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


Kansas City: Don’t panic. Your skyline is screwed, but Scientology isn’t taking over.

Ah, Kansas City. One of the best places we have ever lived, and one of the most underrated cities we’ve ever known. What a helluva town.

The recent panic in Kansas City media about Scientology’s “Ideal Org” nearing completion has us nostalgic for the place where we lived for a time about 15 years ago — and loved every minute of it. We actually lived on the Kansas side of the state line that runs through town in a fabulous little KCK neighborhood, Westheight, that even most of the locals had never heard of. It was a short bicycle commute downtown to a great job as managing editor at a weekly newspaper, The Pitch, where we wrote a news and politics column from the perspective of a grilled Kansas City Strip bone-in steak. (Not kidding about that. Here’s a sample column, showing how, as usual, the local daily newspaper, the Kansas City Star, was dead wrong about an issue.)

Alas, our stay there was all too short as we were whisked away to our first editor-in-chief job in, of all places, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. But anyway, enough reminiscing. Kansas City is naturally buzzing about the big sign Scientology has put on top of its Ideal Org at 18th and Grand, which has permanently altered the downtown landscape.

But just as the case was in Detroit a few months ago, the locals are panicking about something they really shouldn’t worry too much about.


For years, we’ve followed the progress of David Miscavige’s “Ideal Org” program as he’s traded dull local strip-mall churches (known as “orgs” to Scientologists) for gleaming new cathedrals, promising the local parishioners who raise millions for the projects that the new facilities will produce a land rush of interest in the organization.

And it does produce a lot of interest, for a few days, at least. But after David Miscavige comes to town for the grand opening — which will be closed to press and the public — the building will soon go moribund as reality sets in: Ideal Orgs are not bringing in a rush of new people.

As Paul Burkhart explained to Leah Remini on a recent episode of Scientology and the Aftermath, the Ideal Orgs he had visited were empty. Scientology’s Michael Chan admitted in a lecture last month that the Ideal Orgs are producing only “one or two new starts a week” — and we know from Scientology’s own marketing materials that those course starts are often just members of the org staff taking classes.

The Ideal Orgs are a bust. So why does Miscavige keep building them? Because it’s the only thing he has that he can use to convince his wealthy donors that Scientology is “expanding” despite all the evidence to the contrary. And his donors want to believe him. They’ll ignore any evidence of what’s really going on, that Scientology, according to the best sources, is now down to fewer than 20,000 active members around the world.

But in Kansas City, the local press appears to be unaware of this background material, or even to have seen Leah’s show. (Except for The Pitch. Naturally, our old rag seems to know what’s what.) The Kansas City Star dutifully repeated Scientology’s absolutely bogus claim that it had TEN THOUSAND members in the Kansas City area.

Well, that’s the Star, clueless as ever.

We’d be shocked if the Kansas City org had more than 100 active members at this point. The other couple of hundred people who show up for the grand opening will come from other areas, flown in just for the occasion. (Here’s our prediction: The grand opening will have about 400 people in attendance, and Scientology will claim 2,000.)

Kansas City, don’t panic. After the Scientologists hold their little party, that Ideal Org will go very quiet. And you can point and laugh at that sign on the skyline, a monument to David Miscavige’s hubris.

To prepare you further, please enjoy these two brief videos which explain the Ideal Org program and its recent opening in Detroit…



Hurricane Mirit

Our readers have been happily enjoying the perils of Mirit Hendrickson, a Scientology mini-celebrity who has been making a big effort with the Volunteer Ministers at disaster scenes in the last year.

In October, VMs fanned out after Hurricane Michael hit Florida and caused vast devastation.

But in a disaster, sometimes miracles do happen, and Mirit happily announced this week that in all the chaos after the Hurricane, she met and fell in love with Todd Terrell, president of the United Cajun Navy.

We knew our readers who had been following Mirit’s adventures would want to know.



Strong words in Germany

We’ve told you for some time that one of the Ideal Orgs scheduled to open in the next couple of years will be in Dusseldorf. Scientology already has Ideal Orgs in Berlin, Hamburg, and Stuttgart in a country whose government has been very harsh to the organization in the past.

And now, a press article reports that the Dusseldorf project is not happily anticipated by the locals:

The Catholic Church in Dusseldorf is extremely hostile to the project. “For us, this is not a religion, but rather a cult of psychology, which bears only the title ‘Church’ and pretends to be a religious association,” said Managing Director Michael Hänsch.

Guess who just lost out on his chance to speak at the grand opening, sheesh.


Start making your plans!


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

[Kelly Preston, Beck, and Anne Archer]

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!

Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in our weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] Scientology’s ‘scripture’ includes a thoroughly debunked mammoth-meat hoax
[TWO years ago] Last night’s family on ‘Leah Remini’ found themselves targeted by Scientology attack site
[THREE years ago] David Bowie, 1947-2016
[FIVE years ago] Yes, that was a Scientology ad you saw during the football game
[SIX years ago] Blogging Dianetics, Part 2: The State of Clear!
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology’s “Super Power Rundown:” What is it, Anyway?


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,326 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,457 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,959 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,439 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 502 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 390 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,697 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,565 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,339 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,113 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,459 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,025 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 6,945 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,112 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,693 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,953 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,993 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,705 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,231 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,320 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,460 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,780 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,636 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,755 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,111 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,413 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,519 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,922 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,793 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,376 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,871 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,125 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,234 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on January 11, 2019 at 07:00

E-mail tips to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We also post 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 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. Our book about Paulette, 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, 1995-2018 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2018), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | 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 | 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, or 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