world on fire, and Scientology is the only thing that will save it.

Westbrook is especially impressed with his “discovery” that 90 percent of Scientologists haven’t even reached Clear or the OT levels. But since he’s ignoring journalists, he may have missed that Karin Pouw gave us that exact figure some 18 years ago when we interviewed her at a Celebrity Centre lunch.

And that’s literally about it. That is the sum total of revelations that Westbrook gleaned from his 69 interviews, sprinkled throughout an apologist review of Scientology history that bends over backwards to tamp down every controversy and cast doubt on every claim of abuse.


Once we could see that this was all Westbrook had managed to get out of his 69 interviews, we were fairly stunned. Westbrook may have little respect for the journalists working in this field, but of course if you actually read the work by Tom Tobin and Joe Childs, Joel Sappell and Robert Welkos, Janet Reitman, Lawrence Wright, Jon Atack, Russell Miller, Richard Behar, Richard Leiby, Tracey McManus, Bette Orsini and so many others, you know that every single one of Westbrook’s “discoveries” has been revealed and documented countless times.

Yes, journalists write about celebrities and abuses and many attention-grabbing subjects about Scientology. But you have to be pretty blind to say that the many stories that have been done about the church didn’t spend a lot of time on the reasons people join, the reasons they stay, and the reasons they give so much money.

Westbrook, the Gordon Melton for a new generation, will no doubt be hailed by his fellow religious studies types for going among the Scientologists and bringing back this information. Thankfully, almost no one pays attention to them.

PS: Forgot to mention, this is a 332-page book supposedly about the current state of Scientology that doesn’t contain a single instance of two words: “Remini” or “Rinder.” Chew on that.



Bonus items from our tipsters

Hey, it’s the CST Christmas card! And our tipster put it next to a normal sized card to show just what a Big Being this thing is. It’s signed from the staff of CST — oh gosh, is this a holiday greeting from Shelly herself? OK, now we’re verklempt.



Scientology’s celebrities, ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and more!

[Erika Christensen, Ethan Suplee, and Juliette Lewis]

We’ve been building landing pages about David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, including celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and we’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about them. Head on over and help us with links and photos and comments.

Scientology’s celebrities, from A to Z! Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Scientology’s ‘Ideal Orgs,’ from one end of the planet to the other! Help us build up pages about each these worldwide locations!

Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society!


Now on sale: Twice the Miss Lovely!

Our new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. What a pleasure it is for us to work with her on this after we wrote about her ordeal as a victim of Scientology’s “Fair Game” campaigns in our 2015 book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, which is also on sale in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions.



[ONE year ago] A grim anniversary that should remind us Scientology has no business ‘testing’ anyone
[TWO years ago] Leah Remini told you about Scientology’s ‘Fair Game’ — and here’s the worst example of it
[THREE years ago] Leaked Scientology video: Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes front and center for ‘psych busting’!
[FOUR years ago] SUNDANCE BOUND: HBO’s film about Scientology will debut in Utah on January 25
[FIVE years ago] Sunday Funnies: Scientology Gets Ideal in Taiwan
[SIX years ago] Scientology and Past Lives: Was L. Ron Hubbard Actually Serious?


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,292 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,423 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,925 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,405 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 468 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 356 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,663 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,531 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,305 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,079 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,425 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,991 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 6,911 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,078 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,659 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,919 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,959 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,671 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,197 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,286 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,426 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,746 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,602 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,721 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,077 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,379 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,485 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,888 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,759 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,342 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,837 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,091 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,200 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on December 8, 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 Underground 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


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email