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It was a conversation about Scientology she’d wanted to have forever. And then it happened.

[Tammy Synovec]

It was an encounter she had hoped might happen some day, and she had even played it out in her mind, over and over.

And then, suddenly, it happened.

A few weeks ago, Tammy Synovec took the middle seat on the airplane so her son could get the window. Already in the aisle seat next to her sat an older man she didn’t know.

He seemed friendly, and so she asked him about his reason for flying.

They were leaving Los Angeles for a destination we’re going to hold back in order to protect the identity of the man.


That’s because the reason he’d been visiting Los Angeles was that he’s a Scientologist, and had been in town for an event.

Now he was flying back home. When he said that he was a Scientologist, Tammy responded by saying, “Oh shit.”

He gave a knowing look, like he realized how unpopular Scientology is, but then Tammy leveled with him to explain her response. She said, with a smile, “I’m an ex-Scientologist.”

She asked him if the event he’d come out for was the New Year’s taping at the Shrine Auditorium on December 16.

“He was happy that I knew about that, and said yes,” she tells us.

They had a three-hour flight ahead of them. Tammy took a deep breath. This was something she’d been anticipating for a long time.

“We talked for the entire trip,” she says. And she did her best to take advantage of a rare opportunity.

He said he was excited about the new “Golden Age of Admin” that Scientology leader David Miscavige touted at the New Year’s event.

“I didn’t burst his bubble. I just told him it will be exciting to see public packing the orgs once standard admin goes in,” Tammy says. “I’m not sure if he picked up on my sarcasm.”

The man said another thing he learned from the speech was that an Ideal Org was opening in Chicago. Tammy pointed out that Miscavige had actually promised the opening a year ago, but he didn’t seem fazed by her comment.

At his org he was a staff executive, so she told him about her own experience on staff.

“I told him about how I was always tired because staff hours were brutal. And I had to keep it up while I was pregnant, that I worked until the day I went to the hospital,” she says.

That seemed to register with him. “You mean you were in labor and didn’t go to the hospital until your hat was turned over?” he asked, using the Scientology word “hat” for a job or position.

“I told him I had to find three replacements to cover for me the three days I was off to have my baby.”


But whenever she brought up negative things about her own experiences, the man tended to respond with positive statements about his own experiences.

“I’ve had great wins with Scientology. I’m going to keep on doing it,” he said.

“I told him I had wins too, I wasn’t denying that,” Tammy says she responded. “But the bad far outweighed the good, and that’s why I told my comm ev that I was done with Scientology.” (A “comm ev,” short for “committee of evidence,” is something like a Scientology court martial.)

She says she did her best not to push too hard, but she managed to bring up a lot of things she hoped he’d think about long after their conversation.

“I didn’t just plant seeds, I planted trees,” she says.

“The Debbie Cook email about how Miscavige has usurped the church, for example. He thought she had been kicked out and declared. I told him that wasn’t true, and her court testimony is online,” she says. “I talked about abuses at the Mace-Kingsley Ranch, and how all of those kids are out and some of them are speaking publicly now. I brought up the Exec Strata, that they’re all gone and haven’t been seen at events in years. It was only Miscavige on stage now.”

She brought up disconnection, and that her own daughter, a public in Clearwater, hasn’t talked to anyone in the family in seven years, and that her daughter had to get permission before she could talk to her father, Tammy’s husband Derrick, before he died of cancer in 2021.

“I told him I was impressed that he would even talk with me after I told him about that. But he said, ‘Do you know if you’ve been declared?’ I told him my comm ev had not declared me, but by now I figured I must be,” she says.

She explained that she’d been quoted at this website, and she figured that was a guarantee that she’d be declared.

“I told him the church doesn’t let people know if they are declared these days. You’re never shown a declare, but you know it when everyone you’ve ever known in Scientology disconnects from you at once.”

He said that while he was in Los Angeles, he had done Scientology’s “False Purpose Rundown” and that he “loved it.”

“I told him I hated it, but I was glad he liked it,” she says. “He told me the FPRD had ‘handled’ his bad back, and I ‘acknowledged’ his win. There were several times I would just say, ‘I get it, I used to think the same way when I was in,’ and left it at that.”

But even as she smiled at his “wins,” she was doing her best to feed him as much information as she could.

“My angle was to tell him the difference between what I was seeing after leaving Scientology from what my observations were when I was in. I told him the OT levels are online. I told him to keep away from Grant Cardone. I told him about ‘The Truth Rundown’ in the Tampa Bay Times. I asked him if he knew about Shelly Miscavige missing, but he didn’t seem to have a clue about that. I told him that the ‘expansion’ wasn’t really happening, that the PR was terrible and the Internet was the worst thing for Scientology. I made sure he heard that L. Ron Hubbard had been a bigamist, that all of his family was out now except for his daughter Diana, that Miscavige’s family had left and his dad had been outspoken before he died,” Tammy says.


“At one point he mentioned that he had heard about ‘that actress’ being on television talking about Scientology, but he said he hadn’t seen any of her shows.”

She kept planting seeds.

“I told him that I’d learned more about the history of Scientology since I had left than I ever knew when I was in. I told him about all of the original CMO Messengers who were out. I told him about Heber Jentzsch. I told him that Heber’s son had died and they not only didn’t tell his mother, they would not allow her to be at the funeral service at the Celebrity Centre. I told him about the Mission Massacre. I told him that missions were closing all around the world, that very few were left,” she says.

He pointed out that Miscavige was opening “Ideal” missions now.

“I told him I had heard about that, but I reminded him that there’s Scientology policy about orgs having a certain number of missions in their field. Closing all of those missions was off-policy and not really justified by opening a few Ideal Missions. The truth was, I told him, Scientology was shrinking everywhere, and it wasn’t just my own local org, which is what I used to think.”

And while she did her best to bring up things that might make him think about the health of his own home org, she says she avoided allegations of physical abuse of staff, figuring that he wouldn’t have seen any of that, and it would have less impact than the other things she was telling him.

They covered many other subjects as well, but eventually Tammy says she apologized to him, saying that she figured she was going to cost him a lot of money in an ethics program.

Scientologists know that if they encounter someone like Tammy and hear the kinds of things she was saying, they will be hauled into an ethics session, put on the E-meter, and made to confess what they’d heard, and at steep prices.

But he told her he wasn’t worried about that, that they were just talking. He seemed unworried about being hauled in for an interrogation.

At one point, she asked him if knew who Dan Sherman was, and he said yes. He had heard that Dan had died earlier in the year.

“I asked him if he knew that Dan wrote speeches for Miscavige, and he said yes. And I was surprised about that, because that was something I never knew when I was in. I then asked him if the speech on Saturday had still sounded Shermanesque.”

The man said that in fact, he was surprised how much the speech had sounded like Dan Sherman.

“I told him I wondered who was writing Miscavige’s speeches now, and he said he was wondering the same thing.”

As a result of Miscavige’s speech, the man said that trained staff were “firing” back to the orgs, and it would “boom” them.


“He almost sounded like he was trying to convince himself more than me. I think he sees the shrinking,” Tammy says.

“At the beginning, I had told him my name. At the end of the trip, he asked for my full name. I told him and said he’d need it for his report. He shrugged it off like he wasn’t going to write it up,” Tammy says with a laugh.

“As an ex-Scientologist, the conversation I had with him was one I’ve played over and over in my mind. To actually have that opportunity is something few exes will ever have. Of course I thought about all the things I wish I had said, but what I did say will rattle around in his mind,” she says.

She’s just glad she had the opportunity that she did. And she said she had a question for the readers of the Underground Bunker: What would you have said in her place?


Technology Cocktail

“The finest organizations in history have been tough, dedicated organizations. Not one namby-pamby bunch of panty-waist dilettantes have ever made anything. It’s a tough universe. The social veneer makes it seem mild. But only the tigers survive—and even they have a hard time. We’ll survive because we are tough and are dedicated. When we do instruct somebody properly he becomes more and more tiger.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1965



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

“There’s lots been doing lately and there’s lots of road ahead. If there’s ever been a point where we jumped off this is it. You know, we jumped off in 1950 — something on the order of the Christians going into the Roman arena. And those psychiatrists were very hungry lions; they were very hungry, very hungry — very proud, very proud lions, beating their paws against their somewhat mangy chests, saying, ‘We are the bosses of this here arena.’ That’s what they thought. And today I hope that you will get information which will permit, in another year, a Scientologist to say, ‘Scientology processes more psychiatrists in any given year than any other psychotherapy.’ That’d be fun, wouldn’t it? Nice ad in The Saturday Evening Post.” — L. Ron Hubbard, January 1, 1960


Avast, Ye Mateys


“OLD 1970: So Good-bye 1970. It was a tough year on the world. But it was a great year for development. Both tech and Admin research results were the greatest since 1950. All the years contributed but the payoff was 1970. So Happy 1971, AD21. Let’s make the new tools take the world.” — The Commodore, January 1, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“The science of creating advanced spirit beings is not new. Scientology is simply a watered-down version of original Egyptian technology to create those advanced spirit beings. You see the similarity in symbolism because their “spiritual advancement sciences” (science in this case being a religion) emanate from the same source, the ruler(s) of this Matrix. They (rulers) have had this science for millions of years, compared to this Matrix lifetime which is between 12 and 13 thousand years. This ‘knowledge’ can be altered, improved upon or made less effective. The abilities gained are given and in the same way can be taken away by the same Watchers that rule. The original purpose of Scientology which was not ‘to clear the planet’ failed. So they pulled the plug. What we have now is a chaotic mishmash of Scientology offshoots going in every direction but only after physical body death will most Scientologists see where their own brand of Scientology has taken them.”


Past is Prologue

1996: An article from the Clearwater Times was posted this week, reporting a request for Scientology members to assist in building the Super Power building in downtown Clearwater. “In a survey sent out this week, the church seeks ‘professional Scientologists’ to create sculptures, carry out engineering work, and even supervise aspects of the project, expected to begin in the spring. ‘We are also looking for professionals who know how to put a building together and to manage the personnel who will construct the building,’ the pamphlet says. ‘In fact, we are looking for anybody who has been involved or is involved in the design, planning, and construction of buildings.’ The new facility will be designed for a series of courses dubbed ‘Super Power’ by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. Clearwater, the international spiritual headquarters for the church, would be the only place in the world where the courses would be offered. They are not available now. According to Scientology literature, Super Power courses enable a participant to ‘predict and build the future’ and think better. The courses also ‘restore the power of choice.’ The Super Power project is planned for the site across S Fort Harrison Avenue from the Fort Harrison Hotel, Scientology’s signature building in Clearwater. At 170,000 square feet, it would be the largest commercial office building downtown. ‘What exchange do you consider that you would need?’ and provides several choices, including working for the ‘sheer pleasure of helping to get this building built,’ ‘training awards,’ ‘room and board’ or a weekly wage. The survey asks and answers a series of questions, such as ‘Who Will Benefit From This? The answer: Every man, woman and child on planet Earth because it will put planetary clearing right within our grasp.'”


Random Howdy

“In the 1980s Scientology had 100,000+ members. Today, it has 20,000 or less, plus the more competent members have left. In the 70s & 80s there was Operation Snow White, Operations Daniel and Dynamite (Paulette Cooper) etc. Today, It’s Squirrel Busters, Freedumb Magazine and smear sites no one sees. We have THEM running scared. OSA is a joke.”



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] The Scientology oversharer explains the thinking behind donating so much
[TWO years ago] Ten years later: Debbie Cook’s indictment of Scientology under David Miscavige, annotated
[THREE years ago] VIDEO: Ex-JW activist Lloyd Evans chased from home by Croatian earthquake
[FOUR years ago] Mike Rinder: What the Church of Scientology has coming in 2020
[FIVE years ago] Tonight, Leah Remini exposes the crazy grift of Scientology’s ‘Ideal Orgs’
[SIX years ago] Scientology watchers, start making your plans for HowdyCon 2018 in the Windy City!
[SEVEN years ago] Five years later: Debbie Cook’s indictment of Scientology under David Miscavige, annotated
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology watchers, we’re kicking off the new year by revealing the poster for HowdyCon 2016
[NINE years ago] A Scientology untold history special report: ‘My lunch with Quentin Hubbard’
[TEN years ago] BUNKER SPECIAL: David Touretzky on L. Ron Hubbard, Mark Twain, and Mary Baker Eddy
[ELEVEN years ago] Another Indie Goes All the Way: Simi Valley Ditches Scientology For Good


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 3,261 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,776 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,326 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,316 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,197 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,501 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,372 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,924 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,266 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,832 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,751 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,919 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,500 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,761 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,797 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,513 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 3,077 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,392 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,567 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 7,118 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,249 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,587 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,442 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,561 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,917 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,220 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,326 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,724 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,600 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 3,165 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,678 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,932 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 15,041 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on January 1, 2024 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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