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Ex-con who says he’s returned L. Ron Hubbard has an indie Scientology revolt on his hands

[Justin Craig]

Two years ago today, we published one of the most remarkable interviews that we’ve ever experienced here at the Bunker, a conversation we had with ex-convict Justin Craig, who had legally changed his name to “Lafayette Ronald Hubbard” in 2017.

After racking up an impressive record of assaults, carjacking attempts and car thefts that had netted him about four years of prison time in California, Craig moved to a small town outside Seattle, where he found a small independent Scientology community. One of its chief proponents, a woman named Patricia Krenik, took Craig into her home for more than two years, during which he trained in Scientology and had the “cognition” that he was the reincarnation of Scientology’s founder. (Many people who were longtime Scientologists tell us it’s actually not unusual for subjects in auditing to “remember” that they were Hubbard, or Jesus, or Julius Caesar. But few have taken it as far as Craig, who has self-published several books under the name “Chairman of the Board.”)

By the time we interviewed him in 2018, Craig was getting pretty well known in the indie field, and we wondered how a random ex-con with a major rap sheet could so easily hornswoggle his followers. Brian Cox, who runs the indie Scientolipedia website, for example, had conducted a fawning interview with Craig, and it kind of amazed us that Cox didn’t ask any questions in order to determine how Craig could prove who he said he was.

When we had our Facebook Messenger conversation with Craig, we noted that on his website he referred to “his” former wife by the name “Mary.” When we pointed out that in private Hubbard had actually called his third wife Mary Sue by the name “Suzy,” Craig got defensive and said that he actually had no “recall” about his prior life as Hubbard. Then how, we asked, was he so sure that he was the new Hubbard in the flesh? By how skillful he was at Scientology’s “tech,” he replied.

We came away from that conversation stunned that anyone took this guy seriously. Over the last couple of years, we’ve casually kept tabs on Craig and his followers, in part as we hunt for more entries in our “Overheard in the Freezone” feature. And that’s how we know that Craig’s playacting as Hubbard has recently blown up into a comical shitshow in the indie field.


But before we get into that, we want to make it perfectly clear that we don’t think that the tiny field of independent Scientologists amount to anything worth paying much attention to. Sadly, even without the heavyhanded control practiced by the Church of Scientology, these are folks who still can’t see through L. Ron Hubbard’s emptyheaded neo-Buddhism. Indies are mostly harmless, and there will always be a small number of people who for some reason think that a reactionary midcentury science fiction writer with a history of ripping people off and betraying friends and family somehow discovered the secrets of the universe. It’s best just to ignore them.

So if that’s the case, why pay attention to Ron 2.0’s latest controversy?

Hey, there’s a pandemic lockdown going on. We need entertainment.

So, last fall we noticed that Patricia Krenik, the person who had so generously lent a helping hand to Craig when he really needed it, was suddenly on the outs with him as Lafayette ditched her place for Los Angeles. And now, a few months later, an even bigger falling out has occurred between Craig and an oldtime Scientology auditor and one of the few people who might be thought of as a real authority in the field, a man by the name of Trey Lotz.

With a strong resemblance to Hal Holbrook channeling Mark Twain, Lotz is a likable guy, despite his deep imbibing of the L. Ron Hubbard kool-aid. It surprised us that someone of his bearing in the indie field would credit Craig as the returned LRH, but it was even more surprising that Craig should suddenly turn on someone like Trey, an affable and calming presence — in other words, the exact opposite of Craig’s sketchiness, and therefore a real feather in Ron 2.0’s cap.

Indies have been excitedly passing around the charges and countercharges between Craig and Lotz, with poor Trey defending himself against charges that he wasn’t qualified to audit people on certain upper-level processes, Craig claimed, because “he” (LRH 1.0) hadn’t personally trained Trey on them in his previous life.

Lotz, meanwhile, put out a statement saying that he was through with Ron 2.0, even if he is the returned Hubbard. In a lengthy Facebook post, Lotz says that Craig apparently got the idea that Trey is wealthy (he denies it) and wanted Lotz to give him “$300,000 to buy a resort for his org.” Lotz goes on to say, “There is a big part of his personality that is Justin Craig, ex con, gangbanger and violent thug. He may be the same being but he does not act like LRH would act or follow the principles and policies that LRH has laid out as a sane way to handle people.”

We asked Craig why he was on the outs with Lotz, and he told us this: “I have found evidence that he is a fraud who has been committing professional and personal misconduct when it comes to Scientology for the last forty-plus years. Specifically delivering a version of OT VIII and the L’s that he was never trained to deliver. I have subsequently removed him from all New Era Scientology groups and related lists.”

Well, you know, these sorts of fights over tiny kingdoms are inevitable, we suppose. Even more interesting, however, was Craig’s claim that he was in communication with David Miscavige. Here’s how Lotz described it:

He has said recently that he has been in comm with DM. DM’s top priority is to wipe out the Indie field. Ron 2.0 would like nothing more than to rejoin the Church of Scientology and be reinstated as its head. I would not be surprised if a deal was in the works to offer some kind of amnesty to those of us in the Indie field to rejoin the church. DM may believe that Ron 2.0 can lead a bunch of people back into the church and the ones that don’t want to do that will be, in his words, “left behind.” He may issue some mass declare, which for most of us would be a double declare. So we would be double declared. It would be kind of like a big Scientology “Rapture” Where the true believers are swept up into Miscavige heaven and the rest of us are left behind to suffer and die. There is a huge flaw in this plan. I don’t know a single person who would go back into the church no matter the enticement. And the idea that DM would hand over power to Ron 2.0 is laughable.

Well, yeah, that is pretty laughable. And if Miscavige has been in contact with “Ron,” we suspect that it’s actually his attorneys telling him to knock off the LRH routine.

“I know the church lawyers had met him somewhere once,” Cox tells us when we asked him if he’d also heard about Craig communicating with Miscavige. “They got him to change a title of one of his self-published books on Amazon. Something like that.”

Cox, like Lotz, has also given up on “Ron” after initially giving him the benefit of the doubt. When we asked him what changed his mind, Cox pointed us to a new video he had made, explaining that in his books Craig makes assertions that were completely unscientific and violated basic physics. Cox now says that Craig’s new version of Scientology is “complete hogwash.”

And he’s not the only one. With news of Lotz being ejected by Craig, more and more indies are speaking out against “returned Ron” and denying that he is who he says he is.


“This is an impostor who has infiltrated the Freezone with an agenda to implant and destroy the reputations of leading terminals and the gullible people who follow him,” another indie figure, Aida Thomas, posted on Facebook in a lengthy takedown of Craig this week. “Nothing good will come out of this at the end of it all but regrets and sorrow. Buyers beware. He’s swindling PCs with false promises.”

And lending credence to the idea that Miscavige might be cracking down on Craig was his announcement that he was shutting down “New Era Scientology” by the end of the year.

We asked Craig if he was being forced to do that by Scientology’s attorneys, but he denied it.

“I have made the announcement that by end of 2020 I will be closing the doors on NES in that we are forming up a new group and organization that will ensure the ethical practice of Scientology for all and full transparency with the public. Part of that will be sifting out those who should be there and those who should not,” he says.

Well, how’s that for drama? We want to thank Justin Craig and Trey Lotz and the rest for providing such a good show just when we need it most.


Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy

In case you didn’t see it in the comments section yesterday, here’s Scientology’s professional ham hock Grant Cardone saying yesterday in a live Instagram video that he’s going bankrupt and losing his jet, his condo, and 8,000 apartment units which are “going back to the bank,” and that he needs a bankruptcy lawyer to keep him out of prison. Is it true? Well, this should be interesting.


UPDATE: Cardone has put up a new video claiming he had posted fake “bad news” earlier to get attention. Hm. Who knows?



Source Code

“There is a civilization a few galaxies over here that, it’s got spaceships and backpacks and infantry zerp guns, and it’s got this, and it’s got certain types of motorcycles, and it’s got that, and so forth. Probably a lot of you are from there because every time it loses a battle they ship the people over here — the enemy does. They know how to get even. So anyway, this old civilization is just about the meanest area to try to put an idea into it you ever had. You see, they worked it out for years and eons and eons. Been going for billions and trillions and trillions of years with an uninterrupted flow, which is pretty unusual in civilizations anyhow, see, and is on a complete, perfect no-Change. And you say, ‘We got an idea for spaceships.’ Their spaceships aren’t all that good. They’re as good as spaceships can be, but you could undoubtedly make a better spaceship, you see. But they blow up on occasion and they do this on occasion, they do that on occasion. They mess up one way or the other. And yet to try to get any idea across to them fills the hierarchy of that particular activity with absolute horror. Because they’ve lived with and through all of the areas of innovation, and innovation to them is dangerous on a departure from the highly workable.” — L. Ron Hubbard, April 16, 1964


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Lafayette Hubbard, I know you’re on to something great. The simplicity of words is such a skill. I think — and I apologize for evaluating — that your last-life introduction to writing was influenced by the classics. These authors, as was the style of the time, wrote in vast prose using more words than needed to get to the point. It was necessary to prove one was not just smart but educated. You, in your this-life writing style, are throwing the old-school Scientologists for a loop. They expect vast verbiage and you deliver it in concise, to the point, easily understood form. They are confused because it isn’t the way you used to say it or write it. Good. They will come around when they understand you are eliminating the need to spend years studying what can be learned in months.”


Random Howdy

“I took two trazodone at least six hours ago and I woke up and it’s only an hour later. What the hell is going on? Did the Fifth Invader Force land?”


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 October 7 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: May 1 (Masterson new demurrer due), July 8 (plaintiff attorneys pro hac vice), August 31-Sept 1 (CSI/RTC demurrer against Riales, Masterson demurrer), Oct 7-19 (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!

[Jenna Elfman, Giovanni Ribisi, and Greta Van Susteren]

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: Where’s the outrage about Scientology’s disappeared?
[TWO years ago] Scientologists, gullible? Would they fall for a felon saying he’s the returned L. Ron Hubbard?
[THREE years ago] She ‘graduated’ from Scientology’s drug rehab, which told her she was cured. Now she’s dead.
[FOUR years ago] More Atlanta video: David Miscavige cuts the ribbon on Scientology’s new real estate venture!
[FIVE years ago] Scientology spy caught trying to interview Paul Haggis as fake ‘Time’ magazine reporter
[SIX years ago] Scientology takes aim at the latest move by the Garcias in their federal fraud suit
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology Means Never Having to Tell an Ashtray You’re Sorry


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 1,909 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,413 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,933 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 953 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 844 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,151 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,019 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,793 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,567 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,913 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,479 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,398 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,566 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,147 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,408 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,446 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,159 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,684 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,214 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,774 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,914 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,234 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,089 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,209 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,564 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,867 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,973 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,375 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,247 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,830 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,325 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,579 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,688 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on April 16, 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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