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‘Piece of Blue Sky’ author Jon Atack hits a big Scientology anniversary

[We’ve been so honored over the years to publish pieces by Let’s Sell These People a Piece of Blue Sky author Jon Atack here at the Bunker. And once again, here he is, and this time celebrating a milestone.]

I’m writing this on October 18, 2023: the fortieth anniversary of my resignation from the Church of Scientology. I resigned because I believed that the priceless technology of Scientology had to be rescued from the ‘Church.’ I had no intention of becoming the rescuer, but on the morning of October 15, 1983, I was awakened rudely to find a stranger looming at my bedside who saluted me and called me ‘sir’.

No one had ever saluted me before and I was drowsy, so I said, ‘yes’, when he asked if I would become the Chairman of the OT Committee UK and host a meeting at East Grinstead’s Crown Hotel in three days’ time.

I had no idea what an OT Committee was and – hard to believe – back then I was as shy as the man begging me to take his place. But I was a true believer and Scientology had to be saved, lest the whole world be lost, so I agreed to host the meeting.


The night before, I persuaded a videographer to leave the ‘Church’ (inverted commas because ‘church’ is strictly Christian; Scientology most certainly not). This was the first of hundreds of talk-outs for me. He taped the ‘event,’ but the next day, after handing me the tapes, rejoined the ‘Church.’ He’s probably still roaming the dungeons of Saint Hill Castle for this sin.

I have hours of the unpublished recording somewhere, but here is a pirated scrap from a poor copy. It is an important document because it shows the unbridled fervour we felt. It was the first ever public gathering of disaffected Scientologists in the UK.

Captain Bill Robertson – the star of the show – had already published his Sector Operations Bulletins (or S.O.B.s), claiming that Ron Hubbard (‘Elron Elray’) had departed this world and was sending telepathic messages from his ‘mothership’. Bill moved to East Grinstead soon afterwards and spent eight months trying to convince me of his bizarre ideas. I eventually realized that the signature on those S.O.B.s ‘Astar Parmejian’ was Bill’s avatar from 75 million years before, when he had been Elron Elray’s girlfriend. I spoke at length about this in ‘Captain Bill, the craziest Scientologist.’ There you can find out about Bill cross-dressing and singing to Elron Elray every night. But that is another story (and what a story!).

Bill said that 200,000 Marcabians had already landed and were operating through Transcendental Meditation and the Freemasons from their base in Switzerland. Scientology had been taken over by the FBI. In 1986, the Marcabians would crash the economy through gold trading and take over the world (erstwhile Scientologist, physicist and psi-investigator Hal Puthoff was still pushing the alien line with To The Stars, 30 years later). The only hope was the ‘Free Zone’: disposing of the hierarchical structure of the mother cult and acting as independent nodes. And it is still
out there (and I mean, ‘out there’).

At the Crown Hotel, Bill introduced the Special Zone Plan which would be achieved through his New Civilization Game. It looked like one of those board games that has 400 printed slips of paper and an encyclopaedia for a rule book, but these were early days for the New Civilization.

The event was interrupted by the appearance of David Gaiman – Neil Gaiman’s father – who had headed Hubbard’s Public Relations department for 15 years before being sent to dig ditches at Scientology’s then secret headquarters at Gilman Hot Springs. David told us to ‘go another mile with the Church’ and to ‘remember Amprinistics.’ I suspect that like me most of the sixty people assembled had never heard of this splinter group. It was one of more than 200 splinter groups I’d later research. It annoyed the hell out of Ron Hubbard back in 1965.

Captain Bill was an imposing figure – about 6’4” even without his heels – and lost patience with Gaiman. He leapt onto the stage, thrusting his arm forth and shouting, ‘I have been with Ron for more than many centuries!’ and taking back control of the room. My friend, who was sat in the front row, said she had a headache for a week after Bill’s yell.

We’d been met at the door by two grinning members of Scientology’s Guardian’s Office – Mike Garside and Robert Springhall – who were carefully noting down the names of every attendee. The next day, the first Suppressive Person declare was handed down to Unni Auker. Mine took a while longer. It was my first encounter with Scientology harassment. I was active for the next twelve years, but the harassment continued unabated for sixteen. The late Arnie Lerma was almost right when he said, ‘Before the Internet and safety in numbers, there was Jon Atack.’ I really don’t know why I kept going. Pig-headedness, most likely. If no one had harassed me, I’d have been gone long ago.

A dozen of us travelled to Spain a few weeks later to the most surreal gathering I’ve ever witnessed. Bill had decked out a conference room in a Marbella hotel with flags and pennants of his own design. We learned that both David Gaiman and John Chadder from the Guardian’s Office were holidaying in Marbella (see the ‘liability formula’), and Sea Org executive Peter Warren burst into our meeting, asking if anyone wanted to hear a message from Diana Hubbard. Of course, we did but Peter broke into a rant and it took four able-bodied men to carry him screaming from the room.

Then there was Captain Bill’s music – previously performed on the streets of Clearwater by the Sea Org Marching Band, so I later heard. It was like waking up in a Terry Gilliam movie. Bill’s theatrics shattered any faith I had in his Marcabian madness. His friend Mike Baker-Rogers told me that after his Suppressive Person declare in 1982, Bill had turned up on his doorstep asking for the smallest possible room in which to stay. Bill told me the room hadn’t been small enough and he’d spent the next days in a wardrobe trying to regain his sanity. I suspect that he failed. One day, he had been flying high as the Second Deputy Commodore of Scientology and the next he had been expelled by the young Turks of the Commodore’s Messenger Organization. A few days later, he was in a wardrobe, wondering where the last 20 years had gone.

A few weeks after my return from Spain, John Hansen arrived on my doorstep with a huge bundle of papers prepared by the legendary and elusive Michael Linn Shannon (I expressed my gratitude to him in Let’s Sell These People a Piece of Blue Sky, but have never found out who he really was). Here were documents showing that Hubbard’s boasts of being an explorer, a pupil of eastern gurus, a nuclear physicist and a ‘much-decorated’ war hero were all fanciful in the extreme. For me, it was the beginning of a long journey.

As my belief in Scientology eroded, I became the historian of Scientology and the biographer of Hubbard. I was fortunate enough over the years to help hundreds of people to renounce their allegiance and recover their money and their self-determinism from Hubbard’s spiritual vampirism. I had no idea that my original title – Chairman of the OT Committee UK – was the gift of the Second Deputy Commodore. As soon as I resigned from that position – having decided that the ‘technology’ was a scam – I was summoned to a Committee of Evidence by the OT Committee UK. My successor, Julian Bell, chided the Committee before they could even read the charges, and they apologised and asked if I’d keep on editing Reconnection.

I’m very happy to say that forty years later, I’m in good health and fine spirits, and although there were some very hard years, and I was derailed from my creative career, I’m still glad that I spoke out and very grateful for the thanks I’ve received for my work. Here’s to the next forty years!


— Jon Atack


Technology Cocktail

“Clearing has been improved by the advent of Tiger Drilling and Goals Prepchecking and by new data on finding goals and on listing. The greatest hold-up in clearing was lack of an adequate Prehav Level finding system. I have now developed this in HCO Bulletin 7 November, Issue III. This will be of enormous help both in finding Rock Slams to find goals and running out goals when found.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1962



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 [50] Bruce Hines [51] Spanky Taylor and Karen Pressley [51] Geoff and Robbie Levin [52] Sands Hall [53] Jonny Jacobsen [54] Sandy Holeman


Source Code

“The Eighth Dynamic is really infinity stood upright. And it simply means infinity. Now, you can come along and say, ‘Well, you also mean the Supreme Being?’ No, we don’t particularly mean the Supreme Being. How do we know that you aren’t, collectively, the Supreme Being. See? That’s probably much more closer to truth. There are gods around of various kinds. There are some wind gods over in India; there are various savage gods of one kind or another. But if you give them a good quizzing you find out that they’re just a thetan and they behave most remarkably like you would if you hadn’t thought that you ought to lay aside all the power you had, too.” — L. Ron Hubbard, October 19, 1954


Avast, Ye Mateys

“NOTES FROM HCI: In spite of Sea Watches, Drills and docking the following completed courses yesterday: Al Bornstein, Lookout Specialist; David Ziff, HDG; Dekki Le, SO SS; David Ziff, HSDC; Sharon West, SO SS; Liz Ausley, OOD Specialist. Very Well Done. It’s great to see thetans making things go right.” — The Commodore, October 19, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone


“Cabal bases on Mars surely exist. The secret Earth conspiracy is just a small part of the larger agenda to suppress the rest of the universe.”


Past is Prologue

1998: The St. Petersburg Times published an article this week on David Miscavige, the leader of Scientology. “When David Miscavige recounts his rise to power in the Church of Scientology — a journey that began when he quit high school at age 16 — it is mostly a story of war. War against renegade Scientologists. War against Scientology’s critics. War against its one-time arch enemy, the IRS. But Scientology’s 38-year-old leader insists he is a determined peace-maker as well. After years spent well outside the public’s radar screen, Miscavige says he plans to step forward now and take a central role in trying to end differences with those who still oppose Scientology, the self-improvement ‘technology’ devised by the late L. Ron Hubbard in the early 1950s.”


Random Howdy

“A day without Kirstie is like a day without donuts.”


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. Sentenced to 30 years to life 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. Next pretrial hearing October 30.
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud.

Civil litigation:
Leah Remini v. Scientology, alleging ‘Fair Game’ harassment and defamation: Complaint filed August 2, Scientology submitting anti-SLAPP response Oct 26.
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: Discovery phase.
Jane Doe 1 v. Scientology, David Miscavige, and Gavin Potter: Case unsealed and second amended complaint filed. Scientology moves for religious arbitration.
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 concepts were plentiful on 2nd day of testimony in Danny Masterson trial
[TWO years ago] Crazy fun on Scientology’s private cruise ship in the Caribbean, still tied to the dock
[THREE years ago] What Danny Masterson’s prosecutor revealed about the case in yesterday’s hearing
[FOUR years ago] Scientologist anti-vaxx group fundraises on the idea its big California loss was a win
[FIVE years ago] Scientology’s astounding pre-history in a new book you really need to read
[SIX years ago] Scientology’s Flag Building brain injury: In Clearwater, it’s déjà vu all over again
[SEVEN years ago] Chris Shelton: What Louis Theroux missed about the Scientology experience in his film
[EIGHT years ago] Two years after Scientology’s ‘Super Power’ debuted, it’s still a flop
[NINE years ago] Scientology is turning Larry Hagman’s house into a drunk tank for celebs
[TEN years ago] Next in the Garcia Fraud Lawsuit: Scientology Is Asked to Explain Its Arbitration System
[ELEVEN years ago] 35-Year Scientologist Steve Poore Says Church Leader David Miscavige is “Scared to His Core”


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 3,188 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,703 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,253 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,243 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,124 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,428 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,299 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,404 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,851 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,193 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,759 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,678 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,845 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,427 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,688 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,724 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,440 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 3,004 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,319 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,494 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 7,045 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,176 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,514 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,369 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,488 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,844 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,147 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,253 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,651 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,527 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 3,092 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,605 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,859 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,968 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on October 19, 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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