Daily Notifications
Sign up for free emails to receive the feature story every morning in your inbox at


When John Travolta first opened up about his Scientology involvement

One of the casualties of the pandemic appears to be Scientology’s Celebrity magazine, which has not, as far as we can tell, put out an issue since late 2019. And that’s a shame, because the magazine over the years has provided some interesting insights on Scientology’s obsession with its famous creative types.

We have long tried to caution journalists who breathlessly gush about Scientology’s celebrities: The actual number is modest, and always has been. But sure, it does have some stars in its stable.

Anyway, we thought we’d go through some back issues of Celebrity, some of which we haven’t really taken a close look at before. And we’re going to start way back.

In 1975, Celebrity featured an interview with burgeoning television star John Travolta, who had just booked his famous run as Vinnie Barbarino on the sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter.


What we really like about interviews in Celebrity is how much the subject is Scientology itself, and Travolta here doesn’t disappoint, liberally sprinkling his comments with “tech” jargon.

Travolta in more recent years has endured tragedy with the loss of his son Jett (2009) wife Kelly Preston (2020), and some have wondered if he might move away from the church. But we haven’t seen any evidence of that. And here, in 1975, you get a sense of how deeply Scientology had set the hook.


Celebrity Magazine, 1975
John Travolta: Scientologist shines in the new TV hit, ‘Welcome Back, Kotter.’

Celebrity: Let’s start with how you got into Scientology.

John: Last December, no, last January I was offered a movie called The Devil’s Rain.

Celebrity: That’s the one Joanie Prather was in, right?

John: Yes, and that’s the reason I’m in Scientology. I met Joan before we went to Mexico to do the film, but it wasn’t until we got on the plane that she started talking about Scientology. Well, she told me all about Scientology and it sounded really interesting, so I brought up certain things about my case and asked if that could be handled. And she said it could. I said, ‘Come on…could THAT be handled? You know, I couldn’t believe it. So she said, ‘Listen, why don’t you just read the Dianetics book.’ We were going to be down there about six weeks and she gave me the Dianetics book, and the dictionary. She was very patient, and I finally understood everything so it was great. I couldn’t wait to come back and start course. So, I came back and she took me out to CC and I signed up for HQS and that’s how I got into it.

Celebrity: And how did you get the part in Welcome Back, Kotter?

John: The day I got back from the movie, I auditioned for Welcome Back, Kotter and I think it was the very next day I started HQS. Then I got called back for a screen test and that’s how it happened. I was quite keyed out from Joan and the Dianetics book and all the things I had learned. That’s what did it. I came back ready to start a new career. When I met Joan, I was really way down south. I mean I didn’t believe there were answers to anything. And then her telling me about Scientology and reading Dianetics gave me hope again. By the time I came back I was raring to go for my career and I had a new friend that was terrific, and it was very exciting. We had done TR’s in Mexico. Joan told me what they were about and I didn’t quite know everything about it but it was helping me. So when I came back, I could concentrate better on what I was doing and I really gave a dynamite audition.

Celebrity: How else do you use the Tech in life or in your career now?


John: Well, that question is so hard to answer, because it’s like saying, ‘How many buildings are in New York City?’ you know, because the ways I use it are endless. I think mainly my knowing what’s bank and what isn’t helps me tremendously, and I know when people invalidate me now. I know a little bit more about how to handle them when they do and I know not to cave in when it’s done. That used to be my major problem — being caved in when someone invalidated me creatively. Now what I do is just say, ‘Those are just words, man,’ and if anyone ever does try to cut me down, it’s so funny how I handle it; I just go, ‘Thanks.’ You know, no malice. Or someone says snidely, ‘Why do you always fool around like that? You’re really silly sometimes.’ I just say, ‘I feel good when I do that. But I’m sorry you feel that way.’ It’s incredible, because I used to get so despondent when people did that. I’d go, ‘Oh, really….well, why do you think I’m like that?’ Some guy says, ‘You know, you think everybody’s going to laugh at you all the time and you’re always trying those new ideas and stuff and boy it’s really annoying sometimes.’ And I’d think, ‘Oh yeah, you’re right. Oh, it’s terrible, I’m terrible,’ you know, and cave in. Introvert totally. Now, when people say to me, ‘What’s wrong with you today, John?’ and I know now when I’m really being creative there are a certain few people who will say, ‘What’s wrong with you today?’ And I’ll go… ‘Nothing. What’s wrong with you? I feel really good.’ So,


that’s one little area besides a million others. But I think that’s a good example only because that was a real button with me. I could cave in really easy on invalidation and evaluation. Now that I know what it is I can handle it. Sometimes people will do it so slick that I will buy it, and then it will take an hour or so, and I’ll think, ‘What am I doing? I’m caving in!’ Then I can realize that they’re just words. Sometimes people say the most incredible things in the world to me that last year would make me suicidal, and now I just say they are just words and go to the next thing. People have a way of getting your buttons and twist me them like crazy. And boy the difference between last year at this time and this year at this time is like night and day.

Celebrity: Is there anything that you noticed about the way the Bridge is set up — the gradient of courses and auditing — that’s helped you move along?

John: The gradient of understanding is set up so that you get it according to your own ability. I think what’s happened with me sometimes is that I’ve gained understanding that usually comes at a slightly higher level, so then when I got to that level it was even a heavier cognition. The Bridge is set up so that anyone can gain greater knowledge and understanding at his own rate.

Celebrity: Where has your personal understanding of life increased by going on the gradient that is set up in Scientology?

John: Everywhere. I mean, just the knowledge that I have now is astounding, and I know there is a lot more to come. That I can stand back and look at a situation and maybe locate a stable datum in it or know what’s bank and what’s not bank is so important. To know answers for once in my life is a very exciting thing. To finally say… ‘Well, I know what is happening there,’ instead of, ‘well, I think that maybe there is an answer somewhere along the line here,’ that alone is pretty amazing. I feel like I know something, you see. And the gradients used gives you knowledge right from the start, and you are that much better off. I mean whatever you learn in Scientology is going to be that much more helpful, and then it just snowballs. And the only time you really notices it is when you look back on it. Like sometimes I get frustrated — like I don’t know this or that yet, or what it’s like to be Clear, and all that kind of stuff — unless I look back and think of what it was like a year ago as opposed to now. It’s an incredible growth and there’s no comparison.

Celebrity: And how does the analogy of the Bridge apply to you in your situation?

John: Well, I’m on my way across it, I know that much. The way I’ve set it up is that I’m going to co-audit on the training side. And I’m playing a game that if I can get some professional auditing and go Clear right away, that’ll be great. I’m going to be Clear by next July to begin with so that’s no big deal, but what I’d love to do is to get enough auditing professionally right away, and then train. I mean that’s just a game for me to play. But I know I’m going to have it anyway, so there’s not a must-have on it, but there is that little game I’m playing on the side to try to get it, so I’m playing both sides of the Bridge.

Celebrity: So, what does the future hold for John Travolta?

John: My future in terms of Scientology is going to be terrific. Career-wise it’s going to be all up. I’m in a good position now. My stats are going to go up and that’s exciting. It’s just a bigger game. My career has always done well, but now I’m getting into a bigger game. And with Scientology, it’s going to be really a big game because I’m going to have that much less in my way. Those little things that used to stop me before just don’t stop me anymore already, and I’ve had maybe 36 hours of professional auditing, Life Repair, besides my HQS auditing, which is another 10 hours let’s say. but already I can see how just knowing things makes you that much less banky. Its still there until you’re Clear but knowing how to get out of it at times can help you in the long run. Let’s say for an audition, I just give myself a locational and get myself into present time and know that it’s my bank that’s making me feel that way and nothing else. There’s no reason for me to be upset at the time I’m upset. So, I can now be there and handle things.

Celebrity: Is there anything you would like to say to someone who hasn’t gotten into Scientology?


John: If they have read a book or they know anything about Scientology at all and it seems to make any sense, get into it. I mean because it just contains the secrets of the Universe. That may be too steep a gradient for people to handle sometimes, hearing that, but it really does have them. At least, it’s got the answers for me. They indicate to me like crazy, and the idea of going Clear is my game now. I walk down the street and I sometimes think, ‘I wish you knew what I know,’ to a stranger. ‘If you only knew what I knew, and you can know.’ And that’s really all there is to it.


Technology Cocktail

“The first person to give me any really active help in the field of research was a girl trained in science at the university, and that was Mary Sue Hubbard. We covered and reviewed the entirety of whole track phenomena and exteriorization phenomena between 1952 and 1954. In the fall of 1952 more actual assistance in England was given me. From there on it became more obvious that we had more and more able people on every hand. My own work hours were lessening. There were more people pitching in and actually doing the job they were supposed to do. We were beginning to have something that looked like an organization.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1956



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

“One girl had married a man named Tom. She was very dissatisfied with Tom. She very much liked a fellow named George. She separated from Tom and married George. We took her into her past and found that her mother was married to a man named George and was very much afraid that George would leave her. All this was in the poor girl’s engrams. They told her she had to love George and stay with George. There was a person in the case named Tom whom her mother detested. This girl had been in love with about twenty-three men, all named George. This was a reactive mind marriage.” — L. Ron Hubbard, February 13, 1951


Avast, Ye Mateys

“What one gets Comm Eved for is in the P/Ls, FOs, FSOs, CBOs and HCOBs. You can’t be Comm Eved for failing to follow an illegal order. You sure can be for departing from policy issues. Orders don’t equal orders equal orders. That’s the road to disaster. Some orders are senior to others. A dock worker telling you to put on your jacket is not the same as your division head telling you to do so. You have policy to keep things straight. If policy doesn’t cover, request clarification. If you are doing something other than your hat, sooner or later it will catch up to you. I count on you to wear your hat as laid down by P/Ls, FOs, CBOs, FSOs and HCOBs. Don’t let me down.” — The Commodore (1971)



Overheard in the FreeZone

“The One World Government is here and there are 3 alternatives for this One World: Gray ETs, Marcabians or Scientologists. No. 1 is the mind control agenda of the Gray ETs/US Military at deep underground military bases in western USA. (As described in Bill Robertson’s ‘UFO Lecture’). No. 2 is the Marcabians/European Union model of Economic Control and mass media manipulation. (As described in Bill Robertson’s ‘UFO Lecture’). No. 3 is Hubbard’s Plan for an International City and a new civilization. This is described in the taped lectures ‘International City’ and ‘The Free Being.’ Captain Bill Robertson (founder of the Scientology Free Zone) also has more plans on this with his New Civilization Plan lectures an programs and the ‘UFO Lecture.’ The democratic wogs and ‘Scienos’ in your friend’s list have chosen alternative No. 1, the Gray ET/US military base mind control agenda. European wogs, American and Scienos in favor of Income Tax, have chosen alternative 2, the Marcabian’s/EU control by economics and mass media. Not as bad as the first one. Scientologists in CoS, the Free Zone, independents and some non Scientology OTs support Alternative 3, the agenda of freedom as described in the taped lecture ‘The Free Being.’”


Past is Prologue

2002: Pravda reported on February 7th that a Russian politician who was involved in Scientology is now being accused of creating a criminal group. “Duma deputy, chairman of the state commission for chemical disarmament Sergey Kirienko, member of the Union of Right-wing Forces, is accused of establishment of a criminal group. The claims have been presented at the Duma’s session yesterday by deputies Vyacheslav Olenyev, deputy chairman of the Duma’s Ecology Committee and a member of the Agrarian Group, and Sergey Shashurin, a member of the People’s Deputy group. The deputies have substantiated their accusations on the materials of the Institute for public opinion research attached to the Russian Academy of Sciences, concerning Sergey Kirienko’s activity. In the mid 90-s Sergey Kirienko, being a bank president, completed a Scientology course; moreover, he obliged the whole bank staff to attend the courses. Thomas Gandov, a German expert for totalitarian sects says: ‘Scientology strives for the world domination. Kirienko may pose a threat to the security.'”


Random Howdy

“Scientology was touted as the religion for the space age, but stylistically it’s firmly stuck in the time period of, let’s say, 1950 to the 1980s. In its own way Scientology and its members come across as being every bit as tragically unhip as their Fundamentalist Christian counterparts. Squares from Space.”


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


Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Mistrial declared November 30. Retrial scheduled, jury selection begins March 29. Next pretrial hearing: Feb 16.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Grand jury indictments include charges from an assault while in custody. Next pretrial hearing Feb 13.
Rizza Islam, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial scheduled for March 1 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next status conference Feb 13.

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 November 17 to argue the arbitration motions, awaiting ruling.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Selection of arbitrators underway. Next court hearing: March 15, 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 February 7.
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] Here’s the 2022 Scientology Super Bowl ad, this year’s ‘mystery sandwich’
[TWO years ago] Let’s bring one of Scientology’s most notorious bag men out of the shadows
[THREE years ago] Agency that wouldn’t check on Shelly Miscavige makes visit to Underground Bunker commenter
[FOUR years ago] ‘Aftermath’ subject Brandon Reisdorf arrested for entering San Diego Scientology church
[FIVE years ago] Evidence, finally, of how Scientology obsessively tracks down its former members
[SIX years ago] A new document shows how much Scientology obsesses over every member’s status
[SEVEN years ago] SCIENTOLOGY’S SPACE MAN: As of 2013, active Scientologists fewer than 20,000 worldwide
[EIGHT years ago] Days before crucial hearing, Scientology pulls out a ghost to sway a federal judge
[NINE years ago] Scientology video: Some of the best L. Ron Hubbard word salad ever
[TEN years ago] Underground Bunker Reader Gets Declared a Suppressive Person by Scientology
[ELEVEN years ago] Anonymous vs Scientology: Chanology’s Quadrennium in NYC


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 2,939 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,444 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,994 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,984 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,875 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,179 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,050 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,155 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,632 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,944 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,510 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,429 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,597 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,178 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,439 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,476 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,191 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,755 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,070 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,245 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,796 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,927 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,265 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,120 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,239 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,595 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,898 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,004 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,402 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,278 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,861 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,356 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,610 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,719 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on February 13, 2023 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


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email