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The OT 7s turned away at the gates: A Scientology blunder that reveals so much

[Cindy Plahuta and the under-construction Super Power Building]

After our recent special series about Scientology’s most secretive subsidiary, the Church of Spiritual Technology (part 1, part 2, part 3), we heard from an unlikely source about CST’s bizarre secrecy.

It was one of our longtime friends in the ex-Scientology community, someone who has had us over to their home in Denver and who we first wrote about a full decade ago.

Cindy Plahuta had a long career in Scientology and experienced a lot of different things. But one of the strangest happened in the mountains above Los Angeles.

In late 1997, Cindy and her then-husband moved from West Hollywood to Lake Arrowhead, an alpine community in the San Bernardino Mountains that circles the lake.

They didn’t know anyone, so one way they got to know some of their new neighbors was a real classic: They joined a local bowling league.


Among the other bowlers they got to know was a 16-year-old boy who lived in Crestline, another mountain town about 10 miles to the west. And because they bowled together, they would offer rides, and the young man ended up in their house.

When he was there, he noticed they had a copy of Dianetics on a shelf, and he asked them if they were with “that Scientology place.”

Which place, they asked?

As far as they knew, Cindy and her husband had moved to a community without any Scientology facilities at all, even though they were both very dedicated members. In fact, they were both “OT 7” at the time, referring to “Operating Thetan Level Seven,” perhaps the most difficult of the arcane auditing levels that go up to OT 8.

Their young friend explained that the local newspaper had done a story about a Scientology location near the hamlet of Twin Peaks, which was roughly halfway between Lake Arrowhead and Crestline, and that the place was digging a vault and local residents might hear noise from the construction as dynamite was used.

Cindy said they had no idea what he was talking about. But as OT 7s, they felt that if there was a Scientology operation in the area, they should really present themselves.

Their young friend pointed out where the facility was on their next drive, and they made a note of the location.

“The next morning, we went over there,” Cindy says.

They were OT 7s, she remembers thinking. Surely any Scientology location would welcome them.

“We went to the compound, and you know it has this guard shack. There was an intercom there, and we talked to Jane,” Cindy remembers.

Jane McNairn, who is listed as secretary in Church of Spiritual Technology corporate papers, came to the guard booth to talk to them.

Cindy says they explained that they had recently moved into the area, that they were OT 7, that they didn’t know about this place, but that they were ready to help out if they were needed.

She remembers that she really wasn’t prepared for the reception they got from Jane.

“She told us we were not to tell anyone about that place,” she says, and they were told to go back home. Then, later that afternoon, McNairn showed up at their house, to make sure they got the message.


“Then, a few days later, she called us and asked us if we had run into any Germans,” Cindy says.

At the time, Scientology had been the subject of a couple of documentaries by German news crews, where a battle brewing between the church and the German government had been a big story. The German crews had gone to the trouble of paying for flybys in airplanes over secretive Scientology bases.

“If you see any planes, any Germans, call me right away,” Jane told her, Cindy remembers. “But we never ran into a German or any planes.”

She says she also heard from another, even higher official in the church, who told her (good-naturedly) that she wasn’t supposed to know about the compound.

But she wondered, why weren’t they supposed to know about it if it had been written up in the local newspaper?

Later, of course, Cindy learned all about how CST operates its vaults in several places and is maybe the most secretive of Scientology’s operations, keeping the whereabouts of its compounds even from other Scientologists. And the facility that Cindy visited in 1997? Eight years later in 2005, we believe, it became the home for Shelly Miscavige, and has been ever since.

A couple of years after her visit to the compound, Cindy was going through a divorce and was spending less time in Lake Arrowhead, and she even began considering joining Scientology’s Sea Org. However, this not only involved signing the Sea Org’s billion-year contract, but also filling out a comprehensive “life history” which would included being interrogated on an E-meter.

Scientologists believe that the E-meter can literally read their minds, and so Cindy figured there was no way she’d be able to hold back that she’d stumbled on the secret base at Twin Peaks, and that she’d been told to keep quiet about it.

She called McNairn and even drove back up to the compound to talk with her again at the guard shack.

“I showed her the life history I had to fill out. But she said, no, you can’t write that down. No one, not even in the Sea Org, knows about this place.”

Cindy never did join the Sea Org, but while she was contemplating it, she worked out of an office at PAC base, the big blue complex in Los Angeles, where she was a public Scientologist helping to raise money for the Super Power project in Clearwater. She did that from 2001 to 2003 and sent us a few photos from that time, which we’ve posted here.



While doing her fundraising, she met Matt Plahuta. They married and she moved to Colorado in 2003.

By then, she says, the fundraising had begun to raise her doubts about Scientology. “I was being pushed to join the Sea Org, but the more I raised money, the more I saw,” she says.

Like so many other Scientologists, when “The Basics” were released in 2007, it contributed to her growing disillusion with the organization. (Leader David Miscavige re-released books and lectures by L. Ron Hubbard, expecting all Scientologists to buy new versions of books they already owned, and at about $3,000 a set.)

Cindy says she left the church for good two years later, in 2009, and began making contact with other people who had left in recent years, like Mike Rinder and the Headleys.

Then came the incident that we first wrote about involving Cindy. In 2010, she shared with her daughter Kara Landry what she had heard about top executives like Heber Jentzsch in “The Hole,” a hellish prison for people who had fallen out of favor of Scientology leader David Miscavige.

Sadly, Cindy’s daughter responded by turning her in to Scientology “ethics,” and then disconnecting from her.

Cindy hasn’t heard a word from her daughter ever since.

Meanwhile, she also received stunning “disconnection” letters from friends, which we also published.

We were grateful to Cindy for giving us those insights into Scientology’s toxic policy that rips apart families.

But she also provided another crucial detail about Scientology’s prevarications and double-talk.

In 2016, after learning that the lawsuit by Luis and Rocio Garcia had been forced into Scientology’s “religious arbitration” by federal Judge James Whittemore, Cindy wrote her own letter to Scientology’s “International Justice Chief” pointing out that she and Matt had signed similar contracts with the church that had doomed the Garcia lawsuit.

Cindy pointed out, however, that she welcomed the opportunity to have an arbitration over the large amounts of money that she had donated over the years, and that she now wanted back. So, following Scientology’s policy, she formally asked IJC Mike Ellis for an arbitration.

She never got a reply.

She pointed this out in another letter to Judge Whittemore, and we are glad to be reminded of it. Cindy Plahuta, with her letter to the IJC (which you can see here), proved that Scientology’s “religious arbitration” policy is merely a legal strategy that the church uses to derail lawsuits and nothing more.


We really owe Cindy a debt for her fortitude taking on the Church of Scientology and its secrecy and unethical behavior.

But we can try to help her out in a small way: She let us know that she’s launching a new YouTube cooking channel, and we encourage you to give it a look!


Technology Cocktail

“Scientology in Aussie is really swinging in these cities: Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and very soon we will get Sydney and Brisbane going and LO — WE WILL HAVE ENCIRCLED AUSTRALIA. Working it out mathematically on population basis of Aussie with 250 auditors putting 500 people thru courses or processing a year, in 2 years 5 percent of the people will have been thru the courses. Of course it is very likely we are going to have more than 250 auditors around—so watch it kiddo Aussie will be the first all Scientology country and should produce a terrific culture-about time too—it hasn’t really had its OWN culture.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1959



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 [37] Karen Pressley [38] Steve Cannane [39] Fredrick Brennan [40] Clarissa Adams [41] Louise Shekter [42] John Sweeney [43] Tory Christman [44] Kate Bornstein [45] Christian Stolte [46] Mark Bunker [47] Jon Atack [48] Luke Y. Thompson


Source Code

“Evolution: there’s no such thing. Bodies don’t evolve. They deteriorate, but they don’t evolve. You can trace all kinds of reasons how they evolve, and why they evolve, and you can figure it all out, but the truth of the matter is when you get horses on a planet, somebody came along and mocked up some horses! Now, they also mocked up these horses with the capability of growing hair or not growing hair. You’ve got adjustment factors, but not evolution factors. So you confuse the adjustment factors and prove the whole theory of evolution. And now you know man came from mud, and you can write a book like Pavlov and get the whole world poisoned. You see how this one goes. All of this is based on what? It’s based on errors in time.” — L. Ron Hubbard, July 18, 1963


Avast, Ye Mateys

“Promotion and Sales and the Tech Divs have to get together. For instance not the tiniest whisper of what we do with Dn and Lower Grades in the SO ever appears in any promotion. And Org staffs in SO or Scn Orgs haven’t a clue what is meant by the ‘FEBC’ Courses they pay for for their execs. On the broad front of the world there isn’t even a ghost of an idea of what we produce in Scn. That’s because PR hasn’t really found out either. This is a real breakdown! We’re working like mad to repair it. We’re also working to get out an ARC Brk and Letter Reg program to heal up ARC Brks caused by non-delivery and cash demands. And we’re working to get Div VIs to get in new people.” — The Commodore, July 18, 1971



Overheard in the FreeZone

“Where are we going to get PCs and Pre OTs for the Bridge? Apparently from extraterrestrials coming to Earth for services.”


Past is Prologue

1996: Anonymous Austrian Scientologist “clear baby” posted that she communicated with the Office of Special Affairs concerning her plan to report the unethical behavior of Scientologists on the net. In a series of posts, she described her plan to make the church more ethical by applying Scientology, and her meeting with OSA. Following her meeting, Clear Baby’s plan has been given over to OSA. “I will put my operation AREA CLEANUP into the church’s hands where it belongs, and I had decided so already before I went out to see Andy (but was even more certain after that talk.) So my 13 questions which belonged to this project became unnecessary. Do you want to know the reason? The real reason? You can laugh about me – I have deserved it. Today I visited Scientology.Org again. It was a great experience for somebody who is about to learn how to create web-sites: nice texts, intelligent linking, survey forms, everything. This of course IS communicative, and this of course is where a form should be attached which can be used to make complaints, so that the technology of repairing upsets or past ethics conditions then can be applied (this was what I had in mind with AREA CLEANUP).” Ralph Hilton posted private mail from clear baby. OSA told her to stop communicating by email with declared SPs. “I suppose you know what follows here, so I’ll keep it short – I was meeting my DSA today, working out the scene, and of course I will have to disconnect from you and terminate this e-mail exchange.”


Random Howdy

“I use Hubbardese all the time IRL because it’s fun.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:

Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Found guilty on two counts on May 31, remanded to custody. Sentencing on Sep 7.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Grand jury indictments include charges from an assault while in custody. Trial scheduled for August 15.
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud.

Civil litigation:
Baxter, Baxter, and Paris v. Scientology, alleging labor trafficking: Forced to arbitration. Plaintiffs allowed interlocutory appeal to Eleventh Circuit.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’
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 sentencing of Masterson on Sep 7.
Jane Doe 1 v. Scientology, David Miscavige, and Gavin Potter: Case unsealed and second amended complaint filed. Next hearing August 1.
Chiropractors Steve Peyroux and Brent Detelich, stem cell fraud: Ordered to mediation.



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] Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and the Georgia Guidestones: Here’s the truth
[TWO years ago] This is your brain on Scientology: Watch woman express euphoria after brutal interrogation
[THREE years ago] Paulette Cooper tells us she’s been interviewed for Leah Remini’s new Scientology podcast
[FOUR years ago] Miss New York organization changes course, ditches Scientology front group
[FIVE years ago] Is this case of Scientology draining a senior of his savings the one police are looking for?
[SIX years ago] Our man in Ireland ponders Scientology’s big plans for the Emerald Isle
[SEVEN years ago] Joey Chait’s sentencing memo: Abused in Scientology’s Sea Org and in fear of wealthy dad
[EIGHT years ago] Do Scientologists consider L. Ron Hubbard God? Part Two of the Aaron Smith-Levin podcast
[NINE years ago] Ryan Hamilton files his 18th lawsuit against Scientology’s embattled drug rehab network
[TEN years ago] LEAH REMINI’S SISTER NICOLE: How We Got Into Scientology, And How Leah Got Out
[ELEVEN years ago] Scientology and Forced Abortion: Laura DeCrescenzo’s Three-Year Legal Odyssey
[TWELVE years ago] Janet Reitman: Unflappable as Scientologists Question Her Motives


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 3,094 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,609 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,159 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,149 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,030 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,334 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,205 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,310 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,757 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,099 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,665 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,584 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,751 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,333 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,594 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,630 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,346 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,910 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,225 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,400 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,951 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,082 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,420 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,275 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,394 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,750 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,053 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,159 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,557 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,433 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 3,016 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,511 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,765 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,874 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on July 18, 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, 1995-2022 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2022), 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


Tony Ortega at Rolling Stone


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