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Pete’s journey: The long, scary bus ride from active Scientologist to active protester

[Pete Griffiths, emceeing ‘Dublin Offlines 2012.’ Photo by Lisa Tiffany.]

The bus journey from County Mayo to Dublin takes about three and a half hours and I am on the back seat pondering my insane decision. What am I doing? What am I thinking? These people are dangerous. Scientology comes after its critics to lie about them, harass them and ultimately to try to destroy them, to stop them bad mouthing it. Except it isn’t bad mouthing. The critics speak the truth. It is May 2009.

Over a year prior to this journey, I became aware that a group online calling themselves Anonymous were going to protest the Scientology mission in Dublin. What the heck for? Scientology is the good guys. It has the answers to drug addiction, education, criminal rehabilitation, study, communication, relationship problems, personal demons, insanity, war. The person I was chatting with laughed at me, called me an idiot and told me to look online.

“Yes but L. Ron Hubbard discovered all these amazing things…”

“He was away on a ship surrounded by underage girls in miniskirts. Just look online,” I got told again.

What harm could it do? It was 14 years since I had been involved with Scientology and maybe all these unknown people had a point. There sure seems to be a lot of them. That underage girl thing is a bit pervy all right. But that is the enemy line. That’s what they say to discredit the man and deny him his rightful accolades in the world of wogdom, or society as we know it (“wog” is the Scientologese word for a human being who hasn’t yet discovered Scientology, just an ordinary, normal, human). And he is the greatest friend Mankind has ever had because he researched and found out the truth about life and the universe and so on and so forth.


And I always planned to rejoin when I had enough money as I knew that enough money would grease the wheels or pour oil on any troubles that I may have had in the past. Then I could do my Bridge and go OT and have some superpowers…

What harm? If everything is as true as they say then surely a tiny amount entheta couldn’t rock the boat that much? Could it? All these Anonymous people don’t seem to have taken any harm.

I began to look online and discover to my increasing shock and horror that there is more to the story than I first envisaged. I read more and more and became fascinated by the subject, once I had overcome my initial fear. It seems that someone wasn’t telling the full story. I found out about ARS and the Old Guard. Crazy Scientology court actions against people like Gerry Armstrong. The Hamburg Conference. Ursula Caberta. Marty and Mike were out.

Finally, I read Russell Miller’s Bare-faced Messiah and my entire world changes before I even finish the book. Yes, I hesitated before I read the OT3 stuff but then thought, you know what, fuck it, nobody else has got pneumonia and died, here we go, wheeeeee!

Hubbard was just a con man. The whole thing is nothing but a money-making lie.

All the stuff that I have believed for these past years is just bullshit. Clear the planet? Clear the bank accounts of members, more like. What a disgusting, diabolical, deception and perpetrated with malice aforethought and nothing but evil intent.

“The only way to control somebody is to lie to him. You can write that in your book in big black letters, the only way to control somebody is to lie to him.” — L. Ron Hubbard

What a total bastard. I don’t have much Scientology material left, but I gather the things I have — books, posters, manuals — and build a huge bonfire in the yard. I am raging. I have never felt so betrayed. I devoted and dedicated years to that charlatan. All for nothing. Well, not nothing, he died with $680 million dollars in cash in boxes around him.

I found Tory “Magoo” Christman and she saved me. Who couldn’t believe this obviously sincere and brave lady speaking out about the abuse she saw and suffered? If she can do it…

…because that was my next thought. I have to do something, put a stop to this. Prevent new members from joining, get existing victims to realize they are being duped, deceived, and help them to leave. I can’t just stand by and do nothing. And so I’m on the bus heading up to Dublin to check out these Anonymous protests and I am feeling brave enough but at the same time, scared. I know how bad things could be. I can face the possibilities. They would probably stop short of murder, I mean they would hardly kill my family, would they? What’s the worst thing they could do to me? Call me a pedophile, I guess. People would say, no smoke without fire, and my life would be ruined. Would they do that? They did. But hey, we’re jumping the gun.

The bus arrives in Dublin and I get off and stroll round to Abbey Street. Will anyone be there?

I see a smallish crowd standing opposite the Scientology mission. I knew exactly where it was as I’d gone to look for it some years before.

There were posters, music playing, an overall air of a party or celebration of sorts going on. People in good spirits. Some people wearing Guy Fawkes masks, some wearing bandanas. I knew that the protestors tried to conceal their identities to prevent the Scientology “dirty tricks” department from getting up to mischief.

I walk up and introduce myself and get received very well. I meet the Madhair, Raptor, Cheshire Cat, Cuoin, Kick the Spike, Mike Garde, and many others. Most people had a nickname from being on the Internet but not Mike, I found out that he had been very vocal in exposing the cult for the past 25 years. What a legend. Kick was there because back when the bus stops had been operating outside the mission she waited for a bus each and every work night and every night this Scientology guy, we’ll call him Vinny, asked her to do the personality test. Every night she told him, no. The next night he’d ask her again and eventually she lost it. “Look at my face! Don’t ask me ever again!” she raged. I knew what that was all about. Scientologists believe that people who don’t know Scientology don’t know themselves at all and could say no like that for months on end and then one day just flip and say OK and follow them into the building for a testing session. When I was at the org and a person came in ranting about being taken off the mailing list we were told to say OK, but of course, never take them off because they don’t know their own minds, how could they, they are not Scientologists. It really is that crazy when you are in.


Everyone had a lot to say and I was their first real live ex-Scientologist. The talk flowed, the music played, and I learned a few rules like, stay on the opposite side of the street as the Scientologists call the police if anyone stands on the footpath right outside their door. It’s better anyway as the people in the mission can see us in all our glory. If the police do tell you to do something, do it. Drink plenty of water. Wear sensible shoes.

One Scientologist comes out with a camera and takes pictures of the many signs hanging on the window sills or just leaning against the wall of the empty old newspaper building. I don’t think he took photos of the protesting people when he was on the street but he certainly did when back inside. Hiding behind curtains with lens poking out. People tried to talk to him but he used “ignore” tech and looked quite smug and confident. Sad. I try telling him that I want to help him see the folly of his ways but get royally ignored.

The protestors, I find out, meet once a month, same place, roughly the same time, all organized online on a site that everyone goes on. I just have to join in. I really had some fun that first day. The protests go from morning until the evening and everyone leaves together for safety reasons as the Scientologists had been known to follow lone protestors.

That was the first of what became for me a total of one hundred monthly protests and four international conferences.

When I suggested to the gang that we host a conference like the Hamburg one I was initially laughed at because the Irish Scientology presence in Dublin was just a fun-sized concern of 43 active members. However we went ahead and did the Dublin Offlines 2012 conference with 14 guest speakers which is all available to watch on YouTube. And a great day was had by all.

And then a few years later, the Scientologists were able to dishonestly acquire a High Court Injunction which brought the protesting to an unfortunate end. There was just handful of people left at that stage anyway so we were not too fussed. I was able to go to the High Court and get the same judge who gave the injunction to lift the injunction which he did with the words that if he had known the full story at the time he would never have granted the inunction in the first place.

Shortly after that, the Scientologists in Dublin moved from their tiny office above a hairdressing shop on a city street to a 12 million euro “church”in a mainly residential area known as Firhouse, which also would have made any protesting somewhat superfluous. They had also recently purchased a Georgian building in Merrion Square to operate an “Office of National Affairs” at a cost of more millions. The membership according the national census was in the high 80s.

Clearly someone was pumping a lot of money into the two-bit Irish operation. But who and why? We can only speculate at this stage.

— Pete Griffiths


Technology Cocktail

“For some years then, I watched for no-gain cases and carefully followed up those that I could. They had major or minor criminal backgrounds. This gave the 1959 breakthrough on the meter checks (Sec Checking). Following it further since 1959 I have finally amassed enough histories to state: THE PERSON WHO IS NOT GETTING CASE GAINS IS COMMITTING CONTINUING OVERTS. While this sounds like a very good ‘out’ for us, we assume that the auditor at least tried something sensible….The no-gain case, frankly, is one I am not panting to solve. If a fellow wants to sell his next hundred trillion for the sake of the broken toy he stole, I’m afraid I can’t be bothered. I have no contract with any Big Thetan to save the world complete….They are suppressive persons, every one. I know. I’ve seen them all the way down to the little clinker they call their soul. And I don’t like what I saw. The people who come to you with wild discreditable rumours, who seek to tear people’s attention off Scientology, who chew up orgs, are suppressive persons. Well, give them a good rock and let them suppress it!” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1965



Now available: Bonus for our supporters

Episode 9 of the Underground Bunker podcast has been sent out to paid subscribers, and Marc Headley returns to explain why he took the trouble to submit a lengthy response to a Scientologist’s nutty YouTube video. Meanwhile, we’ve made episodes 1 through 8 available to everyone, with Patty Moher on her career as a Scientology spy, Geoff Levin on Scientology’s celebrities, Pete Griffiths on running a mission, Sunny Pereira dishing secrets of Scientology’s Hollywood Celebrity Centre, Bruce Hines on the crazy life in the Sea Org, Jeffrey Augustine on recent Scientology court cases, Claire Headley exposing Tom Cruise, and Marc Headley on what it must be like for David Miscavige living in Clearwater, Florida.. Go here to get the episodes!


Source Code

“You all dead today — I mean, all alive today? Twenty-third, huh? 23 August, AD 11. Well, I’m glad you made it. I didn’t think you’d ever get to August the 23rd. Back there in the Roman Empire I was damn sure you wouldn’t get here! And I remember one space-opera society when I didn’t think it was very probable that you’d make it. I remember standing there at the edge of the spaceport as the battle planes took off, and I said, ‘Well, they won’t make it.’ I knew, you see, I knew the high command hadn’t given you any ammunition.” — L. Ron Hubbard, August 23, 1961


Avast, Ye Mateys

“Tech is the theta thrust into the society. All new civilizations progressed on new technology. In the main we face what is called a ‘cultural lag.’ The mental health field is stuck about 1450 AD. Dungeons, torture, illegal seizure, the ‘best’ people. We are rolling at about 2050 AD. This time gap makes it nearly impossible for the society’s witch doctors (untrained in logic or mathematics) to grasp what is going on. They lack even a purpose to make anyone well. Not even up to that. So we are impeded by a ‘cultural lag.’ By tying a bridge to medicine and healing we can overcome this to some degree. Therefore the Standard Dianetics Programme was an enormous advance for us, not just in tech but in social advance. So we are doing very well really.” — The Commodore, August 23, 1969


Overheard in the FreeZone


“Scientology is a very exact thing. It has no room for different interpretations, it was researched based solely in its workability by a man with an incredible background in science, mathematics, history, philosophy, etc. A research route was followed that resulted in a workable technology that works 100 percent, all times. It has been tested time after time. Many Scientologists are looking for answers who have been overwhelmed by false data from ‘Authorities’ from the Church. By applying to them 100 percent on Source supervisor tech, their confusions will be handled. Long dissertations and ‘explanations’ on top of false data and M/Us just won’t do.”


Past is Prologue

1995: Scientology raided the homes of Larry Wollersheim and Bob Bingham, founders of FACTNet, this week. A poster summarized a report from The Rocky Mountain News: “‘Denver U.S. District Judge Lewis T. Babcock signed an order authorizing the raids’. According to Wollersheim, ‘They took us off line’. A picture accompanying the article shows Warren McShane, ‘president of the Religious Technology Center in Los Angeles, carr[ying] documents from the apartment of … Wollersheim. At left is U.S. marshal Steve Bush.’ According to the RMN, he ‘charges that the church practices secret rituals in which officials claim they are aliens from outer space whose purpose is to take over the Earth.’ The raid started at 9a.m Tuesday morning and lasted for 8 hours, Scientology officials were present at the raid and took away material. A 7 hour raid was made in Niwot. Karin Pouw of the Co$ ‘questioned why Wollersheim’s bulletin board should have non-profit, tax-exempt status.’ Wollersheim hopes that he will be represented by the ACLU.”


Random Howdy

“Scientology is like doing acid minus the fun.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: 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: Readiness hearing scheduled for August 22 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for September 19.
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, Scientology moving to compel arbitration. Plaintiffs filed amended complaint on August 2.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Selection of arbitrators underway. Next court hearing: February 2, 2023.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Appellate court removes requirement of arbitration on January 19, case remanded back to Superior Court. Stay in place, next status hearing October 25. Scientology petitioning US Supreme Court over appellate ruling.
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] What is it going to take for the LA Times to take the threat of Rizza Islam seriously?
[TWO years ago] Half-million dollar man: Scientology donor gives pep talk in leaked video
[THREE years ago] Scientology’s obsession with kids and sex? Nick Lister has the receipts.
[FOUR years ago] Why Colombia’s military was fertile territory for Scientology — and one general’s stunning role
[FIVE years ago] Scientology shows no sign of slowing down its use of religious visas for foreign labor
[SIX years ago] Maybe the worst thing about Scientology: It turns you into L. Ron Hubbard
[SEVEN years ago] Chill EB joins the Sea Org — well, long enough to wish a happy birthday!
[EIGHT years ago] Jon Atack: How Scientology’s methods of manipulation stay with you after you leave
[NINE years ago] PR Director of Scientology’s Las Vegas Celebrity Center Arrested in Plot to Assassinate a Cop
[TEN years ago] (2012’s) Top 25 People Crippling Scientology, Nos. 17-20
[ELEVEN years ago] Janet Reitman’s Inside Scientology: ‘The Print Reviews Have Been Really Positive’


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 2,765 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,270 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,820 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,810 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,701 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,006 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,876 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,650 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,981 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,454 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,770 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,336 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,255 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,423 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,003 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,265 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,301 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,016 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,541 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 896 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,071 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,622 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,753 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,091 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,946 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,065 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,421 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,724 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,830 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,228 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,104 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,687 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,182 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,436 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,545 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on August 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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