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We got a correspondent into Scientology’s New Year’s Event Saturday in Los Angeles

[An artist’s conception of Saturday night’s shindig]

Once again, we got a correspondent into a major Scientology event. Our tipster attended Saturday night’s New Year’s Event held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Scientology customarily films its New Year’s event a few days early, pretending it’s actually New Year’s Eve, so that the video can be screened on December 31 at its orgs around the world. Here’s what our stringer saw…

This year, the metal detectors and bag search were at the entrance to the outside waiting and social area. In the past, the metal detectors and bag search were at the doors to the Shrine Auditorium building itself.

As always, a ticket and photo ID were required for entry. The tickets were individually bar-coded, tied to one’s ID, and scanned upon entry.

The Shrine Auditorium (capacity 6,300) was easily 95 percent full. I don’t know if the church hired seat fillers. All I can do is report what I saw, and the Shrine has not been this full for a New Year’s Event for years.

As usual for a New Year’s Event, there was no mention of Youth for Human Rights, United for Human Rights, or the Truth About Drugs. These IAS-sponsored activities are treated as being “separate” from the Church of Scientology. They are promoted at the IAS event in the fall.

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Although the ABLE (Association for Better Living and Education) programs Applied Scholastics, Narconon and The Way To Happiness were promoted, Criminom was not mentioned at all. Further, the ABLE booth after the event did not have any Criminon materials. This ends a year where Criminon has apparently not been promoted at any of the major events.

It again appears Narconon is undergoing mission creep. In addition to drug addiction treatment, it is also doing drug education, duplicating the efforts of The Truth About Drugs.

Although he wasn’t identified by name or affiliation (i.e., the Nation of Islam), NOI Minister Tony Muhammad appeared in a video testimonial for the The Way To Happiness. He was identified as a “The Way To Happiness International Ambassador.”

WISE (World Institute of Scientology Enterprises) received a lot of time during the event, and (assuming they are to believed) had some of the most substantive and impressive testimonials, results and video vignettes.

As always at the New Year’s Event, David Miscavige honored the Power and Elite FSMs and welcomed them onto the stage.

A Power FSM is a Scientologist who escorted at least one-hundred people onto and up the Bridge in the last twelve months.

There were two Elite FSMs. An elite FSM is a Scientologist who in the last calendar year helped at least one thousand people onto and up the Bridge.

(The key language is “onto and up the Bridge.” If a someone was a Scientologist prior to 2018 but his FSM got him to do a Scientology Service during 2018, that person counts as someone who the FSM helped “up the Bridge” and thus counts towards Power or Elite FSM status.)

Three people with the last name of “Muhammad” were Power FSMs. I strongly believe NOI Sister Nayyirah Tivica Muhammad and NOI Minister Tony Muhammad were among them, but the names scrolled by so fast I can’t be entirely sure. I am bit more sure that Sister Nayyirah Tivica Muhammad’s name was included than Tony Muhammad’s name.

A record 201 FSMs personally helped Scientologists go 37,000 steps up the Bridge

The featured Ideal Org opening was Detroit. Detroit was the 70th Ideal Org.

The new Super Bowl ad was shown. It was as professional, visually striking, vague, lacking in substance and ultimately meaningless as all of the prior Super Bowl ads. The ad got a great response.

Touted as coming in 2019 were:

Scientology Network Television 2019, which will be “earth shaking.”

“A brand new Golden Age of Tech Phase 2 for both the new generation and your next generation.” “It will be a technical avalanche for 2019.”

New Ideal Orgs opening in Kansas City, Missouri; Columbus, Ohio; Ventura, California; and Austin, Texas, “just for openers, by mid-year.”

The new Advanced Org in Africa is opening on January 1, 2019. This is the first new Advanced Org in 35 years.

In conclusion, the Scientology TV, Ideal Org and Ideal Narconon programs continue apace. If there is a new emphasis, it is the Ideal Mission program. It appears Miscavige is intent on rebuilding the Mission network as Ideal Missions. Also, after a relatively quiet year in the area of “Tech,” it appears we can expect a lot in that area in 2019.

The event lasted two hours.

There were some members of the Nation of Islam in attendance. They could be identified by their NOI Crescent and Star lapel pins.

The after-event had very, very light regging. The regges respectfully accepted “no” for an answer and there was no pressure.

 
Thank you for that report, tipster. We look forward to some reactions from our veteran commenters, particularly those who spent a long time in the church. And now, back to our year in review as we look back at the stories of April 2018…

 

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In April, we were fortunate to have another investigative gem from Chris Owen, who found documented evidence that L. Ron Hubbard had tried to buy off the country of Malawi in order to establish a major base of operations there. Nothing came of it, but that didn’t keep Hubbard from looking for another country to take over!

The next day we described some of the ways a private investigator was conducting a “noisy investigation” on Leah Remini by showing up at the homes and workplaces of her family members. Leah wasn’t having it and fired back on Instagram.

April is also the time that the Writers of the Future charade returns, and on the event’s first day, we connected it to Scientology’s abuses. Increasingly, participants are starting to ask questions about this unseemly farce.

Sunny Pereira helped us dig into a 1952 L. Ron Hubbard lecture to learn the full context of its famous quote, “The only way you can control a people is to lie to them.” Turns out it’s even worse when you look at the full speech.

We had a fun update to the news that wacky Nevada Scientologist Brent Jones was running for lieutenant governor — his wife, Aimee, was running for his old Assembly seat, and both were preparing for a competitive Republican primary. And Aimee’s campaign manager tried to convince us that Aimee’s long involvement in Scientology didn’t mean that she was a member of the church. Yeah, right.

After seeing some of the “independent Scientologists” fall for a Washington guy who says he’s the returned L. Ron Hubbard, we looked into Justin Alan Craig, who turned out to be a convicted felon with some pretty alarming things on his record. But our conversation with him over Messenger was one of the highlights of the year.

The next day we had an unexpected treat: Steve Hall provided yet another layer of confirmation that the “original OT 8” issue, a bizarre document written by Hubbard claiming that he was the predicted Antichrist, was genuine. Original OT 8 was delivered on the ship Freewinds for only a few weeks in the summer of 1988, but was quickly replaced when it caused so much upset to Scientologists.

On April 19, just for the fun of it we finally took a deep dive into one of Hubbard’s most notorious lectures, the “Class 8: Assists” recording that has him describing in full the “Xenu” story for a select group of his followers while they were at sea aboard the yacht Apollo. Hear Hubbard describe Scientology’s greatest, wackiest secrets in his own words! And even better, posting this story encouraged Hana Whitfield to send us her own OT 3 story, a chapter from her upcoming book!

A few days later we had an update on Tommy Davis, which always fascinates our readers. Now that his divorce has gone through, Tommy had a new look and a new girlfriend, and he seems to be thriving now that he’s working again for his father’s friend, real estate mega-investor Tom Barrack.

On April 26, we finally got to do a story we’ve been looking forward to for a long time. Kim Poff, after winning a settlement from the state of Oklahoma, could finally speak freely about what she saw when she tried to get her bosses in state government to shut down Scientology’s flagship Narconon rehab there. But as Kim explained, although she found horrifying conditions at Narconon Arrowhead, her bosses were simply too afraid to take on Scientology, even after three patients had died at the facility in a nine-month period.

The next day, we had our most-read story of the month, our interview with Chrissie Carnell and her husband, rocker Cedric Bixler-Zavala, about the harassment they’ve been experiencing since Chrissie accused Scientology actor Danny Masterson of rape. The couple has been through a bewildering series of events, including the violent death of their dog. Chrissie tells us that they continue to undergo harassment, and more than two years after she and three other women came forward, LA District Attorney Jackie Lacey has yet to make a decision on whether to charge Masterson.

We finished up the month by marking David Miscavige’s 58th birthday, and asked his former colleagues for memories of his birthdays past.

MOST-READ STORIES OF APRIL 2018:
1. Strange days for a woman accusing Danny Masterson of rape — and for her rocker husband
2. Scientology cranks up its ‘noisy’ investigation of Leah Remini, and she fires back
3. Former Scientology mouthpiece Tommy Davis has a new look and a new friend in his life
4. Scientologists, gullible? Would they fall for a felon saying he’s the returned L. Ron Hubbard?
5. David Miscavige turns 58 today, and we’re celebrating with tales of birthdays past

 
A LOOK BACK AT APRIL 2017: Scientologist actor Erika Christensen raised eyebrows for playing a Christian convert on film. We dug up a reference to ‘Mount Xenu’ in a Hubbard lecture. Dee Findlay schooled the Clearwater city council. A 1973 documentary featuring Nan McLean resurfaced.

A LOOK BACK AT APRIL 2016: David Miscavige was filmed opening an Ideal Org in Atlanta. Phil and Willie Jones put up a billboard in Los Angeles about Scientology disconnection. We revealed that Giovanni Ribisi’s daughter Lucia Ribisi had ditched Scientology. The Gregg Hagglund story — seeing a Fair Game operation from both ends. How David Miscavige ripped apart his own family, and how Lisa Marie Presley became (at least for a short time) his biggest nightmare. David Miscavige threatened to sue his own Dad, and we were live on the scene as Laura DeCrescenzo’s lawsuit survived a second motion for summary judgment. Was this the greatest single month for news in the history of the Bunker? It was certainly up there.

A LOOK BACK AT APRIL 2015: We broke down the elements that made SNL’s parody, ‘Neurotology,’ so great. We brought you full audio tapes of police interviews with the Scientology private eyes who stalked Ron Miscavige. And we dug up the true history of Tom Cruise and Mimi Rogers.

A LOOK BACK AT APRIL 2014: We checked with his tailor to find out David Miscavige’s actual height. Tax documents spelled out Scientology’s amazing cash value. And an insider provided us documents showing that Narconon Arrowhead is running on fumes.

A LOOK BACK AT APRIL 2013: Live-blogging Rock Center‘s Narconon expose, behind the scenes at Int Base with “Love in the Time of Miscavige,” and Narconon in Georgia raided.

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Five of our favorites from the most-upvoted comments of April 2018

April 5: Mike Rinder
Can’t help but wonder why they didn’t put the buttons [at the Super Power Smell Wall] on top so the frozen yogurt doesn’t ooze onto your finger when you push it? Maybe this is in a Hubbard policy that I am unfamiliar that explains 50’s frozen yogurt dispenser tech. Though our local frozen yogurt outlet always seemed a trifle expensive, I’m thinking now it is a bargain — I can hone my sense of smell first and then use the stuff to give my taste buds some strong exercise and practice. And bonus: the local store has every one of these flavors and about 20 MORE. So it really IS a bargain. There’s probably a multi-million dollar marketing idea here — “Eat Super Power Frozen Yogurt and become a Superhero” or “Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a steaming locomotive, able to bend spoons with your mind, it’s Super Frozen Yogurt Power — cheaper, faster and tastier” or something. If we opened up in one of those empty storefronts in downtown Clearwater and promoted to the tens of Scientologists that this was the true golden age of smell… the potential is unlimited. Going to consult with Jefferson Hawkins.

April 6: John P.
“The youngest, boldest, coolest religion.” Yes, your “confront and shatter” tech of running away from anyone who mocks you on a street corner makes you the boldest religion ever. And the Sea Org uniforms, made of finest polyester (including the odd solid color ties) definitely makes you ooze coolness from every pore. The photos at your events showing your few remaining members show that you’re the youngest religion in town.

April 20: Sherbet
Thorsten’s elephant hide camera bag? Me no Leica.

April 21: Once_Born:
As a never-in, I’ve spent a long time trying to get my head around the kind of situation described above. How and why did people come to accept something so bizarre as life on a vessel of the Sea Org as an everyday thing — and then go on from there to high weirdness? It becomes familiar and I lose the sense of how strange it all is myself. Then some little detail brings the character of the situation back with full force. Hubbard in a Naval uniform and a cape. It’s such a dress-up play combination — and yet he’s surrounded by people who defer to him and believe the space opera nonsense he spouts without question.

April 24: John P.
If Scientology’s “admin tech” worked, businesses large and small would be flocking to it, and its association with Scientology wouldn’t matter. But even the most naive of chiropractors and dentists look at the dreck that WISE ladles out and can see that it’s useless. So I challenge [Aimee Jones’ campaign manager] Laurel Fee to give us concrete evidence that “all kinds of people take their courses.” And of course, we won’t even get into the unlikeliness of people taking Scientology courses just for enrichment, kind of like taking a class at the local junior college for fun.

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

[Alanna Masterson, Terry Jastrow, and Marisol Nichols]

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.

 
——————–

THE WHOLE TRACK

[ONE year ago] Year in review: In April, Dee Findlay delivered a truth bomb to Scientology in its spiritual mecca
[TWO years ago] A Christmas Eve treat: Our man Down Under on Scientology’s antipodean troubles in 2016
[THREE years ago] Release the hounds! Scientology suddenly getting more aggressive with media: Report
[FOUR years ago] As Luka Magnotta is convicted, questions about his Scientology involvement remain
[FIVE years ago] The Underground Bunker Year-in-Review starts today: A January for the ages!
[SIX years ago] Scientology’s 2012 in Review: Springtime for Miscavige

 
——————–

Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,308 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,439 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,941 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,421 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 484 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 372 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,679 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,547 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,321 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,095 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,441 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,007 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 6,927 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,094 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,675 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,935 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,975 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,687 days.
Ginger Sugerman has not seen her three children in 1,460 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,213 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,302 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,442 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,762 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,618 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,737 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,093 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,395 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,501 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,904 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,775 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,358 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,853 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,107 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,216 days.

——————–

3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on December 24, 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

 

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