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With Scientology largely shut down by the pandemic, the few remaining members reminisce

[Ah, back in the day…]

We’ve been telling you for years that Scientology is in trouble. From a height of about 100,000 active members around the year 1990 (Scientology has never had the “millions” it’s always claimed), that number has steadily decreased until our most recent estimate from a recent high-ranking defector is fewer than 20,000 members around the world.

And that was before the coronavirus pandemic shut down the orgs around the world. (Scientology is still keeping its “advanced” Orgs in places like Los Angeles and Clearwater, Florida going, and with the blessing of local government officials.)

Scientology has always had a high churn rate, with most members only joining for a short time, and so as an organization it has relied on a heavy emphasis of constant recruiting and trying to get lapsed members “recovered.” But now, with that activity largely shut down, and with members stuck at home, retaining those folks is presenting a serious challenge. Numerous experienced observers point out to us that Scientology’s high-pressure control methods are going to suffer as long as the quarantine goes on, which will encourage some members to look around the Internet and think thoughts they have long kept at bay.

But we’re also seeing some of the home-bound members gamely soldier on, and even reminisce about their histories in Scientology. One of our correspondents sent us this online discussion, and we thought you’d want to see it. It’s presented here full and intact, except for some minor grammatical repair for readability.

We found it fascinating and poignant.



— 1972, Lubbock, Texas! A tour from Austin came to Lubbock and my family stumbled across Dianetics and haven’t looked back since!

— Worked with a couple at a fireworks stand in Culver City, California, July 1974. On July 5 they took me to a lecture at the LA Org (not the place most of you know, but the big old house off Hoover that preceded the purchase of the place you know as PAC Base). The next Monday I started the Comm Course.

— I was introduced by my ex-2D (wife) in 2010. And started service in NY org.

— I was in Tallahassee and stumbled on a SO member who I think was doing a recovery cycle. Actually started in NYC.

— Friend of family was trained in Dianetics and Scientology, had all the books — I read them all — one day he asked if I would like to have some auditing, I said sure. 1954 (I was 14).

— 1973 Austin. Clear July 4, 1976.

— I was a musician and began playing with a Scientologist. He and his wife gently disseminated to me for six months. I finally just walked in the door, totally ready to go. Years later I found out it wasnt my first time, though.

— Born into it. 1955, Melbourne.

— Body routed into the Chicago Org, 1974.

— Flag World Tour, Sydney, 1978.

— I read an impressive success story online, on a wog forum. Saving a life with tech. So I searched for a place where I could experience the same and was lucky enough to have a mission nearby! Bratislava, Slovakia.

— December 31, 1985.


— I was introduced in Scientology by my husband in 2010.

— October 1969, Davis, California. A friend told me that he did something where you sit across from someone and do nothing, but that so much happens when you are trying to do nothing that he fell out of his chair. That sounded super interesting to me, so I signed up for the Comm Course (real two-hour TR0, etc.). I was OT 3 and a Class 6 by March 1973.

— I did a test but didn’t agree on it, anyway I tried a lot of things so I gave it (the Comm Course) a chance. Then I got really good service there, and continued.

— I did a course on Silva Mind Control (this is another practice, one way of meditation), and a girl gave me an OCA in the break. I filled it in, gave it back to her, and then I was called for an OCA evaluation, and I went to the Budapest mission and got the evaluation. Then I bought Book One and started the Ups and Downs Div 6 course.

— I picked up an OCA test from the street (someone had chucked it and passersby were stepping on it). I filled it up, made the call to Athens mission (now soon-to-be Ideal Org) and that was the start of it all.

— Christmas 1975. A friend gave me the Dianetics book, read it over the weekend, knew it was what I was looking for!

— Read DMSMH (almost to the end), went straight to into my mission looking for auditing. 1986.

— Tuesday.

— I am so fortunate my parents found it before I was born. I was one of the little kids running around PAC Base and before I knew it I was on course.

— 1975. Book seller/body router.

— Kansas City 1976. Just walked out of a liquor store with a fresh bottle of vodka. Body reged to KC Mission by Barbra Wright. Started Comm Course with bottle under my chair.

— The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan through his introduction of Dianetics to the various religious communities (reference his 2010 Saviors Day lecture).

— March 2014. I got first OCA May 2014. I got second OCA October 2014. I got a Dianetic ticket. Then I entered Scientology.

— My neighbor was OT 4. She always seems so happy and I want what she had. My life started to decline and she showed me some tech. Later on I did personal values and integrity and it changed my whole life!


— 1998. Walking down the street and was talked into doing an OCA. Long story but a bit over a year later started my first course.

— 2003. I was body routed in my local town. Best thing that ever happened to me!

— Walking down the street and saw a gorgeous looking girl — walked up to her to chat her up and ask her for a date. She was a street disseminator and next thing I knew I was doing OCA then Comm Course, etc.

— 1989. Picked up a Dianetics book in a B. Dalton bookstore. The phrase “Modern Science of Mental Health” caught my eye. Read it in four days and went to the nearest org in New Haven.

— 2000. Houston. On the radio someone was talking about the formulas of living and I wanted to improve my business. So I went to a seminar. Later on to the mission.

— Summer/Fall of 1975. Read “Fundamentals of Thought,” did the Comm Course at the mission in Worcester, Mass during Christmas break and ended up staying and joining staff.

Our stellar correspondent sent us another discussion as well. You may remember that a few days ago, we posted an announcement by a Scientologist that despite all that was going on, he was flying from Los Angeles to Florida in order to get on “the level,” the most grueling, difficult, expensive, and time-consuming auditing level of them all, Operating Thetan Level Seven, or OT 7. (It can take years, or even decades, to complete.)


Well, here’s a treat. Our helper sent over the reactions to Steve’s announcement from his fellow Scientologists. There were hundreds of them, mostly in the vein of “Great decision!” But we’ve selected a few of our favorites…

— This is a big deal!

— Completely agree. It makes more sense than anything else happening in the world right now. Very wise decision. Well done to you and your wife.


— Brilliant! For other reasons I got on when it made no sense. Haven’t regretted a moment since. Very well done on your actions!

— That just gave me such a theta boost, thank you.

— This is EXACTLY what this planet needs!

— Way to be Tone 40, brother!

— It totally makes sense to do it now! We’re also looking to up the game. We all should, especially in the UK.

— That’s absolutely the correct answer.

— Spectacular! The mega-disagree of all time!

— Smart move!

— If I could fly I would be there now too.

— Thank you. Great action any time, but especially now!

— Might make more sense than you realise right now! Good move!

— Totally awesome! Thanks for stepping up and setting a Great OT example!

— VWD. I just got back from Flag. NOW is the best time to go. Travel is easier as most people are staying home. Flag totally has the scene under control and is ensuring the safety of everyone on the base. And the planet needs this. Who’s next?

— It’s just perfect to come now and do this. Perfect.


— One of the best decisions you’ll ever make on the entire Whole Track.

— Yes, we need you to be part of the 10,000. And all Scientologists are so an active group on purpose it’s now! Scientologists are the only stable datum for people on this planet!

— Yes, don’t go into agreement with the drama that is plaguing the world right now. News flash, hysteria doesn’t help. It’s always the right choice to do more Bridge!


Source Code

“Is there any way to lick this thing called life? Well, that’s quite a thing to undertake, really. All in a few minutes, sit down with some preclear and go bang, bang, bang, and he feels better. Remember, this individual, at least so far as we can trace on an E-Meter has been about 76 trillion years on a track. He’s had experience after experience after experience after experience. He’s been through things they wouldn’t dare film or describe anywhere. And yet, we have the total conceit of — in using a few words — of attempting to resolve his wobbliness, his inabilities, his incapacities which have resulted from these experiences.” — L. Ron Hubbard, April 8, 1954


Overheard in the FreeZone

“I finally accept responsibility (KRC) for how I’ve mis-used this body for sensational purposes against its own biochemistry and anatomy — and ineffective or too little address to the mind too — first dynamics ethics condition formula ongoing — all’s going well now that proper conditions formula is at work Soon ready to declare and work through conditions on the 2D.”


Random Howdy

“From what I’ve read registrars routinely tell prospective clients that Scientology can cure numerous physical aliments that the person is suffering from. That is medical fraud, is it not?”


Full Court Press: What we’re watching at the Underground Bunker

Criminal prosecutions:
Jay Spina: Sentencing was set for April 3 in White Plains
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members: Trial set for April 14 in Los Angeles

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Waiting for an appellate decision from the Eleventh Circuit
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Hearing on motion for reconsideration set for June 17
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: April 22 (plaintiff attorneys pro hac vice), May 1 (Masterson new demurrer due), July 24 (motions to compel arbitration)
Jane Doe v. Scientology (in Miami): Jane Doe’s attorneys have asked for discovery, depositions (Warren McShane, Lynn Farny), April 20 hearing set (motion to compel arbitration)
Matt and Kathy Feschbach bankruptcy appeal: Oral arguments were heard on March 11 in Jacksonville
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Amended complaint filed.


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] Scientology admits in planning docs it expects only 6 walk-ins daily at new facility
[TWO years ago] Scientology buys another derelict building in order to pretend that it’s expanding wildly
[THREE years ago] You tell us: What’s the current condition of the Church of Scientology?
[FOUR years ago] Brian Sheen continues to fight Scientology’s ‘disconnection’ in unique and unusual ways
[FIVE years ago] ‘Let him die’: Scientology leader David Miscavige had private eyes watching his father, say police
[SIX years ago] Mike Bennitt shares with us a creepy e-mail he received after filming Scientology events
[SEVEN years ago] An Interview with Brandon Ogborn About His Play, The TomKat Project
[EIGHT years ago] Marty Rathbun is Big in the U.K., Still Waiting for Major U.S. Treatment
[TEN years ago] Aaron Saxton, Scientology Enforcer, Stops By For a Chat


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley (1952-2019) did not see his daughter Stephanie in his final 5,667 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,901 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,405 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,925 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 945 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 836 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,143 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,011 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,785 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,559 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,905 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,471 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,390 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,558 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,139 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,400 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,438 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,151 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,676 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,206 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,766 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,906 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,226 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,081 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,201 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,556 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,859 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,965 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,367 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,239 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,822 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,317 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,571 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,680 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on April 8, 2020 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, 1995-2019 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2019), 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


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