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What Scientology’s happy propaganda doesn’t tell you about its Florida ‘spiritual mecca’

[The Flag Building at the Flag Land Base]

Since we posted Scientology’s own very fun photo essay about what it’s like to be a pilgrim at the Flag Land Base, Scientology’s spiritual mecca in Clearwater, Florida, we’ve heard from a couple of our sources about what things are like there, contrary to the church’s propaganda.

Our first source tells us that they’ve been dealing with the decompression that comes with leaving the organization, and what it’s like to realize that you’ve been misled for so many years.

I thought, as most public Scientologists do, that we were an ethical group. But that turned out to be a total lie. Unfortunately, Scientology has figured out how to convince people how to ignore the media, and we went along with it as we did not want to spend months and lots of money on ethics programs at Flag. This may be a reason why Flag continues to do well while regular orgs are mostly failing. The “ethics” programs are much harder, longer and more rigid there than at local orgs where you can be on courses but never checked for what you are reading about Scientology. Once you get to Flag you know that you can never look at the negative stuff. Flag has a big ethics department with a large number of ethics officers who interrogate every person as they arrive. You are never allowed to say anything negative about Flag or David Miscavige. For quite a while, you could get out of lower conditions immediately by making a large donation to the library campaign. After a while that was eased off as it was against what LRH said but never totally went away.

As you know, Flag is advertised as the “friendliest” place on earth. Nothing could be further from the truth. However, members believe the hype and you cannot say anything negative. Almost everyone I knew who went there ended up staying many weeks if not months longer than they planned as they were lied to regarding the amount of time and money required and they were not allowed to leave. In order to leave, one has to meet with one of the senior people and say you are totally happy with the service, even if it was a miserable experience. Of course if it was miserable, you also wonder what is wrong with you since other people are so happy. For years I wondered why I didn’t feel like I got what I thought I should. Then I started to realize that most of the abusive people in my life were long term Scientologists, and I started to wonder how these people could be so nasty and abusive after decades in Scientology. Eventually, I realized that Scientology does not handle abusive, nasty individuals, it just makes them more convinced that their behavior is justified.

At Flag, you run into at least 1 or 2 people a day who are running around getting signatures to get back into group for their liability ethics conditions. I have seen people doing these conditions, which also require contributions (usually money but not always) to the group even though their supposedly harmful acts had nothing to do with group such as masturbation, cheating on spouse, watching porn etc.


I never saw staff members do conditions based on being abusive to public, but then again harmful acts toward public by staff were never publicized and no amends was done to the public person. I had a non-Scientology friend tell me recently that anyone who joins a cult must have something wrong with them (even though she seems to like me). The great majority of Scientologists I have known are good people who really want to help others and most of them would be horrified if they knew the truth about Hubbard or Miscavige. Many still believe that auditing can cure cancer, even though I have never heard of a single cure, but Hubbard said it and anything, no matter how stupid, he says must be true.

We also heard from another source, who told us that conditions at the Flag Land Base are currently dire.

Flag is inundated with people with COVID. Floors and floors of their hotels are filled with sick Class V Staff and Sea Org members. Each room is stuffed with multiple sick people.

They’re trying to keep it under the radar, but with the hundreds of Class V staff in training, it’s pretty much impossible.

We have no confirmation of this, but if you know something about the current situation at Flag, we’d really like to hear it.


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Source Code

“The one thing by which the communist profits in Australia and Suid-Afrika are the laws against perversion. The state, of all means, is regulating how you are going to perform the sexual act. I think that’s very interesting. I’ve seldom seen any police officers in my bedroom. And I’m afraid if I did they’d have short shrift. Of course, I have had the people the police officers are supposed to restrain trying to crawl into my bedroom windows and a few things like that, you know, but that, of course, they wouldn’t be interested in. Now, what are they doing? They’re just trying to invent some new withholds, aren’t they? I think that’s fascinating, because the communist uses blackmail of this particular kind as a means of controlling heads of state. In other words, if the state itself lends its weight to punishment of withholds, see, it has just laid itself out to be crazy. Because now, anybody in the state can be blackmailed so as to overthrow the state, because the state will punish the overthrow or the withhold. Do you understand this, or any part of this?” — L. Ron Hubbard, February 20, 1962



Avast, Ye Mateys

“LOCAL PROPERTY: I rode the motorcycle Mary Sue gave me for Christmas out to see some property we bought. Arthur Hubbard, my test rider and mechanic in chief, acted as guide on his bike. He took me way out in the green countryside on the excuse he didn’t know any other route to the property. We circled back and found the right place right on the edge of town. Anything for a ride. It’s a very nice property. Several apartments, 18 bedrooms on one upper floor, a dozen garages, a big buss garage, four classrooms and a gym, and a lot of other bits. Our sign is up and well lighted at night. Our caretaker is a very nice chap. The place is well built of stone and masonry, quite pretty in fact. We intended it for light manufacturing but have not put it to use as yet. We own quite a bit of property over the world. Will be acquiring more as well as some countries.” — The Commodore, February 20, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“According to LRH this is not so. Men are not created equal. According to LRH, there are higher order thetans and ‘puppet society’ thetans. In the Bill Robertson cosmology, there are Source Thetans, created thetans and several hierarchies of thetans. The spiritual world is not ‘democratic’.”


Past is Prologue

2001: From the National Review on the split between Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman: “We will likely never know what went wrong between Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, but a recent article in the New York Post suggests that Tom Cruise’s Scientology was a big part of the problem. Apparently, Ms. Kidman is disenchanted with the controversial religion, and does not want her children to be reared in it. Even if one ignores the number of fairly sinister stories told about Scientology, some of its precepts reflect the sort of ideas that put it squarely in the lunatic fringe. Scientology, after all, is an easy target with its oddball technology, goofy jargon, and, reportedly, a secret creation myth that revolves around the activities of the wicked intergalactic ruler, Xenu. Scientologists, of course, should be free to believe whatever they want, but it does not say a lot for the state of this nation’s critical faculties that their philosophy has won as much acceptance as it has.”


Random Howdy


“All you need to do to strike spiritual gold is to tell the mutant killer apes with the over-developed brain stems that death is not the end and that they’re more than just another species of animal.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next pretrial conference May 31. 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 April 8.
Joseph ‘Ben’ Barton, Medicare fraud: Pleaded guilty, awaiting sentencing.
Yanti Mike Greene, Scientology private eye accused of contempt of court: Hearing held on February 15, awaiting ruling.

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.’ Valerie asks for March 15 hearing on motion for reconsideration.
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] Has Scientology’s cruise ship, the Freewinds, made its last voyage?
[TWO years ago] Blacks not ready for the vote: L. Ron Hubbard’s damning 1960 harangue supporting apartheid
[THREE years ago] Tony Ortega: Musician, songwriter, and steel executive, 1938-2019
[FOUR years ago] How L. Ron Hubbard tried to hoax the FBI, and ‘brainwashed’ politicians of the far right
[FIVE years ago] Louis Farrakhan: Nation of Islam will stand by Scientology as Leah Remini ‘goes in hard’
[SIX years ago] Why Scientology’s petition to the Texas Supreme Court mentions a dildo, and other surprises
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology’s Orwellian methods of control explained in a new book by Jefferson Hawkins
[EIGHT years ago] Scott Pilutik helps us evaluate Scientology’s petition to Texas appeals court
[NINE years ago] Oklahoma Drug Rehab Bill Passes Senate: Scientology’s Narconon Days Numbered?
[TEN years ago] Scientology’s OT Powers! A Hubbard Holiday Miracle


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 2,581 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,086 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,606 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,626 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,517 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,824 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,692 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,466 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,797 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,270 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,586 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,152 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,071 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,239 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,820 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,081 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,117 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,832 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,357 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 712 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,887 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,438 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,587 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,907 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,762 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,881 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,237 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,540 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,646 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,044 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,920 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,503 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,998 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,252 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,361 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on February 20, 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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