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Bruce Hines: Scientology made David Mayo out to be a villain, but I knew the real man

[David Mayo, 1940-2017]

Something like a dozen years ago I got an email from someone saying that David Mayo had posted on a message board, “I wish I could talk to Bruce Hines about dark matter.” David had started writing some things on one of the anti-Scientology sites, maybe the Ex-Scientologist Message Board or the Operation Clambake Message Board. I had not been aware of this and was rather surprised. And I had no idea that he had any inkling of who I am. Apparently, he had somehow learned something about my work at the time.

David Mayo is one of the more well-known (or infamous, depending on whom you ask) people in the rocky history of Scientology. Much has been written about him on the internet, including on the Underground Bunker. A lot has been said about him inside the world of that cult. Here, I lay out my personal experiences with him.

During my time in Scientology, I laid eyes on the man only once. This was in the early 1980s when he held the post of Senior Case Supervisor International. At that time I was an auditor in the Flag Service Organization, but still knew very little about him. He had left Flag (the Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida, Scientology’s “spiritual mecca”) prior to my arriving there to go “over the rainbow” (to the ultra secret location of top management near Hemet, California). In 1981, he came to Flag on a “Sea Org Mission” to oversee the setup of a new Hubbard Guidance Center.

One day he gave a briefing to all of the technical personnel about what was happening. When I saw him he seemed tired and haggard, likely due to stress and lack of sleep, typical of someone on mission. I was somewhat dismayed to watch him flick ashes from his long, brown cigarette (anyone remember the brand “More”?) onto the carpet of the room where we had all gathered. In those days nearly everyone in Scientology smoked, since Hubbard himself was a heavy smoker.

Over the next several years life became quite intense for Mr. Mayo. Most of what happened I was unaware of at the time. In short, he was ousted by David Miscavige, he was forced onto a draconian “rehabilitation” program, he left the Sea Organization, he started a “squirrel group,” and he spearheaded a major schism in Scientology. I don’t know the numbers, but a significant number of people left the official “church” then. In 1983 a writing was issued broadly in the Scientology world titled, “The Story of a Squirrel, David Mayo.” I remember it being in blue ink on blue paper (such things were color-coded). As I recall, Sea Org members were required to read that document. The man being written about must have surely been the devil incarnate.


Four years later I found myself being a new member of the Office of the Senior Case Supervisor International. As such, I was required to study a number of official writings as part of my training. Some of this information was in the form of “LRH Advices.” It could not appear that Mr. Hubbard was running Scientology, for some legal and security reasons. But he could offer advice. These documents were letters (called “dispatches”) sent from Hubbard to key people in top management. They were addressed to a particular person and usually had many info copies that went to other top executives. These missives were couched as advice, but were actually orders. It was a major deal if someone received one of these, and there was much activity aimed at getting a rapid reply to Hubbard demonstrating compliance to his directives.

The advices were all preserved. They were treated as unalterable policy. All members of the Office of the Senior Case Supervisor International had to study the ones related to technical matters (i.e. related to auditing or training) or to that office. Then they had to be “word cleared” and an oral examination (“starrate checkout”) had to be passed. One of these advices made a particular impression on me. It is a rather famous one. It was addressed to David Mayo when he held the Senior C/S Int post.

The tone of this letter was very friendly. As I recall it was dated April 1982. In it, Hubbard wrote some remarkable things. One of these was that Mayo should hold the fort on keeping the application of the technology standard when Hubbard was gone. That is, Hubbard was expecting that he would pass away in the not too distant future. What’s more, when Hubbard was not around, Mayo should be the one to develop new technology. Hubbard even wrote that this directive would probably come as a shock to Mayo. It had been gospel that only Hubbard could come up with new tech. Also, it was in this dispatch that Hubbard said that after he died he would be gone for 15 or 20 years and then be back. During this period Mayo was to be the top dog on the technology of Scientology. It was a definite passing of the torch. To top it off, Hubbard mentioned that it would be a good idea if Mayo became the head of a new unit, dealing with “the tech,” that would not be under the control Scientology management. This was all certainly at odds with the later treatment of David Mayo, whereby he was utterly vilified. Just a couple of years later he became the scapegoat for many supposed non-optimum situations. I think it is pretty clear that David Miscavige viewed Mayo as a significant rival or barrier to taking over the organization, and decided to get rid of him. It would have made things particularly difficult for Miscavige if Mayo was running his own autonomous unit that had control of all things technical.

When my OT VIII sister passed away at the age of 52 from cancer, the explanation espoused by the Scientologists that knew her was that she had received “Mayo NOTs.” NOTs, New Era Dianetics for Operating Thetans, is a type of auditing that came out in 1978. The original technical bulletins on how to audit NOTs were compiled by Mayo. They were mainly excerpts from transcriptions of Hubbard’s own spoken words. I can’t imagine that Hubbard himself had not seen and given official approval of those bulletins. Yet just a few years later many held the opinion that Mayo had “sabotaged NOTs.” The truth is that my sister died so young because she refused medical treatment for a type of cancer that is routinely successfully treated; she had bought the bogus ideas about illnesses and the medical profession that Hubbard put forth.

Anyway, after all the bad things I had heard and read about Mayo, when I saw about thirty years later that he had mentioned my name in a post on an anti-Scientology website, I was skeptical and reluctant to do anything about it. Maybe some of the bad stuff I’d heard about him was true. Plus, I wondered if the person doing the posting was actually an OSA (Office of Special Affairs) troll. I decided to read other things that he had posted. It seemed he really was David Mayo.

I reached out to him in a private message and that turned into an email conversation. He had been studying various scientific subjects, he said. He was interested in pursuing it further. He informed me that he was going to be coming to Denver, where I was living, and asked if I would like to get together. I agreed, though I was now even more leery that this was some kind of OSA operation.

It turned out that he had been living in New Zealand, his home country. He had found out that at the University of Colorado, where I was working, a senior citizen could audit classes for free. He had an interest in science and wanted to take courses to advance his knowledge. He was looking at moving to Denver, and was traveling to check out places to live, possibly even a house to buy.

We discussed his trip in emails. We agreed that I would meet him at a particular time in the restaurant of a hotel relatively close to the airport. We ended up having a pleasant meal there, talking for hours. He was accompanied by his lovely wife, Julie. She had also been a high executive in Scientology, earlier known as Julia Gillespie. But she went by Julie.

I found both of them to be friendly, soft-spoken, and articulate. I’d even say they were humble. We talked a bit about Scientology, but not a lot. He was interested in discussing other things and seemed to done with anything to do with that subject. One thing David did say was that he didn’t think that the OT levels were real. He told about some harrowing, life-threatening harrassment he’d experienced, especially in the Dominican Republic. But most of the discussion was about what it would be like to live in the Denver area and about the University of Colorado. He and Julie told me about their life in New Zealand, how beautiful that country is, and their photography, hiking, maintaining their house, and other pursuits. The next day they were going to look at some houses that were on the market and at some apartments, and then fly back home.

A month or two later I heard from them that they were coming back to Denver. They were evidently serious about finding a place to move to. They indeed arrived and I got to spend another pleasant evening with them. I was surprised to learn that when David was still Snr C/S Int, he had been planning to move me from the Flag Service Organization in Florida, where I had been posted, to work in his office. I had no idea he knew anything about me. But before that could happen he got busted by Miscavige.

I’m not sure what else they did on that trip. They returned to New Zealand and I didn’t hear from them for a while. Then in early 2018 I got an email from Julie. David had passed away a couple of months earlier. She sent me a link to a website that she had set up in his honor. They had decided to move further north in New Zealand where it was warmer, and not to Denver. They found a house that didn’t need so many repairs. She said that they had enjoyed our visits in Denver and invited me and my family to stay at her place should we ever be in New Zealand. I was very touched by her warmth and kindness.

The David Mayo I got to know was nothing like the person portrayed by the Scientology PR machine. I am appalled at the efforts undertaken by that “church” to ruin the life of a man who, in my estimation, meant well. He was certainly not a “darling of the psychs.” He was well-read, knowledgeable about many things, and had a variety of pastimes. He struck me as being kind and open, which to me was not just something put on for show or effect. I am very glad that I was able to get to know him and his wife, outside the false world of Scientology.

— Bruce Hines



Technology Cocktail

“The reason why Routine 2 errors are more deadly than purely auditing errors is that Routine 2 is handling the pc by batches of lifetimes. All the stress and gore- and agony of generations exist on the lists of any one package. An auditing error can be gross and get by unless it is sitting on a Routine 2 error. Then the tiniest auditing flub can produce a reaction like an earthquake.” — 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

“You want to know what is wrong with the fellow? Let’s say that when he is very young somebody decides to take his tonsils out….Later on he meets some doctor who says, ‘Well, the reason you have ulcers is because … ?’ Actually, it was because one of the doctors during the tonsillectomy — this fellow’s earlier colleague — had an elbow in the patient’s stomach. I think doctors knew this all the time, by the way. I am sure they had this all worked out. The doctor leans his elbow on this young would-be writer’s stomach, and he grinds this elbow down while he is holding the patient. Later on the fellow has to be operated on for ulcers. You can make more money this way and send your children to better colleges.” — L. Ron Hubbard, October 22, 1951


Avast, Ye Mateys

“Sea Org members are highly acceptable to one another. Where evidence seems to be to the contrary it is an urgency to uphold the standards of the group which after all has a very arduous and important job to do.” — The Commodore, October 22, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Ron’s invention of auditing: quite probably the single greatest advance in the history of mankind. And it works because life comes before, and is senior to, the physical universe; auditing confirms this. Life errs when thinking the physical universe has domain over it. Auditing undoes this fallacy.”



Past is Prologue

2001: John and Claire Swazey posted their Suppressive Person Declare this week. They have been Scientologists and contributors to the alt.religion.scientology newsgroup. “John and Claire have been associating with SPs for more than 2 years and have continued to do so despite clear Church policy. They have not been availing themselves of the true source data but have been getting false data from the SPs they have been associating with. As of May 2001 they went beyond associating with them and started assisting them in their attempts to attack the Church by spreading Black PR. They have publicly disavowed Scientology and Church management using a broad public medium and have violated the trademarks of the church and the laws of the land. Claire has broadcast entheta about Church management and Scientology, and associated with SPs using a broad public medium for more than 2 years. On the 29th of April 2001 she publicly disavowed the Church of Scientology and Church Management using a broad public medium, as well as giving enemy lines about Senior Management terminals. Claire has also been associating with a Church staff member feeding him entheta and false data about the Church resulting in his no longer wanting to work as a staff member in the Church. Claire and John are guilty of the following suppressive acts: PUBLIC DISAVOWAL OF SCIENTOLOGY OR SCIENTOLOGISTS IN GOOD STANDING WITH SCIENTOLOGY ORGANIZATIONS. ENGAGING IN MALICIOUS RUMOR MONGERING TO DESTROY THE AUTHORITY OR REPUT OF HIGHER OFFICERS OR THE LEADING NAMES OF SCIENTOLOGY OR TO ‘SAFEGUARD’ A POSITION. CALCULATED EFFORTS TO DISRUPT CHURCH SERVICES OR THE FLOW OF PUBLIC UP THE BRIDGE THROUGH THE CHURCHES. ACTS CALCULATED TO MISUSE, INVALIDATE OR ALTER-IS LEGALLY OR IN ANY OTHER WAY THE TRADEMARKS AND SERVICE MARKS OF DIANETICS AND SCIENTOLOGY. FAILURE TO HANDLE OR DISAVOW AND DISCONNECT FROM A PERSON DEMONSTRABLY GUILTY OF SUPPRESSIVE ACTS. IT IS A HIGH CRIME TO PUBLICLY DEPART SCIENTOLOGY. Any certificates or awards which may have been given to Claire and John Swazey are hereby canceled. Any membership agreements they may have signed are also hereby canceled and they have no right to use the Dianetics and Scientology marks in any manner whatsoever. Should they come to their senses and recant they are to do the steps A to E. Their only terminal is the International Justice Chief via the Continental Justice Chief. WUS JUSTICE CHIEF, APPROVED BY INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE CHIEF”


Random Howdy

“So when your certificates get canceled, whose job is it to track down all those engrams and body thetans and tell them they need to re-implant and re-attach themselves?”


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] PODCAST: Looking back at the first week of testimony in the Danny Masterson trial
[TWO years ago] Could a Scientologist be the next governor of Nevada?
[THREE years ago] Could Marsy’s Law foil Scientology’s attempt to force rape victims into ‘arbitration’?
[FIVE years ago] A call to arms for Scientology voters: ‘Religious freedom’ vs. the evil psychs!
[SIX years ago] Wally Hanks, Scientology ranch terror recently portrayed on ‘Leah Remini,’ dies at 70
[SEVEN years ago] Who was responsible when Scientology finally paid Lawrence Wollersheim a lot of thin dimes?
[EIGHT years ago] A Scientology childhood: What it’s like to grow up under the Hubbard spell
[NINE years ago] om Cruise and his Freedom Medal of Valor: Where’s the tabloid press?
[TEN years ago] Scientology Has No City Permit for IAS Gala or Other Events: Is It Keeping The Party Private?
[ELEVEN years ago] Scientology’s Sea Org Application: What Are Your Crimes?


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 3,190 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,705 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,255 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,245 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,126 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,430 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,301 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,406 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,853 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,195 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,761 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,680 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,847 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,429 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,690 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,726 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,442 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 3,006 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,321 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,496 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 7,047 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,178 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,516 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,371 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,490 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,846 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,149 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,255 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,653 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,529 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 3,094 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,607 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,861 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,970 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on October 22, 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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