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


Scientology wanted you to believe that the urge to leave was a failing. It wasn’t.

[Sunny, serving her billion-year contract]

Scientology in the 1970s was known for being a fun place, a cool hang out, a place to make new friends. This appeal brought in many new followers. Scientology was supposed to be a different kind of religion, a hip and cool one.

Although the general beliefs and goals of Scientology have not changed over the decades, the day-to-day operations have in many, many ways. I believe that the evolution of Scientology over those years has made it hard for some to back away and say, hey, this isn’t what I signed up for.

Some have woken up and realized they did not want to be there, and that is what this article is about.

Has the desire to leave or “blow” Scientology ever been an overwhelming feeling for you? Have you felt an urge suddenly to take off? Or fight the bad in Scientology? This is a recognized feeling known as “fight or flight.”

Scientology believes that the only reason a person wants to leave a place is because of “overts and withholds.” In other words, the person who does not want to be there is only waving a flag saying he has undisclosed transgressions.


The fight-or-flight reflex is an indicator of trauma, not overts and withholds. In my personal opinion, Hubbard had it upside down, backwards, mistranslated, incorrect and very, very wrong.

A fight-or-flight response happens when a person is in the presence of something physically or mentally terrifying. The response is triggered by the release of hormones that prepare your body to either stay and deal with a threat or run away to safety.

If these stages occur over and over again, such as when a person is under constant stress, it can cause the body to become exhausted and break down.

Never have I seen a person truly recover from fight-or-flight mode by interrogations. For the most part they remain traumatized, because the trauma is not properly recognized or addressed at all in Scientology.

I had signed my first billion-year contract when I was 6. I knew that my mother would also have to sign it as a witness (because I was a minor), which is why I agreed in the first place. Back then I was still trying to get her attention. If I had to sign a billion-year contract to see her for five minutes, then so be it. Between being 6 years old and signing the Sea Org contract, there was more leniency and trust from the day care, and I had, in a sense, more freedom. At this age, one qualified to be a Cadet. As long as you had the other basics in such as being able to read and doing simple math. As a Cadet, we were now getting prepared for the Sea Org. Also, Hubbard did say we were adults at the age of 6.

We had one person overseeing all of the Cadets, called the Cadet Co-Ordinator. Otherwise, it was a regular Sea Org Org, making money and having its staff work long hours. We did what was called “missions,” which were just assignments into the regular orgs for things they wanted done, such as selling Freedom magazines, filing papers, stamping and mailing things, etc. The orgs would pay the Cadet Org for the work and the Cadet Org had its own financial planning and payroll.

As always, the adult staffing for the care of children was deficient, and when one staff member had enough and no longer was there (blew post or reassigned), it would be forever or never that a new person would be assigned to supervise the children. Meanwhile, the Sea Org style Cadet Org would run, to a degree, in its machine-style.

But it also gave some of us more of a chance to wander, goof off and even, heaven forbid, play. Sometimes. As the days without adults turned into weeks, months and years, things really got out of control with the kids.

When the childcare staffing was lacking, it was the responsibility of the parents to keep their kids under control. This sounds like a simple task, but with so many Sea Org children improperly raised, it was more havoc than anything else. We had some kids starting fires, others smoking cigarettes, others stealing, some torturing animals, some learning how to build pipe bombs, some off playing video games all day. You name it, the kids there, who were raised essentially by the streets of Los Angeles, were not in any sort of parental control.

The parents would try, between and after post, to be parents. But what an impossible task when you have the demands of a Sea Org post as well. A post in the Sea Org required more than 24 hours a day of work, and only if you were incredibly efficient, could you get everything done.

The parents, honestly, never had a chance.

But coming back to fight-or-flight, the true point of this article.

For me, as a child, I saw my only parent as an unreliable and mean person. It’s funny looking back and talking to so many people who knew her, she was actually apparently quiet, kind and mannerly. That was not the same person who was constantly frustrated with me for the “thing I did that day.”

I got tired of the fighting, got tired of someone trying to control me, tired of a dumb life that I could not understand or figure out.


I was going to run away! But for my mom to know I was missing, I had to leave her a note. Otherwise, I wasn’t sure she would even try to look. I left a letter in an envelope on her bed and I left. I went down the street to a local market and played video games for a few hours. I got bored and went back home. My mom had just finished reading my note after a long day on post.

“Are you back already? I thought you were running away.” She asked me.

I had an urge to turn around and leave. I already knew I really had nowhere to go. I felt sad. Trapped. Alone. Unloved. Angry. Frustrated.

“You know wanting to leave and leaving are signs of overts and withholds. So that means you better sit yourself down and start writing them down for me. You will never be happy until you clear up all your bad acts. I’m sure if you clear them up you will be happy here again.”

I could not, for the life of me, get across to my parent that I was not happy there. I did not want to be there. Bad things had happened and I did not like the life we had there. I did not feel safe at all. I had no idea what the future held.

But what I did learn is anytime I don’t like my situation or feel like leaving it, its my own fault. I am the reason I want to leave. Its because of something I did that makes me no longer want to be in that place. And this became a lifetime (or at least “while in the Sea Org/Scientology”) concept.

Scientology cannot grasp the actual concept of trauma, or the fact that it is capable, just by the way that it functions, of causing trauma. Anyone with grief or complaints about Scientology or the Sea Org or the way it functions has their own hidden transgressions.

Scientology and the Sea Org does not have to change, ever. Because the archaic technology of its founder tells its members that only transgressions make a person desire to leave. No other reason ever, at all.

But in the real world, where people live and try to survive as best as they can, trauma is a very real thing, and can really cause confusion and upset in a person’s life. And Scientology does not acknowledge or address it at all.

So please, if you’ve been in Scientology any amount of time and wonder to yourself, “What did I do to deserve this?” Or if you feel compelled to search for your own transgressions, remember this: It was not your fault. We all got conned to one degree or another.

Staying in a mode of fight-or-flight is not good for our health and can cause chronic physical problems (from the stress) such as chronic fatigue, depression, gastrointestinal issues, headaches, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and even breathing problems.

We can move forward and do what really matters to us. And love those who matter to us.

No matter what Scientology tries to make you think about yourself, remember this: You matter. You are loved. You are important. And transgressions you may or may not have ever committed have nothing to do with your desire to leave something. And just because you feel the urge to fight something, does not mean you need a sec check or an ethics handling. You have a right to your feelings. Listen to them.

— Sunny Pereira



Technology Cocktail

“Only with Scientology have we come back to the straight of it. And the straight of it is that one cannot be injured until he has postulated that Thetans can be injured and, by example of Thetans pretending to be injured, has come to the point of himself not only consenting to be injured but actually getting torn to shreds. The basic postulate of injury or death (or harmful communication) is best summed up by ‘victim’.” — 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 [49] Mark Ebner


Source Code

“Now, what’s the matter with the planet at this particular time is ethics is out. And that is proven by the fact that you are having a hard time getting tech in. With the technology which you know at this particular moment and the results which you are delivering even at lower levels, you have a total monopoly of all mental activities, all religious activities and all social activities on this planet. That is what you are entitled to at this moment. Do you have them? Well, therefore, tech is out. Obvious. So, the only thing that puts tech out is if ethics is out. The only thing that can get tech in is ethics.” — L. Ron Hubbard, August 2, 1966


Avast, Ye Mateys

“Recruits are not the answer, not the total why to no production. Lots there already. Training and hats are needed. 2.5 hours a day study time. Part time Crew Cse Super and properly programmed crew students properly enrolled and properly mustered at suitable times will improve things faster than new recruits. Recruits are longer range.” — The Commodore, August 2, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Give it a blind eye if you want, and people will for various mostly personal reasons. I however will not. Reverse Scientology started in 1973, the main obstacles were dealt with, handled, reversed and pushed through during 1978-82. Confronting evil, for me, is seeing things for what they are, to deal with that which can be confirmed. The stories told by people (tale telling) is surely not part of that! You don’t give matters a blind eye because of personal preference. Start to realize that David Miscavige is only the face outward! My research does not suffer from ‘bank generalities and identifications.’ If it does, you can point out exactly where I went in the wrong.”



Past is Prologue

1997: Scientology’s Poole, England location was again the site of street protests. Martin Poulter, Dave Bird and Jens Tingleff provided reports on the action. “Six people staged a peaceful protest in Poole High Street about the aggressive and deceptive recruiting used by the Scientology/Dianetics organisation. Unlike previous such protests, the two sides mostly kept apart from each other and the protesters were able to make their point to the public without being harassed or abused by the Scientologists. The public response was very enthusiastic and supportive as always. The most unpleasant Scientologists from last time were not around, and those that were on the street mostly avoided us. A couple of Scientologists’ reactions are worth reporting. One bloke with short hair and sunglasses walked by in a Dianetics t-shirt, slowing to a stunned halt as he saw us. He eventually came up to us and asked ‘WHAT are you DOING???’ ‘We’re protesting against Scientology.’ ‘What have you got against freedom?’ As I tried to reply, he shouted ‘You people are CRIMINALS!’ and stormed off, obviously upset. The star protester of the day was our senior friend, who asked passers-by for signatures on a petition, collecting 139 signatures in less than three hours. Smart, polite and approachable, she had more success with the public than the rest of us could have. People were keen to sign the petition, and gave us enthusiastic encouragement.”


Random Howdy

“Massholio is 4 months of winter wasteland followed by a month of sumptuous spring followed by four months of hellish heat and humidity followed by two and half months of fabulous fall weather. There’s definitely room for improvement, Sherb.”


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] The Scientologists doing battle with the SEC over a $1 billion pile of cash
[TWO years ago] Escaping for the second time: Cathy Mullins on forsaking Scientology’s Florida swamp
[THREE years ago] VIDEO LEAK explains how to rope in the unsuspecting: ‘We don’t explain Scientology’
[FOUR years ago] Scientology finds a friendly physician to help out in its attack on an effective drug
[FIVE years ago] Colombian roast: Will Scientologists care about David Miscavige’s latest fraud?
[SIX years ago] Carol Nyburg is back, and she has a Scientology story that will rough you up
[SEVEN years ago] For Scientology’s most infamous dirty trickster, retirement has a happy ending
[EIGHT years ago] Garcias’ appeal rejected; now the couple faces the real possibility of Scientology arbitration
[NINE years ago] Video proof that Scientology makes you a stellar communicator
[TEN years ago] Underground Bunker Night at The TomKat Project — Get Your Tickets Now!
[ELEVEN years ago] Scientology’s Concentration Camp for Its Executives: The Prisoners, Past and Present
[TWELVE years ago] Scientology Goes Hillbilly; Also, Broke in Ireland and Big in DC


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 3,109 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,624 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,174 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,164 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,045 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,349 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,220 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,325 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,772 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,114 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,680 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,599 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,766 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,348 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,609 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,645 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,361 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,925 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,240 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,415 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,966 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,097 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,435 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,290 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,409 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,765 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,068 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,174 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,572 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,448 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 3,031 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,526 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,780 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,889 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on August 2, 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


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email