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You recruited people to Scientology: After you’re out, how do you deal with the regret?

This week on Facebook Karen Pressley, the former Celebrity Centre executive who published her memoir Escaping Scientology in 2017 and appeared on Leah Remini’s A&E series, posted something we thought was really worth bringing to your attention.

With her permission, we’ve taken her post out of a private discussion group for you to see here…

One of the deep regrets I carry from my past in Scientology is that I used to recruit for the Sea Org. For me, this reflects my dark side. It’s hard to forgive myself for convincing people to trade their lives with family and careers to pursue “the one true purpose” when what I was essentially doing was coaxing them to come into a cult and be stripped of their identity.

There are three people I particularly wonder about, wonder how they are doing now, whether they left or stayed in. If you happen to know anything about these people, please let me know:


Lori Segal – she was ED CCNY, and was married to Misha Segal prior to that. She came to Int as WDC CC for a while.

Karen Hollander – she became CO CCINT and then WDC CC.

Julia and her husband, McHenry Ellis. She was ED CCLV. McHenry is a musician, and they both went up to Gold. Julia went into the audio division, and he joined the Gold musicians, played trumpet and sax. He and my ex Peter Schless became friends.

I recruited other people whose names I cannot remember now. I hope they all left the Sea Org and Scientology and recovered their lives.

And almost as interesting were the responses she received. We’ve selected a few here…

— I know exactly the feeling, Karen. Luckily for me everyone I recruited left. But I am still ashamed to have been recruited ans ashamed not to go more public then what I do.

— There is no “dark side” to you Karen, just as with most that are immersed in the cult. The cult is the “dark side.”

— Remember, someone also recruited you into Scientology. Do you forgive that person? I am sure your peeps would forgive you too.

— I fsm’ed a lot of people but I stopped as soon as I knew it was a scam. Don’t feel too bad now, 35 years later

— Oh, Karen, please don’t do this to yourself. The people you’re thinking about made a choice to be recruited. Instead, be thankful YOU are out of the cult, and pray for all who haven’t seen the light of getting out as well. What a shame that you have this burden. I am praying for you!

When we told Karen that we wanted to share her post with our readers, which include many former Scientologists who are probably also wrestling with similar thoughts, she asked to include a follow-up to her original post.

We were happy to include it here…


I want to clarify a few things in my post. I said I carry deep regrets for certain things I did to help expand Scientology, such as recruiting for the Sea Org, with specific people in mind. I think I left an impression that I continually dwell on these regrets, or am still burdened with guilt or self-blame. Please know that I am not. I feel I have achieved a pretty good state of emotional health after coming to terms with my Scientology and Sea Org past. But I do have a conscience, and have occasional moments that are impossible to ignore. I wanted to clarify some of my thoughts on this, since many friends responded to my post with different perspectives about the past, whether regret or guilt was needless or harmful.

I have been out of the Sea Org and Scientology since 1998—24 years. After gradually coming to terms with the good, the bad, and the ugly, I no longer dwell on my bad deeds, nor do I bask in regret as I did when I first got out. I no longer swim in guilt or have nightmares like I did when I first got out. But that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped caring about the people who were in my life back then, and my conscience is fine tuned when comparing the present to the past.

Certain things that happen in my current life do remind me of people and events in my past, and I often reflect on how far I’ve come, how much I’ve evolved, but that I still care about people I shared my life with who I am no longer in touch with. I should have explained that I liked those people that I recruited, and to this day, care about their well-being, wondering if they are still entrapped, or if they evolved and broke free of the cult. I also feel that way about my ex-husband, Peter Schless. I wonder if he is well, or is he so far gone that he will never break free to recover a wasted life. My book explains my loss after our marriage ended. I came to terms with the circumstances, and let go of the regret and guilt I felt over the whole mess, and I moved on. But that doesn’t mean I stopped caring about him as a human being who I once shared my life with.

When I first got out, I thought about “making up the damage” for what I did while a Sea Org member that, in retrospect, hurt people in the long run (like the people I recruited into the SO). But I stopped looking at it that way when I discarded my Scientology beliefs and rejected Hubbard’s policies and teachings. To apply any of the ethics formulas to my new life outside would mean that I was still using Scientology, which I no longer wanted to do, so I purged that from my thinking. Instead, in my new life, I listen to my own conscience and my personal values that were no longer influenced by any Scientology teachings. I wanted to be totally free of Scientology.

During moments when I do feel regret for the time I lost being in the Sea Org—years that should have been the most productive years of my adult life—this ends up motivating me to press on to achieve my personal goals and dreams. One of my friends quoted wise words from Maya Angelou that pertain here: “Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it.” What I learned from my past fuels my present actions, and motivates me to be a high achiever, and a person who feels love and compassion for others in my past and present life.

— Karen Pressley

We’re really looking forward to hearing from our readers. Are you dealing with similar regrets? Please tell us about it.


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Source Code

“This is what? [Audience: 17th.] The what? [17th.] Of what month? [January.] 17th of January. What year? [AD 12.] AD 12. And where are we? [Saint Hill.] Huh? [Saint Hill.] Yeah, I know, but what planet? [Earth.] Earth. OK. Thank you very much. All right. Thank you very much for orienting me. I’ve been flying about here and haven’t had much time to look up.” — L. Ron Hubbard, January 17, 1962


Avast, Ye Mateys

“The ship is doing much better and starting to pull up its socks. Therefore the general condition is raised to EMERGENCY…When the ship was injured against the dock it is interesting that the 1st Mate had been goofed up in Qual previously. These names are then associated with the decline of the ship condition by being in charge of the areas: DIANE McDONALD, OTTO ROOS, PHIL QUIRINO, NATE JESSUP, BILL HOWEY, through to greater or lesser degree neglect of duty…When we didn’t push the real targets, the ship wound up on my plate and the crew got caught in the resulting storm. Certain VITAL actions had to be COMPLETED before we could operate or sail. Lots of small actions were done but the big ones got no heavy push and so left us actually inoperational. We are now doing much better and the new mate line up is functioning very well especially with 2nd Deputy Captain Eltringham on the job!” — The Commodore (1969)


Overheard in the FreeZone

“The ideal whistleblower would be one that discloses corruption or wrongdoing without ideas of making nothing out of Scientology. Or one that offers reform. The bad whistleblower would be that one who discloses corruption or wrongdoing with the intent of making nothing out of Scientology to benefit the status quo corruption or wrongdoing of the secret government.”


Past is Prologue

2002: Scientology critic Roger Gonnet is on trial in Villefranche, France for allegedly making Internet-posted threats against Scientology attorney Kendrick Moxon. “Moxon has complained that I had injured him (by words on Internet), in two messages from July 2001. He complained as well that I have asked Helena Kobrin to assassinate him, while it is most than clear that the whole message is clearly a joke on ARS. I had had any idea to really ask for the death of this criminal attorney, I wouldn’t in any case ask to his associate Kobrin. The Judges decided that the decision would be given later, on 24th February. I’ve been allowed to give some explanations about my ‘job’ on ars, and about the fact that attorney Moxon wasn’t a normal attorney, but an inside house attorney. I’ve also reminded the judges that Scientology was a estimated legally a fraud since long in France.”



Random Howdy

“From what I’ve seen and read, status is very competitive and important in public Scientology. Except, instead of cars and homes and jewelry it’s Monty Python Roman titles, bowling trophies and dime store certificates.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next hearing set for February 8. Trial scheduled for August 29.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), false imprisonment, aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Next hearing scheduled for January 18.
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 January 22 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for February 11.
Joseph ‘Ben’ Barton, Medicare fraud: Pleaded guilty, awaiting sentencing.

Yanti Mike Greene, Scientology private eye accused of contempt of court: Next hearing February 15.

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Eleventh Circuit affirmed ruling granting Scientology’s motion for arbitration. Garcias considering next move.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ US Supreme Court denied Valerie’s petition Oct 4.
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 held November 2, awaiting a ruling.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Third amended complaint filed, trial set for June 28.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs. Case appealed on Dec 23. Appeal hearing held Aug 23-27. Awaiting a ruling.
Chiropractors Steve Peyroux and Brent Detelich, stem cell fraud: Lawsuit filed by the FTC and state of Georgia in August, now in discovery phase.



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] Portlanders, did you receive Scientology’s love letter?
[TWO years ago] VALERIE HANEY’S OPPOSITION TO ARBITRATION: A strong no to Scientology’s legal gambit
[THREE years ago] Danny Masterson’s attorneys pounce on A&E’s plans for resurrecting an ‘Aftermath’ episode
[FOUR years ago] The new Freedom magazine is here, and Scientology has never looked better!
[FIVE years ago] Behold, it’s Scientology Jesus as you’ve never seen him before!
[SIX years ago] How Scientology hooks public officials on its addictive anti-drug front
[SEVEN years ago] L. Ron Hubbard fisticuffs! Scientology secrets unearthed in a new government disclosure
[EIGHT years ago] ‘The Factors’: Another video the Church of Scientology would rather you not watch
[NINE years ago] Lawrence Wright’s Going Clear: We Don’t Think Scientology Is Going to Like This Book Much
[TEN years ago] Scientology’s Infinite Pit and Water Wall — More Crazy Rooms in the Super Power Building!


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 2,548 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,053 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,573 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,593 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,484 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,791 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,659 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,433 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,764 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,237 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,553 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,119 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,038 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,206 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,787 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,048 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,084 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,799 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,324 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 679 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,854 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,405 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,554 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,874 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,729 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,848 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,204 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,507 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,613 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,011 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,887 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,470 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,965 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,219 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,328 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on January 17, 2022 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


Tony Ortega at The Daily Beast


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