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How Scientology turns you into an unthinking soldier, defending the indefensible

[After Snow White, Clearwater rose up, temporarily, against Scientology. Photo: St. Petersburg Times]

Today we have another dynamite piece from Bruce Hines, who has been giving us new looks at some of Scientology’s most important mind-bending practices. — ed.

After a red-eye flight from LAX to Tampa airport, I was getting off the plane, walking through the jetway, and I felt like I was walking into a green house. The damp, hot air was a shock. I had been living in LA where the humidity is generally much lower, and I had grown up in semi-arid Denver. I was not accustomed to that Florida weather in June. The year was 1979.

The events leading up to that trip started several months earlier. Those experiences and the following several months, looking back, were batshit crazy. My motivation to write about them is twofold: to provide examples of some things that people who have subjugated themselves to an authoritarian, controlling cult can get involved in; and to try to shed some light on how people like me normalized the things that were going on. Now, with the intervening time and space, it is clear to me that my life was insane back then. However, at the time, I believed it was all part of what we had to do to save the world. Literally. How could I have gone along with all that occurred? I certainly don’t have all the answers, but it helps me, even after all these years, to try to articulate the things I witnessed.

The month of September 1978 was a pivotal one for Scientology. Two things in particular were introduced that changed “The Bridge” drastically — “Dianetic Clear” and “NOTs.”


The first one meant that a person could attain the “State of Clear” in Dianetic auditing. That might not sound like much to someone not versed in the subtleties of the “Grade Chart.” That state had been promoted and marketed and been viewed as a major goal since 1950 when Dianetics was pitched in Hubbard’s best-known book. Before 1978 and after the mid-sixties, the only way one could go “Clear” was to do the vaunted “Clearing Course,” a bizarre series of actions done as a solo auditor (auditing oneself). And, in order to do that, one had to make it through many earlier steps — “Life Repair,” “Objective Processes,” Dianetic auditing (to address physical and emotional difficulties and the effects of drug and alcohol use), the “Lower Grades” (six of them), the “Power Processes” (two more levels), and one called “R6EW” (too complicated to go into here).

All of those things added up to a lot of hours of auditing and a lot of money. Suddenly Hubbard proclaimed that a person could reach Clear in Dianetic auditing, which is one of the first things a person would have done in their progress up The Bridge. One could then by pass the lower steps and do the “OT levels” to become a superior person with special powers.

The second big change was “New Era Dianetics for Operating Thetans,” or “NED for OTs,” or NOTs. If there is one thing that Scientologists are really good at, it is acronymns. Up to that time, a person who had done the Clearing Course and maybe some of the “OT levels” could receive regular Dianetic auditing. With the advent of Dianetic Clear, it was suddenly forbidden to audit Dianetics on a Clear. But they could receive NOTs. Even though there is the word “Dianetics” in its name, NOTs auditing does not even faintly resemble regular Dianetic auditing. It became hugely popular in the world of Scientology.

There are reasons for this popularity. At the time there were many, many people who had done the Clearing Course and the subsequent OT levels in the ten years or so prior to 1978. And many had done all of the levels up to the top of the Grade Chart (as it was then — there have been many iterations of it). The truth is that these people had not gained the special powers from those levels as promised. There were many explanations given for this lack of results, all of which involved fixing perceived errors in the auditing of these “OTs.” And that meant more money spent in going over ground already traveled. Yet, the physical problems and money troubles and relationship difficulties and familial disagreements, common to most garden-variety humans, persisted. But then NOTs came along. It was a whole new thing. It appeared to explain why Clears and OTs were not really Clears and OTs. It became the auditing that Scientologists wanted to get. It was a huge cash cow for Scientology. During the early months of NOTs delivery, the organization in Clearwater, Florida, took in a weekly gross income of over one million dollars for the first time, a first for any Scientology entity.

There was a problem though. There were not nearly enough people trained to deliver this type of auditing to the public. Sea Org missions were sent to all of the “Advanced Orgs” in the world (Los Angeles, Copenhagen, Saint Hill in England, and Clearwater) to recruit a large number of auditors to be trained in this new type of auditing. NOTs could only be audited by someone, and on someone, who had completed OT III (the famous Xenu/volcano/wall-of-fire level), so such people were the primary targets of those missions.

All of the above is meant to provide context to my own experiences, leading up to me joining the Sea Org and the months that followed. That time period, of about a year or a bit more, is tied together in my mind as a series of consequential (for me) and, in retrospect, downright weird events. But that weirdness seemed reasonable to me when it was all happening.

Coincidentally, September 1978 was when I moved to LA. My sister, who was already a trained auditor, had to do a new course on how to do Dianetic auditing — there was a name change from “Standard Dianetics” to “New Era Dianetics,” which was simply re-branding. She had already been trained to audit Dianetics years earlier, but still had to pay for and do this new course, even though the changes in procedure were relatively minor. Such a thing is common in Scientology, requiring people to buy a new course on something they had already been trained on.

As a part of this course, the student auditor (i.e. my sister in this case), had to audit an actual person, as opposed to just doing drills. I agreed to be audited by her so she could complete her course. It didn’t cost me anything, after all. During the session, she had to use a “repair list,” which can happen in any auditing session. That means she read off a long series of questions to me, while watching the reactions of the needle of the “E-Meter.” There was a question on this newly-revised list that asked, in so many words, whether I had actually already “gone Clear.” Evidently there was a reaction on the E-meter indicating that this was true. The idea of that was new to me at the time and I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I probably answered something like, “I don’t know … maybe … I guess … could be.” When my sister asked me that question, I did have a feeling of relief, and whatever had been happening on the E-meter that led my sister to pull out the repair list seemed to get resolved. My sister then ended the session and that was the last Dianetic auditing I would receive.

In the days that followed, my sister urged me, repeatedly, to go the the Advanced Org (AOLA) to get checked out on this Dianetic Clear thing. For some reason I was not all that excited to do so. In retrospect that is surprising to me, because Clear was a very big deal at the time. Going Clear was the big lure that got me involved in Scientology in the first place. Their marketing can be pretty effective. So, I went to the AO and got scheduled for an interview. This was good because, technically, an interview is different from auditing and didn’t cost anything. In later years, a person had to buy auditing to find out if they could attest to being Clear. I don’t remember much about that interview, but I must have said things that led the “Case Supervisor” to decide that I had indeed attained the “State of Clear.” I came up with a particular Dianetic session that I had received in Germany years earlier when I supposedly got rid of my own “reactive mind.” I went through the little attestation ritual and received my very own Clear number. Everyone who was officially Clear got a unique number, which supposedly indicated how many people had attained that state before me.

Truth be told, deep down I knew that I didn’t really feel any different. All the wonderful things that I had read about Clears in books and in promotional materials didn’t seem to be happening to me. However, I tried to feel those things and act like I was a special being, which is embarrassing to admit to now.

The AO was selling a special package whereby I could do a course on how to audit myself, solo, and do the OT levels through “OT III Expanded.” That package was very popular because a lot of people wanted to get up to the point where they could receive NOTs. There I was in LA living about a ten-minute drive from the AO. It seemed too good to be true. I borrowed the money from my brother-in-law, paid for those services, and started going to the AO every evening during the week and every Saturday and Sunday, for some months, working 40 hours per week at the same time, while I completed those steps. Again, after I had become OT III Expanded, I still didn’t really feel any different, but didn’t tell anybody. (That is a whole subject in itself — why Scientologists say they experienced things when in reality they hadn’t.)

Anyway, during that time period, the AO was a very busy place. There were many, many people attesting to Clear and completing OT levels every day. Business was booming. In the lobby, a largish room just inside the main entrance to the building, there were often a lot of people hanging around. They might have been waiting to see a “registrar” (salesperson), or waiting to see the “Examiner” to attest to the completion of something, or waiting for a session. As part of the org’s promotional activities, when a person completed a step in their progress up the Bridge, they would be told to “share their wins” with all of the people there in the lobby. That happened often. During any evening one might hear five or ten or more people talking about what they had just completed and how wonderful it was.

One particular evening I happened to be in the lobby. A guy had just returned from “Flag” (the “Flag Service Organization” on the “Flag Land Base” in Clearwater), where he had received some auditing on NOTs. Only at Flag could you get that type of auditing at the time. He came to the AO to talk about it. He really gave a compelling speech. The auditing he had received resulted in many miracles. I don’t remember all of them, but he did say that he had become “exterior to the physical universe.” Say what? He enthusiastically went on and on. His name was Larry Wollersheim.

Ironically, years later, I stood outside a courthouse in downtown LA with hundreds of other Scientologists, chanting “Not one thin dime for Wollersheim.” But I digress. I had become very interested in NOTs during those months, but Mr. Wollersheim’s words made a particular impression on me.


I got invited to attend an event about NOTs in some auditorium in a hotel downtown. I went to learn more about it. Hundreds of people went. It was a recruitment event. They (one of those missions I was talking about) were trying to get people to join the Sea Organization so they could get trained to deliver NOTs auditing. As is common in such events, at one point the speaker asked who wanted to join. There were some people planted in the audience (they had already agreed to join, or something) who raised their hands and they were then asked to come up onto the stage. Many other people then followed. I didn’t walk up on the stage that night but I did agree to schedule a recruitment interview a few days later. And after the recruiters employed their persuasive tactics on me, I signed that billion-year contract. That was a big decision. I knew my life would be irrevocably altered. I wish now that I had thought about it harder.

Within a week or two, I had sold or given away most of my belongings, and found myself living in the blue Scientology complex. It was quite a culture shock, but I was determined to see it through. After some basic training about the Sea Org for a couple of weeks, I was sent to Clearwater, with my above-mentioned, bleary-eyed deboarding of a plane into a steamy Florida morning.

A van was there to pick me up and take me to the Fort Harrison Hotel in downtown Clearwater. That is where I would live for the next year and a half, in a smelly dorm (from a combination of mildew in the walls and dirty socks) with three 3-high stacks of bunk beds. In that room lived “outer-org” trainees. The “outer org” I was from was AOLA. There were some other AOLA people in there plus, guys from other places around the world.

Flag was the only organization where a person could get trained as a NOTs auditor. I came to learn that there were 35 people from LA, about 15 people from both Copenhagen and Saint Hill, plus others who were staff of Flag itself, all there for that purpose. These were the places in the world where NOTs auditing would be delivered. People all around the world had bought blocks of hours for NOTs and were waiting for trained auditors to deliver it.

We were all there on full-time training, each with a list of courses to be completed, based on what prior training we each had had. Interestingly, there was specific policy in Scientology that new recruits should not be put on full-time training. That was supposed to be something that got awarded only to proven, productive staff members. But such was the demand for and remunerative nature of NOTs auditing, that this policy was blatantly violated.

Much to my surprise, the first course that we all had to do (the people at Flag for “technical” training) was a pilot course on the “Training Routines.” Later versions of this course became known as the “Pro TRs Course.” These “TRs” (specific communication drills) had been around since the mid-1950s, and had always been part of an auditor’s training. That is why it was a surprise to me, since I had, as had the other trainees, previously done TRs courses. But Mr. Hubbard had adjudicated that some other auditor trainees who were at his secret location near Palm Springs, California, could not properly do the TRs and so could not effectively audit. The order then went out that all auditors in the world had to re-do this training, and a pilot course was put together for everyone to do. In a pilot, different actions get tested to find out what is most effective in getting the students to learn the subject, before finalizing the official version.

Thus, I found myself in a large course room, with something like a hundred other trainees, in another building up the street from the Fort Harrison, located on the northeast corner of the intersection of Fort Harrison Avenue and Cleveland Street. It was called “the CB” because it had formerly been the Clearwater Bank prior to Scientology purchasing it. Many of those students had already been on that course for many months by the time I got there.

I imagine that almost anyone who got involved in Scientology has some familiarity with the TRs. An outsider watching these drills being done would likely think it was one of the most absurd things they had ever seen. I won’t attempt to describe them here. But I will say a few things about them. These were referred to as “hard TRs,” in the sense of arduous, demanding, challenging, difficult. The daily routine was: course start at 8:30 or 9:00am; lunch break (30 minutes?) at noon; ten-minute break mid-afternoon; short dinner break at 6:00pm; course end at 10:30 or 11:00pm. This went on every day, day after day, with time on Saturday morning to do laundry and clean our “berthing.”

For a good month, adhering that schedule, I sat in a chair, without moving, staring at another person who was staring back at me. Well, a Scientologist would say that you aren’t supposed to be staring, but it amounts to the same thing. Adding it up, I spent over 300 hours on just that one drill, hour after hour after hour. To pass it, one had to do that without errors (like moving, fidgeting, talking, smiling, anything but just sitting still — “being there comfortably”) for two hours straight.

All together there were eight drills that one had to pass, all very surreal in their own way. To complete the course, one had to be video taped while doing the final drill, and then that tape had to be reviewed and given the OK by some high-up technical authority. It took me some months to get through it all. The first completions were passed by Mr. Hubbard himself (the VHS cassettes got sent to him). These people were considered by other Scientologists to be near gods. It’s an example of hype and advertising and various techniques of thought reform influencing one’s view of reality.

One of the first people to pass, or maybe the first, was a guy named Pablo Lobato, a trainee from Mexico. Years later I spent years on the Rehabilitation Project Force with him. Despite Mr. Hubbard’s “blessing” years earlier, Pablo was a mere mortal, foibles and short-comings and all, with no special ability to communicate.

Anyway, that ordeal was not the introduction to being a Sea Org member that I had envisioned. For one thing, the promotional machinery of Scientology had led me to believe that Flag was a wonderful place to be, some kind of paradise, the “Mecca for those who seek technical perfection.” It was not at all what I expected.

But during that training, something even weirder happened. At that time (as now), there were many Clearwater citizens who did not like Scientology. Much has been written about how Scientology moved into that city in 1975 and bought up property under false pretenses. There had been negative newspaper articles and groups organized to protest. The Guardian’s Office (known as the G.O.) was the arm of Scientology that was supposed to deal with such matters. Most readers probably know something about that group’s spies and operatives and nefarious means.

Somehow the G.O. had found out that a big protest was being planned against the Scientology activities in Clearwater. A lot of people were going to gather in front of the Clearwater City Hall, which was only about a block away from the Fort Harrison Hotel, listen to speeches, and then go march around the Fort Harrison with signs and chants.


The Flag branch of the G.O. had to do something about it. They came up with a plan, which I’m sure had to be approved by the top G.O. people at the international level. This protest was a big deal. Flag was Scientology’s biggest money-maker, by far. Hundreds of Scientologists from many countries and from all over the U.S. were there for auditing or training. These people would be going home eventually and tell others about their experiences at Flag. All that income depended on good word-of-mouth. At that time, most of the international management of Scientology was also located in Clearwater. I believe it had the largest concentration of Sea Org members in the world. Above all, nothing could be allowed to besmirch the good name and good works of the “church” and of Mr. Hubbard.

The evening before the planned protest, all of the trainees and many Flag staff members had to drop what they were doing and go to a big briefing in the auditorium of the Fort Harrison. A lady in the G.O., Molly Baxter was her name if memory serves, told us all about this planned protest and what we were going to do about it. Our counter-action was to “inject the environment with theta,” as she put it. I have no clue who came up with this plan of action. The idea was to make it seem that the area around the Fort Harrison was a big circus. There were going to be people in clown suits and others selling popcorn and horns and whistles and dancing and laughing. A happy, festive atmosphere. All this “theta” would somehow be superior to and dispel the “entheta” from the protesters.

This plan failed miserably. What transpired, in short order, was that the Scientologists were walking around the block in one direction, and the protesters were walking around block in the other direction, surrounding the Scientologists. There were really a lot of protestors, hundreds of them. Any sense of festivity quickly vanished. I recall how one trainee from Australia did his best, doggedly carrying a large box like a popcorn vendor would have, shouting, “Popcorn! Get your popcorn here! Fresh popcorn!” Over and over. His lone voice was about all you could hear from the Scientologists.

I happened to be walking near a guy from Buffalo I had gotten to know on the TRs course. He was a nice guy, with a quiet and reserved nature. One of the protesters, a large macho type, singled him out. As we were going round and round, every time that protester passed the guy from Buffalo, he said something like, “There you are, I see you, I’m going to get you, you better watch out,” in an intimidating voice. Almost all of the Scientologists were silent. The protesters were sort of glaring at us and saying in so many words that we should get out of their city.

That went on for an uncomfortably long period of time. I don’t remember exactly how it ended, but eventually the Scientologists went inside and the protesters went away. What a way to spend my Saturday. Sitting in a chair staring at someone would have been better. Protests outside the Fort Harrison continued on and off for at least a couple of years after that.

Not long after that circus, maybe a month later, another unusual thing happened. An order came down from on high that all the people at Flag were to be trained as ministers immediately. We weren’t told why. But one could assume that there was a legal threat somewhere and turning Sea Org members into ministers would show that Scientology really was a religion. At that time there were legal proceedings against members of the Guardian’s Office for their involvement in the Snow White Program. I don’t know for sure that this was the reason we had to become ministers, but I bet it at least played a part.

We all had to interrupt the course we were on and go onto the Minister’s Course. This course was already in existence but few people had done it. On that course one had to read parts of a book titled Religions of the World, as I recall. It also included study of the Scientology versions of weddings and funerals. The whole thing took a few days to complete. Compare that to the training that a minister or priest of a real religion has to go through.

After completing the course, we all had to be ordained. Seriously. One day a bunch of us were gathered into the lobby of the Fort Harrison. I think there were at least a hundred people undergoing a group ordination. Once everyone was there, the whole procedure lasted about five minutes. We stood and listened to someone reading some official-sounding sentences. Probably we had to say “Yes” or “I will” or something at appropriate points. I can only guess that ordination was part of a legal requirement. I was then, apparently, a bona fide minister. In later years I actually performed some marriages (like one of the times that Danny Masterson’s mother got married) and even a funeral.

Such was the beginning of my Sea Org career. Over the course of some months I lived through things I could never have imagined. So why did I stay? Why didn’t I proclaim, “You people are nuts!” and leave. Well, I had been in Scientology for six or seven years by then. I had come to believe that Scientology was very important and indispensable.

I thought that planet Earth, and in fact all the people living in the whole universe, would be forever aberrated and doomed if not for Scientology. I had been taught that evil people in the world (psychiatrists, governments, the media, and other suppressive persons) had a vested interest in making sure Scientology failed in its goals. Attacks were inevitable. I had been further taught that any negative thoughts about Scientology on my part were illogical aberrations, and if I became critical it was because of bad things I had done.

Part of my years-long indoctrination included such ideas as: the way out is the way through; a person’s or group’s actions should be for “the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics” (or, in other words, it was OK to harm a person or group if it was considered that there was net benefit); to bring about order one had to first create disorder; the solution to any difficulties is to apply the policies and technology of Scientology; one must ignore distractions and overcome barriers to achieve the goal one set out to accomplish (in their lingo, “Don’t Q&A”); “make it go right”; because the world is in such bad shape, saving it would not be easy, crazy things would happen, and so we had to work extra hard and long; life in the whole universe has been on a dwindling spiral for quadrillions of years and finally we have a chance to reverse it; only the tigers survive; it would be unethical, treasonous in fact, to abandon Scientology; I would be shunned by friends and family if I left. There were these and many other thought-stopping cliches. Plus many more justifications for the paramilitary lifestyle and the abuses that went along with it. I had come to believe that this was all a necessary part of providing real help to people, which is something we all really did want.

I eventually slogged my way through that TRs course and went on to more training. I did become a NOTs auditor. I ended up being in the Sea Org for 24 years. And bizarre shit never stopped happening.

— Bruce Hines


Other stories by Bruce Hines:

After Scientology’s 9-11 fakery, a Sea Org slave makes his dicey run for freedom
How Scientology broke my spirit with its insidious methods of thought reform
Scientology on the Autobahn: Selling blue sky to the Germans and Swiss back in the day
How Scientology kills without pulling a trigger: The story of a sister who was loved


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Source Code

“Here we have this fellow now and he recognizes this principle and he’s on the destroy end of the curve, you see. He recognizes that a nothingness should exist where that body is. But he doesn’t know why a nothingness should exist — he doesn’t know anything about communication or duplication — he just knows that the best thing to have where that body is, is nothingness. So he goes and blows his brains out. And if the society insists he has too many responsibilities to go blow his brains out, why, then subterfugenously he lowers himself under the wheels of a taxi cab or steps on a third rail or lands himself, and some people haven’t quite nerve enough to make the good clean job of it, so they keep making themselves sick. And that’s psychosomatic illness. That’s all there is to psychosomatic illness, it’s a covert effort on the part of the thetan to make nothing where the body is. But it is an effort which is balked by the society to such a degree that he knows he can’t quite get away with it. So he still goes on with this faint impulse which is just make the body sick, don’t reduce it to zero.” — L. Ron Hubbard, April 23, 1954



Avast, Ye Mateys

“OTL DK has lost several important mail packets from the 24 March run. We find that OTL had just changed Supercargoes. The new one Connie (Campleman) Stevens was logging her first mail. The DK Post Office or the WW post office or Connie has lost several packets. This flap was not reported by Wayne Alkire to Flag and was not given proper attention by Susan Pomeroy. We now, by phone, have the packet numbers still lost and Aides must make them up again for the next courier. This of course calls for a severe reshuffle of lines and personnel. We must be very accurate on mail slips, relays and posting. A fantastice scramble can occur and the work of a lot of executives can be messed up or destroyed. Comm Evs are being convened on S. Pomeroy, W. Alkire, and C. (Campleman) Stevens. Mail routing will be changed.” — The Commodore, April 23, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“1976. I’m in Scientology. My great aunt dies. I am at the funeral and no one is in the chapel yet. I walk up to the casket and say ‘Get a Scientology body.’ Guess what I discover this morning? She did. She’s been hanging around for quite some time. We now agree she’s done with influencing my life and on to her own future.”


Past is Prologue

2000: Stacy Brooks reported on a recent trip to Europe to meet with leaders in those countries. “Bob Minton and I just spent ten days in Europe. We went to Cologne, Hamburg and Paris. We discussed how we are dealing with the Church of Scientology and how we can coordinate our actions. Bob and I were both disturbed at reports from both Germany and France about actions that have been taken by the United States against those countries for their position on Scientology. First we had a brief stay in Cologne during which Bob participated in a live television program. The host of the show was Hans Meiser, a well-known television personality in Northern Germany. The others on the show were Dr. Norbert Blum, former minister of labor and a long-term critic of Scientology, and Tanya Neujahr, a former Sea Org member at Saint Hill who, at the age of 17, was put in charge of security for several isolation watches. Later Tanya tried to escape from Saint Hill and was dragged, kicking and screaming, into a room where she was locked up and kept in isolation herself for several days, until she agreed to write up her overts and withholds (O/Ws) and remain at Saint Hill.”


Random Howdy


“What got me here was a lifelong interest in the weird and macabre, combined with a sister who joined the cult in 1980. In 2008 I heard about a video on YouTube that featured Tom Cruise taking about Scientology. I started following the comments by the anons and Scilons, and I realized I really didn’t know as much about Scientology as I thought I did, so I got busy.”


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. Additional charges also referred to grand jury after January 5 assault while in jail.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff’s sentencing to be scheduled.
Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Pretrial conference May 20 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for May 5.
Joseph ‘Ben’ Barton, Medicare fraud: Pleaded guilty, awaiting sentencing.
Yanti Mike Greene, Scientology private eye accused of contempt of court: Found guilty of criminal and civil contempt.

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’s motion for reconsideration denied on March 15.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Appellate court removes requirement of arbitration on January 19, case remanded back to Superior Court. Next hearing scheduled for June 29.
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] We still get asked about Scientology mouthpiece Tommy Davis, so here’s your update!
[TWO years ago] Philly lawyers suing Danny Masterson don’t want Scientology to have their home addresses
[THREE years ago] Brad Pitt’s Scientology adventure: The sauna, the auditing, the… lizard?
[FOUR years ago] It’s only April, but we already have a leading contender for Scientology mother of the year!
[FIVE years ago] Scientology loves to gladhand Florida politicians, even though it usually has little effect
[SIX years ago] Why Scientology’s inability to pay its tax bill in Montreal is not a sign that it’s struggling
[SEVEN years ago] See ‘Going Clear’ star Hana Whitfield describe L. Ron Hubbard in a leaked 1997 interview
[EIGHT years ago] NARCONON EXPOSED: Scientology’s flagship drug rehab facility is struggling, records show
[ELEVEN years ago] Michael Fairman, Familiar TV and Film Actor, Makes Public His Expulsion from Scientology


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 2,643 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,148 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,668 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,688 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,579 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,886 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,754 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,528 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,859 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,332 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,648 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,214 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,133 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,301 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,881 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,143 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,179 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,894 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,419 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 774 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,949 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,500 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,649 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,969 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,824 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,943 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,299 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,602 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,708 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,106 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,982 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,565 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,060 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,314 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,423 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on April 23, 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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