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One of the shocks of leaving Scientology: Immortality is overrated

“Yes ma’am, your application looks good and we are just about ready to approve it,” the man said over the phone. “We are just trying to understand why, at your age of 32, we are not seeing any type of credit history on your name and social security number. We just need to fill in the blanks, you understand.”

I knew I had to build my credit. I knew it was important, really important, in the many years to come. I was trying to get my first credit card, which was a secured one. I thought I could just give them $1,000 and build my credit with that as my limit. I didn’t have any idea I would have to explain anything.

I tried a few answers, but he kept coming back to me saying the underwriters (Who are those people? I imagined them as people in strange suits and funny looking glasses sitting in dark tunnels slouched over paperwork, sneering) needed a better explanation.

Ugh. I guess I would just have to say it. At least it was over the phone, so he could not see my very red cheeks, flushed with embarrassment. “I was raised in a cult and I just escaped a few months ago.”


Long pause.

I had thought they would judge me. Maybe Scientology was right about the way people are out here. Nobody to help, you are alone and helpless. I was sure he was going to tell me he could not help me and then hang up.

Finally he said, “Oh, we can just write that you dealt in cash only.” Bang. Credit card approved. Phew.

Leaving Scientology after so long leaves incredible marks on its ex-members. The task of rebuilding can be terrifying in itself. Some, actually most, who leave Scientology, leave alone and have to work these things out on their own. It’s awkward and uncomfortable.

I remember having to write my first resume and trying to convert my Sea Org posts into job descriptions. Of course the Sea Org teaches an incredibly high work ethic (we didn’t think anything of working around the clock), but how do you explain what a “Case Supervisor” is? I was some kind of bossy manager.

I did get one hint, which helped, that I only had to put on a resume the last three positions that I had held. So if I could keep a job for a medium-long period and then quit, three times, the Scientology crap could be off my resume entirely. Don’t quit too soon, though, or you look flighty.

Oh, and about quitting jobs. I remember so clearly when I found my second job after leaving Scientology. My first one was making sandwiches at a shop for $6.25 an hour (I could not believe it when I made $11,000 in my first year. I felt so rich!). The second job interview they had showed me a P&L and wanted to see if I could understand it. Easy. So I was hired. But then I had to give notice.

Quit a job?

After having left the Sea Org, the idea of quitting a job has a meaning at an entirely new level. Leaving a job is a failure. It means you could not do it. You failed. You are a degraded being.

I dreaded having to tell my boss. I knew I should give two weeks notice, and that was my plan. But in a sense, I was prepared for interrogations and a boss who would insist, even demand, that I stay. My whole body was tense and I was prepared for a verbal fight. I knew I would need to hold my ground and be prepared with answers to any and all objections. I knew I had to keep my integrity and keep my path. No matter what he said or did, I would be polite, but my plan was to move on, either way. I had braced myself for a Sea Org style “I’m leaving” treatment.

When I did sit down with my boss, fully prepared with whatever he may throw at me to try to get me to stay, I gave him my notice….. he was sad about it, but he told me I had done such a great job and he wanted to give me an extra bonus and I was welcome to come back any time if I changed my mind.

I almost passed out. What the hell?

Over the years, I have moved on from several jobs, but every time this was the response I got. A bonus, a thank you, and a note that I could come back anytime. Hugs. Goodbye parties, tears.

Damn. I want to be human. I don’t want to be immortal. Those immortals in Scientology can be real jerks!


— Sunny Pereira


Technology Cocktail

“If the auditor is a woman then run ‘What have you done to a woman?’ ‘What have you withheld from a woman?’ If the sex of the auditor is male then run ‘What have you done to a man?’ ‘What have you withheld from a man?’ All the above must be clean as a whistle before one tackles a case. So making sure of the above, no matter how many hours it’s devouring, will give wins all the way.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1960



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

“I thought of a difference between a Scientologist and the world at large on this particular planet. The people think that what we’re doing is unreal, but we know the substance of their unreality, which of course makes us top dog every time. We know the substance of their unreality. In other words, we know where their itsa line is out. See, they know what — they’re not identifying, see? Their itsas are just for the birds, you know? ‘Man is an animal. He is a biochemical protoplasm which goes no place. At death there is a cessation of cellular commotion.’ That’s a good itsa, isn’t it? That just immediately makes nothing out of everybody.” — L. Ron Hubbard, August 20, 1963


Avast, Ye Mateys

“Musical Chairs in life is the mechanism below ARC Brks in Grade III! To unstabilize gives ARC Brks! Whole staff can be put into a sad effect! This is the mechanism govts use. It’s the basic tool of the socialist. If he can just unstabilize everyone he can kill them with degrade. It’s a basic tool of the insane to maintain their own stability by unstabilizing everyone else. There’s more to it, but it’s a major discovery that affects even the ARC Brk rud and affects the no case gain case. So that’s where I’ve been working lately in research and wow is it paying off!!! It began when I assumed that the musical chairs he get in orgs was a social aberration not an admin error. From there it’s been discovery all the way.” — The Commodore, August 20, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone


“Every brand of Scientology has the same problem of impermanent gains because they do not recognize the effect that continually being surrounded by spirits with engrams will produce. You can get rid of many of your own engrams with Scientology or Dianetic processing, but you will never clear the thousands of beings who surround you every day. Getting rid of troublesome spirits is like dusting your house or washing your car. As soon as you finish cleaning things up, there is another group of spirits landing on you.”


Past is Prologue

2001: The St. Petersburg Times reported that Scientology has completed a new housing complex in Clearwater, Florida. “The Church of Scientology boasts more hotel rooms and religious counseling spaces in Clearwater than ever before with the completion this summer of $9-million of construction downtown. The church now has 565 hotel rooms in and near downtown Clearwater. In a typical week, about 1,300 visiting Scientologists from around the world lodge there while receiving spiritual counseling and training. The newest expansions at the Sandcastle retreat and the Osceola Inn are part of a construction boom that marks Scientology’s fastest period of growth in Clearwater since it arrived in 1975. Construction continues on the massive $50-million Flag Building downtown slated to open in March 2003. At the Sandcastle a three-story, 34,000-square-foot addition was recently finished. It has 84 rooms that are 8 by 10 feet, and are finished in cherry wood and brushed brass. The rooms are used for spiritual counseling known as auditing. The ‘Osceola at the Sandcastle’ opened this summer with 76 rooms, including two stylish penthouses on the sixth floor with spectacular views of the bay that go for $425 a night. The penthouses are the best church accommodations in the city. The Osceola is already fully booked with a months-long waiting list, officials said. It has 14 suites, smaller versions of the penthouses; a fully equipped fitness center with saunas in the locker rooms and a personal trainer; and a tropical-themed cafe that serves smoothies, sandwiches and dessert. Suites are $120 to $140 nightly. Regular rooms rates are between $45 and $70.”


Random Howdy

“You come on here with a bunch of fantastical yarns that sound like one big cliched Scientology horror story, offering no proof for any of it, and you expect something other than derision?”


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:
Leah Remini v. Scientology, alleging ‘Fair Game’ harassment and defamation: Complaint filed August 2, hearing on proof of service on Oct 3.
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 Nov 6.
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] PODCAST: Marc Headley answers the question, would a Scientologist lie about Xenu?
[TWO years ago] Judge Charlaine Olmedo on point: What was said in court about Danny Masterson’s subpoenas
[THREE years ago] Even Alaska — yes, Alaska — gave Scientology COVID-relief funds, for Xenu’s sake
[FOUR years ago] Scientology finally solves its recruiting woes with professional ham hock Grant Cardone
[FIVE years ago] While the Scientology scandal swirls in Colombia, a key figure relaxes in Florida
[SIX years ago] How badly does Scientology need new staff? Miscavige is bringing back the ‘Universe Corps’
[SEVEN years ago] Atack: Why those who try to save Scientology from itself are doomed to failure
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology superstar: What it’s like to be big in Taiwan
[NINE years ago] Narconon’s cancer spreads: New lawsuits and a court order for Scientology’s rehab network
[TEN years ago] Scientology Makes the Grade: Touching Walls to Total Freedom
[ELEVEN years ago] Scientology’s Grip on the Mind: An Ex-Sea Org Member Explains It For Us
[TWELVE years ago] Scientology Deluge: Commenters of the Week!


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 3,127 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,642 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,192 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,182 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,063 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,367 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,238 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,343 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,790 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,132 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,698 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,617 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,784 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,366 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,627 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,663 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,379 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,943 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,258 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,433 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,984 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,115 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,453 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,308 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,427 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,783 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,086 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,192 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,590 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,466 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 3,544 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,798 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,907 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on August 20, 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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