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Adam Holland, Scientology whistle-blower who exposed Sea Org conditions, 1988-2019

We heard from a family member last night that Adam Holland, a former Canadian Sea Org member who went public about the Sea Org’s degrading conditions after leaving the organization in 2009, took his own life on February 17. He was only 30 years old.

Adam was born on August 8, 1988, into a Scientology family. His mother’s brother, Peter Byrne, is still today Executive Director at the Vancouver, B.C., Scientology org. His mother, Denise Byrne, met Paul Holland at the Toronto church.

For various reasons, Adam himself wasn’t very involved in Scientology until he was about 18 years old, but then he soon joined the Sea Organization, signing its billion-year contract in 2007. He spent some time getting trained in Los Angeles, but spent most of his time in Toronto where, in 2008, the Anonymous protests against Scientology happened, and Adam saw Scientology’s executives panicking. Security was increased, and the already stifling life of total dedication in the Sea Org became even more claustrophobic. By Christmas 2008, when he was denied permission to visit his family but he went for a week anyway, he was having serious doubts about Scientology.

He left the Sea Org in 2009, but then laid low until he really got himself into more trouble: He helped a former church member get a message to her twin sister at the Toronto org. The church also discovered that Adam had been posting criticism of Scientology online.


He was declared a “suppressive person” in March 2010, which meant that Scientologists who wanted to stay in the good graces of the church would have to cut off all ties with him.

“You’re going to have to leave,” his father told him. (By then his mother had left Scientology, and she didn’t disconnect from her son.)

“What can they take now?” he told MacLean’s magazine in 2012. “They’ve taken my dad, my home, my identity, my religious beliefs—everything.”


[Adam in MacLean’s magazine in 2012]

To cope with his family being ripped apart, Adam turned to protesting and speaking out in videos and to the media. In 2011, when news emerged that Scientology was planning a new major headquarters in Ontario, Adam explained to reporters that the remote location of the planned facility would make it especially dangerous for Sea Org workers who wanted to break free.

In one of those stories, the Toronto Star managed to get a statement from Adam’s father…

[Adam] received a “suppressive person declare” last year, which essentially exiled him from the church and its members, including his father, Paul. Reached by phone, Paul Holland said his son “needs to grow up,” but declined to discuss details of his faith.

Then, in 2013, he lost his mother.

We wrote a brief tribute to Denise Byrne when we learned about her death after a brief illness. She had been one of our most loyal readers and helped us out constantly on social media. Adam wrote to us last year, saying that it had taken him that long to put his own thoughts down about her.

“It’s been five years since she passed away but only this year was my mind ready to process the grief,” he wrote to us. “So I wrote about how she was there for me after the SP declare took Dad from me. This short piece about her represents the first time I have been emotionally ready to honor her role in my life after Scientology – and even still it is hard for me to read over it without crying.”

Sadly, we can’t find his tribute to her online anymore. If you locate it, please let us know.

In a video he recorded just a few months ago, Adam talked about how much depression he’d been dealing with. He also talked about his father remaining in the church.

“[My uncle] and my dad may never escape. They may actually have shifted into seeing Hubbard as a kind of deity of some sort, some sort of superhuman figure that should be worshipped.”


We’ll finish this tribute to Adam Holland with his own words, a 2012 letter he wrote to Scientology leader David Miscavige and made public. It seems a fitting memorial to a young man who refused to stand by and watch abuse happening around him.

Mr. Miscavige,

My name is Adam Holland. 24 years ago I was born to Scientologist parents, raised a Scientologist, and joined the Sea Org in 2007. After two years I became aware of the use destructive mind control techniques on Sea Org members by various seniors, including Sigourney Bergeron and CMO Canada staff. This includes isolation from outside family members, interrogation and ‘scare tactics’ such as threats of disconnection from family.

Later in 2009, after I discovered on-line reports which made it clear that not only does this behavior occur in all CLOs over the world, but that this abusive treatment is most extreme at INT. My father, Paul Holland, mentioned that he would write to you to have this matter resolved. In a final meeting with Yvette Shank, CO OSACAN, she spoke to me about the reports. On the matter of your personal behavior, she told me that that you appeared “friendly and caring” after briefly meeting you some time ago. She refused to believe that the reports could be true. I don’t wish to discuss the credibility of the sources, as I am an eyewitness to the treatment of Sea Org members, including the intimidation tactics used by “Mr. Z,” your RTC representative in LA. Rather then address these concerns, anyone who has made such a report has been declared a suppressive person, including myself. The enforcement of disconnection tears families apart, and causes untold hardship for those affected.

I don’t know if my father ever wrote to you, but the declare certainly has not been ‘handled’ and I miss him very much. David, I have never written to you about this, quite honestly, because I am sure that you don’t care about me and my family, or anyone else. If you aren’t doing anything about the mind control and intimidation in the Sea Org, and if you aren’t doing anything about the torn families, then I must conclude that you approve of and support these destructive actions. You are not operating behind the scenes anymore, you are now under the watch of the general public. It is about time you took some responsibility in these matters. Taking responsibility may include turning yourself in to the Police. It will take a lot of courage, but it would be the most honorable thing you could do

Adam Holland


‘Over the Rainbow’ premieres at True/False

A few reactions from some of the first people to see a new film about Scientology, Over the Rainbow, which premiered last night at the True/False Film Fest in Columbia, Missouri.



Marc Headley delivers again



HowdyCon 2019 in Los Angeles

Janis Grady has set the June 22 combined event. Her annual reunion and barbecue will coincide with the Saturday event for HowdyCon. If you wish to attend, you will need to RSVP with Janis (, and there will be a small contribution she’ll be asking for to help pay costs.

HOTEL: Janis tells us she’s worked out a deal with Hampton Inn and Suites, at 7501 North Glenoaks Blvd, Burbank, (818) 768-1106. We have a $159 nightly rate for June 21 and 22, and we’re looking into getting the same rate for June 19 and 20.

Also, we have now secured our Friday night venue in Los Angeles, a small theater similar to our venue last year in Chicago. If you plan to join us, please rsvp to your proprietor at tonyo94 AT gmail.



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 bragging on how well its Super Bowl ad did is the best thing ever
[TWO years ago] 15 of the strangest things Scientology’s two supreme leaders ever uttered
[THREE years ago] What Scientology kids are really taught to believe about other religions and ‘God’
[FOUR years ago] Sunday Funnies: Scientology going all-in with fundraising and fire fighters
[FIVE years ago] AOLA’s grand re-opening — a look at the last time Scientology cut the ribbon at Big Blue!
[SIX years ago] Is The L.A. Cyclist Who Was Nearly Killed in Hit-and-Run a Scientology “Sea Org” Worker?
[SEVEN years ago] When Scientologists Talk To Each Other About Scientology


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,375 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,506 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,008 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,488 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 551 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 439 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,746 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,614 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,388 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,162 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,508 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,074 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 6,994 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,161 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,742 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,002 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,042 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,754 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,280 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,369 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,509 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,829 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,685 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,804 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,160 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,462 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,568 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,970 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,842 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,425 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,920 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,174 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,283 days.
Adam Holland had not seen his father for 3,261 days. And now he never will.


Posted by Tony Ortega on March 1, 2019 at 07:00

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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 | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele


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