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What Scientology’s nutty ‘OT 3’ — the Xenu tale — taught one member about Sea Org slavery

[An artist’s conception of Xenu from HBO’s ‘Going Clear’]

Summer 1984, Advanced Org Los Angeles. Alone in the small study room, heart pounding, mind overflowing with anticipation, I flipped open the folder containing the auditing instructions for OT 3, the secret level of Scientology known as the “Wall of Fire.” Finally, finally, after sixteen years in Scientology, ten of which were spent toiling as a devoted Sea Org member, all was revealed. This was the ultimate reward for my service. Sadly, it did not come while I was actually in the Sea Org. I had been on an extended leave of absence since 1979, and now five years later I was paying for my OT levels as a public Scientologist.

The first surprise was that the top page, entitled simply “Data (1)” and undated, was in L. Ron Hubbard’s own handwriting. Of that, there could be no doubt. I was intimately familiar with the elongated, oversize flowering scrawl filling the foolscap pages, as if the writing was too big for the page, the same way the man himself was larger than life. For five years on the Flagship Apollo, in my capacity as one of LRH’s personal Staff Aides, I had been the recipient of frequent handwritten communications from “the Commodore” as he was called in the Sea Org. Sometimes these were “despatches” – handwritten orders – addressed to me, filling entire pages. Often, he added a few notes at the bottom of one of my own proposals, with a “Very Well Done” from him being the absolute prize. On occasion a Daily Report from a crew member was forwarded to me, annotated by him for further action.

I had been fond of the old man. It pleased me to see his handwriting again. It was an instant throwback to the early seventies. My last in-person conversation with him was back in November 1975 in Florida, nearly ten years prior. But in these words on the page, it now seemed as if he was writing to me personally, once again. A flood of recollections and emotions came washing over me.


The second, and far more astonishing surprise, was the content of this OT 3 material. He was telling a fantastical space opera tale which seemed straight out of Star Wars, although I knew that the OT III material had been written a decade before that famous epic first hit the theaters in 1977. I also knew of course that LRH had been a science fiction writer before developing Dianetics and Scientology. But this time he was, it seemed, deathly serious.


When I first read the OT 3 story, and learned of the existence of body thetans, the unseen victims of this mass implant tragedy of 75 million years ago, I approached it with suspended disbelief. I now know that there are some who, upon reading the materials, abruptly walk out on Scientology never to look back. But that was not me. I was in way too deep by that point. I now think that it was my years-long personal relationship with Hubbard, and my ten years in the Sea Org, which led me to give him the benefit of the doubt, until I could try out for myself the auditing he prescribed. I had no information to indicate that anything Hubbard had said or done was fraudulent in either purpose or execution. We knew nothing then about his shady past and fake biographical stories. Even though contrary and negative information had been available before the Internet in a few books and emerging court case records, never would I have even been admitted onto the OT levels in the first place if I had been poking around anti-Scientology sources.

What I knew of LRH was the man with whom I engaged personally on a daily basis for five years, save when he was away from his ship between December 1972 and September 1973. He was larger than life, charismatic, and he was like a father figure to me, generally kind and cheerful in his public persona, even though on occasion we could hear his temper flare through the glass doors of his office. I knew he cared, and he was deeply engaged in supervising the auditing which went on aboard ship.

I had no reason to suspect duplicity, deliberate fabrication, or madness. All of that would come later, much later.

I also knew of Scientology what I had myself experienced through auditing and training. I had achieved what I considered a few undeniable gains in my past auditing. I had studied the basics of the lower levels of the subject, and found them credible and scientific sounding. Who was to argue against the importance of communication skills, or the goal of a Clear, a human mind relieved of its aberrations?

So I dutifully audited my OT 3 level without trouble. I mentally scanned areas of my body as instructed, until I felt an area of pressure or pain, and yes (of course!) the meter read on those. Then I ran Incident 2 and Incident 1 as instructed. The meter reads were small and not always reliable but I plowed through it. When it was over I attested to “no more BTs.” The materials do not give any other end result, but LRH does say laconically about the BTs, “They hold you back.” Yes, I did feel lighter somehow.

But soon, on the long drive home to Canada, I was worried that I suddenly felt more BTs around me. Had I maybe missed a few and attested prematurely? Would I be affected by these foreign entities warping my thinking and behavior, now that I knew of their existence? I mentioned none of this to my husband, who had also earlier completed the level, since it was even too secret to be discussed aloud with one’s partner. Eventually, I settled down and resolutely asserted to myself that, BTs or no BTs, I was responsible for my thoughts and actions. I left OT 3 behind me. Little did I know that I need not have worried about having falsely attested. In the ensuing years, all subsequent OT levels would be concerned with auditing and getting rid of yet more BTs.


The third surprise, the one that hit me right in the gut, the one that would soon turn my life on its head, was this statement:

“When through with his crime, loyal officers (to the people) captured him after six years of battle and put him in an electronic mountain trap where he still is”. [Emphasis mine]

The “him,” the object of this sentence, was the Galactic Lord named Xenu, ruler of the Confederation of 76 planets, the evildoer who had “solved” overpopulation 75 million years ago in this sector of the galaxy by electronically implanting millions of beings with false information and then packaging them and bringing them to Earth, making our planet the ultimate dump site for captive, mentally damaged and incapacitated spirits.

Loyal Officers. This was the first time I ever heard the term.

So this, at last, was what the Sea Org was all about. I had already dedicated an entire decade of my life, from 1969 to 1979, to serving diligently, almost fanatically, in the Sea Org, without ever knowing of the existence of the Xenu story, and as I now realized, without full knowledge of what the Sea Org was actually about. But suddenly, it all made sense to me, on a very personal level. Put simply, the Sea Org was a band of returned Loyal Officers. That explained its familiar motto, “We Come Back.”

We, the loyal officers, had come back to help LRH, through safeguarding and delivering the OT levels, to rid this planet of its curse. That was also the meaning of the Sea Org’s stated purpose of “putting in ethics.” This was for me the major life changing result of doing OT 3, far more than the auditing itself.

The ramifications of this origin story were astounding, on a personal level. In the story, Xenu is representative of established authority, whereas we the loyal officers are loyal to the people who were being oppressed by the regime, and we are fighting the malevolent authorities on their behalf.


This positioning provided immediate relief from any concern we might have had, as Sea Org members, about the numerous enemies of Scientology among the authorities, be they government or mental health. In this origin story, Xenu is representative of established political authority, whereas we the loyal officers are loyal to the people who were being oppressed by the regime, and we are fighting the malevolent authorities on their behalf. We were the underdogs. And we were the good guys. That was reassuring, given my five years living on a ship which had been harassed and chased away from country to country as undesirable, to the point of being stoned by an angry mob in Madeira.

The Xenu story also explained how it was that I had been allowed to join the Sea Org right off the street and been promptly sent to Flag. Once there, I received no particular indoctrination into the purpose or mission of the Sea Org. It was assumed that if I had somehow found my way there, then I belonged there, despite the fact that I was not privy to the OT III story. “A being knows” was a common saying in the Sea Org. I may not have known it, as the term was never used in the Sea Org due to its confidential nature, but I was a Loyal Officer, and I had found my way home.


Astonishing as it may seem now, two years later I rejoined the Sea Org after a seven year absence, this time at the so-called Int Base in Hemet, which had since become the pinnacle of the Scientology world. This was the result of a confluence of factors, itself quite a story.

It then took four years of intense abuse, physical, emotional and mental, inflicted on me and my two children, before the whole edifice finally collapsed like a house of cards, and I was strong enough to dare to literally walk out on the Sea Org, and eventually, to reject the whole belief system of Scientology.

One day, sometime after I had left the Sea Org, I suddenly realized that Scientology is actually a cult of demonic possession. Obviously and undeniably. That was the end of it for me. As a lapsed Catholic, I knew that the faith of my childhood had shed its obsession with exorcising demons, and the evil deeds arising from that belief, long ago back in the Middle Ages. Why would I want to believe such medieval nonsense?

As for the Sea Org, here I had been once again operating as an executive right at the top of the totem pole, and I saw that it was populated by fanatics. Loyal officer or no, I could no longer countenance participating in the evils of this group. I will have much more to say about these tumultuous four years between 1986 and 1990, which culminated in my break from the Sea Org, although my life would remain captive for another decade for the love of my children. It has been a very long road to freedom.

Now, at last clear of eye and free of mind, I have come to regard the Sea Org as a modern day secret society. Its most shocking and reprehensible aspect, for me, is the fact that the bulk of today’s Sea Org members, most of whom have not had the opportunity to reach OT 3, are actively denied the opportunity to learn the true nature of the group to which they are devoting their lives. Just like I was.

— Louise Shekter


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Source Code

“One of the things which I am very pleased to announce immediately is that we have seldom failed in recent months to raise the intelligence quotient of any individual undergoing 25 hours of processing, at least 10 points. And for those who have undergone as much as 75 hours of processing, we have raised it as much as 35 points and consider it routine 25 points. This is something that has never happened before, and therefore it is an important thing that we take a look at this. According to psychology, this is an impossibility — completely impossible.” — L. Ron Hubbard, June 3, 1955


Avast, Ye Mateys

“Commodore’s Transport is transferred to Div IV, Transport Section. Ship’s boats, all cars aboard are included in its activities. Des Popham and Arthur Hubbard are transferred to this Transport Section. The 1st Mate is now responsible for care and routine checks on vehicles as well as lifeboats, their lowering gear, sleds and motor handling.” — The Commodore, June 3, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“We have made it clear from the onset that we are Scientologists who are all about Ron’s brand. If people want to hear lies about the Founder, or natter about other Scientologists or staff — then this is not the place to frequent. If they do want to hear about standard delivery in the field, the training of auditors, the unsnarling of out-tech, and the resolution and debunking of technical and administrative arbitraries, then yes, we can provide information.”


Past is Prologue


1998: Scientology attorney Kendrick Moxon threatened ex-member Charlotte Kates this week, accusing her of keeping a copy of the Philadelphia org’s mailing list. “At a time when you were acting for the Church of Scientology of Pennsylvania, you received a copy of the Church’s mailing list of parishioners for the purpose of inputting it into a computer for the Church’s use. Thereafter, you renounced membership in the Church, and purported to return the mailing list. This is to formally put you on notice that any retention of the mailing list constitutes theft, conversion and potentially other crimes and torts. Provision of the list or any part of it to third parties not authorized to receive the list also constitutes conversion, conspiracy and other crimes and torts.”


Random Howdy

“There’s no shortage of angry disaffected white people in this country. It’s scary.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next pretrial conference June 30. Trial scheduled for October 11.
‘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 June 9 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for June 2.

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:
Baxter, Baxter, and Paris v. Scientology, alleging labor trafficking: Complaint filed April 28 in Tampa federal court.
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 December 6.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: New trial ordered after appeals court overturned prior 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] Not only did Scientology get PPP loans: Check out these Scientologists who got bailouts too!
[TWO years ago] Kirstie Alley lets her Scientology hang out and fans react with predictable hilarity
[THREE years ago] Reader, can you help this father who wants to keep his son out of Scientology?
[FOUR years ago] The US government continues to fret over how other countries treat Scientology
[FIVE years ago] Scientology to federal court: A judge calling our members directly? Are you nuts?
[SIX years ago] ‘Ross & Carrie’ conclude their Scientology investigation by calling it ‘ridiculously creepy’
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology routed: What the national press hasn’t figured out about the Trout Run defeat
[EIGHT years ago] Federal judge again declines to intervene for Ken Dandar, but leaves a door open
[NINE years ago] L. Ron Hubbard Intends to Rid You Of a 43-Trillion-Year-Old Implant. What Was That Like?
[TEN years ago] Scientology Wins a Major Award Again! Galaxy Press Vindicated!
[ELEVEN years ago] Jan Eastgate, Scientology Official, Arrested in Australia for Covering Up Sexual Abuse Claims


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 2,684 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,189 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,739 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,729 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,620 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,926 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,795 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,569 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,900 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,373 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,689 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,255 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,174 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,342 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,922 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,184 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,220 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,935 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,460 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 815 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,990 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,541 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,690 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,010 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,865 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,984 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,340 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,643 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,749 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,147 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,023 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,606 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,101 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,355 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,464 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on June 3, 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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