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Special Thanksgiving Podcast: ‘A Billion Years’ author Mike Rinder on Scientology’s epic fails

[Illustration by Observer]

On September 27, we had the treat of meeting Mike Rinder in Manhattan on the publication day of his book, A Billion Years: My Escape from a Life in the Highest Ranks of Scientology. (See our review of the book here.)

We were just plain lucky that we could dine with Mike that evening when he had so much going on. But neither of us really had any idea what the next several weeks would have in store for us.

Finally, almost two months later, we had time to meet up again, this time for the Underground Bunker Podcast.

We had a lot to discuss. About the media reaction to his book, the mayor’s race in Los Angeles, the Danny Masterson trial also in that city, and so much more. We even asked him about Marty Rathbun! So we hope you can set aside a little time on this holiday to join us.

And as ever, we’d like to hear what you’re thankful for this Thanksgiving. We hope this podcast is one of those things!



Technology Cocktail

“It was somewhat amusing to note that the auditor’s name, which will go unmentioned, was the kind of a name which lends itself to an engram phrase. An example of this would be (an actual case) where the individual had severe asthma and was named Sneezy and had lost his asthma simply because a professional auditor asked him one day whether or not he was trying to live up to his name. An individual (a thetan) is trying to be something rather than nothing and he will try to be the literal meaning of his own name and try to dramatize it. Well, a thetan can never be. The auditor in this case had a name which lent itself peculiarly to failure and this had never been touched in the school.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1953



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 as Danny faces a potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison. NOW WITH TRIAL INDEX.


THE PODCAST: How many have you heard?

— The Underground Bunker Podcast

[1] Marc Headley [2] Claire Headley [3] Jeffrey Augustine [4] Bruce Hines [5] Sunny Pereira [6] Pete Griffiths [7] Geoff Levin [8] Patty Moher [9] Marc Headley [10] Jefferson Hawkins [11] Michelle ‘Emma’ Ryan [12] Paulette Cooper [13] Jesse Prince [14] Mark Bunker [15] Jon Atack [16] Mirriam Francis [17] Bruce Hines on MSH


— SPECIAL: The best TV show on Scientology you never got to see

[1] Phil Jones [2] Derek Bloch [3] Carol Nyburg [4] Katrina Reyes [5] Jamie DeWolf

— SPECIAL: Your Proprietor’s updates on the Danny Masterson trial

[1] Sep 21 [2] Sep 28 [3] Oct 4 [4] Oct 10 [5] Oct 11: Day One [6] Oct 12: Day Two [7] Oct 13: Day Three [8] Oct 17: Day Four [9] Oct 18: Day Five [10] Oct 19: Day Six [11] Special interview with Chris Shelton, Oct 19 [12] Oct 20: Day Seven [13] Oct 21: Day Eight [14] First week in review, with Jeffrey Augustine [15] Oct 24: Day Nine [16] Oct 25: Day Ten [17] Oct 27: Day Eleven [18] Oct 28: Day Twelve [19] Second week in review, with Jeffrey Augustine [20] Halloween special [21] Nov 2: Day Thirteen [22] Nov 3: Day Fourteen [23] Nov 4: Day Fifteen [24] Third week in review [25] Nov 5, Saturday special [26] Nov 6, Sunday special [27] Nov 7, Day Sixteen [28] Lisa Marie Presley breaking news [29] Nov 8, Day Seventeen [30] Nov 9, Day Eighteen [31] Nov 10, Day Nineteen


Source Code

“Nobody ever objects to anybody in India being found dead. So they’re dead. They’re dead. They get married when they’re 12 or 14, kick the bucket when they’re 21, 28 — real quick. The only trouble with the people is, it’s too hot there and they key in all the prenatals they’ve got. It is about 90. Any time you get a climate which is approaching 98.6, you can get the whole prenatal bank keyed in almost perpetually, because that’s the temperature in the prenatal bank, 98.6. That’s why hot countries turn feminine, so forth, so it’s not a hardy country. But way up north, those boys live with kind of wild abandon, too. They always have.” — L. Ron Hubbard, November 24, 1953


Avast, Ye Mateys

“COMMENDABLE: CS-1 Cmdr Hana Eltringham is commended for getting out and duplicated the CLO org bd and MOs for getting it into action at CLOs in UK, DK and US. A very nice, rapid production requiring no further correction. All who helped her are also thanked.” — The Commodore, November 24, 1970



Overheard in the FreeZone

“The people who say Scientology is utter rubbish are clearly wrong, the people who say Scientology is utterly the best are also wrong. The truth like with most things really lies somewhere between. So that’s why I’m half a Scio. I’m also not afraid of the Covid hoax and the possible devastation it could cause. Somehow things tend to work out all right for me, so I expect Covid’s not going to cause all this badness. There’s no need to fear. Be positive because everything’s awesome. I also certainly ain’t a Christian, reading the Bible ruined the religion for me. I believe in Trump though so maybe that’s my official religion now.”


Past is Prologue

1997: Scientology issued a press release this week attacking the Channel 4 documentary on L. Ron Hubbard. “The Church of Scientology condemns as ‘journalistic terrorism’ the vicious rendition by Channel Four’s ‘Secret Lives’ of a purported ‘biography’ of L. Ron Hubbard, the Founder of Scientology and Dianetics. The program is the most contemptible form of tabloid disinformation and reeks of journalistic deceit and immorality. Boxes of factual information and documents disproving the lies of their sources were provided to 3BM, the independent company that produced the show, its director Simon Berthon and its producer Jill Robinson. The producers were offered an interview with L. Ron Hubbard’s official biographer, Mr. Dan Sherman, which they ignored. All of it was rejected in creating a programme dripping with bias, lies and a disreputable parade of self-serving and discredited sources. Through our own news journal, we are investigating how this atrocious programme came to be aired and we have uncovered the sordid tactics used by 3BM’s Jill Robinson and Simon Berthon.”


Random Howdy

“My take on it is that Hubbard created Dianetics as a ‘short con’ and when it took off on a level he didn’t expect and when everyone by the early 60’s had reached ‘Clear’ and the gravy train started to slow down he created the ‘long con’ of the OT levels. The $64,000 question is whether due to mental illness and perhaps drug use did he start to believe in his own bullshit? When he says at the end of OTVIII ‘now that you know what you aren’t are you ready to find out what you really are?’ I see this as phase 2 of the long con. Hubbard is saying ‘Hey, guess what kids, I took a detour and I was on the wrong road but now I’m on the right one, so lets go.’ The bottom line and perhaps unanswerable question is how much was calculated and how much was crazy.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:

Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Trial began October 11 in Los Angeles.
‘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 March 1 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. Hearing scheduled November 17 to argue the arbitration motions.
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 at least through December 13.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Case settled ahead of scheduled Dec 6 trial.
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.



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] Check out the US government’s new whales: Feshbachs go Diamond Meritorious for the IRS!
[TWO years ago] Scientology predictably trashes Valerie Haney’s request for state supreme court review
[THREE years ago] Scientologists use faith healing to convince fire victims they’re actually helping
[FOUR years ago] Xenu’s first public outing: Robert Kaufman’s stunning 1972 testament, ‘Inside Scientology’
[FIVE years ago] KID CORPS: When a disease outbreak brought Scientology unwanted attention
[SIX years ago] Leah Remini’s Scientology series opens with a gut-wrenching story of ‘disconnection’
[SEVEN years ago] Strange scenes from the Moscow hearing that banned Scientology yesterday
[EIGHT years ago] Jon Atack: At the heart of Scientology is L. Ron Hubbard’s paralyzing use of contradiction
[NINE years ago] Jenna Miscavige Hill on Scientology’s New Dawn: ‘I Can’t Believe People Still Buy This BS’
[TEN years ago] Scientology Leader David Miscavige Added as Defendant in Ken Dandar’s Federal Lawsuit
[ELEVEN years ago] Paulette Cooper, Scientology’s Original and Worst Nightmare: A Thanksgiving Tribute by the Village Voice


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 2,858 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,363 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,913 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,903 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,794 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,099 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,969 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,074 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,547 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,863 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,429 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,348 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,516 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,096 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,358 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,394 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,109 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,674 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 989 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,164 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,715 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,846 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,184 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,039 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,158 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,514 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,817 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,923 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,321 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,197 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,780 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,275 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,529 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,638 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on November 24, 2022 at 09:00

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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