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Date night at the Scientology Sunday service: How one teenager was lured into Hubbardism

[Illustration of Ron by R.G. Taylor]

Longtime reader Ron Kasman, a Canadian comic book artist, sent in this account of how he first fell into Scientology, a half century ago. We thought you’d like to see it, and we’d also like to hear some accounts of others and how they were first attracted to L. Ron Hubbard’s “applied philosophy.”

My teen years were troubled.

I had low self esteem while simultaneously thinking I was someone really special. On the plus side I was very good at math, physics, and chemistry. I was better in sports than most. My family loved me and I had many friends. On the down side I was a late bloomer, was far too opinionated, and came from a family without enough money for basic necessities.

I clammed up when I tried to talk to girls. We called that being shy. Today it is called social anxiety disorder.


There was a girl at school who was part of “the front line,” five girls who came to class early and sat in the front seats studying until the bell rang. I saw that as a major character flaw. But she was pretty. In my final year of high school she was in my chemistry class. She was a full blooded geek, no doubt about it. We were a perfect match.

As we approached the Christmas break I got up the nerve to ask her out and she accepted. We would go to the Sunday service at the Scientology Org on Avenue Road. Why not take her to a movie, you may wonder?

Well, I was not experienced in these matters. It was my very first date. But even given that I grant you that it showed very poor judgement.

I come from a long line of eccentrics and irritating people. And that includes all the members of my nuclear family. But I had a cousin, just one, not pulled from the same mold.

Michael was skinny while we were fat, funny and charming while we were obnoxious and open minded while we were dogmatic. He drove a flashy sports car. We drove nothing. And on top of that he did these card tricks that could enthrall a room for hours. The audience didn’t watch the tricks to see if Michael could find the card. They watched them to hear Michael’s patter. He really was that appealing.

Anyway, those good qualities were no defense against his getting sucked into Scientology. He had joined staff and had been asking me to come on down for the Sunday Service. It was the Sunday following Christmas in my last year of high school, fifty years ago.


[Ron, during his Dianetics days]

It snowed hard that day. Once down at the org, the young lady and I sat with about forty others on metal folding chairs. The show began. It led off with a guy in a ministerial collar who recited a prayer to the author of the universe. Had L. Ron been a sports fan the prayer would have been to the coach and general manager of the universe. Next, a baby had been born to Scientologists so the minister introduced him to his parents and to all in attendance. I found it amusing but looking back, it must have been ludicrous to anyone with a broader view of the world. That baby’s fifty now. I’d love to know how he made out. Then, a young woman, perhaps six years my senior, spoke about Christmas, calling it a winter orgy and mentioning its origins in pagan cultures. She was genuinely interesting. Next up was a recent Clear. She stuttered. I had read Dianetics and knew that clears weren’t supposed to stutter. At last Michael spoke about how he had left many aspects of his materialistic life behind. He said that he had a problem that was a millstone around his neck but because of Scientology it was gone. Michael, almost ten years my senior, was everything I wanted to be.

My potential girlfriend was impressed, partly by Michael and partly, I think, because we could have fun together doing something that was so off beat. She led a very sheltered life. We dated until early summer when we both realized that we really had little in common, certainly not enough to extend the relationship. In fact, our lives were so restricted by school and our families that we didn’t have much in common with anybody. We both had some growing up to do.

She phoned me years ago and we met for lunch. She had dyed her hair blonde, married a professor of science, had five kids and moved to Israel (not necessarily in that order). It was nice seeing her again.

It would be several months before I took the Comm. Course and a couple of years before I took the HQS course. Then on August 30, 1973 I walked out, never to return. If we’re all still here in a couple of years I’ll let you know what went on there.

— Ron Kasman



Source Code

“These things called ‘universes’ are games. And really the most valuable thing that a thetan possesses is his spirit of play. His spirit of play is sensation of play, and is not just energy. It’s a tremendous sensation. A guy has practically lost it if he’s here on Earth at all. Spirit of Play. It’s tremendous: he’s depending on all sorts of the soggiest, low tone scale emotions imaginable in order to get any sensation. In substitute for what? Spirit of Play. For instance, sex is, boy, that’s about eighth-rate as an emotion. It is just dull, incalculably dull compared to the rapidity, randomity and actual sensation of the Spirit of Play. It’s way up there. And you couldn’t possibly think that anybody could be serious and win through this universe. The more serious they get — 1.5 is real serious — why, of course, the more serious they get the more they have to do things by flows, and the acre they have to agree and the more they have to follow the rules, and the more broken the piece becomes.” — L. Ron Hubbard, December 9, 1952


Avast, Ye Mateys

“In answer to Income Clerk’s query, the following points apply with No exceptions: 1. Persons leaving SEA ORG get billed for all their courses they may have incurred at full price. 2. A Course whether finished or just started is always charged for at full price. 3. Reviews are paid for by the hour and at full price — includes the leaving Review. 4. If the person has worked at an Advanced Org prior to coming to Sea Org any courses they may have incurred whilst there are also billed for at full price. We are not in the business of free services and arrangements must be made prior to the person leaving regarding meeting weekly payments for the debt he has incurred with the Sea Org.” — Lt. Robin Roos, CS-3, December 9, 1968


Overheard in the FreeZone

Jonathan Burke is hereby assigned a CONDITION OF ENEMY in regards Scientology and Scientology in the Independent Field. Per LRH ‘Condition of Liability’ he is not to be trusted. Jonathan Burke is encouraged to seek out a standard Ethics Specialist and work out of his lower conditions and to make restitution and amends as necessary and move up the conditions and back into Normal Operation. Once this has been accomplished and validated, an Ethics Order will be issued to the same distribution advising them of Mr. Burke’s achievement.”


Past is Prologue


2001: The Los Angeles Times published an update on Scientologist Reed Slatkin and his infamous Ponzi scheme. “The investment empire run by EarthLink Inc. co-founder Reed Slatkin was a scam virtually from its inception in the mid-1980s, according to a report filed Friday by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court trustee and Slatkin’s creditors. The report, which is the first detailed look at the inner workings of one of the largest alleged Ponzi schemes in history, said Slatkin reported about $700 million in bogus profits to investors from 1986 to 2001. The report, co-written by trustee R. Todd Neilson and the bankruptcy case’s creditors committee, alleges that Slatkin took in $593 million from more than 800 investors over 15 years. Although he distributed hundreds of millions in purported stock market profits to investors, the report alleges, he made only about $65 million in actual gains. Most of the payments were actually money taken in from other investors — a classic Ponzi scheme.”


Random Howdy

“Miscavige has billions at his disposal and he has thousands of lackeys and soldiers to order around. He’s the Teflon Pope.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Masterson’s demurrer denied Oct 19, arraignment delayed to Jan 6.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay’s sentencing delayed for ‘Fatico’ hearing on Jan 19.
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 were heard on July 30 at the Eleventh Circuit
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Petition for writ of mandate denied Oct 22 by Cal 2nd Appellate District. Petition for review by state supreme court filed Oct 30.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Dec 18, re-hearing on motions to compel arbitration; Jan 29, Masterson’s request to stay discovery pending the criminal case
Matt and Kathy Feschbach tax debt: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9 that Feshbachs can’t discharge IRS debt in bankruptcy. Nov 18: Feshbachs indicated they will enter into consent judgment to pay the debt.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Second amended complaint filed, trial set for Nov 9, 2021.

Concluded litigation:
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs.
Dennis Nobbe, Medicare fraud, PPP loan fraud: Charged July 29. Bond revoked Sep 14. Nobbe dead, Sep 14.
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.


SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks

The Australian Seven News network cancelled a 10-part investigation of Scientology and its history of dirty tricks. Read the transcripts of the episodes and judge for yourself why Tom Cruise and Tommy Davis might not have wanted viewers to see this hard-hitting series by journalist Bryan Seymour.


After the success of their double-Emmy-winning, three-season A&E series ‘Scientology and the Aftermath,’ Leah Remini and Mike Rinder continue the conversation on their podcast, ‘Scientology: Fair Game.’ We’ve created a landing page where you can hear all of the episodes so far.


An episode-by-episode guide to Leah Remini’s three-season, double-Emmy winning series that changed everything for Scientology watching. Originally aired from 2016 to 2019 on the A&E network, and now on Netflix.


Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Other links: Scientology’s Ideal Orgs, from one end of the planet to the other. 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 a weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] Jingle Bell Crock: LAPD cozies up to Scientology at its faux-Christmas shindig
[TWO years ago] David Miscavige will be in Africa on New Year’s Day to mark an actual Scientology expansion
[THREE years ago] DID BOB BLOW? Evidence that Scientology may have lost its biggest donor of all time
[FOUR years ago] Disconnection, neglect, and suicide: Scientology, it’s even worse than you think
[FIVE years ago] Document leak: When the FBI investigated Scientology’s bizarre New Mexico vault
[SIX years ago] Scientology ambush! Another crazy encounter, this time with Marc Headley at Int Base
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology asks for psychiatric examination of Laura DeCrescenzo in forced-abortion lawsuit
[EIGHT years ago] Sunday Funnies: Scientology Needs Your Cash!
[NINE years ago] SMERSH, Scientology Breakthroughs, and a Funeral: Sailing on the Apollo, Dec 4 – 10


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 2,145 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,649 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,169 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,189 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,080 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,387 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,255 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,029 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,833 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,149 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,715 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,634 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,802 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,383 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,644 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,682 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,395 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,920 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 275 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,450 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,001 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,150 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,470 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,325 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,444 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,800 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,103 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,209 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,611 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,483 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,066 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,561 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,815 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,924 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on December 9, 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, 15 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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