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A strange and unsettling update to one of Scientology’s most awful recent scandals

[Marc and Barbara]

We are very fortunate to have a number of hardworking correspondents who operate behind the scenes and keep a close watch on everything Scientology does.

We really couldn’t run this website without their help and especially in a time like this, when we’re trying to keep an eye on the ways in which Scientology is reacting to, and trying to take advantage of, the coronavirus pandemic.

One of our best tipsters alerted us that on June 1, Scientologists had created a new Facebook group documenting efforts to disseminate copies of The Way To Happiness pamphlets in Los Angeles.

For our newer readers, “TWTH,” as Scientologists refer to it, has an interesting history. It came out in 1980, during one of Scientology’s worst periods of bad publicity, as 11 top church officials were being prosecuted for what turned out to be the largest infiltration of the US government in its history, the Snow White Program. With Scientology on trial for infiltrating and burglarizing government offices, the public was naturally curious about the beliefs of an organization that had turned its followers into spies and saboteurs.

The Way to Happiness and its 21 precepts was the answer. An anodyne list of platitudes that were mostly ripped off from other traditions (“Try Not to Do Things to Others That You Would Not Like Them to Do to You”), it was L. Ron Hubbard’s attempt to pretend that not only did Scientology promote recognizable values, but that pursuing those values would result in contentment.

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To this day, Scientologists pretend that carpeting an area with copies of TWTH will produce magical results to calm troubled times, and members are hit up constantly to pay for printing the pamphlets.

It didn’t surprise us in the least that handing out copies of The Way to Happiness would be part of Scientology’s attempt to turn the pandemic to its advantage, as Scientologists in full hazmat gear are going door to door in communities literally around the world to hand out copies of a health booklet and copies of TWTH.

But there was something else that stunned us about the new Facebook group. It featured a photo of four women who had handed out pamphlets in Santa Monica, and the caption stopped us short. One of the women, we realized, was Barbara Cordova.

[That’s Barbara in pink.]

We first wrote about Barbara in 2014, after we had lengthy conversations with her mother, Arlene Cordova. Arlene was distraught because Scientology had arranged to get her daughter out of a hospital stay for a nervous breakdown, and then had made her vanish.

Barbara Cordova had been a Scientologist since 17 and was a fixture at the Hollywood Celebrity Centre, where she founded one of Scientology’s innumerable front operations, Artists for a Better World. But her husband convinced Barbara to leave her life in Los Angeles and her prominent role at the Celebrity Centre for a move to Scientology’s other major hub, in Clearwater, Florida, and it had proved to be a bad decision. Upset and confused, Barbara had her breakdown and Arlene got her back to California and to the Olive View-UCLA Medical Center in Sylmar, until a Scientology attorney and Barbara’s husband arranged for her to leave it and go somewhere without her mother knowing.

The only clue we had at that time was that Arlene had said that “Tennessee” had come up in one conversation with Barbara’s husband. Our astute readers realized that Barbara might have been taken to a sketchy place in Woodbury, Tennessee calling itself “Life Center for a New Tomorrow” owned and operated by a Scientologist named Marc Vallieres. It seemed to be a facility, post-Lisa McPherson, where Scientology could send its “Type 3” (Scientology jargon for mentally ill) members without the church itself risking the liability for treating them.

Sure enough, that’s where Barbara had been taken, and after our readers figured it out, Arlene headed there to see her daughter, which we revealed in a story about Arlene’s strange trip. Arlene (who was quickly becoming one of our favorite characters), gave us permission to write about her trip to Tennessee after Barbara vanished once more.

In 2015, we had the opportunity to write about Valliere’s house of horrors in Tennessee again, this time about a severely mentally ill woman whose identity we protected who had been sent there and who ended up becoming a prisoner in a basement in Arkansas. That was one of the most truly awful stories involving Scientology we ever had the chance to write.

Also in 2015, Barbara and Arlene Cordova were finally reunited, but Arlene asked us not to write about it at the time. Arlene told us that she was very happy finally to have her daughter back, but that she was hoping to convince Barbara to walk away from Scientology.

We finally revealed that reunion in 2016, when we called and Barbara picked up the call, and informed us that Arlene had died. We eulogized her as one of the bravest people we had encountered who fought Scientology, and we wished Barbara well.

Then, in 2017, all hell broke loose when the Tennessee hellhole, Life Center for a New Tomorrow, suddenly became a national news story when a local sheriff reported that he’d had to rescue a couple of patients there who had been locked into cabins. Vallieres and two of his employees were arrested.

There was a lot of problematic reporting about that incident, exacerbated by a website that used a photo of Scientology’s Los Angeles headquarters and reported that a “Scientology center” had been raided and closed down. Vallieres owned the Tennessee facility, not Scientology, and we had to deal with a lot of confusion over it.

But then we got a break: We got the only interviews with the families actually involved in the incident, including a Scientologist brother of one victim who actually defended Vallieres.

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After that, we reported that we’d heard from that brother that Vallieres was thinking of relocating to Mexico after he was arrested and the facility was shut down.

But we hadn’t heard anything about Barbara Cordova or Marc Vallieres in the last three years.

So it stunned us to see Barbara making Facebook posts about distributing The Way to Happiness in Santa Monica in order to take advantage of the recent unrest.

Arlene would not be amused by that, we think.

And what about Vallieres? We called the old telephone number for Life Center For a New Tomorrow and reached his wife, Anne Vallieres.

She told us that yes, they were still in Tennessee, but they had sold the Woodbury property after their center was shut down.

“We got attacked and we had to close down,” she said. “We did a lot of good things.”

We asked her if she knew where Scientologists in need of their kind of therapy were being sent now, and she said there is Narconon for drug addiction, “but for psychiatry help, there’s no other place.”

So, Barbara Cordova is schlepping The Way to Happiness, Marc Vallieres never left Tennessee, and Scientologists who need “psychiatry help” have nowhere to go, because Scientologists are taught to hate psychiatry itself with a white-hot passion.

When the next Lisa McPherson is pulled out of a legitimate hospital and spirited away by her fellow Scientologists, where will we she end up? We shudder to think of it.

 
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Bonus items from our tipsters

Another success!

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Booklets, booklets everywhere. Even in Paris!

 

 
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Jon Atack and Ed Stratton

Scientology tech, ah, the memories…

 

 
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Source Code

“Frankly it’s pure idiocy to cure somebody of an illness. This is idiocy. They just go and get sick again. You talk about a thankless task! It’s actually thankless, endless, does nothing for the society, gains nothing for the individual or anything else to amount to anything. This guy’s got an earache. So you work like mad to get this guy to recover from this earache, see. And so you cure him from his earache. Well, great day in the morning, he has now not got an earache. Great. How to raise society heroically onward and forward! Now, if you cure his earache, if you’re foolish enough to cure his earache, and work in just-in no direction but to cure his earache, you’re working exactly against his hidden standard. And, you aren’t really trying to remove the causes of having a hidden standard. So what’s he going to do? Well, next day he’s got ulcers. See?” — L. Ron Hubbard, June 13, 1963

 
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Overheard in the FreeZone

“When I would not continue delivering services due to the out-tech of the situation, the C/S took it upon himself to ‘revoke’ my certs and deny, after 223 sessions (with a 98 percent VWD rate) with him C/Sing my NOTS repair auditing to another Pre-OT the previous summer, that I had never done the NOTS auditor course or any other for that matter, and had to be retrained on every course I had ever done. (Most of my training has been at the FSO). If he couldn’t get out-tech applied to his now girlfriend, he was stripping me of my certs, as if he could or had any authority, or had done a Comm EV in the field. But yet HE was not an executive and HCOPL Executive Misbehavior did not apply to HIM in anyway, as he is ‘in love with the PC,’ love trumps LRH Tech. This is a true paradox.”

 
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Random Howdy

“Hubbard was already in the process of killing the golden goose before he croaked.”

 
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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 dismissed the lawsuit on May 15 after the Clearwater Police dropped their criminal investigation of her allegations.
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.

 
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Scientology’s celebrities, ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and more!

[Erika Christensen, Ethan Suplee, and Juliette Lewis]

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?

 
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THE WHOLE TRACK

[ONE year ago] Jon Atack: Seduction, recruitment, and Scientology’s hard sell
[TWO years ago] Why are New York politicians such easy marks for Scientology?
[THREE years ago] Photos shot by L. Ron Hubbard in 1975 capture how the founder wanted Scientology marketed
[FOUR years ago] Karla Zamudio on Scientology, and capturing Marc and Claire Headley in the short film ‘Escape’
[FIVE years ago] Google helps Scientology billionaire Bob Duggan hide a dark family secret
[SIX years ago] Why Giovanni Ribisi told Marc Maron there are no aliens in Scientology: A theory
[SEVEN years ago] Yuliya Keaton Tells Us Why She Infiltrated Scientology’s Sea Org
[EIGHT years ago] How a Scientologist Loses Faith in His Church: A Case Study
[NINE years ago] ‘Inside Scientology’ Promises a Lot, And Delivers: David Miscavige Has Much to Worry About

 
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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 1,967 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,471 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,991 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,011 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 902 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,209 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,077 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,851 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,625 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,971 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,537 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,456 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,624 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,205 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,466 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,504 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,217 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,742 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,272 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,832 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,972 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,292 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,147 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,267 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,622 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,925 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,031 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,433 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,305 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,888 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,383 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,637 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,746 days.

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Posted by Tony Ortega on June 13, 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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