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How Scientology makes forced disconnection even worse than the separation

[Sunny and her mother]

“She knows what she has to do.”

It was a matter-of-fact statement to my husband from my mother. I was pregnant with our second child and we wanted to let my Sea Org mother know about it. She had never met my children or my husband. We had thought he could call her up and let her know she was welcome to see our children and us. Of course she would not, because I, her daughter, was labelled a “Suppressive Person” by Scientology, over a decade earlier.

She was making it very clear to my never-in-Scientology husband, that on no uncertain terms, if I wanted to see or hear from her, I knew what I had to do.

You see, Scientology has what they call the “A to E steps.” They have been talked about in many places and forums that discuss Scientology. In a nutshell, what I had to do to be able to speak to and have a relationship with my own mother was to pay back Scientology for my “freeloading,” turn in all of my SP friends, and grovel and beg for Scientology to accept me back.

It got me thinking recently, though. Why is it that everyone who has left Scientology has the opportunity to do this and get back in touch with their family, but really no one ever does it?


In my 32 years in Scientology and the Sea Org, I only remember one person who had been SP declared and actually went through the steps and got back in good standing. That person actually ended up joining the Sea Org and became a laundry person for the Manor Hotel (a/k/a the Hollywood Celebrity Centre). Yes, a billion years washing linens for hotel guests. And not only that, they would never be allowed onto the OT Levels and would always be treated as if they “owed” more than anyone else.

I could imagine coming back and then having endless demands for financial donations. Nothing could ever be enough for them. And Scientology family members punish those family members not actively on the “Bridge to Total Freedom.” Scientologists tend to “mini-shun” those not active on the Bridge. You are punished with less time and attention from your Scientology family members. Getting back into the good graces with Scientology requires not one hundred percent, but more a thousand percent of your time, money, and sacrifice.

I can only speak for myself about why I would never do the steps. I would not even do them to be able to be in touch with my family that is still in. In talking with a few others in the same boat, we have noticed a sad pattern with those family members still in. Even when we were in touch with them, from prior to being SP declared, our relationships with Scientology (and especially Sea Org) members, was incredibly strained.

Visits were often brief. Conversations were boring, about good weather and good roads. There is a common ground understanding missing between family members that are in Scientology and those that are not. It is sad to see the cloistered view of these people, and to watch the befuddled faces of those who cannot comprehend it.

I remember one time my grandmother, who sadly has since passed, asked me about a call she had with my mother. My mother only called her for a few minutes on Sunday mornings. This was the only time my mom was free to talk. They chatted about weather and things for a minute or two, then my mom said “I have to go, the shower is open.”

Clearly she expected my grandmother to understand this comment, but she did not. I did. Shower time in the Sea Org is waiting in a large line for communal style showers. You miss your turn, you go to the end. You may end up late to post and all kinds of other trouble. She had to go. I understood the urgency, but my grandmother could not.

So for me, I don’t see any point in ever clearing my name with Scientology in order to have a “relationship” with my mother. In my case, and in many others I have heard from, parents and other family members are rarely a nurturing and loving relationship. I felt more like my family was just other Sea Org members that I had known longer.

So why would I ever grovel back to Scientology? Nah. Unthinkable.

There is plenty of good and love in the life I have now. We are building new and nurturing relationships from our generation onward.

Right before Thanksgiving I did have a wonderful gift come to me. Some thought this gift was incredibly cold-hearted. But I knew otherwise.

I had found out from another family member that my mom thought I still had some kind of beef with her. She thought there was something still between us needing to be resolved. Of course she will not come to me. But since I knew her email address, I thought I might as well send her a message.

This is what I sent her:

“Hi mom, I just wanted to tell you I forgive what happened when [redacted] and I were kids. I know a lot of what happened was not in your control. I am doing very well and have a good life. The life I wanted, I have. I wish all the best to you.”

Her response:


Yes, it seems incredibly cold. But you know what? She received my message. That’s all that mattered to me. I have said what I wanted to say and made my peace with her. And she has heard it. The rest is really none of my business, and honestly, completely out of my hands.

And so this year I went into Thanksgiving with a big heart and love for my family. I held them closer than ever and told them that they are loved. And we move forward.

— Sunny Pereira


Technology Cocktail

“Clay Table Healing is a study in repetition and simplicity for an auditor. It is easy. It is very successful. But it is very simple auditing. However that simplicity has to be done right. Therefore it is a very precise series of actions. An auditor who can’t handle the auditing comm cycle shouldn’t ever be let near Clay Table Healing as the pc will be made ill by constant ARC Breaks.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1964



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

“A god of this universe, an anthropomorphic god — and I hope that you understand me very clearly when I use this word ‘god’ loosely and even blasphemously, for the good reason that this thing g-o-d is something which man has set up in his image. And it is merely an ambition on the part of a thetan, it’s an effort, a co-effort on the part of thetans to have a playing field and so on. And there is, actually, beings above the beingness of this universe. There are beings, but they are not this anthropomorphic thing who is the jealous god, who has hate and vengeance and so forth, that happens to be above that level. And the jealous god, the most jealous god there would be, would be a god who would insist at all times that he must not be duplicated, even to the point of not using his name in vain. He mustn’t be duplicated. No graven images. His space, it’s all his space and so forth. And we go on this way. Interesting, isn’t it?” — L. Ron Hubbard, December 14, 1953


Avast, Ye Mateys


“SMERSH: Good news. Adelaide trouble had a reprieve when they did not pass a ban bill at once but delayed it until Feb due to the filibuster tactics of our opposition and the ferocity of the defense. The ‘Parliament’ there was considering a bill to ban Scn, backed of course by the Health Minister who is a SMERSH appointee.” — The Commodore, December 14, 1968


Overheard in the FreeZone

“There is a big difference between the Hanas of the world and the new public who really don’t know the subject. Hana, and some others, who present themselves as long term Scientologists, worked with LRH, etc, who then bash the subject — I have no respect for them whatsoever or desire to help them as they are doing real damage to the uninformed. (After all, they must know, right?) And damage to me as the bad PR muddies up the general public image. No, they have placed themselves beyond receiving any help and their only course is to get their own ethics in and figure out what they could do to make up the damage.”


Past is Prologue

1998: ABC News program 20/20 aired a show on Scientology this week. From the ABC web site: “The Church of Scientology, which claims a membership of 8 million worldwide, inspires a passion in its members as strong as any other faith. Yet a number of critics call the church’s practices extreme and, in some cases, dangerous. Two years ago, the controversy turned into a criminal investigation after the sudden death of Scientologist Lisa McPherson at the age of 34. McPherson’s family claims Scientologists held her captive – without food and water – and watched her die of dehydration. Exclusive video of a Scientologist ‘auditing’ session – the practice
where church members relive painful events, sometimes from previous lives hundreds or even thousands of years ago Rare interviews with celebrity church members John Travolta and Kirstie Alley Interviews with five former church members who claim they were held captive by Scientologists in what they call prison camps An interview with Frank Oliver, a former member of Scientology’s internal security force, who says he personally took part in campaigns to harass, intimidate and threaten those regarded as enemies of the church. Frank Oliver, former Scientologist internal security official: ‘They can send private investigators out to your home or to your place of work, talk
to your neighbors – they will illicitly try and obtain copies of your phone bills or credit rating – they will try and create problems for you at your place of employment. They will try and sue you. They’ll do everything they can try and do to stop you or to silence you.’ Stacy Young, former church member: “At 4 in the morning one night – Vaughn and I were asleep, and there was a knock on the door, and two security guards were there, and they took me away into the prison camp. Vaughn Young, former church member: ‘You go through interrogations, hour after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month. Breaking you down. Breaking you down, breaking you down.'”


Random Howdy


“Most animals have more of an affinity for their offspring than the average Scientologist.”


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 January 29, 2024.
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud.

Civil litigation:
Leah Remini v. Scientology, alleging ‘Fair Game’ harassment and defamation: Complaint filed August 2, motion to strike/anti-SLAPP motions by Scientology to be heard January 9, 2024.
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] Photo appears to confirm small Scientology service for Kirstie Alley at Flag Land Base
[TWO years ago] Clearwater’s new city manager: ‘We must develop a partnership with the Church of Scientology’
[THREE years ago] The Top 25 People Enabling Scientology, No. 7: The litigators
[FOUR years ago] Glam for Xenu: When Scientology celebrities ruled the world
[FIVE years ago] Finally, L. Ron Hubbard’s first ‘Clear’ — Sonya Bianchi — found again after 68 years
[SIX years ago] He was Scientology’s most famous spy, then he turned witness and vanished. Now, here he is.
[SEVEN years ago] Nora Crest’s powerful new video: Why you can’t be gay in Scientology
[EIGHT years ago] Who are those WISE guys? A tipster helps us get some names of Scientology operatives
[NINE years ago] Another Scientology ambush, this time of Marty Rathbun with Louis Theroux present
[TEN years ago] Jon Atack: What we have here — in Scientology — is a failure to communicate
[ELEVEN years ago] DOX: Florida Officials Fight Attempt to Hide Drug Rehab’s Scientology Connections


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 3,243 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,758 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,308 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,298 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,179 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,483 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,354 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,459 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,906 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,248 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,814 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,733 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,901 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,482 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,743 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,779 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,495 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 3,059 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,374 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,549 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 7,100 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,231 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,569 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,424 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,543 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,899 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,202 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,308 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,706 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,582 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 3,147 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,660 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,914 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 15,023 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on December 14, 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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