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


Why the IRS will likely do nothing about Mormon and Scientology illegal slush funds

Monday night, the Washington Post uncorked a stunning investigation based on a whistleblower’s confidential report to the IRS. The report, written by a former employee of a subsidiary of the Mormon church, claimed that the church has, in violation of its tax exempt status, amassed a fortune of $100 billion. And instead of making expenditures of that money for charitable purposes, it’s been using the money to bolster the church’s for-profit enterprises.

We wrote up a quick rundown of the story, and pointed out that the $100 billion represented about $6,667 for each of the 15 million members of the Mormon church. With about $3 billion in reserve, Scientology has a far higher per capita bloat, at about $150,000 per member, assuming a membership of only about 20,000. Will the IRS do anything about either of these organizations amassing such huge fortunes, violating their tax exempt status? For more thoughts on the Washington Post’s bombshell, Jeffrey Augustine penned this piece for us.

Situated on the outskirts of Salt Lake City, Ensign Peak is considered a sacred site by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. A few days after arriving in Salt Lake, Brigham Young and other early LDS leaders “raised an ensign to the nations” to signify that this land, its people, and their church would become a beacon unto the nations. A stone monument was erected atop Ensign Peak to signify this event in Mormon history.



LDS historian Leonard Arrington (1917-1999) titled his important 1958 study of 19th century Mormon economics Great Basin Kingdom. Arrington’s fascinating study details the many mistakes LDS leaders in Salt Lake City made in their efforts to become self-sustaining financially, agriculturally, and in every other way. Flush with cash from settlers passing through Salt Lake on their way to California’s gold rush country, the Mormons made some very costly and bad investments in hard rock mining, furniture manufacturing, and trying to grow cotton in the arid climate. The Mormon efforts at financial matters were so ineffectual that by the turn of the century the great majority of millionaires in Utah were non-Mormons. In 1900 most Mormons in Salt Lake City were farmers and small business owners. Very few Mormons had any real money. The Church itself was a few million dollars in debt. 1900 was also the year when Mormon President Lorenzo Snow made 10 percent tithing mandatory.

What a difference 119 years of mandatory tithing and systematic investing has made for the Mormons. If we accept the $100 billion number furnished by former Ensign Peak Advisor employee and whistleblower David A. Nielsen — and I certainly accept this number as credible — then the Mormons have averaged $840 million a year in income since 1900. Granted, the number is weighted from the 1980’s forward, but we use an average to make a point: In the Church of Scientology’s 69 years of existence, it has compiled what is believed to be about $3 billion dollars. This averages to $43 million a year; a mere fraction of the money amassed each year by the LDS. In purely economic terms, this makes an argument for a 10 percent tithe being much more lucrative for a Church over time (and much more manageable for its members) than the destructive and wanton wholesale plunder of its membership undertaken by the Church of Scientology. A 10 percent tithe allows for Church leaders and members to manage their finances on a predictable basis, this as opposed to the Scientology insanity which demands more money this week than last week when Thursday at 2:00 pm rolls around.

The recent Washington Post story that the LDS-owned Ensign Peak Advisers was holding a breathtaking $100 billion in cash certainly proved to be a beacon of unwanted attention for the Mormon leadership. In yesterday’s Deseret News, LDS leaders disputed the astronomical figure and argued that the Mormon Leaks of 2017 placed the number closer to $32 billion. A 2012 study by Reuters placed the number at $40 billion.

As reported by KUTV, the Mormon Leaks of 2017 provided documentation about 13 for-profit businesses with ties to the Mormon Church:

Ashmore Wealth Management LLT, valued at $1.9 billion
Argyll Research LLC, valued at $446 million
Clifton Park Capital Management, LLC, valued at $881 million
Cortland Advisers LLC, valued at $2.2 billion
Elkfork Partners LLC, valued at $3.7 billion
Flinton Capital Management LLC, valued at $2.9 billion
Glen Harbor Capital Management LLC, valued at $4.4 billion

Green Valley Investors LLC, valued at $2.1 billion
Meadow Creek Investment Management LLC, valued at $4.6 billion
Neuburgh Advisers LLC, valued at $2.8 billion
Riverhead Capital Management LLC, valued at $2.4 billion
Tiverton Asset Management LLC, valued at $1.6 billion
Tyers Asset Management, valued at $2.9 billion
The companies have a combined value of $32.8 billion

The new leak by David A. Nielsen has revealed Ensign Peak Advisors as the staggering non-profit treasure house of the Mormon faith. No one really knows how much money is in the Great Basin Kingdom. I think the figure far exceeds $100 billion from all sources.

Over at my blog, I wrote a story that referred to an image of a check that Tony had posted here. It was a refund check the Church of Scientology sent to Efrem Logreira. I researched the check and found that it was drawn on a Scientology bank account in a Mormon-controlled bank that is part of the larger Mormon-controlled Zions Bancorporation.


Zions Bancorporation is not without its scandals. In 2011, the bank was fined $8 million for violating US laws related to anti-money laundering and bank secrecy laws. FinCen cited 132 suspicious offshore wire transfers into Zions’ offshore entities totaling $12.3 billion. That the Church of Scientology banks with the Mormons is one of those things that makes Scientology-watching so interesting at times.

People have called me to ask if I think the IRS will do anything about this massive Mormon cash hoard. My answer: No. Given the political dynamics of impeachment and the upcoming 2020 election, the US Congress cannot afford to take on the LDS Church and thereby offend the large religious voting blocs — and this is particularly true in swing states.


All of the religious groups in America have a vested interest in protecting religious tax exemption. While the Evangelicals may damn the Mormons for not believing in the doctrine of the Trinity, both the Evangelicals and the Mormons agree that the IRS should not be allowed to even so much as look askance at their respective mountains of cash or how they spend their money.

This speaks to the larger issue of religion in America and its incredible power and privileges. From my perspective, the next victim of Religion Inc. in America will be the Johnson Amendment of 1947. If the Supreme Court topples this act — and Trump has certainly vowed to destroy it many times — then Religion Inc. will be allowed to spend its money on elections and candidates.

God help us if this happens.

— Jeffrey Augustine


Leaked document of the day

From the Valley Ideal Org documents release comes this item.

Another liability program, with another Scientologist trying to convince the church to let her back in the good graces through all of the sacrifices she’s been making.


Ethics Section LA Org
[name redacted]
20 January 2016


Condition of Liability

1. My friends are Scientologists that are on the Bridge. People that are not reasonable about ethics and apply the principles from The Way to Happiness. My friends apply tech and Scientology and get and receive help when they falter. They are not reasonable.

2. I reported and got one of my friends in to ethics to handle out ethics regarding drinking and promiscuity on the second dynamic. This is someone that I am really close to and have been reasonable in the past, and I risked her being very upset with me. She ended up doing an Ethics program and got this handled.

I’ve been trying to recover someone that I have had on my lines for a very long time into the Org for services. He hadn’t stepped into an org for 6 years and refused to. This could have cost me the comm line. I scheduled a Chaplin cycle with him and got him routed onto a course. I ended up getting him onto the HAS course that I am twinning with him on, even though I couldn’t afford it and didn’t have the time. I arranged this to happen and get my kids watched by someone to be able to do this.

There is this girl I that I have had on my lines that is very promiscuous and drinks and parties a lot. She isn’t a Scientologist and ended up watching the Going Clear documentary. She has created a lot of enturbulation for my family. She’s done some Life Improvement courses, but I spoke with her and got her to schedule a time to meet with a Chaplain at an org. I have spoken with the Chaplin and even confronted her parents, which was very difficult so this gets handled immediately and she can get her ethics in. She has agreed to do this.

3. I helped a man who wants to join Inglewood staff but has a lot of debt with high interest and high minimum payments. I went through his options on how to handle this so it was no longer a PTP for him and he ended up joining staff at Inglewood.

I handled some backlog in Div 6, I did four hours of work in that area and addressed hundreds of envelops which normally is something that the S.O. members do, this freed up some of that time and the back log so they were able to focus on starts for the week.

I donated to three raw public so that they could start Div 6 courses, they were reaching and had no money to actually start a course.

I heped get two young NOI boys started on Life Improvement Courses, they were totally raw public, and excited to get the data.

I spent six hours setting up for the Finish the Ride event. I went to the park and got together all the tables, snacks, risers, bags, and everything else that was needed to set up this event.

I did three hours of call in to confirm public for an event that was being held by 6C as well as confirming the volunteers from the Finish the Ride Event.

I worked with the D/ED and focused and helped get starts for two weeks, I ended up doing anything needed to get 5 public routed and started onto services at LA Org.

I pushed through and got a public totally routed and paid for Power and Power Plus at ASHO, they had no intention or money to start, and I helped with the logistics and did everything necessary to make this happen.


Source Code

“Let’s take the ant kingdom. The ants have been granted beingness. The ants themselves are not a beingness — that is, an independent beingness, such as a thetan. And here we get an oddity; we get an oddity in behavior in terms of ants. You go around and trifle with an ant. As a thetan, you go around and you start pushing around an ant: put a beam through his head, short-circuit out some of the working parts, make him walk in small circles, and you immediately start getting this, the idea that there’s something someplace that is getting awfully mad at you. Funny, isn’t it?” — L. Ron Hubbard, December 18, 1953


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Everyone’s postulates work. They are all working. Old postulates, present time postulates, and future postulates. Problem is, people don’t always know what their postulates are, they are busy convincing themselves that their latest show is the ‘true me’ to the point they don’t even realize they are lying about their own postulates. It isn’t about changing reality according to your will, that is just a side show for an OT showing off when done overtly. When done covertly, it is just painting a false picture around a person by feeding them false information. Future is determined by individual and individual+majority placing their agreed upon ideas of the future there. Individuals mostly not know what their postulates are, many exceptions to this of course, and also they not know that their first postulate is not know. You have to be able to not-know that you are not knowing in order to keep the game (with all its random factors) of life in motion.”


Random Howdy

“I think it’s safe to say at this point in the proceedings that the reason things are so bad in the unchurch of Scientology aren’t due merely to Miscavige being dumb or incompetent. It’s obvious that he is a purposeful sadist who actively enjoys plotting new ways to torment his captive flock. He’s King Joffery, he’s Ivan the Terrible. He’s freaking nuts.”


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] Leah Remini asks ‘Where is Shelly’ as the Church of Scientology turns 65!
[TWO years ago] When love triumphs over Scientology: A fairy tale of New York for the holidays
[THREE years ago] Oh look, Scientology started a blog, and it already won an award
[FOUR years ago] Compton scam rehab clinic definitely a Church of Scientology operation, witnesses say
[FIVE years ago] Rick Ross has a new book that will help you get someone out of Scientology
[SIX years ago] Happy Birthday, Church of Scientology!
[SEVEN years ago] Joel Sappell Finds Former Scientology Enforcer Marty Rathbun To Be a Reluctant Whistleblower
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology Sunday Funnies: In the Sea Org at 18 and on Top of the World!


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,662 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,791 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,295 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,815 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 835 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 726 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,033 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,901 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,675 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,449 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,795 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,361 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,280 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,448 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,029 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,290 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,328 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,041 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,566 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,093 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,656 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,796 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,116 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,972 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,091 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,446 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,749 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,855 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,257 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,129 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,712 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,207 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,461 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,570 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on December 18, 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, 14 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