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


A paradox of apathy and zealotry: What props up Scientology, from within and without

[Ruben Celiberti]

When you think about it, the amount of information that has come out about Scientology and its abuses in the last decade is simply stunning. From the “Truth Rundown” by the Tampa Bay Times in 2009, to Lawrence Wright’s killer 2011 New Yorker article, subsequent book, and then his 2015 HBO film with Alex Gibney. And in three seasons of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, just think about the vast amount of territory she and Mike Rinder have covered.

There will always be new stories to cover, but this organization has been laid open time and time again, and communities increasingly are rising up to protest Scientology’s attempt to infiltrate their schools and open new drug rehabs.

We know that Scientology is struggling to bring in new people and hang on to the people it has. It’s never had the millions it claims, but from a height of about 100,000 people around the year 1990, recent executives who defected tell us they believe the active worldwide membership is now under 20,000.

But with all of that, we were reminded this past week that many people, maybe the majority, feel that it’s a waste of time to do something about Scientology’s abuses. And also, that its remaining members are as fervent as ever. L. Ron Hubbard remains, to them, mankind’s greatest friend.

We’ve spoken before about what we characterize as an intellectual, “what’s the fuss?” attitude that we find from some journalists when it comes to Scientology. A clear example of that occurred as a response to journalist Yashar Ali, who wrote a cutting Twitter comment about Tom Cruise, who was linked with Elisabeth Moss in a probably completely bogus tabloid report…



Yashar has a huge following, and his stories about Scientology have been meaty scoops. But not everyone appreciates his point of view.

Writer Parker Molloy almost perfectly represented the “what’s the fuss, it’s no different than any other religion” attitude with her response to Yashar…


Then, to make it clear that she sees Yashar’s concerns about Scientology’s abuses as an unhealthy obsession, she added…


Sigh. We think law enforcement is going to get more active about Scientology, and we think it’s going to happen this year. But if it doesn’t happen, a big part of the reason why is this attitude by so many, that although Scientology is ripping apart families, condoning child abuse, and extorting people financially, it just doesn’t matter. Every other problem in the world, including those in the Catholic church, will have to be taken care of first, so David Miscavige can go on wreaking havoc for as long as he wants to.


As for the second point we wanted to make, about Scientologists and their fealty to L. Ron Hubbard. We had a video we thought you might like to see. It was shot at the Tampa Ideal Org recently, and featured a Scientologist high on Hubbard.


This enthusiastic Hubbardite is Ruben Celiberti, and he’s going to be featured at a Father’s Day celebration at those cute front-group storefronts that were created out of the Clearwater Bank Building on Fort Harrison Avenue.

Celiberti will be speaking about his own father in what we’re sure will be a very inspirational address. But we especially enjoyed Scientology’s press release about the event, which included this quote from Hubbard: “In spite of all, one must remember that they are the only parents one has. And as such, no matter what, one should honor them and help them.”

That’s really rich, especially if you know how Hubbard treated his own parents.

So, anyway, as you wait for something to be done about Scientology’s abuses, keep in mind what we’re up against from the “what’s the fuss” crowd, and that the Hubbard drug is still a powerful one for many people.


Bonus items from our tipsters

We’re at a loss here. Anyone know what’s going on here?



HowdyCon 2019 in Los Angeles

THURSDAY NIGHT OPPORTUNITY: This year’s HowdyCon is in Los Angeles. People tend to come in starting on Thursday, and that evening we will have a casual get-together at a watering hole. But we also want to point out that Cathy Schenkelberg’s “Squeeze My Cans” will be running at the Hollywood Fringe, and we encourage HowdyCon attendees to see her show on Thursday night, June 20. Tickets and more dates available here.

Friday night June 21 we will be having an event in a theater (like we did on Saturday night last year in Chicago). There will not be a charge to attend this event, but if you want to attend, you need to RSVP with your proprietor at tonyo94 AT gmail.

On Saturday, we are joining forces with Janis Gillham Grady, who is having a reunion in honor of the late Bill Franks. Originally, we thought this event might take place in Riverside, but instead it’s in the Los Angeles area. If you wish to attend the reunion, you will need to RSVP with Janis (janisgrady AT gmail), and there will be a small contribution she’s asking for in order to help cover her 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 19 to 22. Note: You need to ask for the “family reunion” special rate.



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!

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



[ONE year ago] Russia’s ineffective Scientology crackdown includes smearing foreign leaders
[TWO years ago] Scientology forks over phone numbers to federal judge, who puts his foot down again
[THREE years ago] Scientology gets judge disqualified in forced-abortion lawsuit and wants recent order voided
[FOUR years ago] Scientology’s wealthy donors play royalty in Italy while Paulette Cooper takes San Diego
[FIVE years ago] Marc Headley returns to Scientology and finds a whole new ballgame
[SIX years ago] Your Hot Scientology Event in Los Angeles Tonight
[SEVEN years ago] Ursula Caberta on Scientology: “You Have to Be Always Watching Them”


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,452 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,581 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,085 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,605 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 625 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 516 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,823 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,691 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,465 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,239 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,585 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,151 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,071 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,238 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,819 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,080 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,119 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,831 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,357 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,446 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,586 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,906 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,762 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,881 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,237 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,539 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,645 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,047 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,919 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,502 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,997 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,251 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,360 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on May 20, 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 | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email