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Shekter: How Scientology intervened in an intimate affair of the heart

[Sick Kids]

January 1991, Toronto. I take a spot in one of those molded plastic orange seats tied together in a rack, that have been there forever in the cardiology waiting room at the Hospital for Sick Children – affectionately known to all as Sick Kids.

I know this place all too well – these wonderful pediatric cardiology doctors have been shepherding my son’s fragile life with his bad heart since he was two years old. He was born in the Sea Org in Clearwater in 1976 with a major congenital heart defect that was deemed inoperable at the time, and through various interventions he has survived so far to age fourteen. I’m equally excited and apprehensive because I’m about to be reunited with him and his father, and we’re about to get his report card from his doctors.

This particular circumstance is really fraught. You see, I had recently left the Sea Org at Gold – a/k/a Int Base – on less than amicable terms. Truth be told, I was declared a suppressive person for choosing to leave. Yes, one of those despicable SPs. Supposedly one of those 2.5 percent of human beings who are deep sociopaths, the main evidence of their depravity being that they have a falling out with Scientology which is the only road to salvation for humankind. Obvious, no?

Never mind that I gave fifteen years of my life as a volunteer in the Sea Org, that I was founder L. Ron Hubbard’s personal aide for treasury divisions on the Apollo for four years, and that, after paying for my OT 3 as a public person, I chose to be loyal to LRH and rejoined active Sea Org duty at Gold as Director in Cine, where I shot several of his tech films.

My husband of 18 years and our teenage son chose to stay in the Sea Org at the Int Base, and I had not seen either of them since that fateful Saturday morning last November when I stormed out from our berthing in San Jacinto, and checked in to a cheap local hotel. It was a way for me to assert a definitive break without leaving the area, so I could negotiate the guardianship of my son and his ten-year-old sister.


But we knew that my son had an important annual check-up with his doctors coming up in January at Toronto’s Sick Kids, and I fully expected that my husband would “make it go right,” as they say in the Sea Org, to get time off from his post and fly up with the boy for the appointment. So I did expect – or at least hope – to see the both of them stroll in around the corner and into the waiting room, as I sat facing the entrance, my stomach in a knot of apprehension and anticipation. For it was clear to all concerned that my husband and my son were strictly forbidden to communicate with me, now a declared suppressive. But under no account was I going to miss being present at my son’s medical review, where his current health status and his prognosis would be determined.

What I didn’t expect was what happened next. Paul Kellerhaus turned the corner and entered the waiting room. He was a security guard at Int Base. I froze in my chair. It felt like a cold shower had suddenly dropped from the ceiling and drenched me. For a moment, I was motionless, mindless, speechless. It was raw panic. Then the incongruity of the event slowly came into focus. What was Kellerhaus doing here in Canada, clear across the continent from California, and hailing from the Sea Org base I’d left behind months earlier? It felt like a very bad dream where events, places and people are all jumbled up into a toxic soup, where the only common thread is the terror that they can all inflict upon a hapless you. Yes, terror is what I felt. What could he do? Actually, he could take my son away from me. I did not say hello, and asked no questions.

My husband and my son entered the room next. What a relief that they had made it. It was awkward with Kellerhaus observing the scene. I hugged my son but my husband and I just exchanged a cool hello. There was no conversation possible. Yet so much had never been said that sorely needed to be said, for we had been prevented from seeing each other or even phoning or writing, ever since I had announced my departure, and the pain between us was excruciating, possibly on his side too. Our family had just exploded.

I surmised that the only way my husband had been able to get permission to come to Toronto was with Kellerhaus as his insurance policy, to guarantee that he would return to Gold and not be swayed by his wayward SP wife in using the opportunity to blow the Sea Org. It has to be said that my husband had unique skills which were in high demand at Gold: He was an accomplished screenwriter and songwriter, the best they had if not the only one they had. To this day, I do not know how he felt about the intrusion of this Gold security guard in his family affairs. We both took it for granted that privacy did not exist in the Sea Org. (I do know now, because my son later told me so, that he also froze when he saw me sitting there, as he knew even at age 14 that I had been declared and he was not allowed any contact with me.)

Soon we were called in to begin the battery of tests that awaited our boy, followed by his consultation with his doctors. Kellerhaus did not accompany us through the rounds but he was still there in the waiting room after everything was done.

The results were devastating. Nothing could be done for our son, save maybe a transplant up the line. But pediatric transplants were not a thing then, they were still borderline science fiction. He had a few years to live, and would either collapse in the school yard or slowly fade, we were told, either way while still in his teens.

It was soon clear to all concerned that for our son to go back into the Sea Org was not an option – if only for the fact that as Canadians we were fully covered medically, whereas in California there was nothing but the Sea Org, which would not be inclined to foot the considerable bills still to come. That meant my husband would also have to stay in Toronto, for he would certainly not abandon his son.

As it happened, I did not see Kellerhaus again. The three of them took up residence in the Toronto home of my husband’s parents, who were wintering in Florida, while I remained segregated with my daughter in the little apartment I’d just secured downtown. I suspect that various negotiations took place with the higher-ups in the Sea Org, and after a week or two Kellerhaus went back on his way, and my husband and our boy remained in Toronto. That outcome was precisely what I had been hoping to accomplish by leaving Gold, for it was perfectly clear to me all along that the Sea Org was no place for my children to be. But that exit could hardly have been messier or more painful, for it took my SP declare, months of wrangling, and my son’s dire prognosis to finally make it happen.

Next came the challenge of untangling our various precarious situations. No job and no car for my husband, no money, two parallel unsuitable apartments, our boy’s health to watch over, and school enrollments for both kids to be found. And an SP declare to cap it off, which meant that we were not even supposed to speak to each other to sort it out. What a ridiculous predicament. And all of it laid on top of the renewed wave of grief and worry that the medical news had brought along. Once again, as we had done in 1979 when we first went on leave from Flag due to our son’s health issues, we had to restart our life from the ground up. So we did. A few months later, my husband insistently pulled enough strings to get my SP declare lifted. A review committee concluded that I was a “trouble source” instead of an SP, and I was placed under a “non-enturbulation order,” which was one step away from a new declare if I ever spoke ill to any Scientologist including my family members. I took it to heart. We were to remain for ten years in Toronto as public Scientologists, during which I kept dutifully silent to keep my family together.

As for my son’s fate, well he survived, miraculously. But that too is another story.

— Louise Shekter

[Editor’s note: While preparing this story for publication, we called up Gary Morehead, the former head of Gold Base security who was known by his code name “Jackson” to Sea Org members. He confirmed that he sent Paul Kellerhouse to Toronto with Louise’s husband to keep an eye on him. He even remembers having to buy warmer clothes for “PK” because he wasn’t prepared for a Canadian winter. “I was managing that. I was getting daily reports and then reporting up to David Miscavige, whether Louise was there and how PK handled it,” Gary told us.]



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Source Code

“I happen to be a nuclear physicist. I am not a psychologist nor a psychiatrist nor a medical doctor. To some degree, it was my responsibility that this world got itself an atom bomb, because there were only a handful of nuclear physicists in the thirties — only a handful. And we were all beating the desk and saying ‘How wonderful it will be if we discover atomic fission,’ because we decided that the thing to do with atomic fission was to go out and discover the stars, to make big passenger liners that would go ten times around the world on the same fuel. This was what we endeavored to do with atomic fission. The government stepped in and gave us three billion dollars. I had nothing to do with that program; I would not have had anything to do with the program. Three billion dollars to destroy all of man.” — L. Ron Hubbard, February 6, 1952


Avast, Ye Mateys

“If your parents or friends are the kind who worry about you, BE SURE AND WRITE THEM AN AIRMAIL LETTER regularly. Otherwise they give us DEV T by asking the government to check up on you to see if you’re all right. If uncertain about it, write them anyway. Also, if you haven’t written your family recently do so anyway. Otherwise they’ll think Scn put you OUT of communication. You can mail the letter straight from here.” — The Commodore, February 6, 1969


Overheard in the FreeZone


“The postulate that worked for me that caused the rain in Australia had nothing to do with rain. I just become the planet and covered it with my beingness and decided it was all safe and OK. The thought of rain was also a previous one to this one but this one made it manifest.”


Past is Prologue

2001: Randy Enerson reported that Scientology is trying to handle critics who are informing Battle Creek, Michigan locals of the implications of a new org in their community. “John Carmichael is currently in the Battle Creek Michigan area attempting to ‘handle’ the local media as well as any critics in the area that are already speaking out and exposing the truth of Scientology. The CoS is closing their Ann Arbor Org, and trying to purchasing the historic old Hart Hotel in downtown Battle Creek. Carmichael has reportedly been busily shopping a huge load of DA materials on critics of the cult around town to the local media. Yesterday John Carmichael met with a local critic in an attempt to discourage him from further letters to the Battle Creek Enquirer newspaper exposing the criminally convicted cult.”


Random Howdy

“If I knew I was going to live this long, I would have tried even harder to destroy myself.”


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 March 25 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. 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] VIDEO: Jon Atack talks to Mike Rinder about his first months aboard Scientology’s ‘Apollo’
[TWO years ago] Scientology OT8 dentist closes office while patients confront him about their cash
[THREE years ago] Scientology TV wins a boatload of awards, and is the ‘fastest-growing TV network in history’!
[FOUR years ago] Scientology spies coming forward to spill their guts, then and now: A key example from the past
[FIVE years ago] L. Ron Hubbard’s daughter — the one he wanted to disappear — surfaces online
[SIX years ago] ‘Are you 100 percent American?’ — ‘Ross & Carrie’ investigate joining Scientology
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology vs. the mayor: The full Gabe Cazares interview from 1997’s Secret Lives
[EIGHT years ago] The BBC’s John Sweeney gives us another glimpse of creepy Scientology intimidation
[TEN years ago] Scientology’s Secret Vaults: A Rare Interview With a Former Member of Hush-Hush “CST”


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 2,567 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,072 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,592 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,612 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,503 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,810 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,678 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,452 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,783 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,256 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,572 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,138 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,057 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,225 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,806 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,067 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,103 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,818 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,343 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 698 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,873 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,424 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,573 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,893 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,748 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,867 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,223 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,526 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,632 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,030 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,906 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,489 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,984 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,238 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,347 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on February 6, 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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