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Is David Miscavige boarding up orgs in anticipation of inauguration riots?

[Inauguration day: More “planetary bullbait”?]

Our readers continue to send in updates about the state of orgs around the US, some of which are boarded up. (Orgs overseas appear unaffected.) In our previous updates, we noted that Scientology churches were either partially or fully boarded up in New York, DC, Dallas, Mountain View, Detroit, Pasadena, San Francisco, Chicago, and Denver.

Since then we heard from other readers who let us know that orgs were also boarded up in Buffalo…



…and Sacramento…


We sent a message to Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw about the boarded up churches, but she never got back to us. And as we mentioned the other day, Scientologists on social media aren’t talking about it. To the contrary, they continue to trade success stories and are talking about orgs still soldiering on during the pandemic.

We know it’s been tempting for some to wonder if the boarded-up orgs are an indication that Scientology is struggling during the health crisis, and might be shutting down in order to save money while no one is coming in for services. But we don’t think that’s the case.

After all, none of the Ideal Orgs were necessary in the first place. We’ve long documented that Scientology has been in a decades long decline and there’s no evidence of any growth in membership that would justify spending tens of millions for each of these elaborate new churches, which then simply stand empty after their grand openings.

Scientology is accustomed to spending money to keep empty orgs open. No, a pandemic isn’t going to change that, we figure.

So why board them up? Well, remember, this is Scientology, so the answer is likely to be extremely stupid.

And now we’ve heard from Missionary Kid, who went by the San Diego Ideal Org this week and not only found that it was sealed up, but also happened to talk to a staffer.


Here’s what Kid told us about it…


I’m visiting San Diego and I decided to stop by the Ideal Org. To my surprise, it was boarded up, even better than it was when the Black Lives Matter demonstrations were going on months ago. (I was here then too.)

The entire front 80 feet of glass is now boarded up with what looks like professionally-installed chip board, including the entryway, and it was mounted by someone who knew what they were doing. The panels are also painted to protect them, which the boards covering up the front during the protests in June were not.

There is a sign posted on the boards covering what would usually be the doors that said to go to the side door on the right for deliveries. At the side door is a button to be pushed to alert someone inside. As I drove up, I saw a woman park out in front and enter through the door on the right. I then took pictures of the front of the building and the sign and the entry and talked to people waiting at the bus stop in front of the org. None of them knew why the “church” was boarded up.

While I was talking to them, the woman I’d seen enter reappeared from the same door. She looked to be in her 30s and I assumed she was a staff member even though she wasn’t dressed in any uniform.

Me: Excuse me, but can you tell me why this is boarded up?

Woman: It’s because of the protests.

I looked puzzled, and said, “Protests?” so she explained further.

Woman: It’s because of the election. People are upset about it, like the Black Lives Matter protests.

She continued to walk to her car. I was so surprised by her answer I couldn’t think of a follow-up question or ask who she was.

There’s no doubt that it’s been a chaotic several weeks since the presidential election, but is Scientology really expecting that when Joe Biden is inaugurated on January 20, angry mobs will take to the streets and attack Scientology orgs?

That sounds just nutty and conspiratorial enough to be the right answer.

We thought we’d get some perspective from Chris Shelton, who was not only a Sea Org member but he worked in the outer orgs like the ones that are being boarded up. We pointed out to him that orgs around the country being boarded up would have to be a directive from David Miscavige himself, right? And does the leader of the church share the conspiracy theories that seem so popular with the members themselves?

It seems difficult to believe that the various orgs around the world are closed simply because of alternate-reality conspiracy thinking, so it may well be that what I’m going to say about this isn’t the full story, but given my background and understanding with the Scientology mindset, I’m certain this is at least part of the picture.


Specifically, as far back as 1967, and even earlier if you include Hubbard’s initial ravings against the “psychiatric industry,” Hubbard has always pushed an us-vs-them narrative to Scientologists. He claimed that there was a vast network of intelligence agencies and psychiatric institutions working in collusion to try to suppress groups like Scientology and steal their powerful mind-controlling technology so they could knowingly and with malice aforethought subjugate all of Mankind. This is reflected in lectures like Scientology and Effective Knowledge in 1955 as well as Ron’s Journal 67. The point is that the same kind of ideas as are now forwarded under the banner of QAnon and the Deep State are old hat in Scientology and have been around for decades.

It may or may not be that David Miscavige truly believes what Hubbard said about the “12 men who rule the world” and the rest of it; it’s hard to say with any certainty. But if Church of Scientology is boarded up and out of business right now, that means they are losing money and very likely personnel and there’s no way Miscavige would allow that to happen unless he believed it was absolutely necessary.

When the 1992 LA riots went down, the Sea Org took security of the properties very seriously. All-hands were deputized, even outer-org trainees were lined up with batons or just their bodies to protect the Hollywood Guaranty Building and PAC Base buildings. I know that at least one point, security and some Sea Org were armed with rifles and pistols. So the idea that orgs are boarded up and are staying that way in anticipation of city-wide riots in places like Portland are not really that far-fetched to me.

Thank you, Chris.

Another funny detail: Since we featured photos of the Pasadena org sealed up tight, a reader reports that the boards have come off.

Are Dave’s ears burning?


Continuing our year in review: The stories of June 2020

As the month began, we started to notice that Scientology orgs were being boarded up. At that time, it was in response to street unrest going on over the death of George Floyd. But as our story today suggests, there’s a more mysterious reason why the orgs are boarded up today.

We do our best to ignore Kirstie Alley, but she went on a tear letting her Scientology flag fly this year. And in June we noted that she had responded to the riots with a quote from L. Ron Hubbard.

We discovered that Danny Masterson’s stepdad, Rusty Tweed, was sued by the SEC for running a Ponzi scheme, and that during the scheme Tweed made sure to make whole one of his stepsons. Was it Danny? The SEC didn’t say.

On June 5, Victoria Locke gave us an update, a year after taping the final ‘Aftermath’ episode.

Rod Keller pointed out that one of the strangest results of the pandemic was that Scientology was sharing really bizarre videos of stuff that would otherwise occur behind closed doors.


Mark Bunker shared with us the insane obsession Scientology was demonstrating with its records requests for his every utterance as city councilman.

We noted that a couple of new Scientology defectors were posting YouTube videos about their experiences, Lou Ray Repetto and Molly McMullen.

Rising anti-vaxx star Scientologist attorney Leigh Dundas got her first “head on a pike” when her terror attacks resulted in OC’s health director resigning and running for her life.

Barbara Cordova resurfaced, handing out literature for a Scientology front group, and it depressed us. Her mom deserved so much better.

Jeffrey Augustine scored a great photo when he noticed Scientologists at the LA Org putting on a big show in hazmat suits with a banner, “Done Sir,” which told us all we needed to know about Scientology’s pandemic response.

While Scientology was putting on a big show for David Miscavige that it was part of the solution to the coronavirus with its public service work about mask use, Scientologists like Martin Sherman were boasting about flying on a plane without a mask.

June’s big news story, of course, was that Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey finally got around to making up her mind, and she charged Danny Masterson with three counts of forcible rape under California’s strict “One Strike” sexual assault law, and so he’s facing 45 years to life in prison if convicted.

Naturally, we wondered how Scientology might react to the news.

We looked at Danny’s Scientology completions and talked to those who were close to him to point out that he was actually a woeful excuse of a Scientologist. Might he turn on the church while he’s facing major prison time?

Meanwhile, in another case of a Scientologist facing major prison time, chiropractor Jay Spina was portrayed as a real monster in a new document submitted by his prosecutors.

Rod Keller let us know what Scientologists were being told about Danny Masterson’s criminal charges.

And as for Danny’s switch in DJ names, we pointed out there was a very good reason why he stopped using “DJ Donkey Punch” after 2004.

Derek Bloch wrote another devastating piece for us, this time about how because of Scientology’s “disconnection” policy his dying mother still won’t see her son.

In the Masterson case, we noted that a private investigator hired by Danny’s attorney Tom Mesereau may end up a key witness for the prosecution.


A LOOK BACK AT JUNE 2019: Chris Owen demonstrated how L. Ron Hubbard sought to prop up the apartheid government in South Africa in 1960s. Mark Bunker announced that he was going to run for city council in Clearwater. A national legal team starts its onslaught on Scientology, filing a lawsuit on behalf of Valerie Haney. Journal claims L. Ron Hubbard never falsely claimed to have a college degree, so we published a letter to prove it. HowdyCon took place in our ancestral homeland, Los Angeles. We didn’t get invited to Tommy Davis’s wedding.

A LOOK BACK AT JUNE 2018: Chris Owen uncovered a previously unpublished and damning testament by the ‘world’s first true Clear,’ John McMaster. Actress Erika Christensen dropped a few interesting details in a conversation with Dax Shepard. HowdyCon was held in Chicago, and we revealed the cover of our new book with Paulette Cooper. Actor Christian Stolte was the star of the show with a song about Scientology. Sunny Pereira had three big pieces about a shooting in Portland, more about how children are raised in Scientology, and another slice of Sea Org horror.

A LOOK BACK AT JUNE 2017: Leah Remini’s stepmother Donna Fiore was being hounded by Scientology for dirt on her stepdaughter. Handbag designer Rebecca Minkoff stepped up her support of Scientology front groups. Marty Rathbun started posting attack videos against his former allies, prompting responses from your proprietor, Gary Morehead, Victoria Britton, Paul Haggis, and John Brousseau. And HowdyCon 2017 went down in Denver.

A LOOK BACK AT JUNE 2016: We marked Muhammad Ali’s passing with a look at a Scientology video he was in. We published Dani Lemberger’s “declare.” And we broke the news that Leah Remini was shooting a television series.

A LOOK BACK AT JUNE 2015: We wrote about that time Jim Jones talked about Paulette Cooper from his Guyana compound. We wrote about a person in our book, the inspirational Len Zinberg. We did some live-blogging from the epic Toronto conference organized by Jon Atack. We broke the news that Scientologist Ponzi schemer Reed Slatkin had died. Some poor schlub went to prison after trying to hack Mike Rinder and your proprietor on behalf of Scientology. And we had our biggest audience yet with Paulette Cooper in Clearwater, the belly of the beast.

A LOOK BACK AT JUNE 2014: Another distressing disconnection story: Where is Sami Sterne? A rare audio recording captures L. Ron Hubbard and his wife Mary Sue using an e-meter to come up with the space cooties portion of Scientology. Why we think Original OT 8 is not a hoax — the George White story.

A LOOK BACK AT JUNE 2013: Channel 4’s documentary about Marty Rathbun, Scientologists at War, Neil Gaiman’s Scientology history behind his novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and Joe Childs on Denise Gentile’s blunts.

Five of our favorites from the most-upvoted comments of June 2020:

June 4: Phil Jones
Wow! Rusty Tweed. I haven’t heard that name in a while. I remember Rusty from his Toronto days when he was married to Vera. He was a chimney sweep, which was a decent living in Toronto, at least back then. He moved to LA back in the late 80s. I remember the last time I talked to him sometime either late ’80s or early 90s. He told me he’d gotten into financial management. I wondered at the time how someone could go from being a chimney sweep to being a financial manager. Seemed a bit of a leap to me. After that I never had any contact with Rusty. Probably just as well.

June 7: яовэят ёскэят
This is the week I was supposed to start my great summer road trip, making it to St. Louis by the weekend for Howdycon and back to Ohio by the next weekend for the Origins gamer convention, stopping by multiple friends along the way, but alas. It was pointed out last night that Fly has posted little of late, no doubt mourning the Howdycon more than any of us. Hope you’re OK buddy


June 10: Mighty Korgo of Teegeeack
My comments are often autobiographical. I have come to realize that here, there are three Korgos:
Kid Korgo of Planet Earth. He was a seventeen year old and under tremendous pressure.
Angry Korgo of Yonge Street. In his forties. He picketed, contacted politicians, distributed leaflets, sent letters to police, and may have been the oldest member of Anonymous.
Mighty Korgo of Teegeeack. Senior citizen. Calmer than either of the above. Tries to make a meaningful contribution while balancing the other aspects of his life.
Kid Korgo understood that going public against Scientology would buy a person misery.
Angry Korgo went public understanding that if Scientology wanted to get you, they would.
Mighty Korgo released his real name on this website just a short while ago. No one cared. There are so many good people doing the work now that Scientology’s critics have to strike a powerful blow to become the object of their wrath. Thanks, all of you courageous people. When in Toronto, if the restaurants ever reopen, let me take you out for Chinese food.

June 11: M.C. Mayo
Leigh Dundas rails against masks. Charles Wakley wears a full-on hazmat suit. Hmmm.

June 18: Andrea “i-Betty” Garner
One thing that hasn’t changed since Tony first started reporting this story: I continue to believe the women.



Source Code

“A good manager or executive works hard hour by hour to keep the show on the road but always with a long-term view as well. And he intends that org and staff will prosper. The auditor in Post Purpose Clearing will get a lot of glib answers. The stats, the honest ones, and the true long-term performance of the executive, measured by the health of his zone of responsibility, tell the tale and should be consulted when in doubt.” — L. Ron Hubbard, December 26, 1981


Avast, Ye Mateys

SECOND DANGER FORMULA: (1) So that the Ship can get upgraded to EMERGENCY the following actions are to be done as indicated: (1:1) All Divisional Heads are requested to do a full star-rate check-out with the STO on the ‘Second DANGER Formula,’ (HCO PL 07 Feb 70, steps A-G). Time Machine Order 48 hours. (STO to inform FMAA at the end of 48 hrs of those who have checked-out.) (1:2) All Divisional Heads are requested to submit a complete and realistic application of the ‘Second DANGER Formula’ for their Division in writing to 3rd Mate, (CC). Time Machine Order of one week. (2) The intention is that the ship will be upgraded to EMERGENCY for the New Year, (AD 21).” — R.S. Prior, FMAA, December 26, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“OT Inelia Benz is already working with her OT Committee to create the reality for a new civilization. She calls them ‘First Instant Manifestators.’ LRH created in the 60’s the goal for OT Committees to make Planet Earth an OT base. Bill Robertson’s Ron’s Org OT Committee created the New Civilization Game in the mid 80’s, to create the new reality. Where are the Independent Scientology OT Committees on this regard?”


Past is Prologue

1998: A Scientologist and dentist in Providence, Rhode Island has been sued by his former receptionist for forcing her to study Scientology. From the Associated Press: “Dentist Roger Carlsten was promoting religion in the workplace when he asked his receptionist to take a statistics course written by the founder of Scientology, according to a complaint filed in Superior Court. Susan Elizabeth Morgan, a Catholic, said she is suing her former boss because she was fired after she refused to take the course written by L. Ron Hubbard, the late science fiction writer and founder of the controversial Scientology religion. Morgan asserts that material in ‘Hubbard Management Technology,’ is based in Scientology, not statistics. Carlsten, 52, said although he practices Scientology, he did not try to impose his beliefs on his employees, and religion had nothing to do with firing 32-year-old Morgan.”



Random Howdy

“You’re better off trying to kick dope or booze at home than going to a Narconon. It would be safer and a hell of a lot cheaper. For 100 bucks you could get some benzos, Imodium, and prilosec and you’d be better off and safer than going to a Narconon cold turkey death camp.”


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 denied Dec 11.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Dec 18, re-hearing on motions to compel arbitration, awaiting ruling; 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] Scientology has its dukes up for Boxing Day, but we’re still thinking of warmer days
[TWO years ago] Nation of Islam takes a bigoted swipe at Leah Remini and the ‘Jews’ behind her show
[THREE years ago] 2017: In June, Rathbun became Scientology’s attack dog, but we got mile high in Denver
[FOUR years ago] Why would an academic speak up for Scientology? Dr. Stephen Kent has an answer.
[FIVE years ago] On Boxing Day, we remember the last time Scientology tried to knock out the press
[SIX years ago] Give Scientology $1,000 and all you’ll get is this lousy T-shirt
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology’s 2013 in review: Madness set in as spring arrived!
[EIGHT years ago] Narconon Georgia Facing Closure: It Shouldn’t Have Taken a Death
[NINE years ago] Scientology Video of the Year: The Vote Is In!


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 2,162 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,666 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,186 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,206 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,097 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,404 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,272 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,046 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,850 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,166 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,732 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,651 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,819 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,400 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,661 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,699 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,412 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,937 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 292 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,467 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,018 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,167 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,487 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,342 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,461 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,817 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,120 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,226 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,628 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,500 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,083 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,578 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,832 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,941 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on December 26, 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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