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Scientology is a special hell for the ‘staff’ who work at your local ‘org’

A couple of different things prompted me to come forward about my experience as an ex-Scientology Class V Org staff member. I will summarize as best I can.

I was on staff from 1978 to 1993. I was 24 when I joined, leaving at age 37. I started as a Basic Courses Supervisor. After formal Supervisor training at the Flag Base, I became the Lead Academy Supervisor, a post I held for several years. I then was sent to Los Angeles International Training Org to train on the OEC and FEBC. I completed both, returned to the org and held both OES and eventually ED posts. After a few years, with one year remaining on my contract, I blew that post and the org for eight months. I was persuaded to come back and finish out the four remaining months on my contract, or risk being declared Suppressive with a huge “Freeloader” debt.

I served that last four months back in the Academy as a Supervisor and “legally” routed out at the end of four months. As a public parishioner, I continued services until around the mid 2000s, at which point I decided I was done.

Here are the two things that have prompted me to write this:


— Watching Leah Remini and Mike Rinder’s Scientology and the Aftermath. I was a bit disappointed that the program, while superb, concentrated only on the Sea Org and particularly the most “elite” subgroups of that organization. It bothered me a bit that no episodes addressed the many Class V Org staff members and our lives within that paradigm, or our lives after we left.

— A Rolling Stone article, “Children Of Scientology: Life After Growing Up in an Alleged Cult.” This article speaks of the many people who were raised in the church, and then left.

With all due respect to the incredible Ex-Sea Org members, in some ways I think it was even harder to be a staff member in a Class V Org. Unless you were supported by a spouse or someone who made a basic living, we had to work at other jobs besides being org staff in order to pay rent and feed ourselves. Unless we had a huge income week (which was rare) we got paid almost nothing. And despite L. Ron Hubbard policy accepting it, “moonlighting” was frowned upon, so most of us worked full time at the org and part time at our “wog jobs” as they were derogatorily referred to. Most of us were in that situation, and as we got older and more encumbered with kids and bills we found it almost impossible.

Additionally we were expected to put in 12.5 hours a week on “enhancement” (Scientology training and auditing, which was the org’s way of “exchanging” for our labor) and most of us could not find the time for that and were too exhausted to do it anyway. Subsequently many staff members never got the training or auditing that was our “exchange” — but we were sent to Ethics if we didn’t show up for course.

Unlike Sea Org Members, our housing and food were not provided. We lived with multiple roommates in crappy apartments and lived on a few dollars a day for crappy food. Or, in my case, I got married to people who could support me, whether the marriage was healthy or not. And since I was never home to really support a marriage, most of them failed. Otherwise, our lives were plagued with bill collectors, car repossessions, evictions and financial stress. At least in the Sea Org, if you did get paid your meager weekly allotment, it was kind of discretionary cash.

Unlike Sea Org Members, we had no health care provided. When we were young this was not a huge issue but as we got older, many of us had health concerns and these were not covered. We had to figure out a way to pay to see doctors and dentists as needed. Subsequently many of us were in poor physical and dental health as the years passed. Being sick was not an option. I personally had to go to Mexico to get cheap and sub-standard dental work, most of which had to be repaired later. I had debilitating allergies and migraines, for which I was sent to Ethics for so many “PTS” handlings I can’t even recall. None of which fixed my health.

Our families and non-Scientology friends assumed that working at the church was simply a job, and so expected we could have time off for major holidays and family activities. We could not. And if we didn’t have children, holidays were spent at the org, trying to get public in for service. This created a lot of stress for us with our families who otherwise would have been supportive of what we were doing with the church. We lost most of our non-Scientology friends.

Leadership at the Class V Org level was mostly dreadful. Even if we accidentally did have good people in charge (myself included) our efforts were constantly micro-managed by our “seniors” at the Continental level and consistently undermined. Executive Directors and org executives were removed with great frequency, and the general leadership was completely unstable. It was a culture of fear. ONLY if the Org made enough income to send its quota of weekly money to Management, were we harassed a bit less — but it was on a weekly basis, so you could be favored one week and in the doghouse a week later with punitive actions taken. For example, regularly mandated trips to the Continental Org where we did manual labor and Ethics handlings until we could manage to get the money stats up again.

As for the Rolling Stone article, I can only say that I feel for those who were raised in the church. I realize they had to invent themselves from scratch after emerging. They had weird and neglectful childhoods. They had no previous identities or experience. I totally empathize. However, we who joined the church as adults, did so because of a personal conviction that we could help ourselves and others and make a difference. After reading a few books or whatever and becoming deeply inspired, it was an “educated” decision. I think we suffered an even worse betrayal when we saw the light and struggled with our doubts, and then ultimately quit. Our carefully chosen spiritual path was shattered. The personal convictions that led us for years and decades away from our careers and our “wog” callings proved to be mostly a big waste of time and energy. Yes, we learned some stuff, no doubt about it. Yes, we have in many cases forged ahead and made good in life one way or another. But some of us have never been able to really feel, to really acknowledge our anger and pain because we were trained to suppress all that.

Some of us have had a lot of trouble trying to get by in a real job, in real relationships. The FEBC, we were told, was an equivalent to an MBA! That we could run any company we wanted to with our training. That was absolutely the biggest lie of all. It took me years to function in the real-life business world, and I never really did all that great. I got by. I embarrassed myself many times attempting to introduce “Management Tech” into an established business scenario.

It was just a big lie.

— Anonymous



Bonus items from our tipsters

It’s like Scientology has an answer for everything.


“His entire bridge audited by his very own wife!”



Source Code

“I took a hard-boiled, hardheaded, sonic shut-off, somatic shut-off, reality shut-off case and had him pretend he was dead, in the hope that he would swing into the dead person in whose valence he was, and then he could tell us all about the funeral. So I said, ‘Go to the time when you were dead.’ So he obligingly went to 1797 in Sicily, when he was in a farmhouse dying. He died with full somatics. I thought this was very interesting, so I brought him up to present time and thought about it a little more, and took another case….We are discovering incidents back there. I never investigated them before, although I probably should have. We don’t currently know much about them except that people feel better when they are run. This is not part of the standard technique of Dianetics at present although I have known this material was there for some time.” — L. Ron Hubbard, July 22, 1950



Overheard in the FreeZone

“Never in history have I seen a religion so attacked and so maligned as Scientology, and mainly by its own ex-members and especially by its ex-executives. Look at all the people writing — for years and years — about how bad Scientology is. Well, they aren’t nuts per definition, they just have overts and especially missed withholds.”


Random Howdy

“My opinion is that the ‘true believer’ type personality is as much, if not more, the reason why some people end up in cults, than the ‘mind control’ explanation.”


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 August 27 in White Plains, NY
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Next pretrial conference set for Jan 12 in Los Angeles

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Oral arguments set for August 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: Sept 4 (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, trial set for Nov 9, 2021


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] Sudden change in Maiden Voyage events in Los Angeles a clue to Ideal Org problems?
[TWO years ago] A tale of two cities: Scientology courts pols and police in one place, acts sneaky in another
[THREE years ago] Janis Grady’s new book on life in Scientology: Jon Atack’s take, and an excerpt
[FOUR years ago] Was it something we said? Scientology wants Cindy Plahuta’s letter in fraud lawsuit struck
[FIVE years ago] How Scientology is Tom Cruise? How he put ethics ‘ruthlessly’ in on his own family
[SIX years ago] More trouble for Scientology fundraising and recruitment in Europe
[SEVEN years ago] DISCONNECTION: A Double Dose of Scientology’s Toxic Use of “Leverage”
[EIGHT years ago] Neil Gaiman, 7, Interviewed About Scientology by the BBC in 1968


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 2,006 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,510 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,030 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,050 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 941 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,248 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,116 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,890 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,694 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,010 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,576 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,495 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,663 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,244 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,505 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,543 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,256 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,781 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,311 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,871 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,011 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,331 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,186 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,305 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,661 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,964 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,070 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,472 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,344 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,927 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,422 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,676 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,785 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on July 22, 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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