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Escaping for the second time: Cathy Mullins on forsaking Scientology’s Florida swamp

[Scientology’s Florida mecca]

I had been sucked back into Scientology after 30 years. As I said last time, I was a Ronbot through and through.

However, on the academy levels I learned quickly to never, ever say what I really thought about Hubbard’s tech. There were many pieces that did not fit and eventually I realized I had to keep my mouth shut. I wish I could recall all of them, but the one that most stands out is this ludicrous thing called “Listing and Nulling.” Every bit of that section of training caused what-the-hell moments. I must have had 50 hours of word clearing on the correction list alone.

Because Kim supported us, I was a full-time student, every day from 9 to 6. And I kicked ass (except for L&N). Have I mentioned that I hated it? And did I say how confused I was that I was even there?

Still, I made it to the Internship. The Supervisor was a sweet young woman who had not done any training, except the Sup course. She was very likable but somewhat clueless about my concerns about auditing other people. I would be given PCs and told to do this and that by all sorts of other people around the org, mostly the staff section officer (if that’s the right term for the the guy who gets the staff trained and audited). One day he tells me to take a staff member in session and do a Listing and Nulling correction list. Uh-oh. And this PC is not the brightest bulb in the marquee — nice lady, but left her education too early. I am supposed to word clear every single one of the questions on this freaking list while watching for reads. No way. Not going to happen. Ever. Plus, she will not sit still. It’s my worst nightmare. I sat in that chair and imagined myself getting up and walking out the door. It was all I could think of. I fiddled around talking to her about what seemed to be coming up and then just ended the session. Just ended it. Bam. She F/Ned at the examiner and joined the Sea Org the next day. Huh.

The end of the Internship came when they assigned a brand new public to me. I was supposed to teach her how to be audited — what the E-meter was, what we were doing, etc. I tried. She red-tagged at the examiner (that means her session was not OK and she would have to be cleaned up by someone else within 24 hours). She got fixed up and came back to me for more. She red-tagged again. I went home after that session and crawled into bed and pulled the covers up over me and stayed there for three days. The org called, begging, then threatening. At one point, the Internship Sup called and left a message: “Cathy, You are crashing the orgs stats. Get in here!” My husband asked me what had happened and all I could say was “I fucked somebody up, I can’t go back, I don’t ever want to do that again.”


Here’s the craziest part: The org acted like nothing had happened. I never went back on the Internship and no one said a word about my continuing it. I did get “interviewed” by one of the high muckety-mucks and was asked what I thought was wrong with the Internship. It was multiple choice, so I picked one. And that was it for my training. I never had to listen to another tape, do another checkout, talk endlessly to the wall, go to the word clearer and so on.

In 2005 we thought we ought to move. San Diego’s housing market was about to crash and we needed the money badly that we could get for our house. We even went to Tucson to house hunt. How silly. There’s no Scientology in Tucson. What were we thinking? It’s really too bad we didn’t just buy a house there and get while the getting was good. Instead, we went to a Flag tour event. At the end, we both had the same idea, as if it was the most logical thing in the world: Move to Clearwater. That’s the ticket. Our house sold for way more than it was worth and we were very lucky. That’s not going to happen again for a very, very long time.

While we were in escrow, we flew to Clearwater to see about purchasing a house to live in and one to rent out. A realtor who was a Scientologist had been recommended so we went with him to look at property. Well, first, this realtor seemed lazy to me. He knew Scientologists were going to be moving to Florida in droves so he did the bare minimum. And second, Florida sucks. And it stinks. We were amazed at every house we looked at. There were two types: Gaudy MacMansions or do-it-yourself nightmares.

We spent five hours with the realtor, picked two not-too-horrible DIY projects, made offers, got acceptances, flew home. We did all the rest long distance. We managed to hang onto almost all of the money from the San Diego house. We got really stingy.

Unfortunately, the housing market crashed in Florida and when we finally left, we lost it all.

We lived in Clearwater for three years, from Spring 2005 to Spring 2008. Which was three years too long. Every day we’d open the front door, look out, and shrug, “Crap, it’s still Florida.” I had put some money on account at Flag and went to see about getting started. Not easy to get anything done around there unless you have your checkbook out. Then, everybody’s your best friend and will get you going ASAP. First stop, Ethics. Seems somebody there didn’t like the results of the conditions I’d done way back at AOLA and wanted them re-done. OK. Actually, I did a long write-up about all the stuff we’d done with Way to Happiness, VMs, auditing, and helping the San Diego Org with their Ideal Org boogie, and after about three weeks, I finally heard back that it was OK’d. Great, now I get the auditing. The C/S had a big Advance Program all laid out for me. Wait, what? I’d just done a big Advance Program at AOLA. Seems Flag has different Advance Programs from AOLA’s programs. Why would that be?

I don’t remember much, but I DO remember the tailor-made False Purpose Rundown. Because I’d worked with Hubbard, they came up with all kinds of questions having to do with hurting, lying to, cheating, doing bad things to Hubbard. Oh. My. God. Whatever. I had to come clean about that stupid compass cover that I hid in the Bosun’s Locker. Fine, now you know. Eventually I was sent to Qual for some kind of interview. The person doing it seemed uncomfortable and was tippy-toeing around, not quite saying what she wanted to say. I got so frustrated I finally asked her, “Are you trying to tell me I’m not Clear?” She was so relieved. Yup, not Clear. And I just realized today as I was thinking about writing this, how did they come up with that? They had never found my folders and I’d done the Clearing Course and attested at Saint Hill. They never explained it. But now, looking back and putting the pieces together, I believe they really had no idea at all about whether I was Clear or not — it was a good way to get me to buy more intensives. Which I did. Next up was New Era Dianetics. Maybe the reasoning behind ‘not Clear’ was that I’d never done any Dianetics. None. Nada. Not even Book One and certainly not NED. Boy, I hated that! Hated it. It just ground on and on. And I said so, every session. “This is not helping, I hate this, I can’t do this.” And so on. Finally the C/S had a cognition and let me off the NED. The auditor asked me a listing question, and boom! we were done and I was Clear. Whoopee. It wasn’t anything like the first time when I felt so fantastic. I was truly flying when I left Saint Hill. It didn’t last long, but at the time it was absolutely the best thing that had ever happened to me.

I didn’t get any more auditing at Flag. We’d run out of money, thank God. Actually we still had some, but we weren’t telling anybody about it. We were putting money on account from time to time for Kim to do OT 5, which he’d already paid for twice and been detoured. To actually make progress on the “Bridge” would have been a very, very big deal. Don’t they want to deliver what they promised? Guess not.

The bottom started to drop out soon after that. We’d go to events and be chased out of our seats because some muckety-muck wanted them. We were regged heavily for Super Power, IAS, OT Committee, advance payments, CCHR, ABLE. It never stopped. One night Howard Becker and Michael Roberts showed up at our front door. Pretty weird since they’re West Coast IAS freaks. But there they were in all their paranoid glory. Had we invited them? Were we expecting them late at night? Hell no. We were dumb enough to let them in. We’d had experience with Becker and knew he liked to lay it on thick. So I told him what I really thought (for a change), which was, “How come all these emergencies never get taken care of? Why do they keep coming up? Why don’t we ever see any indication in the media that all the stuff you’re doing is being noticed? No one ever hears anything after you raise all that money for whatever the project du jour is and then it just drops off the edge of the earth. What’s that about?” He was very good. Didn’t bat an eyelash. Smiled. Rambled on using Scieno baffle-gab for a bit and then said how much money he needed that minute for that week’s dire critical crucial grave momentous earth-changing crisis. We wrote a check for a few hundred dollars. He tried hard to get more, but we were done with him. Our response: Take it or leave it.

Somewhere around this time, Kim got an email from his daughter saying Jefferson wanted to let us know he was “out” and how to contact him if we wanted to. IF WE WANTED TO? Yikes! Kim got in touch immediately and wanted the whole story. Jeff went easy and didn’t unload everything all at once. He was being careful in case we were still true-blue bubble-heads. He was “protecting” us. Huh. We made a trip to San Diego and spent a day with Jeff, hearing a little more about what was going on.

A pile of little things finally tipped us. I was happy the end was coming, it was miserable being in Florida and I was getting more and more hostile toward the church. One day I called Jeff and asked him to tell me all of it. He did. And he’d already told Kim a lot of it. Now Kim and I were on the same page. It was all crap, lies, a big con. And, on top of that, the head of the whole disgusting circus was a maniac and a thug. OK.

Jeff told us about Mick Wenlock’s ex-Sea Org group. We joined with phony names and started chatting with other exes. So interesting. Well, I posted something that apparently was traceable to me. OSA sent someone to our house with printouts of our posts. She said we had to stop being on that board and we had to stop talking to Jeff. Oh really? We laughed. And laughed and laughed and laughed. “You want us to choose YOU over JEFF?” Come on. Do your worst, sister. Nobody fucks with this family. Nobody.

And then we were out. Done. No more regges (except for the poor slobs who didn’t get the memo). No more stupid committee meetings. No more volunteering at CCHR. No more dumb seminars put on by worn-out OTs.

Yes, we got all our money back — even some we’d forgotten about. It was fast and easy.


It took another year for our house to sell because of the market crash, but we left Florida. When we crossed the state line into Georgia, we opened a bottle of champagne.

Now we’re free. We’ve been married almost 30 years and we’re still best friends. We live in eastern Oregon (after 8 years in Portland) and grow lots of food and flowers. We build things, we hike, we have friends who have never heard of Scientology. It’s perfect.

— Cathy Mullins



Source Code

“Now, what’s the matter with the planet at this particular time is ethics is out. And that is proven by the fact that you are having a hard time getting tech in. With the technology which you know at this particular moment and the results which you are delivering even at lower levels, you have a total monopoly of all mental activities, all religious activities and all social activities on this planet. That is what you are entitled to at this moment. Do you have them? Well, therefore, tech is out. Obvious. So, the only thing that puts tech out is if ethics is out. The only thing that can get tech in is ethics.” — L. Ron Hubbard, August 2, 1966


Avast, Ye Mateys

“Recruits are not the answer, not the total why to no production. Lots there already. Training and hats are needed. 2.5 hours a day study time. Part time Crew Cse Super and properly programmed crew students properly enrolled and properly mustered at suitable times will improve things faster than new recruits. Recruits are longer range.” — The Commodore, August 2, 1971



Overheard in the FreeZone

“Give it a blind eye if you want, and people will for various mostly personal reasons. I however will not. Reverse Scientology started in 1973, the main obstacles were dealt with, handled, reversed and pushed through during 1978-82. Confronting evil, for me, is seeing things for what they are, to deal with that which can be confirmed. The stories told by people (tale telling) is surely not part of that! You don’t give matters a blind eye because of personal preference. Start to realize that David Miscavige is only the face outward! My research does not suffer from ‘bank generalities and identifications.’ If it does, you can point out exactly where I went in the wrong.”


Past is Prologue

2001: The St. Petersburg Times reported that Dr. David Minkoff has been suspended as a doctor and fined for his treatment of Lisa McPherson, who died as a result of her care in the Fort Harrison Hotel in 1995. “Florida’s Board of Medicine has sternly sanctioned Clearwater physician David I. Minkoff, finding he improperly prescribed medicine for a patient he had never seen – Scientologist Lisa McPherson. Minkoff, also a Scientologist, prescribed Valium and the muscle relaxant chloral hydrate at the behest of unlicensed Church of Scientology staffers who were trying to nurse McPherson, 36, through a severe mental breakdown. When they failed after 17 days of isolating her, Minkoff was recruited again. This time, he pronounced McPherson dead. For his role in the 1995 episode that Minkoff himself calls a ‘fiasco,’ the 53-year-old doctor will lose his medical license for one year and then be made to practice under probation for two more years – unless he appeals and wins a reversal. He also was fined $10,000. Ken Dandar, the Tampa lawyer who represents McPherson’s family, called the sanctions too lenient. Dandar set off the inquiry that led to Friday’s action, complaining about Minkoff to state health officials in 1997. He nevertheless credited Minkoff on Friday for the candid accounts he has given in sworn statements. It was Minkoff, a Scientologist for 20 years, who told prosecutors in 1998 that McPherson’s care at Scientology’s Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater was seriously flawed.”


Random Howdy

“Massholio is 4 months of winter wasteland followed by a month of sumptuous spring followed by four months of hellish heat and humidity followed by two and half months of fabulous fall weather. There’s definitely room for improvement, Sherb.”


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


Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next hearing set for August 9. Trial tentatively scheduled for early November.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff’s sentencing to be scheduled.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Pretrial conference August 21 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for Sept 9.

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 to US Supreme Court submitted on May 26. Scientology responded on June 25.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: California Supreme Court granted review on May 26 and asked the Second Appellate Division to direct Judge Steven Kleifield to show cause why he granted Scientology’s motion for arbitration. Oral arguments scheduled for Oct 5.
Matt and Kathy Feschbach tax debt: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9 that Feshbachs can’t discharge IRS debt in bankruptcy. Dec 17: Feshbachs sign court judgment obliging them to pay entire $3.674 million tax debt, plus interest from Nov 19.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Third amended complaint filed, trial set for Nov 9, 2021.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs. Case appealed on Dec 23. Appeal hearing scheduled for Aug 23-27.

Concluded litigation:
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.



We first broke the news of the LAPD’s investigation of Scientology celebrity Danny Masterson on rape allegations in 2017, and we’ve been covering the story every step of the way since then. At this page we’ve collected our most important links, including our four days in Los Angeles covering the preliminary hearing and its ruling, which has Danny facing trial and the potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison.


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 BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks. 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] VIDEO LEAK explains how to rope in the unsuspecting: ‘We don’t explain Scientology’
[TWO years ago] Scientology finds a friendly physician to help out in its attack on an effective drug
[THREE years ago] Colombian roast: Will Scientologists care about David Miscavige’s latest fraud?
[FOUR years ago] Carol Nyburg is back, and she has a Scientology story that will rough you up
[FIVE years ago] For Scientology’s most infamous dirty trickster, retirement has a happy ending
[SIX years ago] Garcias’ appeal rejected; now the couple faces the real possibility of Scientology arbitration
[SEVEN years ago] Video proof that Scientology makes you a stellar communicator
[EIGHT years ago] Underground Bunker Night at The TomKat Project — Get Your Tickets Now!
[NINE years ago] Scientology’s Concentration Camp for Its Executives: The Prisoners
[TEN years ago] Scientology Goes Hillbilly; Also, Broke in Ireland and Big in DC


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 2,380 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,885 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,405 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,425 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,316 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,623 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,491 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,265 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,595 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,069 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,385 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,951 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,870 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,038 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,619 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,880 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,918 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,631 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,156 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 511 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,686 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,237 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,386 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,706 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,561 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,680 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,036 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,339 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,445 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,847 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,719 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,302 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,797 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,051 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,160 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on August 2, 2021 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, 1995-2020 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2020), 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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