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


Scientology leader David Miscavige is 60 today, and we have presents

Sixty years ago on this date, David Miscavige and his twin sister Denise were born in a small town in Pennsylvania. Today, Dave is the dictatorial head of a worldwide totalitarian organization masquerading as a church which tries to convince the public that Miscavige is its “ecclesiastical” leader.

Miscavige has now been in charge of the Church of Scientology for about 33 years, taking over for the man who had founded the movement and led it for 36 years, L. Ron Hubbard.

Over that time, Miscavige has led Scientology to a stunning victory — its re-acquisition of tax exempt status in 1993 — but he’s also overseen a massive loss of membership that has taken place during a series of public relations disasters, from a 1991 Time magazine cover story that called Scientology a “thriving cult of greed and power” to the 1995 death from medical neglect of parishioner Lisa McPherson, and many other press exposes such as the 2009 Tampa Bay Times “Truth Rundown” to Alex Gibney’s 2015 HBO film “Going Clear,” and most recently Leah Remini’s 3-year onslaught at the A&E network, “Scientology and the Aftermath.”

Miscavige at 60 has consolidated his grip on Scientology, forcing out or chasing away many of his most competent lieutenants, but as he enters his seventh decade his kingdom is made up largely of empty and very expensive buildings, monuments to himself that he’s had built over the last 17 years.


To commemorate his milestone, we asked several former Scientologists for their thoughts about what it was like to experience a Miscavige birthday while they were still in, and we asked others for any message they might have for their former leader.

Marc Headley: Every year that I was at the Int Base from 1990 to 2004, the entire base crew had to buy birthday presents for Dave Miscavige each year. Nothing was left to chance on getting him the right gift. The gift-giving was broken into individual organizations, and all of the crew from that organization would “chip in” from their weekly pay. By “chip in,” I mean it was deducted from our pay for that week by the person giving us our pay. You didn’t dare not give the money in the event your name would be added to a list somewhere. I was in Golden Era Productions (Gold) for all of the 15 years that I was posted at the Int Base, and the amount that was chipped in was usually around $5 to $10. So we were getting paid around $45 per week for over 100 hours of work, and $5 to $10 was being taken out to give Dave a gift. There were around 300 crew members in Gold, so the gift that we got him was usually about $1,500 to $3,000. Some years, Gold did not have enough money to pay the crew around the time it was Dave’s birthday, and we would go without pay for weeks right up until it was his birthday. The week before his birthday, we would get paid $10 and then chip in $5 for his birthday, leaving us with $5 for the week. Then, the next week we would go back to getting nothing per week. So he would not end up getting the duplicate gifts from multiple places, someone from Dave’s office or RTC would coordinate what gift he wanted and which ones would be bought by the different orgs. RTC and some of the other orgs had less crew than Gold, so they would chip in $50 to $100 for the gift they were getting for him. Over the years, I remember we got him custom made suits, camera lenses, ultralight bicycles, custom Italian shoes, motorcycles, and anything else his tiny black heart desired. Gold was not the only organization giving him a gift. At the Int base there was: Religious Technology Center, CMO INT, EXEC STRATA, CMO GOLD. And then he would also regularly get gifts from organizations all over the world as well. This included but was not limited to: Advanced Org Los Angeles, Los Angeles Org, PAC CREW, FLAG CREW, Author Services, CST, Freewinds, Bridge Publications, Flag Land Base, CMO PAC, CMO SHIP, CMO Clearwater, CMO IXU, CMO Africa, CMO EU, CMO ANZO, CMO East US, CMO LATAM, AOSH UK, ASHO, AOSH EU, AOSH ANZO. There were also lots of individual Scientology orgs around the world that would send him gifts, especially if he had just renovated their org that year or even in the past few years. I would estimate that at least 50 orgs or more would send him gifts for his birthday each year. Now here is the clincher; this same routine was done for Dave Miscavige for his Christmas gifts as well. With Dave turning 60, I’d be surprised if the orgs are not going all out to give him something over the top. My question is, what do you give the cult leader that has been getting hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gifts every year for the past 30 years?

Claire Headley: Gifts for David Miscavige in the Sea Org is instantly what comes to mind. In the early 90s there were sometimes limited attendance birthday partys for the “in” crowd, or current entourage. Those quickly phased out as Miscavige started losing any last shreds of sanity. His gifts, however, were always a hot topic. Miscavige, Shelly and Laurisse were always recipients of gifts for both Christmas and Birthdays from organizations in Scientology at all levels in the 14 years I worked at the headquarters. No other executives at any level of Scientology received this kind of organized gift-giving. A particular instance that comes to mind was when ASI purchased a brand new 7 series BMW for Miscavige in roughly 2003. ASI staff bonuses were carefully adjusted so as to allow them to each contribute the necessary monies to fund said purchase. And needless to say, Miscavige was a big fan of the car. However, thereafter, Shelly Miscavige ordered me to sec check / interrogate Barbara Ruiz (ED ASI at the time) as to what out ethics she had going on behind this gift. You see, there was a huge concern that the way this was all executed could be documented as inurement. It had to do with the logistics as to how the car was purchased and then gifted to Miscavige. Shelly’s theory was that Barbara Ruiz was trying to make up for the bomb known as Battlfield Earth: The Movie, which she had been intimately involved in from beginning to end. There were other times when staff would be interrogated if they dared to question why they had to involuntarily surrender their pay to fund a gift for Miscavige. Anyone who said they didn’t want to contribute, or would not give the designated amount, was considered disaffected, and wound up in Ethics. In the time I was in RTC, we were always required to give $50 to $200 for each Birthday and Christmas gift. The numbers add up quickly. Easily 20 percent of my annual pay went to those gifts, to give a different perspective. As to what I would say to DM: Let Shelly go. Nothing else worth saying.

Karen Pressley: What a milestone for dear leader!! Yes, I think his communicators or PRs (that he used to have, anyway) would be reaching out to the long-term loyal celebs to solicit (minimally) birthday wishes that they would then present to him in a private party. No doubt, TC will lavish him with pricey gifts. (JT never did that back in the day.) Here’s my birthday message: Dave, Just wanted to send you a big THANK YOU for your milestone 60th birthday! Thanks to you, I realized that the Sea Org was a prison and Scientology is a fraud! Thanks to your brutality, I came to my senses and left in 1998! Thanks to you, I learned how not to live, and I have enjoyed 22 years creating an amazing life that you would have otherwise destroyed, just as you have destroyed the lives of all those dedicated people still trapped within the confines of your Int Base prison. THANK YOU!

Phil Jones: Dear David Miscavige, I thought about what I could wish for you, or give to you for your birthday, but it seems that gifts to you aren’t given, they are taken. You are simply a taker. You force your staff to give you gifts, even when they can’t afford it. You take pleasure (if that’s what you call it) from the agony of others. You take families and split them asunder, deriving whatever sick joy from it you do. And you give back nothing of value to anyone. So, take this; my wish for you is that you get what you deserve. You are a sadistic criminal and deserve whatever is meted out to you for the cruelty you have laid upon others. You have imprisoned others. You deserve to be imprisoned. You have caused untold sorrow in others. You deserve to suffer untold sorrow. You have no friends, only sycophants. And yet, I would give you forgiveness, or at least some lenience in my attitude to you, if on your birthday you would give back. Give back loved ones to their families. Give back monies to those you bankrupted. Give back freedom to the Sea Org slaves you are surrounded by. Happy Birthday Dave. Give a little.

Chris Shelton: Happy Birthday, David Miscavige and happy birthday to your twin sister, Denise, who I imagine you haven’t seen in quite some time. Is the “planetary bullbaiting” getting to you yet or are you keeping above it all, isolated in one of your secret penthouse locations? With orgs closed around the world, Mark Bunker now on Clearwater’s City Council, your sheep engaging in independent thinking and posting their own YouTube videos (gasp!) and a long haul still ahead of us until things get back to what you would consider “normal,” I imagine that things aren’t so great for Scientology. That’s too bad. Sending your crews around to clean things was a nice PR gesture but as usual you just keep missing the point and needlessly put people at risk of their lives to “forward Command Intention.” Maybe this new year will open your eyes, as you hit the big six-oh and perhaps reflect on your legacy. To date, it’s been one of devastation and ruin for pretty much anyone who comes anywhere near your orbit. Scientology is not growing, it’s shrinking and has been for decades, as you well know even better than I. On a personal note, and just because I kind of relish saying this to you directly, you do realize that no one actually likes you, right? I suppose you take comfort in that old Hubbardism about how you know a man by his enemies, since you don’t have any actual friends. I mean, there’s Tom Cruise but that treasonous bastard won’t say anything about Scientology publicly anymore, so fuck him, amiright? The one person you had at your side for decades who actually cared about you has been gone from your life for 13 years, yet I guess you still wear that ring to cherish the memory of what actual love must have once felt like. Well, I’d wish you good luck but you know, I don’t like you either and I don’t wish you good luck or good cheer. What I wish is that you could sit down in a double-wide trailer with the doors and windows barred with a few reams of paper and pens and have a good long look at your own O/Ws. How long has it been since you’ve written any of your own crimes down? Decades, I would think. Remember when Jesse Prince almost had you busted by Hubbard himself? That was a close one! But did you really escape? I don’t think so. I think you just fortified that prison you’ve been building for yourself for decades. A prison of the mind which, if there is any justice in this universe, will one day be a solid, real one. So yeah, happy birthday Dave. I hope you rot in Hell.

Geoff Levin: I co-wrote the most successful piece of music ever created for Scientology; the Dianetics theme. It was my gift to Scientology and you. It made you look like a hero. I was fired at the peak of the books sales because I had been in the Sea Org for a brief period and that was your reward to me. In six decades you have betrayed your master, your family, your followers and you have betrayed yourself. Happy birthday sir, may your next decade bring you the karma you so justly deserve.

Clarissa Adams: I’m currently still riled up from watching my mom pretend she doesn’t have daughters so I wish him nothing but the worst as he celebrates his day of birth.

Sunny Pereira: I didn’t know him really so not really a message for him. Just to congratulate him for his incredible accomplishments in the “expansion” of Scientology.

Jon Atack: Dear David, in Indian society, the 60th birthday has a special relevance. It is the day that marks the beginning of retirement from commerce into a life of reflection (for those who can afford it, which I’m sure you can). Perhaps this would be a good moment to reflect on one aspect of the huge welter of Scientology material, the 1961 bulletin, Clean Hands Make a Happy Life. I recommend just two lines of this bulletin for your consideration and contemplation: “What has made all Man a pauper in his happiness? Transgressions against the mores of his race, his group, his family!” Perhaps it is time for you, at this important moment, to reconnect with your own family and to work out how you might help the group that you lead by leading them away from being “paupers in happiness”. I wish you every success in this mission.

Lori Hodgson: As you turn 60 and get older, I hope it lightens the hardness of your heart. My birthday wish for you is to cancel disconnection so families can be back together again in these very hard times.



Sylvia DeWall: Time to up the botox.

Karen de la Carriere: Dear David, on your 60th Birthday perhaps you will reflect on how and why your innermost circle bravely talked to (the now) Tampa Bay Times. Can you see if there are Lessons Learned?

Marie Bilheimer: I wasn’t going to respond, because honestly I’m in the middle of yet another move and my brain capacity at this time just can’t assign David Miscavige any sort of priority. My gut response was to relay a message to my mom, which I know would never go anywhere. So yeah, I decided not to respond. However, as has happened many times when my attention is brought back to my cult days, I had a Sea Org nightmare last night. I dreamed I was being groomed for a specific recruiter team, being monitored by DM. Every time I pulled the recruitment pamphlet we were all supposed to use from the shelf, mine read something about peanut butter instead. I frantically kept trying again and for the life of me couldn’t pull the right one. Part of me was scared, DM was watching. The other part was also relieved, I never wanted to recruit, I hated the pressure and making peanut butter sandwiches for my kids is way more important than any of that BS.

Pete Griffiths: Happy Birthday Wee Davey! Teach us how to cocoon like you do! Well, we don’t see much of you these days do we? It’s hard to think of something more meaningful for a cult leading desperate short person.

Chris Shugart: Mr. Miscavige, a man so steeped in dishonesty could never profit from an honest message. But being that this is your 60th, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. Some advice from Socrates:”The unexamined life is not worth living.” Having said that, I won’t hold my breath for an honest appraisal.

Quailynn McDaniel: Is he over in North Korea celebrating with Kim? Because the two are both MIA. I’m sure they would have a lot in common. What a lovely couple they would make.


Source Code

“We’ve had a little slowdown here recently on research the last six, seven days — I managed to get the show back on the road again — mostly due to the nonsense going on in Australia. The general situation with regard to that is they’re not in any danger or anything like that, they’re just being cross-advised and being generally upset. The government of Australia….Well, these little boys have an opposition there that are quite red and they all of a sudden decided under a fellow of the name of Galbatty to investigate Scientology on account of how bad it all was, you see? And this is the message I want to get across to you, not the state of Australia. An organization starts slipping, they stop following through standard policies, they are not on the ball here and they individuate there and they goof up someplace else. And then you all of a sudden start having trouble in their vicinity and it finally swells up to something like this inquiry you see, and that sort of thing. Just everybody has to some degree or another taken his finger off of his number and goofed up. You get the idea? In this particular case, why, they ran some jerk down there who they knew was a security risk. He couldn’t pass an E-Meter test if you’d held a gun to his head. He is just a complete bum. So they go ahead and give him high-level processing. Name is Werne. And they give this fellow a bunch of high-level processing and restimulate two or three wrong goals on him one way or the other so he goes into a complete spin. And I think he’d been in psychiatric treatment and he went back under psychiatric treatment, and then he runs over and sees Galbatty to get Galbatty to pass legislation so as to cure his GPMs and it just all went to smoke. And it had never even occurred to anybody down in Melbourne simply to handle Werne, refund his money and straighten him up. When they did refund his money, they didn’t even require him to sign a release. So they went and refunded his money; he went over to the court the same afternoon and filed a suit for a hundred and sixty thousand pounds. I mean, it takes genius, see? It just takes goof up after goof up.” — L. Ron Hubbard, April 30, 1964


Overheard in the FreeZone

“There is no intention here to blame the Church management or the staff. Many are really dedicated guys. I don’t blame either the Scientologists who do not accept the idea of LRH being back in business. They just don’t realize that with the Tech they have, they are not going to make it on a broad scale on Earth. Why, because it is just impossible to train relatively standard auditors with the existing Standard Tech. The proof? Well do you see any volume of active auditors? If I am wrong, may be auditing in the field has become a very secret activity. No, despite any effort past or present in the orgs or in the independent field, there was and there is no auditor training worth its name. Why? Too hard! Too difficult! Too complex! Too complicated!”


Random Howdy

“Scientologists have zero loyalty to anything except Ron and the ‘Tech.’ The concepts of country and patriotism are wog nonsense to them. They are committed to a world wide jihad against all countries and nations. Real Scientologists don’t even feel any loyalty to their family members, let alone their country.”


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), amended complaint filed
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] Questions for Scientologist Elisabeth Moss — from former Scientologists
[TWO years ago] David Miscavige turns 58 today, and we’re celebrating with tales of birthdays past
[THREE years ago] Scientology leader David Miscavige turns 57 today — what’s your birthday greeting?
[FOUR years ago] A STAR IS BORN: Scientology attorney Monique Yingling steals the spotlight on ’20/20′
[FIVE years ago] As Scientology crumbles, read the dreams its members are still chasing
[SIX years ago] Scientology leader David Miscavige turns 54 today — Hip, hip, hooray!
[SEVEN years ago] The Scientology Method: Drill, Baby, Drill!


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 1,923 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,427 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,947 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 967 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 858 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,165 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,033 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,807 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,581 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,927 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,493 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,412 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,580 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,161 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,422 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,460 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,173 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,698 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,228 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,788 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,928 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,248 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,103 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,223 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,578 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,881 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,987 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,389 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,261 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,844 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,339 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,593 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,702 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on April 30, 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


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email