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Scientology, abuse, and forgiveness: Val Ross on the men who did her wrong

[Valerie Ross’s story last week created such a reaction we asked her for another one, and we’re glad we did.]

When I was growing up, we used to rotate our summer vacations between Salt Lake City, where my mom’s family lived, and St. George, where my dad’s family lived. I loved my dad’s brother, Bert. We chatted all the time, or, more accurately, I prattled on and on to him and he patiently listened to me.

We had a family of semi-feral skunks who lived under our house. My dad was known as the skunk whisperer around town. He taught us how to approach skunks and pet them and not get sprayed. I kept telling Uncle Bert about our skunks and he kept asking when I was going to bring him one.

The summer I was 10, my dad and I packed up a skunk for the 550-mile trip to St. George. It didn’t spray. As a matter of fact, it had chewed its way out of its box and nested in my dad’s luggage by the time we arrived. Aunt Pat was nowhere near as thrilled as I hoped she’d be. Dad and Uncle Bert took the skunk for a walk up a canyon somewhere.

With a family reunion coming up this summer, we are making assignments for what people are to bring. The top of the list with my name is a skunk. Spoiler alert: Not bringing one.


People get known for something and that’s what they are remembered for. I noted in the comments after my first story that the things people focused on the most were the two abusing men, so I want to address that here. I am a firm believer in forgiveness and in karma.

First, my rapist. He was a charmer, and held a senior position at the Org. He targeted me because of my naivety. I was easy pickings for the same reason I was easy pickings for a body router: I didn’t know how to distrust anyone, didn’t know that you were supposed to. I was 5-10 and weighed 120 lbs soaking wet. In the intervening years, I’ve lost 3 inches in height and gained a couple (dozen) pounds.

I followed the Masterson trial intently because it was personal for me. I understood how those women kept seeing Danny, I understood how they were treated by Scientology. I felt powerless when this person forced me to go into dark closets and other vacant rooms, knew what it felt like to be told he was the good guy, that I was in the wrong.

He was a bigger-than-life person, always leaning right on the edge of crazy, and his bigger-than-life personality did not serve him well, as seems to be the case with anyone who rises to great heights in Scientology and ends up getting buried in the depths. I was told that in 1978 he jumped out of the window of the Hollywood Inn. He lived, but shortly after that, he was no longer in the Sea Org. His sister left at the same time.

To the best of my knowledge, he is still alive. His sister died in 2011, his mother and father in 2013, so there is a possibility that he has died and there is no one to write his obituary. He’s almost 80 years old. I hold no ill will towards him. I let go of my anger and resentment years ago. I do not condone his acts, nor do I think Scientology did the right thing, but I am not willing to let something that happened close to 50 years ago destroy my peace today.

Moving into Tamarind was a step up in berthing conditions. Geoffrey Lewis lived there at the time with Juliette running wild in saggy diapers, Skip Press also lived there for a time, if I remember correctly from our recent conversations,

But, that step up is not something I could conceive of living these days. I found this description of the “upgrades” we had done to our place in a letter I wrote to my mom, and, honestly, I could not conceive of living in those conditions these days.

Our apartment is starting to look better now. Art is really working with us to make it look good. The other girl who lived here was a real slob, so he’s really glad to help someone who wants to make it look good. We got new living room furniture. Then he let us paint the ugly turquoise stove, so now it’s gold, just like the refrigerator. The counter-tops were broken yellow polka-dotted Formica with green outlines, so we covered it with some pretty contact paper. Art gave us new drapes, fixed the fan in the bathroom, had some guys sew up the tears in the carpet, and caulked around the cracks at the bottom of the glass shower stall, so now it’s time for us to do something else. By the time we leave this place, they’ll probably raise the rent on us. Really though, I doubt it, because Art isn’t that way.

And Art, the landlord: He was my idea of a good guy. I baked bread once a week. Lots of bread. A dozen or so loaves. People in the complex would come by and buy it from me. Art loved my daughter. He said he was going to marry her when she turned 18. I didn’t find this creepy at the time.

My daughter subscribes to this Substack. Some of what she is reading here is news to her. I did not ever tell my children what their father did to me.

I was pregnant with a second child shortly after my daughter was born. I had gotten back from shopping with my husband’s little sister and found him in bed with a 17-year-old. His sister watched as he beat me up for the crime of walking in on them.

His sister called 911. People from the Guardian’s Office came to the hospital and checked me out of the ER. The police there just walked away when my handlers showed up. I lost that child. I had to go to ethics for that. He got off scot-free. His little sister told her then OT VII mom what she had witnessed and her mom said “well, she must have done something to deserve it.”

This is when we actually left LA. This was the trigger that got me out of the GO.

My ex was mean, with a hair trigger temper, vicious and lazy, and yet I stayed married to him for seven years. Just like being in Scientology, I was in two abusive relationships, my marriage and Scientology, and felt like I was the one who had done wrong when things went bad.


The trigger for my final beating was just before my mom died. I told him if he had any respect for me he wouldn’t go out with his mistress that night. He said “fuck you” and left. That was the final straw. I called her and told her we were still married, etc. He came home and beat me. I had already called the cops when he came to the door. They came to the house, got me to the hospital and arrested him. The police in Utah were not LA cops, I went to a safe house with my kids, I got a protective order, I had help getting out of the marriage.

He married his mistress 36 MINUTES after the judge granted our divorce. No that is not a typo.

Now, I really should hate that man. I should want all the worst for him. But, you know, life has a way of making things better. I don’t know why those two words made my
mind snap, but it’s what made me realize that my mind was being controlled by other forces and it was time to get me back.

It wasn’t an easy couple of years. My mom and dad died and I had cancer but I had my kids and the attorney who did my divorce (pro bono) had hired me too, so I had an income and insurance for my family.

I looked ahead, not behind, because I didn’t dare look behind. And karma, bless her heart, did the dirty work. My ex is two years younger than me. He has never met our daughter’s children through no fault of my own. She figured out who her dad was all on her own.

Our son pity-visits him, and he and his wife are homebound, haven’t left the house for over a year. My son takes his dad to the ER when he drinks himself into a coma because his wife is afraid to leave the house. The man has had 12 stents (how is that even possible?) and last year he had at least three strokes. He’s in his own private hell. My wish for him is that he gets all that he deserves.

It took me a lot of years to stop fearing relationships and to understand joy. I had a therapy dog for several years and after she died in 2021, I got another dog, this time, one I could heal from her traumatic first three years in a bad home.

I’m there. I’m finally to a point where I can take a dispassionate look at things that happened to me in the past and acknowledge the strength they have given me for my future.

To quote a Willie Nelson song

And I could cry for the time I’ve wasted
But that’s a waste of time and tears
And I know just what I’d change
If went back in time somehow


But there’s nothing I can do about it now
I’m forgiving everything that forgiveness will allow
And there’s nothing I can do about it now.

— Valerie Ross


Technology Cocktail

“From Power Processing on up the data is confidential. Up to there, you can release Scientology data as you always have — freely and to everyone. But this last bit is dangerous in unskilled or uneducated or unscrupulous hands and it is purely ours. It belongs to the Scientologists who keep the show on the road and must be available to them when they are ready.” — 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

“We have only 476 special terms, most of which mean what they mean in English. That’s right, that’s the whole vocabulary, 474 of these items. I wish elementary physics could say as much. And with only knowledge of 24 of these items and how to handle these items, you can make the blind see. You could also bring the dead back to life. Well, you think I’m kidding. That’s no trick. It’s whether or not they want to be alive that’s the point. I remember one black man that was busy dying and so on, and I looked him over and I, all I had to say was the magic words, you know? He’d been drowned and he hadn’t been drowned very long. It was very easy you know? And I said so-and-so and so-and-so and I found out he was connected with enough woe in life that it was no wonder that he had busily drowned. I just asked his friend who was standing there, ‘This man lead a happy life?’ ‘Oh boss,’ he says, ‘Oh no, no he have an awful time, awful time.’ I said, OK, cart him away.” — L. Ron Hubbard, January 21, 1961


Avast, Ye Mateys


“Our M.O. Dr. Steve Jarvis has just had a 2 page spread article on Scientology in ‘GP,’ the Medical Doctors’ journal in the UK. It is a splendid article, pointing up Scn’s role in psychosomatic medicine. The magazine asked for an article, three MDs in Scn submitted them. Dr. Jarvis’s article won. Copies will be mailed to all parliaments. Coronet magazine in the US printed an article by me, preceding it with a SMERSH write up. However, the article calmly made nothing of the attack and reader opinion is that it will do us a lot of good. Say, I’m busy as all hell on half a hundred hats. What’s going on with the rest of you cats?” — The Commodore, January 21, 1969


Overheard in the FreeZone

“I understand the soul types, I understand the soul families, I understand the hierarchies and I also know that a person can spend all eternity searching, multiple eternities, aeons upon aeons, lost… and never restore their Essence. I also comprehend that no amount of auditing the mind makes a scrap of difference to this because the restoration of the essence of the person is found outside the theta/mest construct and all that may be conceived of. Being of Light or Darkness, Adamite or Saturnine, whomever the person actually is, I accompany the person home, all way home and outside all to where the person restores their own divine essence and the person finds they are whole and complete, and completely free. Exit. Gone. So far no-one has left me with a dead body, yet they are well and truly gone for as long as they need to be and tell me they simply return out of compassion and kindness to tell me the story. Its an act of pure love, even for creatures of the dark side, and so now it seem I have free passage to walk the pits of hell as I accompany this type of lost soul home to their divine abodes which are the antithesis of all we know and hold to be sacred and true.”


Past is Prologue

2002: published a retrospective on January 24th on L. Ron Hubbard, which is the date of his death in 1986. “Before the Scientology incarnation, Hubbard had a 20-year career writing pulp magazine stories – adventure, crime, westerns and then mostly science fiction. In 1982, after decades of Church work – much of it the labor of dodging the FBI, CIA, IRS and reporters – Hubbard returned to his muse with ‘Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000.’ If the numbers are to be believed, it became one of the greatest science-fiction hits of all time; if the apostates and investigative reporters are to be believed, the novel was a required purchase, and another Church scam. If Hubbard himself is to be believed in his introductory essay, he had been ‘studying the branches of man’s past knowledge at that time to see whether he had ever come up with anything valid.’ He had done ‘some pioneer work in rockets and gasses,’ was ‘in rather steady association with the new era of scientists, the boys who built the bomb,’ and therefore well-placed to be ‘one of the crew of writers that helped start man to the stars.’ According to the Church Web sites, his greatest accomplishment is the 10-book ‘Mission Earth’ series, a work that believer-critics find reminiscent of both ‘the later Henry James’ and ‘the later Charles Dickens,’ and such ‘a biting commentary on exactly who is doing what on today’s earth’ that it is ‘repeatedly drawing comparisons to the works of Jonathan Swift.’ Presumably the later Jonathan Swift; possibly that section in ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ wherein the mad scientists of Lagado endeavor, among other things, to reconstitute food from excrement.”


Random Howdy

“You’re nothing around here unless you’ve been corrected or admonished by The Proprietor at least once.”



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] PODCAST: Karen de la Carriere on the ‘Ls’ — Scientology’s nuttiest ‘technology’?
[TWO years ago] More documented proof from Scientology itself of its steady shrinkage
[THREE years ago] With not guilty plea, Danny Masterson assigned a trial judge his prosecutor knows well
[FOUR years ago] Scientology lets Diana Hubbard out of the compound again — what’s the occasion?
[FIVE years ago] Scientology sells miracles, and we can’t get enough of them
[SIX years ago] Scientology front group targets unwitting indigenous people to spread its propaganda
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology is still a fraud in France, but it gets some revenge against anti-cult group there
[EIGHT years ago] When L. Ron Hubbard tried to convince the BBB that Scientology was raking it in
[NINE years ago] How Scientology responds to adversity: A classic example from its golden era
[TEN years ago] Where is Scientology keeping Barbara Cordova Oliver?
[ELEVEN years ago] Isabella Cruise and Eddie Frencher Reunite After He Leaves Scientology’s “Sea Org”


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley (1952-2019) did not see his daughter Stephanie in his final 5,667 days.
Tammy Synovec has not seen her daughter Julia in 2,786 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 3,281 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,796 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,346 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,336 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,217 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,521 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,392 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,944 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,286 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,852 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,771 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,939 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,520 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,781 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,817 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,533 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 3,097 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,412 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,587 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 7,138 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,269 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,607 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,462 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,581 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,937 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,240 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,346 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,744 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,620 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 3,185 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,698 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,952 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 15,061 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on January 21, 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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