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For an outfit that sells immortality, Scientology really sucks about death

[Yvonne Gillham Jentzsch, center, and the early Celebrity Centre community]

In June 1976, my grandmother died in my little sister’s bed. She was 80. She was my last living grandparent. After her husband, my grandpa, had died in 1968, I spent several summers at her house with her, just the two of us, staying up late watching Johnny Carson and taking the bus around town during the day. They were idyllic times.

My mother called me when my grandma died. I was called off the floor of the Briefing Course. This was about a month before I was beached. I took the call, then went back onto course and finished out the day. At dinner, I discussed with my table mates whether it would be a good idea to bring it up with my senior: I was worried about whether I should even tell anyone.

Scientology does not see people as people. They do not treat relationships as relationships. You do not form bonds, you do not have friendships. Everyone is looking out for themselves, and any secret you reveal to another is reported immediately to ethics. Any personal information you share is discouraged. Any personal information.

I was once asked why I was ambidextrous. I shared that I had fallen out of a tree when I was 5 and broke my left arm really bad so was in a cast for two years, so I learned how to write with my right hand but I still eat with my left hand. I was told that I wasn’t supposed to discuss my case out of session. What? I was sharing a life experience. It wasn’t case.

But in Scientology, anything that gives you depth is not considered something you share. I didn’t go to my grandmother’s funeral. I was busy supervising the Briefing Course that day. I did not go to my last living grandparent’s funeral because that would have been “other fish to fry.” I really don’t know how I could have been so callous. She was my grandma. She was also my friend. She loved me.


But, the thinking forced down our throats was “she just dropped her meat body, what’s the big deal? She is going to come back.” It was considered so much more important that we help clear the planet. How in the world could I go mourn the loss of my grandma when there were Briefing Course students to help?

Scientology does not equip anyone with the tools to deal with grief. You are taught that grief is a “misemotion.” It is a harmful emotion. You are taught that if you are upset, you need to get counseling to get rid of that emotion. You are not allowed to feel the very real feeling and get through it.

There were three more deaths of people who meant a lot to me that occurred in the next eight years. Scientology played a part in how I dealt with each of them.

The next death was Yvonne Jentzsch on January 23, 1978. Once again, I was still in Scientology, in LA. Yvonne died at the Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater, Florida. I wasn’t even aware she was ill until after her death.

There was a Flag Conditions Order put out a week after her death to limited distribution. I happened to get to see it. It said she had recently discovered that she had a serious illness that would require extensive handling so she decided on her own to leave her body and return anew.

It then went on to list her contributions to Scientology. There was a small memorial service held for her in Florida. A couple of weeks later I received a typewritten envelope in the mail postmarked from LA which contained her death certificate and a typewritten page which said CONFIDENTIAL, NOT FOR DISSEMINATION.

The informant on her death certificate was Heber Jentzsch. He did not even know his wife’s mother’s maiden name.

I picked up the phone to call Heber and then put it back down. I decided to just keep my head down and keep going.

Yvonne was my friend. But more than that, she was a shining light. Anyone who knew of her or spent a few minutes in her orbit knew this. She was one of those people who everyone wanted a piece of because she was just so shiny. That’s the only way I can describe her. She had a ready laugh, and a huge heart. Scientology wasn’t able to contain her compassion. They had no right to reduce her death to a few words on a piece of paper.

The next death was my mother’s. She died unexpectedly of a stroke on my birthday in 1983. My brother was at my house to watch the final episode of M*A*S*H. The opening credits started to roll and the phone rang. (I’ve never watched that episode.) My father had been on dialysis for some time then and we both looked at each other and said “dad.”

I answered the phone and it was my dad. I said “Hi Dad,” and looked at my brother. He sighed a sigh of relief. Then my dad let us know that my mother had been taken to the hospital for emergency gall bladder surgery. We got her room number and were going to call her to wish her well before the surgery. When we called the room, they wouldn’t put us through “because there had been an emergency in that room.”

We kept calling and calling until finally a doctor let us know that my mom had had a stroke (the night before her scheduled surgery) and was in a deep coma. We packed and made the 600-mile trip to her bedside. We stopped in Bluewater Village (90 miles from the hospital in Albuquerque) at the family home to clean up. A friend of mine from school was driving by. She stopped to see what was going on, why we were there. We explained. She said “I’ll take the kids, call when you can.” I hadn’t seen her for almost 10 years and she willingly took my two children unasked. They stayed in her home for three days while I was at my mother’s bedside.

My mom was on seven machines for three days before we turned them off. My dad didn’t leave her bedside. After 36 hours, they were supposed to do a third brain scan to ensure her brainwaves were still flat, but her temperature was still flat. She had been dead for 36 hours before they would turn off the machines because they had attempted resuscitation.

This was no meat body. This was my mom. I don’t care what I had learned in Scientology, I knew damn well that even if she was going to come back, I had just lost an important part of my life.


At her viewing before the funeral, I walked up to her casket and touched her. Mistake. She was ice cold. I gasped and went running from the room. Right into the arms of
people from Bluewater Village who held me and comforted me. One of those women went up to my father after my mother’s funeral and said “You will not die alone.”

He didn’t. She took him in her home. He had his own room. She arranged for people to be in her home around the clock at his bedside on 6-hour shifts for the next 16 months
until he died.

Six months or so later, I was making a roast. Even though it was long distance and that cost a lot, I needed to talk to my mom. I picked up the phone to call and ask her what temperature to set the oven to. I had most of the numbers dialed before I remembered. I sat down in the middle of the kitchen and cried.

I talked to my dad the day he died. I didn’t know it was his last day. I just called to talk to him and asked if he wanted to talk to the kids too. He said “no I don’t want them to remember me like this.”

My brother had chosen to drop out of college while my dad was dying to spend time with him, and he was at church singing a solo that day. I asked his carer to have him call me when he came in.

At 12:01 my dad asked his carer what time it was, they told him. He said “oh good.” My brother walked in the door about then, into my dad’s room and my dad died.

My brother called me a few minutes later. We talked for a couple of minutes then I said “how are you, anyway?” and he said “not too good” and I said “why” and he said “Dad just died.”

I cried. I got to cry. I actually cried. I was sitting on the stairs in my house and I was crying and no one could tell me that I was suffering from misemotion or anything like that.

Because I knew at that moment, that there was no one left in the world who would love me no matter what.

I called my work and left a message with the answering service that my dad had died and I wouldn’t be there the next day. My boss called me the next morning to ensure that I knew they offered three days compassionate leave and that I had two weeks’ paid vacation and a week paid sick leave still coming too so take my time, they had a floater at my desk. I didn’t even have to think about whether to tell them and they certainly didn’t think to tell me I had to stay.

Scientology can tell you that they will come back, that they are only meat bodies, they can sell you on all that. What they cannot and will never be able to do is understand that there are connections that are broken when a person dies and if you are not allowed to grieve for the lost connections, you do harm to your own soul, the very acts they take to “rid you of those harmful emotions” actually harm you by not allowing you to live them.

— Valerie Ross



Technology Cocktail

“ARC Straight Wire is more tech than Man ever had before. It produces a stable gain. This is true of every level on up. We have just had a PreOT whose case at every level ‘was going to be solved by the next level.’ People kept saying he “needed the next level” to solve his case. Bull. He got all the way to OT II before I caught wind of it. He “had to have OT III” to solve his case according to the Qual Sec. That case probably never made ARC Straight Wire! One or more earlier levels or ruds or 7 cases are out. That’s the trouble with that case.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1969



We first broke the news of the LAPD’s investigation of Scientology celebrity Danny Masterson on rape allegations in 2017, and we’ve been covering the story every step of the way since then. At this page we’ve collected our most important links as Danny faces a potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison. NOW WITH TRIAL INDEX.


THE PODCAST: How many have you heard?

[1] Marc Headley [2] Claire Headley [3] Jeffrey Augustine [4] Bruce Hines [5] Sunny Pereira [6] Pete Griffiths [7] Geoff Levin [8] Patty Moher [9] Marc Headley [10] Jefferson Hawkins [11] Michelle ‘Emma’ Ryan [12] Paulette Cooper [13] Jesse Prince [14] Mark Bunker [15] Jon Atack [16] Mirriam Francis [17] Bruce Hines on MSH

— SPECIAL: The best TV show on Scientology you never got to see


[1] Phil Jones [2] Derek Bloch [3] Carol Nyburg [4] Katrina Reyes [5] Jamie DeWolf

— The first Danny Masterson trial and beyond

[18] Trial special with Chris Shelton [19] Trial week one [20] Marc Headley on the spy in the hallway [21] Trial week two [22] Trial week three [23] Trial week four [24] Leah Remini on LAPD Corruption [25] Mike Rinder 2022 Thanksgiving Special [26] Jane Doe 4 (Tricia Vessey), Part One [27] Jane Doe 4 (Tricia Vessey), Part Two [28] Claire Headley on the trial [29] Tory Christman [30] Bruce Hines on spying [31] Karen de la Carriere [32] Ron Miscavige on Shelly Miscavige [33] Karen de la Carriere on the L’s [34] Mark Bunker on Miscavige hiding [35] Mark Plummer [36] Mark Ebner [37] Karen Pressley [38] Steve Cannane [39] Fredrick Brennan [40] Clarissa Adams [41] Louise Shekter [42] John Sweeney [43] Tory Christman [44] Kate Bornstein [45] Christian Stolte [46] Mark Bunker [47] Jon Atack [48] Luke Y. Thompson [49] Mark Ebner [50] Bruce Hines [51] Spanky Taylor and Karen Pressley [51] Geoff and Robbie Levin [52] Sands Hall [53] Jonny Jacobsen [54] Sandy Holeman


Source Code

“You can pick up a rock and handle it quite safely. It won’t disappear on you for the excellent reason that it has so many fundamentals, so many basics, so many premises from which it sprang. There are so many alter-isnesses which have proceeded along the line, that it’s not really likely to as-is in your hands. But if you start plowing around about the original rock or the source of all rocks, or you start questioning the source of all rocks, if you did it expertly enough I’m afraid you would feel the rock tremble, because if you did it completely successfully, it’s liable to be gone.” — L. Ron Hubbard, March 7, 1957


Avast, Ye Mateys

“The ship looks good and Captain Robertson is to be congratulated on it and the officers and crew are thanked for their care and attention. I am glad to be back aboard. The only trouble is that ashore the dogs bark all night and now, without this I probably won’t be able to sleep. However, Janet Guilford says we can organize an All Hands Barking Stations.” — The Commodore, March 7, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone


“LRH tried to get an enormous amount done in a short life time and it is somewhat of a miracle that he got as much done as he did. He realized that just shooting people up the Bridge to OT was not enough and OTs can be keyed in again (after all, we were originally) and entheta is so prevalent on this planet in so many levels it is very difficult for even a small group to stay exterior let alone an individual. This is why the focus became ‘Clearing the planet’ and getting more and more people educated and through the lower levels in an attempt to raise the tone level of the planet overall to an environment where stable OTs could be made. The more we retreat into our little close knit community the smaller we will get and we will end up back where we started, newly gain experience notwithstanding. We need to expand, get more people ON the bridge, find out what people so desperately need most of and expand our base.”


Past is Prologue

1999: Mirabella magazine published an interview with Scientology celebrity Jenna Elfman. “Bodhi [Elfman, her husband] also introduced her to the Church of Scientology. ‘He didn’t push it on me or anything. I started becoming curious, from hearing him talk about it. I took a course where you get the basic concepts. It was everything I felt I already knew, but I was missing pieces, so I couldn’t apply it to life.’ She doesn’t proselytize — ‘our founder, L. Ron Hubbard, says if it’s true for you, it’s true for you, and if it’s not, it’s not. There are all these misconceptions about someone pushing it on you’ — but says that Scientology restored her confidence and helped her focus on career goals. ‘I went, This is for me — I like this! It just kind of cleared everything out.’ ‘Psychiatrists believe man is an animal, which means there’s no soul, which I think is a lie.’ The statement suggests acceptance of Scientology’s virulent antipsychiatry stance, and a lack of experience with therapy, a fact she readily cops to. She favors a Scientology process involving a machine called an E-meter. The subject holds two canlike objects hooked up to the E-meter. ‘You know how your head feels heavy when you’re having a problem?’ Elfman says. ‘It’s actually mass that you can weigh. It’s compressed mental energy. And the E-meter sees changes in that.’ A counselor asks questions about what might be bothering you, Elfman explains, and if your response jolts the needle on the E-meter, you know you’ve found the root of your problem. ‘The counselor helps you pinpoint exactly, so there’s no maybe-it’s-this, maybe-it’s-that. There’s lightning-fast progress, because you’re handling only the charged areas. You don’t dilly-dally. What you can do in literally about a half hour will take people a year or two to do in therapy.'”


Random Howdy

“Hubbard deciding the right tone level for being mauled by a bear is fabulous.”


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 March 26, 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: motion to file new complaint, hearing on March 20.
Jane Doe 1 v. Scientology, David Miscavige, and Gavin Potter: Case unsealed and second amended complaint filed. Scientology moves for religious arbitration, hearing on March 26.
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] Scientology: Trafficking suit has a Waffle House problem. ALSO: Newiga sings in Tokyo!
[TWO years ago] The new Impact magazine is here, and we get to see Scientology’s biggest donors celebrated!
[THREE years ago] The Top 25 People Enabling Scientology, No. 5: The dirty tricks private eyes
[FOUR years ago] Valerie Haney asks judge to reconsider ruling, and has some excellent arguments
[FIVE years ago] Scientology denied: Eleventh Circuit brushes aside church attempt to stop Garcia appeal
[SIX years ago] Is American culture now so hopeless that Scientology’s insanity is no longer notable?
[SEVEN years ago] Paul Haggis spoils movie night for Scientology, shows what a real humanitarian does
[EIGHT years ago] There’s a backstory to the recent news of a Scientology TV ad being banned in the UK
[NINE years ago] Jon Atack visits an org — ALSO: The richest Scientologist gets even richer!
[TEN years ago] BRAD HALSEY, 1957-2014
[ELEVEN years ago] Blogging Dianetics, Part 10: Killing the Grizzly


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 2,832 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 3,327 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,842 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,392 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,382 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,263 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,567 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,438 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,990 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,331 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,898 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,817 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,985 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,566 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,827 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,863 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,579 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 3,143 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,458 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,633 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 7,184 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,315 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,653 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,508 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,626 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,983 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,286 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,392 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,790 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,666 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 3,231 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,744 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,998 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 15,107 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on March 7, 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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