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Who knew? Scientology Volunteer Ministers bring ‘spiritual’ aid to disasters & not just PR

For years we’ve been keeping an eye on Scientology’s attempts to take advantage of natural (and man-made) disasters as public relations opportunities with the use of their “Volunteer Minister” corps.

And the church did not disappoint when it came to the mother of all disasters, the coronavirus pandemic, as yellow-clad VMs were dispatched around the world to pretend that Scientology was actually helping out.

But what are Volunteer Ministers supposed to do, really? According to Scientology, “Volunteer Ministers are trained to help those in critical need, assisting emergency workers and disaster victims with logistics and ‘spiritual first aid’.”

The suggested “training” to be a VM consists of taking a series of 12 Scientology courses offered online by the Church. But looking at them, we have to wonder how any of these courses have any relevance to helping at the scene of a disaster…



These courses are not mandatory; any Scientologist can show up at a disaster in a VM shirt or jacket and deliver touch and nerve assists and help with logistics.

For years, this website has been documenting how the VMs descend on disaster scenes pretending to be helpful when all they really want to do is get in the way and take their pictures and videos.

Perhaps in response to these criticisms, there is a group calling itself Churches of Scientology Disaster Response (CSDR). To be a member of this team, the Church of Scientology must send its members to outside agencies as it has no in-house training capabilities in real world disaster response. CSDR members must therefore receive real-world training from FEMA’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and other agencies. Scientology’s CSDR website states:

The CERT Program educates individuals about disaster preparedness and trains and organizes teams of volunteers that can support their communities during disasters. The CERT Program offers training in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, and disaster medical operations. With proper CERT training, you can help protect your family, neighbors, and co-workers if a disaster occurs. Training is offered by local Fire Departments and by FEMA online.

The Church also refers Scientologists to other agencies for real-world training. This is from the Church CDSR website:

American Red Cross Training Courses
— Disaster Action Team (DAT)
— Shelter Management
— Feeding
— First Aid


Training is offered at American Red Cross training locations.

Chainsaw Training

The proper and safe operation of a chainsaw cannot be stressed enough, as can be seen in these helpful FEMA videos.

Contact CSDR for chainsaw trainers in your area.

POD (Points of Distribution) Training

Points of Distribution are centralized locations where the public picks up life sustaining commodities following a disaster or emergency.

The fact that Scientology must outsource real disaster training to real disaster agencies makes an argument for the case that the VM’s are, as alleged, nothing more than a PR function of the Church. It is unknown how many actual trained CSDR members exist. What we normally see is the Church hiring the acclaimed Mexican rescue team Los Topos to do the real work while VM’s act as gophers for the highly trained and skilled Los Topos experts. This is the same sort of procedure Golden Era Studios follows when it hires non-Scientology actors to play the roles of Scientologists in Scientology training films and commercials.

The typical modus operandi of Scientology is to get its VMs to the Points of Distribution where the emergency supplies and first responders are initially concentrated. The PODs provide the most photo-op rich targets and so it is natural for VMs to show up at the center of the action.

How do the Scientology VMs compare to other emergency relief organizations? From a FEMA directory which lists the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (NVOAD), the VMs describe their capabilities as follows:


When we benchmark Scientology’s VMs against a few real world-class disaster relief groups, we see that the VMs have no actual impressive heavy-lift capabilities as do these organizations:



Despite their lack of serious capabilities as the above listed organizations possess and can field at any emergency or disaster, the Volunteer Ministers are a lightweight self-promoting group. Nevertheless, this does not matter within the Church so long as the VMs keep Scientology major domo David Miscavige happy by sending him “Done Sir!” photos.


— Jeffrey Augustine


Bonus items from our tipsters

Dublin org is back in business!



And so is Paris!



Source Code

“To date, I think I’ve lost something in the neighborhood of four or five hundred dollars treating patients by accidentally leaving change around while treating somebody I didn’t know was a kleptomaniac — it wasn’t part of the diagnosis. And I’ve had people halfway through to Clear all of a sudden put the money back in the drawer again. That was about the first time I learned about how, as people come up the line, their honesty level comes up too.” — L. Ron Hubbard, July 1, 1950


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Scientology is booby-trapped to the point where Scientologists are sometimes unable to confront and handle reverse Scientology in PT. False bridges are confronted and resolved as an integral component of life on earth and the dynamics beyond the 8th. That includes the two primary BTs plus the primary and secondary assumption of beingness for the current eternity. The person is neither and BTs are a lower level harmonic of relative states of beingness, encountered within this universe as BTs which reduce to functions of awareness.”



Random Howdy

“People get distracted by the crazy convolutedness of the ‘Tech.’ At its core Scientology is simply a con game, a ‘long con.’ Hubbard just kept adding to his ‘Winchester Mystery House’ as he went along hoping the marks wouldn’t catch on. Unfortunately for D.M., Hubbard didn’t leave him much in the way of building materials.”


Full Court Press: What we’re watching at the Underground Bunker

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Arraignment scheduled for September 18.
Jay Spina, Medicare fraud: Sentencing is set for July 6 in White Plains, NY
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial set for October 7 in Los Angeles

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Oral arguments set for July 30 at 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!

[Elisabeth Moss, Michael Peña, and Laura Prepon]

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] Measles-free, Scientology’s cruise ship holds its annual ‘Maiden Voyage’ celebration
[TWO years ago] Scientology celebrates 30 years of duping wealthy people on the high seas!
[THREE years ago] HowdyCon: From “Squeeze My Cans,” Cathy Schenkelberg’s sexy Scientology sec-check!
[FOUR years ago] Scientology’s ‘Ideal’ program really reaching at this point as it eyes a city without an org
[FIVE years ago] Is David Miscavige really planning to extend Scientology’s ‘Bridge’?
[SIX years ago] Rathbun: ‘Scientology never endorsed anyone where there wasn’t a clear self-interest’
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology To Turn Over 18,000 Pages of Evidence to Laura DeCrescenzo on Tuesday
[EIGHT years ago] How Scientology Is Likely To Be an Issue in the Divorce of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise
[NINE years ago] Scientology and the Nation of Islam: A Heartwarming Independence Weekend Parable


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 1,985 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,489 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,009 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,029 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 920 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,227 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,095 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,869 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,673 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,989 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,555 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,474 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,642 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,223 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,484 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,522 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,235 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,760 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,290 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,850 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,990 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,310 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,165 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,285 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,640 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,943 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,049 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,451 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,323 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,906 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,401 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,655 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,764 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on July 1, 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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