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Andreas Heldal-Lund, 1964-2024: Our original story about Scientology’s ‘Lucifer’

[Andreas Heldal-Lund and Tory Christman, in Toronto in 2015]

In August 2022, we talked to Andreas Heldal-Lund about his diagnosis of terminal brain cancer, and we expressed how much admiration we had for this man of conviction. As ever, he was facing things with humility and wonder, and our esteem for him grew even greater.

We got to know Andreas in 2001 thanks to Tory Christman, whose story was intertwined with Andreas in such a fascinating way.

Yesterday, Tory let us know that Andreas had died. He was 59.

We thought the best way to pay tribute to this man who created the website Operation Clambake, which did so much to expose the controversies of the Church of Scientology, is to republish our story from 2001 which appeared in a newspaper that no longer exists, New Times Los Angeles.

Andreas’s caring, and Tory’s journey of discovery, has as much impact for us today as the day we wrote it, and we hope you find it a fitting memorial for a man who made this world a better place.


— Tony Ortega

Sympathy For The Devil
Tory Christman was a veteran Scientologist who loved going after church critics. Until she met the darkest detractor of all.
[Originally published in New Times Los Angeles, September 27, 2001.]

Last year, Church of Scientology operatives received an alarming tip: During the upcoming 2000 MTV Movie Awards scheduled for June 8, a short South Park film parodying Battlefield Earth would feature the character Cartman wiping his ass with a copy of L. Ron Hubbard’s sacred text, Dianetics.

The tip was erroneous. Cartman would actually be wiping his ass with a Scientology personality test.

But agents of the church’s shadowy Office of Special Affairs didn’t know that. They only knew they had a public relations nightmare on their hands.

Battlefield Earth had already turned out to be a colossal embarrassment for the church. Its star, celebrity Scientologist John Travolta, had denied there was any connection between the movie, which was based on a 1980 science fiction novel by Hubbard, and the controversial religion, which was based on Dianetics, Hubbard’s 1950 self-help book. Despite Travolta’s denials, however, ordinary Scientologists had anxiously awaited the film, hoping it would improve the image of their founder and his faith. Instead, it was panned as the worst film of 2000 and one of the worst science-fiction films of all time. The New York Times suggested that although it was a bit early to be making such judgments, Battlefield Earth could turn out to be the worst movie of the new century.

The last thing the church needed was more piling on by the acerbic kids of South Park.

So it turned to Burbank resident Tory Christman.

Tory headed something called the Scientology Parishioners League, a new organization that Office of Special Affairs vice president Janet Weiland had asked volunteers like Tory to form for just such emergencies. In the few months the parishioners’ league had been operating, Tory and her cohorts had followed up on OSA tips by pressuring television networks, radio stations and newspapers to drop negative content about the church.

Tory never knew how OSA agents got their information. She only knew that once she was given a tip, the church relied on her to harangue editors and TV producers until the offending material was removed. During Tory’s short association with the parishioners’ league, the organization managed to convince a few editors to pull material. But in general, the group had little effect. Scientology had suffered so much negative press for so many years that Tory and her small cadre could do little to stem the tide.

But she tried mightily. Tory called MTV’s New York office incessantly. She told anyone who would listen that the South Park piece was a form of religious bigotry and if it was shown it would deeply offend her and her co-religionists and cause them great harm.


The show ran anyway. In it, Cartman drops a load in his shorts when Russell Crowe as his Gladiator character Maximus impales Kenny on his sword (“Russell Crowe killed Kenny!”). But before Crowe can do in the rest of the South Park regulars, John Travolta as planet Psychlo meanie Terl arrives in a Battlefield Earth spaceship to save the day (Cartman: “It’s John Travolta and the Church of Scientology!”). Travolta’s cartoon persona then asks the South Park boys to take personality tests, handing them the familiar sheets of paper which are many future members’ first encounter with the church. Travolta then asks Maximus to join Scientology. The gladiator says he’d rather die first, so Travolta vaporizes him. Meanwhile, still burdened by the mess in his drawers, Cartman finds another use for his personality test.

It was another dim moment for Hubbard’s beleaguered outfit. But Tory felt her lobbying campaign had been successful. She was under the impression that the original piece had called for Cartman to soil Hubbard’s book, Scientology’s most revered text. Tory believed her calls had convinced South Park‘s creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, to alter the show. (New Times’ calls to Stone and Parker were not returned.)

In the parlance of Scientology, Tory believed she had a big win. And it motivated her to take on even bigger game. A 30-year veteran of the church, she would also be entrusted by the OSA after her supposed MTV victory to take on the church’s most nagging foe: Internet critics.

Tory threw herself into the effort, doing battle first on a Warner Bros. bulletin board dedicated to Battlefield Earth and then on the mother of all Hubbard-related Internet newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology, a community of detractors that works constantly to publicize the church’s oddities and excesses.

Within weeks, Tory’s dive-bombing of alt.religion.scientology under the screen name “Magoo” had become relentless. Every few minutes, day and night, Magoo swooped in to drop incendiary messages attacking church critics. Newsgroup regulars say they had seen few defenders of Scientology take on critics with such unremitting force. By July Magoo had become the single most frequent poster at a.r.s. — not a small feat in such a heavily used newsgroup.

Several theories sprang up about Magoo’s identity. Some believed Magoo was actually a team of church agents working around the clock to attack foes. Others wondered whether Magoo was the handle of Scientology’s reclusive leader, David Miscavige.

No one guessed the truth. Magoo’s identity was finally revealed in a stunning message:

To all of you at ARS, and to you all reading this from my Church, as of this date, July 20, 2000, I have officially left the Church. Please do not call me, or come over to my house. Any friends who care (and only those who do, please) e-mail me. To the rest, good bye. In the future, listen to Andreas. What he said last night…is what is true.

The message was signed “Magoo/Tory [Christman].”

Today, more than a year after her very public defection — the first in memory to occur on the Internet — Tory is still adapting to her transformation. She has quickly become a highly visible foe of the church she served for three decades. In February, she was fined $100 by a judge for violating a court injunction against picketing Scientology’s “spiritual headquarters” in Clearwater, Florida. But she does not seem entirely comfortable with her new role.

Although she has written about her experiences in Internet forums, Tory was initially hesitant to share her story with New Times. She later changed her mind, wanting to tell about her experiences helping the OSA fight its battles, and about how Scientology shields its members from negative media coverage and the Internet.

And she also wanted to talk about a man named Andreas, the most corrupt and evil human being on the planet, who one day shocked her by writing a kind letter.


Tory says her defection caught everyone who knew her by surprise — church members and critics alike. But the seeds for her discontent had been planted years earlier.


Meeting her today, it’s hard to believe that such a gregarious and effusive person could ever have been a part of what she herself describes as a cult. But Tory, 54, is clearly a former Scientologist — her chatty conversation is filled with the corporate-sounding jargon that marks a longtime adherent of the Hubbard way of thinking.

Tory joined the church in 1969 after almost killing herself with heroin in San Francisco. She had ditched her parents’ home in an exclusive and stifling suburb of Chicago to become a hippie, then had to be brought home on a gurney when a hypodermic needle turned out to be dirty. Recovering in Illinois, Tory was approached by a couple of Scientologists she knew. Their stories about an “applied philosophy” lured the 22-year-old to L.A. Once here, however, she worried that she’d made a big mistake: Scientology’s quasi-military structure and obsession with large, Chairman Mao-like images of Hubbard felt Big Brotherish to a hippie deep into freedom of expression. But Tory learned to love Scientology, and stayed with it for more than three decades.

She’d become unhappy in recent years, however, partly because she could never rid herself of the space aliens in her body.

Like other advanced members of the church, Tory had learned about the aliens inside her only after spending years in the religion and parting with tens of thousands of dollars. In a financial arrangement which is probably unique in theology, adherents of Hubbard’s faith must pay increasingly large sums of money to learn the basic tenets of their religion. Former church members and court records indicate that parishioners pay about $100,000 to learn the story of Scientology’s origins, which is contained in something called OT 3 — its Book of Genesis, as it were. According to a church spokeswoman, only about 10 percent of Scientology’s adherents have reached this level. The rest are kept in the dark about Hubbard’s strange tale of how his religion began. For them, Scientology is an increasingly expensive progression of classes that give them, they believe, a complicated “technology” for ridding their minds of scars left by previous traumas, some of them from past lives.

Upon reaching OT 3, Tory learned Hubbard’s revelation that Xenu, an evil galactic overlord, had banished millions of space aliens to the planet Teegeack — now Earth — in an attempt to solve a cosmic overpopulation problem. Xenu had packed the surplus aliens into volcanoes and pulverized them with hydrogen bombs, but some 75 million years later their disembodied souls, called thetans by Scientologists, had managed to survive. Invisible and incredibly resilient, some of the aliens, which Hubbard called body thetans, had taken up residence inside unwitting human beings. Clustered inside each of us, these interstellar parasites are the source of all human misery.

That ulcer eating away at your stomach lining? It’s an ancient body thetan gnawing away at you. That arthritis in your elbow? E.T. feels right at home in your creaky joint. That anxiety you feel speaking in front of a group? Space aliens lurking in your head, tripping you up.

After absorbing this tale, Tory, like other Scientologists, continued on through higher levels in a process of counseling and classes — collectively called “the Bridge” — which was supposed to help eradicate body thetans. Only when Tory had chased off the last of the critters would she attain her true potential — the unleashing of her own true inner thetan, the alien soul that piggybacking space creatures had held back and tormented. This would in turn produce in her a superhuman state that Hubbard referred to as “Clear.” Clears could wield amazing powers, Hubbard claimed, including total memory recall and clairvoyance.

The trouble was, no matter how hard Tory tried to move across the Bridge (and no matter how much money she spent), her church counselors, called auditors, always claimed to find more body thetans clinging to her.

For years she found herself stuck at OT 7, the second-highest level in the religion. Year after year, she diligently went through drills and tests trying to locate all of the body thetans infesting her system. The process mostly involved talking with auditors while hooked up to an “E-meter,” an electronic gauge that measures tiny fluctuations in skin conductivity. Scientologists believe the erratic movement of the meter’s needle while a subject talks indicates the presence of body thetans.

One of the things holding Tory back was the real mother of a body thetan that had taken up residence in her nervous system. She had epilepsy, which to the rest of the world is a serious, chronic illness. But to Scientologists, Tory’s epileptic convulsions were a sure sign of a body thetan’s presence.

When Tory stuck to a drug regimen recommended by doctors, she suffered few effects of the disease. But Scientologists viewed resorting to medication as a sign of weakness, an indication that an adherent didn’t trust Hubbard’s “tech” to drive away the body thetan causing her malady.

Several times, she tried to adhere to her faith by going off her medication. She suffered greatly each time. Although she was warned she would never “go Clear” until she “handled” her epilepsy through the tech, Tory eventually went back on medication permanently.

Others chose to battle severe medical problems without help from doctors. A good friend, she says, died painfully after relying on auditing to cope with breast cancer.

Stuck at OT 7 and increasingly unhappy with how her auditing was going, Tory became even more disillusioned with changes made under new church leader David Miscavige, who had taken over after Hubbard’s 1986 death. At a mass gathering in 1997, Miscavige announced the “discovery” that higher-level Scientologists had been trained incorrectly and would need to redo some levels. Tory says she was told her retraining would cost $25,000.


Already $60,000 in debt and in no mood to undergo still more auditing to reach a level where she’d been stalled for years, Tory complained to Miscavige. She wrote him letters asking why she should have to pay so much when it was the church’s product that had proved to be defective. She got no response. And that’s when she decided to get off the Bridge.

“It’s a big decision for a Scientologist,” she says. “But I didn’t care if they came up with OT fucking billion, I was done.” Feeling cheated and abandoned, she found little support from other members. “It’s not like I didn’t give it my best shot. But they always tell you it’s your fault if the tech doesn’t work. No one has ever apologized to me for anything.”

Tory gave up trying to rid herself of body thetans. But her faith in Hubbard and Scientology was unshaken. She didn’t like some of the changes occurring in her church, but it was still her church, after all. After so many years in the religion and after paying more than $100,000, Tory says, Scientology was nearly her entire world. The thought of leaving it never entered her mind.

And that’s why she didn’t give it a second thought when, in late 1999, her church asked her to come to its rescue.


Tory says she was asked by Janet Weiland to join the Scientology Parishioners League, which had just been founded. It was modeled after the Anti-Defamation League, which combats anti-Semitism, and would claim to battle all forms of religious bigotry. But really it was the latest attempt to handle all of the negative press that has rained down on Scientology in recent years, Tory says. She agreed to Weiland’s request without hesitation.

There was plenty of work to do. While some news organizations shy away from stories about Scientology as a result of its reputation for litigiousness, others have reported on the church’s troubles around the globe. Several European countries consider the organization more a money-making scam than a religion and have taken official steps to curb it. The church’s worldwide president, Heber Jentzsch, is currently on trial in Spain on charges of fraud. Raids on the church have occurred in Belgium and France. And in the United States, the church continues to be embarrassed by revelations in the 1995 death of Lisa McPherson, a believer who died while in church care at a Clearwater hotel.

Protesters regularly picket key church sites in Florida and Los Angeles. Tory had often been asked to “handle” picketers who demonstrated at L.A. Scientology facilities by conversing with and distracting them.

She had helped out the OSA as a volunteer for many years. In 1979 she aided an effort to unseat a Clearwater politician who wanted to keep Scientology from establishing its headquarters there. She and other Scientologists were instructed to attend public meetings where they were to divert attention from Scientology’s imminent invasion of the town by questioning the candidate’s performance in other areas. After he was defeated at the polls, the church moved in.

Tory also aided OSA agents at a 1985 trial in which a former church member was suing Scientology for allegedly harming him. Tory says she took notes on how jurors seemed to react to testimony, trying to build up profiles of them for the church’s attorneys.

As a fervent member of the church, Tory never questioned OSA actions. She says in hindsight it’s easier for her to see that the OSA was operating in questionable ways, such as when it surveilled detractors or spammed Websites critical of the church.

The Office of Special Affairs was formed to replace an earlier organization cloaked in secrecy, known as the Guardian’s Office. In 1977, FBI agents raided the Church of Scientology in both Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., and discovered damning evidence that, for several years, Guardian’s Office operatives had been breaking into the IRS and other federal offices in Washington and stealing government documents. Eleven Scientologists, including Guardian’s Office director Mary Sue Hubbard, wife of the church founder, were sentenced to prison. After the debacle, church officials insisted that the Guardian’s Office had contained “rogue elements” who broke into government offices without the knowledge or permission of the rest of the organization. The G.O. was disbanded. Today, former Scientologists say, OSA has taken its place as the church’s internal security force and intelligence unit.

Tory says she and others had always been told that Mary Sue Hubbard and the other Guardian’s Office defendants had done nothing more serious than steal photocopier paper from government offices. It was a story she accepted without question.

“I bought the PR hook, line and sinker,” she says. Instructed to ignore outside sources of information, Tory says, she and her fellow parishioners were clueless about what was happening not only to Scientology but in the rest of the world as well.


“I was in a cult,” she says. “Scientology promotes not watching the news. It keeps you inside a Truman Show where you’re totally unaware of things. It’s like your own thinking gets shut down and you get used to not considering anything that might be critical of Scientology.”

Tory says she and her fellow religionists were trained, if they did happen to stumble across negative references to their church, to simply ignore them.

But the church was taking no chances. In 1998, Scientology announced a program to give every parishioner who desired one his or her very own Website. CD-ROMs were mailed out to church members, who were told they could use software on the discs to create personal sites linked to the church’s main Internet location. What parishioners weren’t told, however, was that the CDs also contained a censorship program that would block sites critical of the religion. Church critics, likening the program to “net nannies” that parents rely on to keep their kids out of porn sites, have dubbed the program the “Scieno Sitter.”

Janet Weiland, vice president of the OSA, wrote in a letter to New Times that church members make a personal choice whether to use the computer filtering program. “Many Scientologists use filters on their computers just as Jews and Catholics do, to protect their families and people they care about against hate, degradation or harassment.”

Scieno Sitter functions by keeping Scientologists from visiting Websites that contain certain keywords. For example, since the OT 3 genesis story is a secret that adherents must pay thousands of dollars to learn, the church jealously guards those materials and forbids Scientologists to mention the name Xenu publicly or even to acknowledge that the galactic overlord figures in their cosmology. Church detractors, in turn, use the name freely, in part to irritate Scientology officials. The church’s Internet censorship program automatically keeps members from visiting Websites where the name Xenu appears.

But OSA wanted Tory to keep an eye on such sites and to report back about what she found. Three years ago, she says, OSA operatives removed the Scieno Sitter from her home computer. She was asked to surf the Internet to find out what sorts of damaging things were being said about the church.

And the first place she looked alarmed her the most.

The Website she stumbled upon,, is notorious internationally for its comprehensive attack on Scientology in all its forms. Also known as Operation Clambake, it is maintained by a man named Andreas Heldal-Lund, an information technology manager in Stavanger, Norway. (“Operation Clambake” refers to statements made by Hubbard in an obscure book in which he explains that human beings today suffer ills because their inner thetans were once traumatized while they inhabited the bodies of clams during the evolution of life on Earth. Hubbard asserted that this ancient trauma re-exerts itself when people find their jaws locked in imitation of the ancient clams’ shell-hinge. Hubbard claimed to be knowledgeable in many fields of science, and even said he was a nuclear scientist, but records show that he maintained a D average at George Washington University, took and failed only a single course in nuclear physics, and left without a degree.)

To Tory, Operation Clambake seemed like the most hateful creation imaginable, a popular Website bearing a litany of charges against her religion that she couldn’t imagine to be true. She admits that she hated Heldal-Lund, a man she had never met, spoken to, or even knew much about.


Although Scientologists don’t believe in Satan, Tory says, that’s exactly what Heldal-Lund became in her mind. He was the archnemesis of everything she believed in, Lucifer to her godlike Hubbard.

She formed these opinions without even reading any of the material at his Website. She says she could barely bring herself to visit it, scan what was listed in its table of contents, and then report back to the OSA. “Why haven’t you gotten rid of this guy?” she remembers asking her OSA contacts, who responded that they had been trying to do just that, without luck.

The next thing the OSA asked her to do was to join the Scientology Parishioners League and focus her efforts on combating bad publicity in print, radio and TV — what Scientologists call “entheta press.”

Tory says she felt a twinge of guilt over her work. The ’60s hippie who loved freedom of speech was still inside her, she says, and it made her uncomfortable to practice what she knew, even then, was a form of censorship.


“The work was actually hard for me because of my free-speech background. I was becoming the queen of OSA volunteers, but I wasn’t enjoying it,” she says.

Despite the parishioners league’s modest success — Tory claims the group convinced a few newspaper editors to make slight changes to articles — OSA liked the work she was doing. It then asked Tory to do battle with the church’s Internet opponents.

Earlier, she had dabbled in the Web, visiting such sites as Operation Clambake. But now she was commanded to take it on in earnest.

She dived into the job, exploring Websites that criticized her church and reading bulletin boards where church defenders and opponents debated. (Some church members have always refused to put the Scieno Sitter on their computers and are regular combatants at a.r.s. and other sites). Tory began to engage in those debates herself.

And before long, she realized that she really, really enjoyed it.

As Magoo, she obsessively posted to alt.religion.scientology. Her messages were rarely very substantive. She was just there to jab and parry, to drop off stingers and comebacks — most of which were non sequiturs — and more than anything else, to keep hitting the “reply” button. Day and night, Tory told off anti-Scientologists and managed to annoy plenty of them.

Mark Bunker, a church critic and a.r.s. participant, says he bore the brunt of some of Magoo’s harshest attacks. “When I found out who it was, and that Tory was the one being so incredibly nasty to me, I laughed.” Bunker realized that he had met Tory when he picketed church sites and always found her to be pleasant, even though they disagreed so markedly about the church. “I was amazed that this nice person could be so damned nasty anonymously.”

Jeff Jacobsen, another a.r.s. regular, says Magoo’s posts were not only harsh but difficult to read. It seemed obvious that Magoo was someone or a group of people who had little experience in newsgroup debates, he says.

Tory admits that was true. She was a novice. And her lack of experience was causing her to post great amounts of extraneous and distracting material. She may have been a relentless poster, but she was a sloppy one.

And that’s what prompted someone to send her an e-mail about her messy ways.

Tory says she was shocked to see that Lucifer himself, Andreas Heldal-Lund, the operator of Operation Clambake, the Website that Scientologists considered the world’s most poisonous, had sent her an e-mail.

He had written a polite note, suggesting ways Tory could improve the readability of her postings on a.r.s. so that more people would read her arguments and respond to them intelligently.

Tory struggles for words to describe how stunned she felt after she had read the e-mail.

“The devil had not only sent me a nice message, he had offered me useful advice,” Tory says.


Besides taking her entirely by surprise, Heldal-Lund’s note had placed her in an awkward position.

“I had been raised to believe you send a thank-you note when someone helps you out. I realized that I owed the devil an e-mail message,” she says.


After she had sent a thank-you and Andreas replied with another kind missive, Tory says she came to another startling revelation: “I realized that I could talk to this guy. This was a big shock to me,” she says.

Andreas tells New Times that when he first noticed Magoo’s posts, she sounded like “just another OSA goon trying to create a disturbance.” But he extended a helping hand all the same. He says he didn’t see the point in being rude and confirming everything that church members thought about Scientology’s critics.

“I try to treat everyone nicely, and I start a relationship based on trust. I hope that if people see that I can be trusted, then they will have one less reason not to honestly check out our side of things,” he says.

Andreas says he has been under the constant threat of lawsuits by church attorneys since he established Operation Clambake in 1996. Initially those threats were aimed at him personally, but lately, he says, the church has been threatening his Internet service providers. So far, the church hasn’t been able to force the Website offline.

Tory and Andreas agreed to turn over their private e-mail messages to New Times, which document the frenetic activity in their correspondence in the days before her July 20 public defection.

Writing in the first person plural as if she were a group of Scientologists, Tory asked Andreas on July 14 to explain how he could maintain such a horrific Website. “What is your actual goal?” she asked.

“This is like asking for my meaning of life,” the Norwegian responded. “I care when I see injustices. I don’t like lies and fraud. I’m especially sensitive to lies and deceit that few oppose because there is a threat connected to doing so. I saw this when I investigated [the Church of Scientology.] I’m not saying…that all Scientologists are bad…I believe they are good people with the best intentions….But they are (in my opinion) misguided and wasting their good efforts and time…”

Tory realized that everything Andreas was saying in this and several other early messages in their correspondence — about his belief in openness, free speech, and the search for truth — were the tenets that she believed had always been at the core of her own being. Instead, Tory says, she admitted to herself that she’d been living very differently, encouraged by Scientology to lie continually. To lie to others about how well Hubbard’s tech was helping her life, to lie about how much she was enjoying herself on OT 7, to ignore the truth about the excesses and inconsistencies of an organization she’d belonged to for so long.

She knows now that spending weeks debating critics on a.r.s. had prepared her for this moment. The arguments she encountered there — about the Lisa McPherson case, the raids in Europe, about the high price of reaching OT levels and dozens of other topics — had increasingly rung true for her. “It was like the critics were beginning to poke holes in the walls of my Truman Show,” she says. “Sunshine was starting to pour inside.”

She uses another analogy: For 30 years she had constructed her life like a skyscraper made of playing cards. Participating on a.r.s. had yanked away so many cards that only one remained holding up her entire belief system.

And then Andreas Heldal-Lund gave that card a pull.


“In the long run I believe that my ethical acts towards [Scientologists] might have some small positive effect,” Andreas wrote on July 17, responding to Magoo’s query about why he seemed so much more polite than some other church critics. “I don’t believe in single acts saving anybody, it’s the sum of many that do the trick,” he added, writing that he had occasionally received e-mails from former church members who thanked him for his efforts to provide well-researched information critical of the church.

Andreas also wrote about the philosophical underpinnings of his own actions, giving Tory a brief primer on Immanuel Kant, the 18th-century German thinker. In a calm, self-effacing tone, Andreas explained that he tries his best to treat people with respect, whatever their beliefs. He denies, in e-mails to New Times, that his words were very profound. But he knows from Tory’s reaction that they were what she needed to hear.

“I was just there at the right time, maybe saying the right things,” Andreas says.

The next day, July 18, he received a note from a very different-sounding Magoo.

“Thank you so much for communicating to me,” Magoo wrote. “Notice I said “me’? This is the very first time I have said that since I started on ARS five weeks ago…I am just one person.

“Andy, I cannot tell you how devastated I am. I am sitting here crying. I cannot stop crying. No one will meet with me, Andy…I have been a Scientologist since I was 19 years old….I am not sure what to do. All of my friends, everyone I know — everyone — is a Scientologist…So the minute I say I am out of the church, my life is over…I love my friends, and the very thought that tomorrow they cannot speak to me, ever again, is just too much for my soul.”

It was obvious to them both: As soon as Tory admitted her doubts, the Church of Scientology would instruct parishioners to “disconnect” from her. Andreas knew it would be a devastating experience. He tried to give her encouragement.

“I’m humble that you choose to tell me all this…I can hardly start grasping what you are going through,” he wrote back on July 18. “I find it difficult to express my immediate emotions and I don’t want to make a lot of silly advice or say something meaningless.” He continued to counsel her to be cautious and take things slowly.

But on July 20, Magoo made her public announcement on a.r.s: She was Tory Christman, a 30-year member, and she was no longer a Scientologist.

Some a.r.s. participants smelled a rat. Magoo’s defection was so sudden and dramatic, some critics suspected that her announcement was some sort of OSA operation. A new debate suddenly raged on the newsgroup: Was Magoo’s transformation legitimate?

Meanwhile, in private, Tory gave Andreas her thanks. “I honestly thought you were the devil,” she e-mailed him. “I was amazed at how kind you were. I thought for sure you would be the meanest and worst of all the critics. So when you were you, it really cracked the shell.”

But Andreas couldn’t give her what she says she needed most desperately: company. As she began telling Scientologist friends privately about her decision and they disconnected from her, Tory found herself terribly alone. She asked Andreas for help: Who could she turn to who understood her situation?

He suggested a group in Clearwater whose members work full time to protest Scientology. Some are former parishioners, and realized they had known Tory in the church. When Tory told them about her predicament, they encouraged her to come to Clearwater.

So on July 21, with a.r.s. still buzzing over her turnabout, Tory went to Burbank Airport to begin a cross-country trip to what just days earlier she had considered the enemy camp.


And waiting for her at the Burbank terminal was the Church of Scientology.


Tory arrived at the airport to find that her flight had been cancelled and Janet Weiland was waiting near the counter. Weiland began trying to talk her out of going to Florida, Tory says.

Tory doesn’t know how Weiland knew she would be at the airport to catch her flight. Tory says she can only assume the OSA vice president had tapped her phone.

When New Times requested an interview with Weiland, she responded with a letter saying that Tory had become an “apostate,” and that such persons “have to justify having left their church and do this by lying and making up bizarre renditions about their experiences.”

Weiland wrote that it was a coincidence that she was at the airport that day, that she had received a phone call from a friend of Tory’s saying she might be at the terminal to take a flight. “I didn’t know what flight she was going on, but [I] looked around the airport and saw her in line at the ticket counter,” wrote Weiland.

At the airport, Tory says, Weiland cited their long friendship and tried to persuade her to cancel her travel plans. But Tory used her cell phone to call the people at the Lisa McPherson Trust in Clearwater whom she had planned to visit. The LMT was founded last year by several former Scientologists to publicize the McPherson case and otherwise agitate against the church. It is largely funded by Robert Minton, a wealthy businessman.

Minton answered Tory’s call, and she rapidly told him the situation. She had tried to get another flight, she told him, but Weiland had stuck by her like glue, and was even holding her luggage. Tory says she felt trapped.

Minton said he’d pay for a first-class ticket to Clearwater. He told Tory to book a seat, which would allow her to enter a special lounge that would be off-limits to Weiland. Tory followed his advice and rid herself of the OSA official.

But Tory had made the new flight arrangements in front of Weiland, so Scientologists were waiting for her both in Chicago, where she changed planes, and at the gate in Tampa, where Tory arrived at 1:15 a.m.

LMT executive director Stacy Brooks, herself a former high-ranking Scientologist and OSA employee, says it was a surreal scene. Waiting for Tory to walk off the plane were two groups: Scientologists and LMT members. Brooks notified security guards that things could get ugly, and they in turn called in two Tampa police officers.

The situation got tense, Tory says, when she stepped off the plane and a woman Scientologist ran up to her. “What could you be thinking?” the woman asked her. The others swarmed around her.

Brooks asked the police to intervene, but the cops replied that they needed to hear from Tory herself: Whom did she want to go with?

Tory gestured toward Brooks and Minton. “I pick them,” she said.


The police officers then went into high gear. Brooks says the anti-Scientologists were given an escort through the airport. When the Scientologists tried to follow, the officers stopped them. Police stayed with Tory all the way to her hotel, where she checked in under an assumed name.

The next morning, however, the Scientologists were knocking at her door.

Before too long, Tory says, they left her alone. It was plain she had no intention of going back.


“The experience of being in Scientology is so incredible, it’s just very hard for people to believe,” Brooks says. “Tory has a long road ahead of her to recover from her 30 years in.”

The church didn’t take long to react, Brooks says. “They turned on her on a dime. They’re doing everything they can to label her a criminal. This is a lot for a person to take in who hasn’t been out [very long.]”

Encouraged by what she learned at the LMT, Tory began taking part in protests of the church within months of leaving it. She was stunned when church officials asked police in Clearwater to cite her for violating the anti-picketing injunction.

Accusations between church officials and critics had grown so intense after repeated demonstrations that a Clearwater judge was persuaded to lay down complex rules last November about how and when critics could picket Scientology headquarters. Tory was one of several critics who were hauled into court for violating those rules. Church officials accused her of holding a sign in an area where picketing was not allowed, and sitting in a Santa’s chair set up as part of a church holiday display.

On February 21, after hearing arguments by Scientology attorneys that Tory and others had willfully disregarded the injunction, Judge Thomas E. Penick dismissed nearly all of the case, criticizing both sides for clogging the courts with nonsense. He fined Minton and Tory — she was charged $100 — but also criticized the church for how much it surveils critics. “I’m missing the point here,” the judge was quoted in the St. Petersburg Times. “I hope someone will let us know when the great invasion is coming.”

The experience, Tory says, only made her more determined to tell what she knows about the church.

Today, Tory still goes through swings of emotion about her defection and her new life. She called New Times from Clearwater late one night during her trial, devastated that her former church could label her a criminal.

Other times she called asking that this article be cancelled, saying she couldn’t go through with it. Then days later she would call with a steely resolve, looking forward to how the piece might be received.

She also wavered over how to characterize her former church. She wanted it said that Scientology was not all bad; it had done good things for people, she said. But she also wanted it stressed that the organization deserves all of the scandals it’s ensnared in around the world.

About the only thing that remains constant about Tory is her chatty, bright disposition. And her regard for people like Brooks and Minton.


And a man she once considered the devil.

“Andreas telling me to believe in myself — that’s what changed my life,” she says.


Technology Cocktail

“For some years we have had a word “squirreling”. It means altering Scientology, off-beat practices. It is a bad thing. I have found a way to explain why. Scientology is a workable system. This does not mean it is the best possible system or a perfect system. Remember and use that definition. Scientology is a workable system. In fifty thousand years of history on this planet alone, Man never evolved a workable system. It is doubtful if, in foreseeable history, he will ever evolve another.” — 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

“If you did it, you can undid it. How do you like that? You can! You can undo it. Anything you’ve done, you can undo one way or the other — somewhere on the track, given enough time. Even without processing, you could undo it. A lot of you are going forward in life right now, just hoping you will get an opportunity to undo, oh, Lord knows what, killing blondes or something. Hoping you get enough opportunity to unkill battleships or something. Of course, some of you are out of luck entirely because maybe your overt acts are against heavy hussars — heavy cavalry, heavy horse cavalry — and you’re trying to undo overt acts against heavy horse cavalry in an age that doesn’t have any. So you have to become an historical writer.” — L. Ron Hubbard, January 3, 1960


Avast, Ye Mateys

“CRUISE: We rapped out the mileage and as I write this we apparently will have our day’s stats at the end. One day and two nights at sea compared to two days and two nights. It was a fairly comfortable run. I like this port we’ll be in as you read this. The officials have always been pleasant and obliging, the people great, and they don’t push people around. Some aboard don’t like it. Smells of fish they say. Well, I prefer the smell of fish and saw dust to the smell of tourists. I’ll never forget the relief and cheer we once felt when driven by the sea and the height of the Smersh campaign this port welcomed us. It always has been friendly and decent. Not being shoved out to anchor ‘to make room for the great Tourist Liner BUNKO and the Tanker SS Stinko.’ We’re off the beaten track here. The Phoenicians, Carthoginians and Portuguese have left their traces. And these people still go on. I’am changing our scheduling after the next port after this. Be nice to these people, they’re your friends. Be nice to this port. I consider it an Affinity haven.” — The Commodore, January 3, 1971



Overheard in the FreeZone

“Earth is being taken over, and unless we get rid of this bad DNA from our gene pool or unless we correct our DNA through doing OT8 we will always have trouble here on Earth. This is exactly what David Icke is describing when he says the elite are possessed by reptilians. Hubbard never mentions the word reptilian but its the same thing, maybe David has taken the research further by discovering they are reptiles? Maybe Hubbard knew this but thought people couldn’t handle that data as it might sound too silly or something so didn’t mention what they look like? And it isn’t that relevant anyway. These evil people are not really people, they are possessed. So we can keep fighting the evil changes to our world they are trying to make which is things like setting up the European Union and turning us all into trannys, or we can do OT8 on mass to fix everyone’s DNA so that these evil beings can’t mind control/posses people here anymore.”


Past is Prologue

1998: “ABeing8008” posted news from Scientology’s New Year’s Eve event, broadcast by satellite to the orgs and missions. “The Hubbard College of Administration received accreditation as a degree program in the state of California! More wins at Ensenada prison in Mexico by the prisoners on the Purification program and the Way to Happiness programs. About 11 insurance companies have approved of Narconon for insurance coverage, let’s hear it for Narconon! The Chicago Bulls (professional basketball team) utilizes the Way to Happiness with their stressed out players!”


Random Howdy

“There seems to be a reluctance even among some exes to understand that all the E-meter is physically capable of doing is measuring galvanic skin response. It is incapable of reading one’s emotional state.”


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] Jerry Whitfield, longtime Scientology exit counselor, dies at 77
[TWO years ago] Scientology’s global conquest: Founder L. Ron Hubbard stressed ‘put in ethics’ to foil enemies
[THREE years ago] Scientology social media: Stop being afraid to turn over all your hard earned cash!
[FOUR years ago] In the Sea Org, it’s difficult to see Scientology’s incompetence — until you escape
[FIVE years ago] We asked Marc Headley about NXIVM’s Allison Mack using his Scientology lawsuit as a defense
[SIX years ago] Conan O’Brien to Danny Masterson in ’04, after rape claim was settled: ‘I’ve heard about you’
[SEVEN years ago] Tonight on ‘Leah Remini’: Aaron Smith-Levin on how families get so screwed up in Scientology
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology’s state of the union, 2016: Former spokesman Mike Rinder predicts ‘more pain’
[NINE years ago] Jon Atack: What it’s like for the Scientologist who gives up the dream of being superhuman
[TEN years ago] Another Scientology video you aren’t supposed to see: ‘The Command of Theta’


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 3,263 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,778 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,328 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,318 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,199 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,503 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,374 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,926 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,268 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,834 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,753 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,921 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,502 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,763 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,799 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,515 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 3,079 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,394 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,569 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 7,120 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,251 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,589 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,444 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,563 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,919 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,222 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,328 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,726 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,602 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 3,167 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,680 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,934 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 15,043 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on January 3, 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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