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More documented proof from Scientology itself of its steady shrinkage

 
For years we’ve been telling you that Scientology is struggling as its membership dwindles. Here and especially at Mike Rinder’s website, information collected from the church itself reveals that its claims of rapid “expansion” are hollow.

In particular, Scientology leader David Miscavige has been putting incredible pressure on his followers to impoverish themselves so he can build more “Ideal Orgs” around the world. Miscavige claims in his lengthy speeches that once an Ideal Org is opened, it ushers in a boom of growth as its success spins out in the form of more missions, more rehabs, more everything.

Don’t take our word for it, just look at graphics like this one from the church…

 

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Despite all the evidence to the contrary, Scientology’s spokespeople keep repeating the lie that Scientology is growing faster than ever, and the key to that growth is the Ideal Org program. In 2012, the church put out a TV ad claiming that it was growing by 4.4 million new people every year.

The opposite is the case, of course, with Scientology continuing to attenuate, with perhaps no more than about 20,000 active members around the world at this point. But it’s always nice to get some hard confirmation of that from Scientology itself. And this time, it comes from our man in Hungary, Peter Bonyai.

Hungary is one of those countries, unlike the US, that at least demands that Scientology fork over some information about itself. And in 2012, Peter says, Scientology provided the government with a list of its missions in Hungary, which at that time numbered 19.

From that list, which Peter forwarded to us, we plotted the location of those 19 missions that existed in 2012. (The numbering is theirs.)

 

 
But then, in 2016, Budapest got its Ideal Org.

And just like David Miscavige promised, it ushered in a massive influx of new members and new missions, right?

Well, in December, Peter says, Scientology in Hungary put up a slick new website. And on it, it listed the addresses of its missions.

Which now, five years after the Ideal Org opened in Budapest, number only 11.

 

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“In five years, instead of vastly expanding the mission network in its zone of control as was promised, it actually halved their numbers,” Peter says.

Whoops.

 
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Reactions to the appeal ruling in Bixler v Scientology

We were fortunate to get to break the news here at the Bunker on Wednesday evening of the huge decision by a California appeals court that not only overturned the “religious arbitration” decision holding up the lawsuit against Scientology filed by Danny Masterson’s accusers, but also dealt a blow against the legal protections that had been shielding Scientology’s “Fair Game” attacks against former church members.

Since then, some reactions have come in, and we thought we’d post a few…

Marci Hamilton, attorney for the plaintiffs, to the New York Post: “It’s the bedrock principle of the First Amendment that you can choose the faith you want, but part of that bedrock has to be that you can also abandon any faith that you choose. All of these women who had been members had disavowed their faith, so to bring them back in is unconstitutional. None of the other victims of Scientology have made it this far. While we are thrilled for our clients, it also sends a message to every believer who feels trapped in a religious organization where they have been harmed that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”

[Hamilton may be referring only to the cases of Valerie Haney and the Garcias, which have been held up by arbitration rulings, or she may not be familiar with the cases of other former Scientologists that indeed went much farther, including Laura DeCrescenzo and Lawrence Wollersheim.]

William Forman, attorney for Scientology, also to the Post: “The Church of Scientology disagrees with this unprecedented decision. Every church, temple, and mosque should be troubled by this decision as it singles out religious organizations for disparate treatment under contract law. The Church again denies the allegations of harassment in the Bixler complaint as obvious, cynical, and self-serving fictions, and the Church knows it will be vindicated.”

Michael Helfand, Pepperdine University professor, an expert on religious arbitration, to the Los Angeles Times: “I would have thought if the court was going to invalidate the Scientology agreement it would have done so because it thought the church didn’t set up a neutral process. Instead of attacking the neutrality, the court instead made a big statement about the 1st Amendment right to voluntarily leave a religion. In our lives we sign lots of agreements about how to resolve disputes and you typically can’t just say, ‘I’m out.’ It’s surprising the court did this in the context of religious arbitration.”

Michael J. Broyde, Emory University School of Law professor, also to the Times: “The Federal Arbitration Act requires that contracts of arbitration be honored unless they are unconscionable. The court went far beyond that and ruled that all religious arbitration is void when one party has left the faith. That seems to be contrary to the law in the United States.”

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It’s interesting to us that neither of these two academics pointed out that the court focused on the alleged harmful activity by the church arising after the members had left the church, and not simply that they were no longer Scientologists. In fact, the court specifically pointed to the Garcia case as an example where the members left the church but that doesn’t void the agreement. Did Broyde really read the ruling?

 
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Sign up for a daily email when we post a new story on Scientology.

Did you know you can get an email every morning when we post our daily Scientology story? We know some of the folks who come to the Underground Bunker aren’t here to talk about the politics of the day, and that’s why we created a daily politics feature over at our other blog, The Lowdown, and we ask readers to take their political discussions over there. And if you drop us a line at tonyo94 AT gmail, we’ll put you on the list so you get a morning reminder that a new Scientology story has been posted — and only for our Scientology stories.

 
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Source Code

“We have only 476 special terms, most of which mean what they mean in English. That’s right, that’s the whole vocabulary, 474 of these items. I wish elementary physics could say as much. And with only knowledge of 24 of these items and how to handle these items, you can make the blind see. You could also bring the dead back to life. Well, you think I’m kidding. That’s no trick. It’s whether or not they want to be alive that’s the point. I remember one black man that was busy dying and so on, and I looked him over and I, all I had to say was the magic words, you know? He’d been drowned and he hadn’t been drowned very long. It was very easy you know? And I said so-and-so and so-and-so and I found out he was connected with enough woe in life that it was no wonder that he had busily drowned. I just asked his friend who was standing there, ‘This man lead a happy life?’ ‘Oh boss,’ he says, ‘Oh no, no he have an awful time, awful time.’ I said, OK, cart him away.” — L. Ron Hubbard, January 21, 1961

 
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Avast, Ye Mateys

“Our M.O. Dr. Steve Jarvis has just had a 2 page spread article on Scientology in ‘GP,’ the Medical Doctors’ journal in the UK. It is a splendid article, pointing up Scn’s role in psychosomatic medicine. The magazine asked for an article, three MDs in Scn submitted them. Dr. Jarvis’s article won. Copies will be mailed to all parliaments. Coronet magazine in the US printed an article by me, preceding it with a SMERSH write up. However, the article calmly made nothing of the attack and reader opinion is that it will do us a lot of good. Say, I’m busy as all hell on half a hundred hats. What’s going on with the rest of you cats?” — The Commodore, January 21, 1969

 

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Overheard in the FreeZone

“I understand the soul types, I understand the soul families, I understand the hierarchies and I also know that a person can spend all eternity searching, multiple eternities, aeons upon aeons, lost… and never restore their Essence. I also comprehend that no amount of auditing the mind makes a scrap of difference to this because the restoration of the essence of the person is found outside the theta/mest construct and all that may be conceived of. Being of Light or Darkness, Adamite or Saturnine, whomever the person actually is, I accompany the person home, all way home and outside all to where the person restores their own divine essence and the person finds they are whole and complete, and completely free. Exit. Gone. So far no-one has left me with a dead body, yet they are well and truly gone for as long as they need to be and tell me they simply return out of compassion and kindness to tell me the story. Its an act of pure love, even for creatures of the dark side, and so now it seem I have free passage to walk the pits of hell as I accompany this type of lost soul home to their divine abodes which are the antithesis of all we know and hold to be sacred and true.”

 
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Past is Prologue

1999: Bob Minton announced that Factnet had discovered a Scientology operative working under-cover. “They had unfettered access to information about me and my whereabouts,
Stacy’s inner circle of friends, FACTNet records, Dan Leipold’s office, Graham Berry’s office and other juicy bits of info. Not only that, this plant had worked for the Cult Awareness Network for years and was an intimate friend of Cynthia Kisser, Craig Branch and a number of others active in the counter-cult movement. Her name is Laura Terepin. We hired some PI’s with impeccable credentials to check up on a few points about Laura. Laura lied about living alone in Madison WI. She never mentioned that one of her 3 house mates was a co$ Chicago staff member. Laura cell phones were billed to a Hollywood, CA private investigator who seemingly had at least 13 other phones billed to him that were linked to co$ operatives. Laura’s boyfriend works for the same PI
who handled the phones. And the clincher is that daily calls to OSA in LA showed up on Laura’s phone records.”

 
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Random Howdy

“You’re nothing around here unless you’ve been corrected or admonished by The Proprietor at least once.”

 

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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), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Last hearing was on January 18, referred to grand jury.
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: Appellate court removes requirement of arbitration on January 19, case remanded back to Superior Court. Scientology has said it will file an anti-SLAPP motion.
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.

 
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THE PROSECUTION OF DANNY MASTERSON

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.

SCIENTOLOGY: FAIR GAME

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.

LEAH REMINI: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE AFTERMATH

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.

SCIENTOLOGY’S CELEBRITIES, from A to Z

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?

 
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THE WHOLE TRACK

[ONE year ago] With not guilty plea, Danny Masterson assigned a trial judge his prosecutor knows well
[TWO years ago] Scientology lets Diana Hubbard out of the compound again — what’s the occasion?
[THREE years ago] Scientology sells miracles, and we can’t get enough of them
[FOUR years ago] Scientology front group targets unwitting indigenous people to spread its propaganda
[FIVE years ago] Scientology is still a fraud in France, but it gets some revenge against anti-cult group there
[SIX years ago] When L. Ron Hubbard tried to convince the BBB that Scientology was raking it in
[SEVEN years ago] How Scientology responds to adversity: A classic example from its golden era
[EIGHT years ago] Where is Scientology keeping Barbara Cordova Oliver?
[NINE years ago] Isabella Cruise and Eddie Frencher Reunite After He Leaves Scientology’s “Sea Org”
[TEN years ago] Scientology Viscosity: Commenters of the Week!

 
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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 2,552 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,057 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,577 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,597 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,488 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,795 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,663 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,437 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,768 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,241 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,557 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,123 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,042 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,210 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,791 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,052 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,088 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,803 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,328 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 683 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,858 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,409 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,558 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,878 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,733 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,852 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,208 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,511 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,617 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,015 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,891 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,474 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,969 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,223 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,332 days.

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Posted by Tony Ortega on January 21, 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, 1995-2021 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2021), 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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