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Double storms hit Scientology: Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Mike Rinder

With all of their purported super powers, the OTs of Scientology were unable to fend off a double-bullseye yesterday as the church was rocked by two very different kinds of storms.

In New York, on Tuesday evening we were surprised that we got to have dinner with former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder on the very day his new book — A Billion Years: My Escape from a Life in the Highest Ranks of Scientology — was published by Simon & Schuster (see our review here, if you haven’t already). We were surprised because we knew he was inundated with media requests and we figured we wouldn’t even be able to get a word in edgewise with him until the dust settled.

But it turned out that he had come into town a little early and he actually had some free time. So we met in midtown for a great Italian meal with a delicious side dish of Scientology chisme.

While we can’t divulge much from that conversation, we can tell you what Mike himself told us over pasta because he also revealed it at his blog: His scheduled appearance on Wednesday morning on CBS was scrapped.

Because of storm coverage, we asked?


No, because Scientology’s attorneys had been rattling their sabers.

Say what?

So, some 15 years after Mike Rinder came out of Scientology, some 13 years after he began going public with what he had seen while in its ranks as a high-ranking executive, seven years after he appeared in HBO’s Going Clear, and after three seasons of the Emmy-winning A&E series Scientology and the Aftermath (2016-2019) — all of which resulted in zero lawsuits from Scientology — and after Simon & Schuster, one of the country’s biggest and most powerful publishers put Mike’s book in stores around the country, CBS was shuddered into silence by David Miscavige’s legal chihuahuas.

It’s stunning, it really is. Come on, CBS, stiffen that spine and air the interview.

Meanwhile, in Florida, Scientology was being hit with another whammy as Hurricane Ian slammed into Florida not too far from Clearwater and Scientology’s spiritual mecca, the Flag Land Base. We are waiting for damage reports, and we are hoping to hear from a number of our readers in the area to make sure that they are OK.

But our readers brought to our attention a news story from the area that seemed to capture Scientology’s arrogance and cluelessness at the same time.

It was a labor journalist who first published communications from Postcardmania CEO Joy Gendusa that the Clearwater mail-order business would work through the hurricane, and that she expected employees not only to be at their desks but also to bring their kids and pets to the building in case they were, you know, worrying about dying or something.

Vice then picked up the story and had a ball with it, pointing out that once the news had gotten out that Gendusa’s insane company memo was rapidly going viral the company announced that the business would actually be closed and that they simply meant the building could be used as a shelter. (Yeah, sure.)

And then Creative Loafing Tampa Bay added the delicious final layer to the story: Gendusa, of course, is a well known Scientologist in the area, and Postcardmania is known as a sort of employment agency for Scientologists living near the base.

We thought Stefani Hutchison’s droll observation about the situation said it best…


Ah, Scientology it will never change. At a time when its spiritual headquarters was facing an existential threat, it was expecting employees to stay at their desks, while they were dispatching their attorneys to New York to go after the hurricane hitting them from Simon & Schuster.


Well, CBS may have blanched, but Megyn Kelly didn’t, who had Rinder on her SiriusXM two-hour show, and Mike will be giving plenty of other interviews to media with more sand than CBS.

We can’t wait to hear about more fallout.

And to our Florida readers, please do check in and let us know that you’re OK. We rode out Wilma in 2005 in Fort Lauderdale, and it was no joke. Keep safe out there.


Technology Cocktail

“[TR 0 Bullbait] HISTORY: Developed by L. Ron Hubbard in Washington in March 1957 to train students to confront preclears in the absence of social tricks or conversation and to overcome obsessive compulsions to be ‘interesting.’ Revised by L. Ron Hubbard April 1961 on finding that S.O.P. Goals required for its success a much higher level of technical skill than earlier processes. Revised by L. Ron Hubbard in August 1971 after research discoveries on TRs.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1971


Now available: Bonus for our supporters

Episode 14 of the Underground Bunker podcast has been sent out to paid subscribers: We check in with Clearwater city councilman Mark Bunker about Scientology’s latest attempts to sabotage progress there. Meanwhile, we’ve made episodes 1 through 13 available to everyone, with such guests as Jesse Prince, Paulette Cooper, Michelle ‘Emma’ Ryan, Jefferson Hawkins, Patty Moher, Geoff Levin, Pete Griffiths, Sunny Pereira, Bruce Hines, Jeffrey Augustine, and Claire Headley. Go here to get the episodes!


Now with no restrictions: Our podcast series on the Scientology docuseries that never aired


In five episodes, we recently looked at something we’ve been curious about for several years: The potentially explosive television show, produced by Sirens Media, that would have featured L. Ron Hubbard great-grandson Jamie DeWolf as its presenter, and that would have taken an active look at the families ripped apart by Scientology’s “disconnection” policy. Unfortunately, even though the series was ready to air on the A&E network in 2016, it never has. Our podcast series turned out even better than we were hoping, and we’ve made all five episodes available to everyone.


Source Code

“The history of Guk should be known to you. For a long time we had been scouting for the one-shot Clear, whereby a person walks in, you take a hypodermic syringe and shoot it in his arm, he goes up against the ceiling and comes down Clear. And we had been talking about this for some time as something feasible. Around 15 July 1950 a chemical engineer (the ex-director of research at the Bloch Chemical Company) told us about an atropine derivative that might be used.” — L. Ron Hubbard, September 29, 1950


Avast, Ye Mateys

BULL: Do not snort suddenly behind Peter Gilham. It is a tender subject. Not every day does one get plowed 15 feet down the street by a made 1,000 lb. Bull! The main damage was hurt feelings. A general good time was had by all.” — The Commodore, September 29, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“We have great news — the Theta-Meter app for Apple Watch has been released. Now you don’t even need the phone to do auditing. Happy owners of bluetooth Theta-Meter e-meter, you can download Theta-Meter Watch program to your Apple Watch in the AppStore!”



Past is Prologue

1997: German Life magazine’s latest issue carries an article on the controversy over Scientology in Germany. “To explain the furious hostility between Germany and the Church of Scientology, German officials might point to the story of a young man from Braunschweig named Jurgen Behrndt. Shortly before his graduation from technical school in 1989, Behrndt received an offer of free career counseling in a brochure from an employment agent in Hamburg. But the man turned out to be a Scientologist recruiter, and instead of employment advice, he gave Behrndt a copy of the Scientologists’ Bible, ‘Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health.’ Then a woman from the Scientologists’ Hamburg office began calling, Behrndt said, and pressuring him to take a 200-question personality test. He did, beginning a six-year membership with the group, an endless series of ‘audits’ of his mental health and classes to ‘stabilize’ his mind. ‘When things went well, I paid evermore money out of my pocket,’ Behrndt recalled. ‘When things went poorly, I was insulted and rebuked.’ In Behrndt’s first year of membership, Scientology officials visited his parents with him seeking a DM 75,000 ($50,250) loan toward his activities. By the time he broke from the group in 1995, Behrndt had spent some DM 200,000 ($134,000), was unemployed and emotionally ravaged: ‘Many days I saw no reason to even get up.’ ‘We have to be more sensitive of these radical, undemocratic movements,’ said the German embassy official. ‘After all, we had a very bad experience with such a movement 60 years ago.’ Hubbard’s writings call for ‘a civilization without insanity, without criminals, and without war, where the able can prosper and honest beings can have rights, and where man is free to rise to greater heights.’ This contrasts wildly with the experience of Albert Anhut from the city of Hamburg: ‘Friends of mine landed in the gutter, began to booze, and became very sick.’ A 36-year-old graphic designer, Anhut says he lost DM 50,000 ($33,500) to Scientology in two years. ‘They had easy play with me,’ he lamented. ‘You give money, work, and effort for something that turns out to be a deceitful, empty lie.'”


Random Howdy

“More people are killed by domestic pigs around the world annually than are killed by sharks.”


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: Grand jury indictments include charges from an assault while in custody. Arraigned on August 29.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff scheduled to be sentenced on Oct 28.

Rizza Islam, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial scheduled for October 24 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] Appeals court moves back hearing, and asks if Scientology arbitration is ‘neutral’
[TWO years ago] Leah Remini podcast: Attorney Ray Jeffrey on Marty Rathbun’s betrayal
[THREE years ago] Who had the biggest booth at the Black Caucus DC confab this month? Scientology, that’s who.
[FOUR years ago] Inside Jesse Prince’s book about Scientology: Doing L. Ron Hubbard’s dirty work
[FIVE years ago] Turning hurricane chaos into gold? Scientology might learn something from L. Ron Hubbard
[SIX years ago] ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely’ audiobook on sale, and we’re doing a Reddit AMA at noon
[SEVEN years ago] O Canada: We’re in Vancouver today, getting our British Columbia on. Let’s talk Scientology!
[EIGHT years ago] Jon Atack takes his presentation — ‘Scientology: The Cult of Greed’ — to Russia
[NINE years ago] Sunday Funnies: Nothing But Unstoppable Scientology Expansion in Every Direction!
[TEN years ago] Michael Lewis (Johnny’s Dad) Scheduled for Scientology Event Tonight
[ELEVEN years ago] Scientology High School, Dating, and Super Powers! A Post-Countdown Roundup


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 2,802 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,307 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,857 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,847 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,738 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,043 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,913 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,018 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,491 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,807 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,373 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,292 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,460 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,040 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,302 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,338 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,053 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,618 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 933 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,108 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,659 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,790 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,128 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,983 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,102 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,458 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,761 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,867 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,265 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,141 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,724 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,219 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,473 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,582 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on September 29, 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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