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Celebrity Sunday: Erika Christensen, Michael Peña and a tribute to… Prince?

We’re continuing to look back at recent issues of Scientology’s Celebrity magazine, which appears to be a victim of the pandemic. Today, we thought we’d go through issue 437, which came out in June 2017 and featured actress Erika Christensen on the cover.

Inside is a lengthy interview of the Traffic and Parenthood star, and we thought you’d want to see how it mixes her celebrity rise along with her involvement in Scientology…

From Parenthood to parenthood


Actress Erika Christensen talks about leaving her on-screen family, starting a family of her own, the role Scientology plays in her life and a new TV character that was tailor-made for her.

At an age when other kids are just learning how to read, Erika Christensen was learning about the reactive mind. “I was about seven when my mom sat me down on the living room floor and did a huge demo of the mind,” says the 34-year-old actress. “She showed me your standard memory banks of things like what you had for breakfast, but she also explained that you had a store of memories of painful moments, like stubbing your toe.” Her mother then went on to detail — in terms a seven-year-old could understand — the reactive mind and how those pictures can pop up at inappropriate times and lead to irrational reactions. In her demo, Erika’s mom moved those pictures aside, making the point that going Clear meant ridding yourself of their negative effect. “I said, ‘Well that sounds good!’ And my mom said, “OK, good!” That marked the end of the discussion and the beginning of Erika’s understanding of Scientology.

In between shooting scenes for her new television series (which stars Kyra Sedgwick and will air on ABC this fall), caring for her new addition (a daughter named Shane) and Solo auditing on New OT VII, Erika has taken the time to chat. The discussion veers from her post-Parenthood life (the NBC series ended its six-year run two years ago), to how parenthood (with a small “p”) is treating her, to how Scientology has impacted every aspect of her life. Fittingly, the setting for the talk is Celebrity Centre, which was literally the launchpad of a career that’s already passed the 20-year mark.


It was here at Celebrity Centre that she was first exposed to auditing at the age of nine. Two years later she completed the Purification Rundown and began a series of Life Improvement Courses that started her on the path to understanding about herself, Scientology and the world at large. “That’s when things really began clicking for me,” she recalls. About that time, she joined Kids on Stage for a Better World, a Celebrity Centre performance group of youngsters. She loved the singing and dancing and the electric energy of performing that creates a feedback loop with the audience.

Recognizing her interest, “My parents very casually decided to walk me through an Admin Scale.” The results solidified her determination — at the age of 12 — to become a professional actor. While it was the thrill of performing in front of a live audience that first got her hooked, Erika knew even then she wanted to work in film.

At the time, Gay Ribisi was holding acting seminars at Celebrity Centre. Erika’s mom asked if she wanted to add Erika to the stable of actors she managed, and while she said no, she did say she’d be happy to meet Erika.

“And when she met me she said, ‘OK, I’ll be her manager.’ She also got me an agent.” After Erika’s first audition, the jobs started coming in, beginning with a national spot for McDonald’s. It was quickly followed by a music video for Michael Jackson. By the age of 14, Erika was cast in her first move, Leave it to Beaver, followed by a string of guest spots on television series. But the role that would mark her as a talent to watch, came when she was 17 and cast as Caroline Wakefield, the drug-addicted daughter of the newly appointed US drug czar in Steven Soderbergh’s movie, Traffic. Erika had never so much as taken a hit of a joint, but her acting was so convincing that Stephen Holden’s New York Times review made not of it as one of the three “most indelible performances,” of the impressive ensemble cast. The other two actors he mentioned were Benicio Del Toro who won an Academy Award for his performance and Michael Douglas, who played her father.

In those early years of her career, Erika says, “I was doing school and all the Life Improvement Courses I could get my hands on, and working.” Asked if that was good training for her current life, she laughs, “Now I’m attempting to juggle my course schedule, my husband’s course schedule, being on the OT Levels, having a kid and a job.”

Spend more than a few minutes with Erika Christensen and you notice that she exudes joy. She readily admits to being an optimist and says that her post-Clear life (she attested to Clear about five years ago) has been exceedingly smooth. “One of the things that I find is that I’m more articulate. I’m able to actually communicate what I am trying to say. And I no longer have this worry that I have to protect my reputation.” She has a calmness that comes from understanding that as much as she knows, “Hey, there’s stuff I have yet to learn. I don’t have to figure everything out. And that’s definitely nice.”



Erika even attributes the easy birth of her daughter to the tech she’s learned in Scientology and her progress up the Bridge.

“It’s almost embarrassing how easy my pregnancy, labor and delivery were. We went on a bunch of crazy hikes and I was eight months pregnant. We had the baby at home. No drugs, no problem. It was really a fast labor.” In part, she thinks her training in Scientology, including her knowledge about counter-efforts, allowed her to go with the flow during the birth. And rather than exhibit the glazed-eye look of most new mothers, Erika gives the appearance of someone who is getting plenty of sleep. “My husband and I don’t always tell people how easy it’s been because we understand that other new parents have a reality that is very different and that’s totally valid.” The reality for this athletic couple (both Erika and her husband Cole Maness are avid cyclists), is that parenthood is an adventure to enjoy. “We even took Shane on a backpack trip to Yosemite when she was two months old.”


Erika is getting ready to head downtown for another day of filming of Ten Days in the Valley. It’s a part and a series she’s excited about. In it, Kyra Sedgwick plays a television producer whose daughter is kidnapped. “I play her sister who’s a play-by-the-rules type whereas Kyra’s character just flies through everything on passion and charm and drive.” The show is a mystery that unfolds over the course of 10 days (each episode represents another day in the life of the characters). “It was originally written as a 40-something psychologist, but I guess Kyra had liked my work, so they brought me in to audition for the role.”

After her audition, the series creator gave her a call, “I had her on speakerphone and my husband could overhear her saying, ‘You’re not right for this’ and he thought she was calling to tell me that I didn’t get the job.” But in fact, she was letting Erika know she was going to rewrite the role so it was a better fit. And that’s how a 40-something psychologist became a 30-something business manager.

As shooting for the season was drawing to a close, Erika was gearing up for her next project, working with her husband on a documentary. “He’s one of those people that’s good at anything he tries his hand at. And now maybe he’s going to be a documentarian. I’m just going to back him up, and right after we wrap Ten Days, we’re going to start filming this documentary and go interview the subject. I don’t know action-wise what comes after that.”

But as she’s done since she was a teenager, she’ll start planning her future and no doubt it will include many more memorable roles. “One of the postulates I’ve tossed out over the years is this: ‘Someone is thinking about me for a job right now.’” No doubt, Erika, no doubt.

Looking at what else was in the issue, we dug this photo of Ron, looking like the badass photographer that he was.


And Michael Peña also is featured. We find him very interesting, because he’s one of only a very few number of Scientology’s younger celebrities who joined, rather than grew up in the organization.



And finally, Scientology threw a tribute to Prince just to make an anti-drug statement? Yeah, sounds like them.



Technology Cocktail

“It is interesting to know that a thetan doesn’t look through his eyeballs. He has two little gold discs, one in front of each eye lens. These are not the lenses of the eyes, but, as you might say, mocked-up energy. They are little gold discs that are superimposed over the eye and he looks through these. The eyeballs merely serve to locate these discs.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1957



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?

[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

— The first Danny Masterson trial and beyond

[18] Trial special with Chris Shelton [19] Trial week one [20] Marc Headley on the spy in the hallway [21] Trial week two [22] Trial week three [23] Trial week four [24] Leah Remini on LAPD Corruption [25] Mike Rinder 2022 Thanksgiving Special [26] Jane Doe 4 (Tricia Vessey), Part One [27] Jane Doe 4 (Tricia Vessey), Part Two [28] Claire Headley on the trial [29] Tory Christman [30] Bruce Hines on spying [31] Karen de la Carriere [32] Ron Miscavige on Shelly Miscavige [33] Karen de la Carriere on the L’s [34] Mark Bunker on Miscavige hiding [35] Mark Plummer [36] Mark Ebner


Source Code

“There’s a very simple way of making somebody’s arthritis turn on with violence. And you just walk up to ’em like this and wiggle your hands in front of his face. And of course by giving him this confusion outside of his body, he holds harder onto the body and that is what arthritis is, it’s a solid hold. All right. Now, you take an arthritic and you start to say hello and OK to this arthritic leg or joint, or something of this character, you are actually attempting to as-is or knock out of existence my communication, a lot of actual calcium. So it isn’t going to work. Not well or easily. But you take slight little somatics, little conditions, or fears of things, and run two way communication on them and you get some fabulous results.” — L. Ron Hubbard, February 26, 1957



Avast, Ye Mateys

If you think we are losing ground, according to a head count to date, three major enemies and the three biggest enemy names are finished. Cecil King lost his directorship in the Bank of England and his newspaper claim which included the Daily Mail. Sir William Carr has also lost his directorship in the Bank of England and has been ousted from his papers and was last seen trying to unite with ‘Truth’ newspapers of Australia, owned by Murdoch. Kenneth Robinson, ex-Minister of Health UK has been ousted and is in disgrace with his group. All three were also directors of the ‘National Association for Mental Health’ of the UK. Three scalps. Any more candidates for our ‘coupstick’?” — The Commodore, February 26, 1969


Overheard in the FreeZone

“I wanted to share a win. The other day I was driving on the freeway and behind me there was a Highway Patrolman. It was a beautiful day and my anchor points were way out. I could ‘feel’ all the other cars around me and I could feel the tenseness from the other drivers. The tone level noticeably dropped. I still kept my space and confronted the area. The next thing that happened is that the cop pulled someone over. He turned his lights on and the other car pulled off the freeway to get his ticket or whatever. Instantly I felt a big blowdown from the other drivers and the tone level shot up into cheerfullness. It just reminded me that I am a thetan and that I am able to percieve many good things. I got a lot from the Scientology philosophy. I am thankful for many of my experiences with the tech.”


Past is Prologue

2001: Jeff Jacobsen spoke to the Clearwater city commission this week concerning the off-duty officers hired by Scientology. “For over a year now every day 2 uniformed off-duty police sit on Watterson Street next to the Scientology Bank building on Cleveland Street. They are there from 11am to 8pm 7 days per week, paid by Scientology. They do essentially nothing but sit in lawn chairs provided by Scientology. In a January 21, 1983 article in the Clearwater Times, a survey of Clearwater citizens showed that ‘eight out of 10 adult residents think the
Church of Scientology is a problem.’ In 1995 Paul Maser of the Clearwater Police Department wrote an affidavit where the city was suing Scientology. He wrote about Scientology that ‘harassment and intimidation is authorized by the Church under the Fair Game Law, as dictated by L. Ron Hubbard founder of the Church of Scientology.’ The City of Clearwater knows about Scientology. They know Scientology’s history. And yet now I see the city officials kowtowing to Scientology. Antonio the Scientology security staffer sits all day with these 2 uniformed officers, sitting on Scientology chairs eating Scientology food enjoying Scientology company and doing essentially nothing for Scientology money.”



Random Howdy

“For the last time it’s a genderless demon eating a turkey leg.”


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] In Danny Masterson rape case, Scientology tried to put LA court through ‘Truth Rundown’
[TWO years ago] Appellate court halts Scientology ‘arbitration’ as it considers petition by Masterson accusers
[THREE years ago] SEVENTH victim comes forward to LAPD accusing Scientology actor Danny Masterson
[FOUR years ago] Jenna Elfman’s career finds new life in the zombie apocalypse
[FIVE years ago] What happened when we had a scientist look at L. Ron Hubbard’s ‘science’ of life in the womb
[SIX years ago] Florida attempts sensible change to mental health law — so Scientology goes on attack
[SEVEN years ago] The shocking space opera secret that is guiding Scientology litigation
[EIGHT years ago] Can you help solve this odd Scientology financial mystery?
[NINE years ago] Ryan Hamilton files another lawsuit against Scientology’s Nevada drug rehab facility
[TEN years ago] Scientology’s “Disconnection” Policy: Music Lovers, This One Will Break Your Heart
[ELEVEN years ago] Scientology Sunday Funnies: The “Dwindling Spiral”?


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 2,952 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,457 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,007 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,997 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,888 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,192 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,063 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,168 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,645 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,957 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,523 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,442 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,610 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,191 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,452 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,489 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,204 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,768 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,083 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,258 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,809 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,940 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,278 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,133 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,252 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,608 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,911 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,017 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,415 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,291 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,874 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,369 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,623 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,732 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on February 26, 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


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