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On Mother’s Day, the moms who suffer and defy Scientology’s cruel ‘disconnection’ policy

There may be no other holiday which is more anathema to Scientology than Mother’s Day.

According to L. Ron Hubbard’s cruel philosophy, the family unit is a fiction, a temporary assembly of meat bodies that have no real tie between their souls, known as “thetans.” Making it worse, Scientology under both Hubbard and his successor, David Miscavige, has enforced control of its members and punishment of its perceived enemies by ripping those families apart through the policy of “disconnection.” Once a member has been declared a “suppressive person” — Scientology’s version of excommunication — all other members must cut off all contact with that person, even if it means a mother turning her back on her own children, or a son or daughter shutting out their own parents. We checked in with some of the mothers we’ve gotten to know who have been affected by this policy to ask them how they are coping with today’s reminder that they have been separated from their loved ones for daring to leave this totalitarian organization that calls itself a church.

Claire Headley: Mother’s Day is always bittersweet for me. Sweet in that I always wanted children, in my heart, despite all odds against such ever being a possibility for me. And now I have three boys who I love with all my heart. They are my world. I would move mountains for them, I love and treasure every moment I get to spend with them. And yet the bitterness is that I’m always also reminded, on this day, that the cruel reality of Scientology in this world means I don’t get to celebrate or love on my mother on this day. I’ve sometimes pondered the subject of disconnection and death. In death, there is a finality that can feel cruel, and yet the person remains in your heart always. And it is inevitable for all of us. As you know, we lost Bernie in December, he was the closest I ever knew to having a father. I will always love him and he will always be with us in our hearts. I’m thankful he is at peace, despite how deeply we miss him. Disconnection is Scientology’s harsh punishment of its enemies, and actually even contradictory to a Scientologist’s core beliefs. For the sake of argument, if one actually believes that “Communication is the universal solvent” then how does one then concoct disconnection? The only logical answer is that it is a cruel and evil tool of leverage and control, intended to inflict hurt and despair on one’s enemies. In some ways, it is a fate more cruel than even death. It is a torment with no closure for all parties involved, the only resolution to which is complete submission to Scientology’s dictates. An impossibility. I think my mother’s words will communicate better (Excerpt from an email she sent me on January 30th 2005, 6 days after I had made my escape from the Sea Organization): “There is very, very little privacy in my life. This is all very clandestine for me. I am not letting the kids know. It would be a very bad example for them. I am not letting Hugh know. That would not work. I love you very much darling.” And then an excerpt from a letter she sent me on 11 April 2009, return address Scientology’s headquarters, and while our lawsuit was pending: “I have a right as a parent to demand that you stop attacking us and our church. We will apply Scientology in our lives, move forward, do the best we can. Ultimately, we are all individuals and we each have to make our own choices.” This, for me personally, confirms what I’ve known since I was four years old. Scientology does not believe nor practice unconditional love. Scientology destroys one of the basic foundation of society and community: Family. Scientology controls its members and uses leverage and disconnection as the means by which to exact said control. That’s the harsh reality. And while I will celebrate Mother’s Day with my children, and my foster mother, Cindy Plahuta, that will not change the fact that I will always love and miss my mom. To anyone suffering from the evil of disconnection: Please know you are loved. Cult programming is deep, but underneath it all, the love of family will always live on.



Christie Collbran: In 2009 after my Mom disconnected from me, I sent her flowers on Mother’s day anyway — and surprisingly, she sent me a nice thank you card. I still have it. That was the last I heard from the real her. I try not to focus on the fact that I lost my mother because of Scientology and instead put my attention on my children. But Mother’s Day is definitely an annual reminder that she is missing in my life. There is a global pandemic happening right now and she’s in her 70’s. I wonder how she’s doing. Is she OK? I can’t call her. I can’t check on her. We were as close as a mother and daughter can be. I hope she knows I’m thinking of her and I love her.


Willie Jones: This Mother’s Day I hold in my heart a love for Emily and Michael that is as strong today as the day they were born and will never cease. This is something David Miscavige can never take from me despite his and Hubbard’s practice of forced disconnection. I think of my children every day and see their pictures on the wall. I still try to call the kids on their birthdays, Christmas, etc. but as usual I get put on hold only to have the receptionist tell me they are not available right now. I leave messages that I love them but knowing how OSA operates they will never get those messages. It has been about seven years now since Phil and I have seen or spoken to our children. I have no idea if they are well, sick or god forbid something worse. Because in Scientology if you are a critic you will not be allowed to know anything about them. Scientology has taken great pains to ensure we do not have a conversation with them about our views. Even prior to our getting declared and cut off from the kids we heard very little from them. In the 15 to 20 years they were in Scientology before our ousting we didn’t hear a lot from Michael and Emily. Scientology reduces the importance of family, and the effect was that I didn’t always get a call on Mother’s Day from them. Sometimes yes, but not every year. I never give up hope that I will see my kids again and I will be there to help them get untangled from the controlled thought processes they’ve had to deal with for all the years they have been in the Sea Org. Maybe then we can enjoy Mother’s Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and even birthdays with them. This family dynamic has been missing since they were kids. There is always a bit of sadness and loss that comes with each of these normally happy occasions. Their well-being is all I want for them and for them to know that there is life outside of Scientology, a good life. They still have time to create a free and happy life without the strict confines of Scientology policy and ethics. We love you so very much Emily and Michael, you deserve so much better.


Mary Kahn: Our family is doing very well — better than ever actually — being free from the Church of Scientology and David Miscavige. It makes me sad though. I can’t help it. For six years now there has been no Sammy on Mother’s Day. My son Michael is taking me to dinner and it doesn’t escape any of us that someone is absent. We (his brother, dad and I) miss him very much and will keep that place at the table for him until he comes home. I especially want to wish a happy Mother’s Day to those mothers on your list that have lost a child or children due to the disconnection policy imposed by the vile Church of Scientology. I think of them all the time and hope one day our families are whole.



Katrina Reyes: I didn’t grow up celebrating this special day. In the Sea Org it was never even mentioned. We didn’t celebrate a meat body that was your mother this lifetime because she could have been your husband or sister in past lifetimes. I personally didn’t even know about this holiday until I was out from Sea Org. It’s been 11 years, 11 Mother’s Days since that I have celebrated. I sent my mother flowers every year until I was declared and all my contact was forbidden. It’s been six years since I have been able to celebrate it with my mom. But the last three years, since my son was born it’s taken a new emotional toll on me. I’m a mother now, I can’t mentally be absent and consumed by my grief and anger towards my mother for completely abandoning me. I have to be here and present for my son and give him the love and attention that I never got. So now I celebrate me, for everything that I have overcome and the family that I built. I do miss my mom, no matter how bad our relationship was, she is still my mother. If she ever decides to have a healthy relationship with my family and meet her grandson one day, my doors and my heart will always be open.


Sunny Pereira: My maternal grandmother passed away late last year. I’d say she was my final and only line into my (Sea Org) mother. It wasn’t that my mother and I conversed through her, but I think both of us got tidbits about each other from my grandmother. A photo of our three generations showed up from my grandmother’s things. It was taken at CC Int, when my mother and I both worked there. It reminded me of the many years my grandmother tried to conservatively play “mild interest” in Scientology, just to keep the relation with her daughter and grandchildren. Since I got declared in 2004, it has been interesting to see how my grandmother has successfully toggled between my mom and I, and managed to have somewhat of a relationship with both of us. It saddened me to see, in the later years of my grandmother’s life, that she would not see the day my mother was finally free of the hold that Scientology has on her. She was very thankful to see my brother and I able to leave and build our own lives and families. I know this made her very, very proud. Mother’s Day in the Sea Org, like all other holidays, meant nothing. It was a stressful moment trying to get together enough money to at least send my grandmother something for Mother’s Day. As Sea Org members, my mom and I had an understanding of minimal family relationships. We were simply too busy to deal with “this lifetime” holidays and family matters. I feel fortunate to have had the last fourteen years being so close with my grandmother. I can only hope one day my mother wakes up and finds out what she has been missing. Until then, a message for her, that will go into the abyss: “Happy Mother’s Day.”


Marie Bilheimer: I’ve been pulling weeds in my new garden feeling pretty alone and trying not to anticipate worse feelings on Sunday. So yeah, having a little pity party for myself. Covid isolation doesn’t help, but most holidays the few days leading up are the hardest. Having no mom on Mother’s Day makes me conflicted emotionally, I have my kids, my husband and other family who love and support me, but of course I think of her every time. I hate to imagine how sad, trapped and depressed she must be and that we’re probably thinking of each other at the same moment. Or at least I hope she’s thinking of me, her other three children and four grandchildren.


Carol Nyburg: I have been seeing a therapist and it has really helped with with grief. I learned about Ambigious Grief. My daughter is not dead so I cannot mourn her but there is still a loss to “grieve.” I am numb to it. I do not want to be but if I am not then life would just be too hard. So I try to enjoy what others are enjoying and give love to the other mothers an just try to blend in so I do not get noticed. If someone starts asking me questions, then it is really hard.



Mary Jane Sciascia: It’s a difficult day for me, I know I was a fabulous mom. I was fair, tough and tried to teach my children to be independent, which they are. Unfortunately, Scientology took my baby and changed the relationship with my other children as well. I know they love me very much but I think they blame me for ever getting involved with this vile group. So much for creating the greatest good for the greatest number! There are two cliches I reference often, one I believe to be true the other is false: “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” which I believe is false, the other which works best for the cult is “out of site out of mind!” which I believe is true!


Lois Reisdorf: It has been five years almost to the day that I have not seen or spoken to my son Craig. He turned 30 on April 26 and it was an extremely tough day for me. I miss him very much and I know he misses me, even if he will not admit it. I have no idea how to get in contact with him; all I know is he lives in LA somewhere. I recently found out that he got married sometime in November. He also apparently went Clear last year. My life revolves around my hubby, my two other sons, two beautiful grandchildren and my wonderful daughter-in-law. I feel blessed that I have them in my life but it does not take away from the loss I feel and the incredible sadness. Craig was so part of our lives that it is extremely hard to believe that he has cut us off so completely. Even his oldest brother Brett, who was never a Scientologist and never involved whatsoever, gets no communication. Life has to go on and I choose to live that life happy, but days like his birthday or Mother’s Eay is very hard. Here is a little known story about Craig: He was born by cesarean section and was sick with a type of pneumonia. He went into the NICU immediately and put on a drip. After a couple of nights he got worse and the pediatrician stayed by his incubator all night as he thought he was going to lose him. He changed the drip Brett was on to another brand and miraculously he got through it. Later it turned out that the batch of drips for the NICU were tainted by the lab and babies died throughout South African hospitals over a few months. Craig was in the middle of that time period and survived. There was a huge lawsuit in South Africa after this disaster (1990), we almost lost him then and here we are now, very sad. This was the son who wouldn’t leave my side, who adored his family and his dad and brothers and he is a great guy, he really is, but so delusional. We are the suppressives and evil ones who somehow ruined his life. His brother Brandon went through mental hell because of all of this, but thankfully, he is doing the best right now than he has for years. We are so grateful. At some point in the near future we will tell that whole story. I love and miss Craig and I have that mother’s feeling that I will see him again before I leave this earth, that is what keeps me going. To all the other mothers out there who are in the same boat and even worse than my situation, I am with you and send my love to all of you, you know who you are.


Clarissa Adams: I used to send my mom flowers every year from all the siblings, and we’d try to do brunch or something. Now? Because Ethan’s mom is also disconnected, it’s a day I get extra love from my own kiddos, which I love. Occasionally I’ll think about sending her flowers but I never do and just hope that my brother is taking care of that part for her now because she really loves flowers.




Source Code

“The FB, the FAO and the FSO presented me with an enormous KEY TO THE PLANET to celebrate 9 May, the 21st Anniversary of the publication of “Dianetics the Modern Science of Mental Health.” THANK YOU! A party was proposed but was considered too little notice and everyone too rushed. The presentation was appreciated. These fantastic stats also came up on 9 May. It was quite an anniversary.” — L. Ron Hubbard, May 10, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Today I was driving to my university for my work and I was wondering why LRH 2.0 is interested in helping inorganic beings. In his previous life he was not really interested (History of Man) and suddenly my two tires went flat. There is good cause in this.”


Random Howdy

“The gambling analogy for Scientology is more appropriate than the drug one. At least with drugs you actually get something real for your money — the fact it may be really bad for you is a different story. In Scientology all you get is air and worthless slips of paper, just like the lottery.”


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 August 11
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: 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!

[Catherine Bell, Chick Corea, and Nancy Cartwright]

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] More signs that things are really going totally great for the Church of Scientology right now
[TWO years ago] How much do the Don Rogers letters shake up early Dianetics history? Two experts weigh in.
[THREE years ago] Nazanin Boniadi’s FBI testimony: Cast as Tom Cruise’s girlfriend by Scientology
[FOUR years ago] Phil and Willie’s excellent adventure: Taking on Scientology’s ‘disconnection’ policy in L.A.
[FIVE years ago] Ryan Hamilton files his 28th fraud lawsuit against Scientology’s drug rehab network
[SIX years ago] Jamie DeWolf: I’ve found the last memoir of the son of Scientology’s founder


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 1,933 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,437 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,957 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 977 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 868 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,175 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,043 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,817 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,591 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,937 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,503 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,422 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,590 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,171 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,432 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,470 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,183 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,708 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,238 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,798 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,938 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,258 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,113 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,233 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,588 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,891 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,997 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,399 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,271 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,854 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,349 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,603 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,712 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on May 10, 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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