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When Scientology has you dividing up funerals because family never really matters

[Sunny and her grandparents]

“Wait, mom, you want me to do what now?” I asked her. She was sitting across from me, pen and paper at hand. I had been under 24 hours watch for three months. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was about to be let free. It was May 2004.

Some background information: I had been in Scientology for 32 years, 17 in the Sea Org. After many years of quietly questioning it, I finally had enough and knew I wanted out. I got myself busted off my post and put on decks, where I was under 24 hour watch while getting interrogations. My mom and I both already knew an SP declare was approved up the Scientology channels, and that was to be my fate.

And so she explained it again. “My parents are getting up there in years. Since you are getting SP declared, and I am disconnecting from you, we need to work out which funerals you go to and which funerals I will go to.”

“But my grandparents are alive. And in good health.”, I said.

“Yes, of course, but we need to plan for the future because I won’t be talking to you anymore after you leave Scientology.” She explained.


So she went through it again. I was allowed to go to the funeral of whoever died first, and she would just send flowers. For whichever grandparent died second, I was not to attend, because my mom wanted to be there.

I thought she was going to write this out, because she had the paper and pen in hand. Apparently this first set of instructions regarding the funerals was only verbally explained to me. (as a note, here we are 15 years later and my grandparents are still in good health, all things considered).

At the time of these discussions with my mom, I had very little contact or understanding of the world outside of Scientology. Of course I had glimpses here and there, but not too much. I figured I had to go along with whatever she (and anyone else) told me, until I was out of there. And so I went along with agreeing that I would attend the first and not the second funeral of my grandparents. Looking back on this, not only is it insane, it is incredibly heartless and cruel.

After we cleared up the funeral business, she went on to make a list of things that I needed to make sure that I did once I was out. She was giving me permission to visit my grandparents and let them know that I was doing fine, and that I was starting a new life. She wanted me to tell them that I was still in Scientology but no longer employed by the church, through my own decision. She also noted that she wanted me to make sure to “admire” their new house, and to make sure they have a good time with the visit. All of these steps were carefully listed out for me.


It even has a “Product” listed (which is a Scientology term, indicating what the end goal is of a particular set of steps). The Product: They know you are doing fine and they are VGI’s. (VGI’s stands for Very Good Indicators. Most people would say “happy”).

Additionally, I have been given more instructions on how/when I may visit or talk to my family from here on out. “After the visit, muzzled communication and infrequent phone calls, ‘doing well’ postcards and letters.” The note also says that if they want to visit with me, “its ok for a short visit.”

To be honest, I probably completely messed up with these instructions. I’ve never been much good at following instructions like this. I think I ignored them pretty quickly. I was very happy, once I left, to be able to fully be close with my family (not the quick social calls occasionally that I barely had time for while I was in the Sea Org). I ended up telling them that I was out of Scientology and never going back. I have never seen such bright eyes and huge smiles in my life. There may have been a couple of them cheering.

It saddens me sometimes to remember that some of my family members are still in Scientology, and that they are missing so much. I also see this with many of my friends who are ex-Scientologists. We have parts of our families that we miss and cannot fully connect with (physically and emotionally) because of the wall that Scientology puts up between family members. I try to remember every day to cherish and love the family that I have with me here and now, and hope, sometime in the future, the rest will join us. They are always welcome.

— Sunny Pereira


Bonus items from our tipsters

At Inglewood’s Maiden Voyage event, it was Hubbard’s fiction that was promising to bring them in!


And in Toronto, another local whale chips in…



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

[Elisabeth Moss, Michael Peña, and Laura Prepon]

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] Former Scientologists, academics, and Falun Gong get together for a Philly blowout
[TWO years ago] Hip-hip-hooray! We have the newest Scientology propaganda about creating an ‘Ideal World’
[THREE years ago] Scientology continues to push for ‘Battlefield Earth’ sales, and you can get this T-shirt!
[FOUR years ago] Scientology’s day care from hell: The scandal the church managed to keep hidden — until now
[FIVE years ago] Scientology begins hitting back at Ryan Hamilton and his lawsuits
[SIX years ago] Indie Scientologists Try to Spoil “Super Power” Release as it (Supposedly) Nears Debut
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology Reacts to TomKat Divorce from Nixon-Era Playbook


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,503 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,632 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,136 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,656 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 676 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 567 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,874 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,742 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,516 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,290 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,636 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,202 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,121 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,289 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,870 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,131 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,170 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,882 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,408 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,497 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,637 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,957 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,813 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,932 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,287 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,590 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,696 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,098 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,970 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,553 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,048 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,302 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,411 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on July 10, 2019 at 07:00

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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

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