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


Records show that Danny Masterson is a woeful Scientologist — would he turn on the church?

[Danny Masterson, Erika Christensen, and Beck at a CC gala in 2005]

Yesterday we tried to answer the question whether Scientology would turn on Danny Masterson now that the That ’70s Show actor has been charged for raping three women and is facing 45 years to life in prison.

With the help of Mike Rinder, we explained that because Scientology is so involved in those cases, it would be difficult for the organization to simply drop him as he faces prosecution.

But now we want to look at the flip side of that equation: If Scientology will find it hard to drop Danny, will Danny feel the same way toward Scientology?

Our sources tell us there’s reason to think that Danny’s loyalty to the church is somewhat fragile.

We got onto this line of questioning when we decided to review Danny’s history in Scientology and check his journey up the “Bridge to Total Freedom,” as the regimen of courses and auditing levels is known.


What we found was that Danny’s history shows that he’s actually a pretty sad excuse for a Scientologist. Sure, he could be counted on to show up for Scientology PR events, like the 2005 Celebrity Centre gala that the photo above is from, or on behalf of numerous Scientology front groups. And he could also throw a punch on behalf of Scientology in various press interviews. But according to Scientology’s own publications (which are gathered at Kristi Wachter’s excellent website) Masterson is not an OT Scientologist or “Clear,” and there’s also no evidence that he finished the “Grades,” important but only mid-level steps on the Scientology journey. And our sources who knew him tell us that’s consistent with their interactions with Masterson, who didn’t seem very interested in auditing or otherwise being educated in the Scientology way.

“You can’t be a 30-year Scientologist and only be Grade 3. I did Grade 3 in two weeks,” one of our sources said about Masterson’s record in the church. “He was terrible at being a Scientologist. He hated to study.”

Often, however, we find that celebrities who grew up in the church seem less motivated to go “up the Bridge” than their peers or their parents. Carol Masterson, Danny’s mother and his manager, is an ardent Scientologist who, as far as we know, has been stuck on OT 7 for some twenty years or more. OT 7 — Operating Thetan level seven — is the second-to-highest auditing level on the entire Bridge, and it’s notorious for being the most expensive and most difficult step to complete in the entire journey. (Since 1988 OT 8 has been the culminating step on the Bridge, but it’s far easier to complete, say those who have been through it.)

A family friend tells us that when Danny’s weak record of completions came up, Carol would be quick to say, “He’s Clear from a past life, he just needs to remember it.”

Well, that’s just what a protective mom would say, wouldn’t she? And our sources wanted us to know that about the Masterson clan — that they’re incredibly tight, and will stick by Danny whatever comes.

“The family really loves him and would turn on the church for him,” one source tells us.

Mike Rinder, however, cautions us that it is difficult to know how the family would react if Danny were to turn on Scientology.

“Obviously there are a lot of factors involved here,” the former church spokesman tells us. “Yes, I do think he could turn on Scientology. And it could be catastrophic. He has to balance the upside of turning on them — a plea deal? — with the downsides: what happens with his family (there is no doubt what will happen to his Scientology friends, they will be history, but who knows really what his family will do) and what other information Scientology may have on him about other things that are NOT known publicly that they could provide to law enforcement. Only he knows this.

“Without all the information, it is very difficult to predict what will happen. As long as he is not turning on Scientology, I believe they won’t turn on him or abandon him. How long the status quo will be maintained is anyone’s guess,” Rinder says.

Hey, there are no easy answers about this stuff. We’ll just have to watch closely for clues about how Danny and Scientology are getting along.

In the meantime, we’ve been getting inquiries from reporters who are interested in Masterson and his Scientology involvement, so we thought we’d do what we can to help.

In 2013, with the excellent help of former Sea Org official Claire Headley, we wrote a series going step by step up the Bridge, providing some highlights of Scientology’s various courses and auditing levels, along with some cost estimates (which can vary greatly depending on where a process is being delivered). Here are some of Danny Masterson’s course completions, along with excerpts from our “Up the Bridge” series.



CLAIRE: An example of a question asked over and over is: “Recall a time that is really real to you.” I think there were a few times I felt better. Overall, however, there was a lot of repetition and pressure that I felt personally always to feel better and have a cognition. I can remember having the vague feeling of pressure as to what my cognition would be. And also an expectation that I had to feel better or there was something wrong with me. This is the start of my personal resolution that many things in Scientology reflect a situation of pluralistic ignorance: “no one believes, but everyone believes that everyone else believes.”

THE BUNKER: So, when an auditor asks, “Recall a time that is really real to you,” and he asks it and asks it, do you come up with 20, 30, 40 different answers? Or do you give the same answer again and again, but with slight differences? And how do you get a “win” from that?

CLAIRE: Each time the command is given, it’s a different answer, so 20, 30, or 40 different answers. The idea is that you will “release charge” by recalling past memories.

Cost estimate: $3,000


CLAIRE: Yes, I’d say at this point I was feeling skeptical, and on the other hand, it was mild enough that I could accept it, and it’s what everyone was doing. Plus you’re hearing about everyone’s great successes, and you’re getting tons of encouragement from all sides. I’d say the genius of the approach, like it or leave it, is the gentle approach at the outset. Obviously if someone sat you down and told you what was to come (possibility of disconnection, control, how much money you’re going to spend, not to mention Xenu and all that), you’d get out of there in a hurry. But it was never like that. And keep in mind, most adults entering Scientology are at a low point in life, and that’s how they’re convinced to start at all. At least by my observation. Hey, we can help you feel better after your marriage ended or your boss was mean to you, or whatever.

Cost estimate: $150


CLAIRE: It’s a series of commands relating to physical execution. A big focus of the objectives is exteriorization. That’s the Scientology term for “out of body” experiences. Honestly, this was a major part of Scientology that I never really came to terms with. I didn’t experience exteriorization, and that’s just the bottom line. That’s not to say it doesn’t exist. I just didn’t experience it, although I felt really pressured on this subject beyond rationality. I never understood how being “out of my body” would make me a better person. Perhaps someone else experienced it and saw a benefit. I’m just telling you what happened for me. Exteriorization for me was the first thing in Scientology that really struck me as an “emperor’s new clothes” scenario. Also, objectives can go on for tens to hundreds of hours if needed.

Cost estimate: $1,000



CLAIRE: It includes (but isn’t limited to) what is known as the “toughest” sec check in Scientology, the “Joburg.” It was developed in Johannesburg for the most hardened of criminals. The ability gained here on Grade 2 is “Relief from the hostilities and sufferings of life.” And some of the subjects covered in this level are missed withhold manifestations, the murder routine, animal reactions, and dirty needles.

THE BUNKER: Murder routine? What the hell is that?

CLAIRE: I thought you might be curious about that. Let’s say you’re sec checking someone (interrogating them), and they refuse to answer a question. The murder routine is a procedure designed to get an answer out of someone. The idea is to ask questions that would most likely be much worse than whatever it is the subject is holding back. So you might say to the person, “Well, did you murder someone?” “Did you hurt someone?” “Did you do something illegal?” On and on. Until finally the subject blurts out, “No! I didn’t murder anyone. I — ” and then they spill what they’ve been holding back.

THE BUNKER: Isn’t this church fun?

Cost estimate: $30,000


CLAIRE: What I’ve never been able to reconcile, personally, is the fact that in Scientology auditing, they stress that you are never to evaluate for someone or tell them what to think about their case, and yet the steps that every single person needs to do are the same — this became a much more exaggerated discrepancy for me on the upper levels. But we’re getting to that.

THE BUNKER: In the grade material, we saw some references to exteriorization — when a Scientologist goes “outside” his or her body. Is that a key part of this grade?

CLAIRE: I don’t remember that being a focus at this stage. In Scientology auditing, if someone says they are exterior, the auditor will end the session immediately so the person can “enjoy their win.”

THE BUNKER: Note to self: When tired of auditing, claim to be exterior so auditor bugs off.

Cost estimate: $15,000

After completing Grade III Expanded in 2001 and the “Happiness Rundown” in 2002, another ten years goes by before a final completion appears under Danny’s name. In 2012, Freewinds magazine listed Masterson as one of those who had come to the ship to do a Dianetics seminar, refreshing Danny’s familiarity with the problematic book that started it all, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, which L. Ron Hubbard published in 1950.


A Dianetics seminar? For a lifelong Scientologist who had been stuck in the Grades? And on the ship? We put it to our experienced ex-Scientology community, what was going on here, an amends project? A sop to a registrar? Or just an excuse to go to the ship for an easy course? Let us know what you think.


Bonus items from our tipsters

Another one through the Wall of Fire!


This is Johnny Lewis’s dad…


Look out, New Haven is ramping up…




Source Code

“I think you could probably get a cat to talk with the reach-and-withdraw band of processes. I mean it. I mean it. I think you could get a cat to talk. But how would you go about processing a cat, you see? Well, the same way you tend to process children. Sloppily, hunt-and-punch, no regular sessions, not treating it with the dignity that auditing demands. Don’t you see? You know, a lot of Scientologists’ kids are going to be practically unprocessable in a few more years, if people keep hunting-and-punching processing on them, you know. Grabbing them off as they pass by, and running an assist, don’t you see, and never flattening the auditing command and so forth. I’m surprised, every once in a while, one of my kids will yelp when I say I’m going to give them an assist, you know. They yelp! They’re usually very pleased, but once in a while I will propose something like this, and I’ll get a protest.” — L. Ron Hubbard, June 19, 1963


Overheard in the FreeZone

“The attempt to Black PR those who adhere to KSW, is just that — Black PR, promulgated by those who didn’t and don’t keep Scientology working, and whose results with the materials sure do show that up. Yep, I’m a ‘fundamentalist’ allrighty. Paid my dues on Flag’s Internships, and through thousands of hours of application to earn that epithet.”


Random Howdy

“I’ve seen Oz promote homeopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture, and herbal voodoo on his program. He’s Dr Woo-Woo.”


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.


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] Ignore the apologists: Yes, L. Ron Hubbard lied about having an engineering degree
[TWO years ago] Stacy Francis goes to Washington: Are we witnessing another Scientology political op?
[THREE years ago] Clearwater bar owner under surveillance has a surprise for Scientology: He’s expanding
[FOUR years ago] Scientology goes big with Barnes & Noble and with the Euro 2016 football tournament
[FIVE years ago] LEAK: ‘Crappy stories’ about Scientology are driving more people to the church than ever!
[SIX years ago] Paul Haggis, Chill EB, and more Scientology fun in an all-video post!
[SEVEN years ago] LEAK: Scientology’s Script For Softening Up A Crowd
[EIGHT years ago] The Master Gets Its Scientology On in 2nd Trailer


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 1,973 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,477 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,997 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,017 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 908 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,215 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,083 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,857 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,631 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,977 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,543 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,462 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,630 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,211 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,472 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,510 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,223 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,748 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,278 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,838 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,978 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,298 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,153 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,273 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,628 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,931 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,037 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,439 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,311 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,894 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,389 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,643 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,752 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on June 19, 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