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Apologist journal smacked down by best ever Scientology prof — and with Bunker assist

[Prof. Stephen Kent]

You might remember that last June we took time out of our busy schedule to lay the smackdown on an apologist journal that really doesn’t deserve the attention.

CESNUR (Center for Studies of New Religion) is a publication based in Italy (yet published in English) that serves to smooth out all of the jagged edges of high-control quasi-religious groups (some might call them cults) and with the fake patina of academic uprightness.

CESNUR has long been a joke and so we rarely pay it any mind, but recently it’s been working extra hard to try and wash the stink off of L. Ron Hubbard and by trashing people like Lawrence Wright, Russell Miller, and Paulette Cooper.

In June we pointed out that the journal had created a stir by charging that critics of Scientology have often said that Hubbard lied about having a civil engineering degree (he actually flunked out of college), but that not a single document showing Hubbard himself claiming to have a degree had ever surfaced.

The journal article said that any time a reference to Hubbard claiming a degree had appeared in print — even on documents written by Hubbard! — it was actually the work of others trying to puff up Hubbard’s credentials without his knowledge or approval.


Not only was this extremely dubious, the journal went on to throw down the gauntlet and proclaimed that critics of Hubbard had never found a single scrap of evidence to the contrary and were all full of hot air, and if we were all wrong about Hubbard’s academic claims, then it called for a re-assessment of everything the critics had ever said about Scientology:

Close inspection of all currently available evidence indicated that Hubbard never lied about his grades nor about having graduated with a civil engineering degree. The fact that no scholar, critic, supporter nor the Church of Scientology itself has thoroughly examined or explained these discrepancies merits reevaluations of several other various claims and criticisms regarding Hubbard, Dianetics, and Scientology.

Oh, brother.

By that time, we had already published for the first time a 1958 letter supplied to us by Lawrence Wright’s fabulous researcher, Lauren Wolf. The 1958 letter was clearly written by Hubbard bragging about having a civil engingeering degree, but CESNUR claimed that it didn’t “sound” like Hubbard and so it didn’t count (and we’ll come back to that in a minute).

But then, being the spoilsports that we are, we decided to publish another letter, also supplied to us by Wolf. This 1960 letter was clearly written by Hubbard, and clearly personally signed by him without any reference to typists or anyone else. In it, Hubbard instructed a famous physicist, W.F.G. Swann, that he should be referred to as “L. Ron Hubbard, B.S. in C.E.”

Game over.

We soon learned that the best Scientology researcher on the planet, University of Alberta professor Stephen Kent, was going to respond to the CESNUR article, and we made sure that he had seen our article and the letter we had found.

Kent was good enough to alert us yesterday that his lengthy article painstakingly taking apart CESNUR’s worthless attack has now been published by CESNUR (to the journal’s credit). The journal has also responded, and it’s truly sad to see how it squeals after being so cleanly stuck on a spit.

We feel for the good professor, that Kent should have to spend so much time patiently explaining how the original article was so wrongheaded in its attempt to pretend that L. Ron Hubbard would not have known or cared that such false things about his academic record were being written about him, supposedly by his underlings and not by him.

And it humbles us that Kent’s article uses the 1960 letter we had published as its culminating piece of evidence. We are grateful that we could help Kent complete this task which he never should have had to bother with.

But as long as a pathetic excuse for an academic journal like CESNUR is going to keep trying to resurrect Hubbard’s reputation, we will have work to do.

For example, it astounded us that the journal simply dismissed the January 2, 1958 letter from Hubbard to Edward U. Condon of Washington University, another gem that had been found by Lauren Wolf as she was helping Wright compile research for Going Clear.

In that letter, Hubbard proposed to an actual nuclear physics expert that they form a club of “outcasts,” made up of scientists who had been tossed out of work in McCarthyite pogroms, and that they abscond to Cuba. Seriously.

Now, it does appear that Hubbard did not personally sign this letter, but we have pointed out that that wasn’t unusual for someone who dictated his communications to willing underlings. But CESNUR’s attack on the letter was that it didn’t “sound” like Hubbard.


Say what? We were stunned. But then we’ve read a lot of Hubbard’s own words and we’ve listened to a lot of Hubbard’s lectures, and so we know that his 1958 “outcasts club” letter, with him pretending to a real authority that he was a fellow academic, is exactly the kind of thing Hubbard would come up with. In fact, he had run a scam some ten years earlier that he called “Allied Scientists of the World” where he tried to gull academics for subscriptions to a crackpot plan to “compile and build an atomproof library of vital scientific information” in underground vaults, a clear precursor to what he would do 30 years later with his CST locations.

Only someone unfamiliar with Hubbard’s actual words would believe the ridiculous idea that this letter didn’t “sound” like Hubbard, or be swayed by an apologist journal making that claim.

And it made us think about the fact that so few exposes of Scientology ever actually delve into the words and ideas of Hubbard himself. Think about it. From the “Truth Rundown” to “Going Clear” to “Scientology and the Aftermath,” how often were Hubbard’s actual concepts and quotations really ever delved into? We completely understand why, the stuff he said was ridiculous. But we realized that there was a hole there in Scientology coverage.

And that’s why, last September, we started a new feature here at the Underground Bunker.

We called it “Source Code.”

We decided that every day, we would provide an actual quote from L. Ron Hubbard that he had uttered on that day in history.

We did it as a direct result of that attack on the 1958 letter by an apologist journal which claimed that it didn’t “sound” like Hubbard.

We hope, if you’ve been reading Source Code these last few months (and it’s turned out to be a very popular feature), you can see just how ridiculous that CESNUR claim is.

Of course that 1958 letter was written by Hubbard. It could have been written by no one else. And we will continue to bring you quotes from the Great Thetan every day, so that apologists have plenty more work to do to rehabilitate this crackpot dilettante who unfortunately convinced a few thousand vulnerable people that he had discovered the secrets of the universe.


Source Code

“Gormley Castle used to be down here. I was riding over to a tourney one day and was half-armed in a rainstorm, I had half steel armor on in a rainstorm. The rest of it slung on the back of the horse. Brother with me and a groom and they had the rest of the armor. And so ‘elp me, lightning ‘it. And you know armor on wet ground makes the most marvelous conductor. Knocked me plumb silly, it did. Plumb silly. It’s happened to me several times….It makes you flinch, and so forth. I remember at that particular instance I rode right on to the castle and the grooms went out and got the bodies and my brother was still alive, but the groom was awful dead and laid the body on the bed. I stood there, you know and thought that was OK and went back over to Europe and walked in and I fell over the old mither who was busy scrubbing the floor and of course, wet, you know, volts were coming up me like that and I step in her scrub bucket and walked through her and she gets a ‘ell of a shock, you know. she says, ‘Coo, what’s that?’ you know or words to that effect. It was about 1495, something like that. And so I pick up my fist and I start to say, ‘Godderdammerung, bring me in some mead,’ you know. And I go bang, you know and my fist goes straight through the table. And I say, ‘Wait a minute, boy. Oh, no, I’m dead.’ Bright, moonlight night and there’s a dog howling outside, so I walk out in the moonlight and decide for the next 55 years I’ll have to be a ghost. Well, it was a very shocking experience. But you could get discombobulated and upset and not know what you were doing. I didn’t. I went and picked up a baby or two, but — Anyhow, the point is, is it takes a lot more than you’re even aware of confronting in order to pick up electronic masses and then keep mocking them up because, you see, they’re so dangerous because you have to keep them mocked up, you see, because they’re so dangerous, you see? It’s very logical.” — L. Ron Hubbard, May 1, 1962



Overheard in the FreeZone

“Ron built half a bridge, but more critically he discovered the materials for construction of a bridge — auditing basics, axioms etc. Why are people worried that he is now attempting to complete a non-complete bridge? A half finished bridge should not be a stable datum for these people, but the materials of bridge construction and the purpose to build a complete bridge should be a stable datum.”


Random Howdy

“Penguins and leopard seals are difficult to audit. LRH exteriorized and attempted to do this, but found it too daunting. The penguins had too many withholds, and the leopard seals had too many overts.”


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!

[Kelly Preston, Jason Dohring, and Anne Archer]

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 staffers: Putting up with chaos and hardships as they hope for promised OT powers
[TWO years ago] Scientology tries to get a Christian minister in trouble for helping Dee Findlay burn her past
[THREE years ago] Professor Hugh Urban takes us to task for our review of his Scientology OT 8 investigation
[FOUR years ago] Scientology’s champion endorses ‘Ruthless,’ and more in our weekly social media review!
[FIVE years ago] Leaving Scientology: ‘I think this recovery is something I’ll be doing the rest of my life’
[SIX years ago] Scientology’s E-meter police, and the horse doctor of LaBelle, Florida


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 1,924 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,428 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,948 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 968 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 859 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,166 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,034 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,808 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,582 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,928 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,494 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,413 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,581 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,162 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,423 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,461 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,174 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,699 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,229 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,789 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,929 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,249 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,104 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,224 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,579 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,882 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,988 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,390 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,262 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,845 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,340 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,594 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,703 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on May 1, 2020 at 07:00

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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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