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John Travolta and Elisabeth Moss were front-and-center for Scientology birthday bash

We finally got around to looking at Scientology’s rah-rah press release about its 2024 L. Ron Hubbard birthday event, which took place on March 16 in Clearwater, Florida.

Old Ron, Scientology’s founder, would have been 113 this year if he hadn’t voluntarily left his body in 1986 to pursue his researches into the human mind in another part of the galaxy (or died of a stroke at 74, for you non-Scientologists).

Born on March 13, 1911, Ron is celebrated around that date every year, and the party returned this year after the pandemic to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. It was also broadcast live to Scientology centers around the world as current church leader David Miscavige outdid himself during the three and a half hour performance.

“As is befitting on this night of nights, we will present what LRH most wished for on his birthday: not only a Birthday Game that signifies EXPANSION, but also, the expansionist destiny as fueled by his Technology and all as manifested in Ideal Orgs,” Miscavige said. “But, why understate it? Truth is, you can mark tonight as a watershed milestone from which we will never look back. Moreover, it’s a milestone with exponential ramifications.”

Anyway, that’s what the church’s press release says, and we’re sure it was a gas of a time. But more importantly, for our purposes, Scientology’s news website posts photos of the crowd, and when we zoomed in on them we found something interesting.


There in the front row, in the center, were none other than John Travolta and a very pregnant Elisabeth Moss, standing side by side.


The last time the Birthday Event was held at Ruth Eckerd Hall, in 2019, Travolta was also in the front row, but as a Florida resident it’s not a long trip for him.

As for Moss, this is the first time we have ever spotted her at any of the major Scientology events (New Year’s, LRH Birthday, Maiden Voyage in June, IAS in October). Make of that what you will.

The woman in the red dress, by the way, is Trish Duggan, the world’s wealthiest Scientologist who has been in the news lately for coming to the financial aid of former president Donald Trump.

Is that Linda Moss, Elisabeth’s mother, between her and Trish? We’re not sure. But there’s no doubt that Travolta, Moss, and Duggan make up three of the most important Scientologists in the world.

So where’s Tom Cruise?

We didn’t see Top Gun in the crowd shots, but before the Daily Mail whips up a story about how that means Tom must be leaving Scientology, let’s remember that only last November Cruise not only showed up to press the flesh at the IAS gala in East Grinstead, England, but he flew to the event very visibly in his helicopter.

Anyway, we hope this tamps down some of the constant tabloid speculation about how all of these high-level Scientologists are all defecting or something. There was a lot of that about Travolta after the death of his wife Kelly Preston. But no, John is still front and center for David Miscavige on the big night to celebrate JT’s hero, L. Ron Hubbard.

We did see other interesting figures in the crowd, and we hope you can help us identify still more. We’ve marked a few other front row folks here.



And here’s the rest of the front row from the other side, with major donor Tom Cummins in the purple shirt at the end. Who else do you recognize?


We’re sure everyone had a wonderful time listening to David Miscavige for more than three hours.

And so we’ll give him the last word, from his speech that night:

“You are now experiencing what you could call a Golden Age of being a Scientologist and of winning Universal Freedom. Regardless of how you choose to wield your freedom,” he continued, “do take your own next step … so you will win, and we will all win.”

Hip, hip, hooray!


Technology Cocktail

“A woman has a child. The engram of delivery should be run out soon after. The result of doing so is very spectacular. There is no “postpartum psychosis” or dislike of the child and no permanent injury to the mother. It is in fact best to audit the mother both before and after the delivery, which gives one fast relatively painless childbirth and quick recovery.” — 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

“We need, then, a peaceful planet. So I worked this out originally as…what became the name of the project: International City Project. Well, I…finally came to the conclusion that if all the capitals of the world were located inside one city that they were not likely to bomb each other out, that they, in effect, would be very careful of declaring war. They would be close cheek by jowl enough to discuss most of their problems…Now, you take every capital of the world and treat it accordingly and then treat it in such a way that transport within the capital is very fast and so that each and every section and center of the capital has some of its own atmosphere rather easily planned up, by the way. It isn’t just a sprawling mess…So Wendell Willkie came out with something he called One World, and practically everybody shot him down in his tracks. He was a pioneer in this particular field. But nevertheless this idea has become more and more popular and it’s actually sweeping in that direction. The first step would have to be you’d have to persuade all governments to turn over all atomic weapons, stocks, control of atomic manufacturers to the United Nations at once, you see. Second step is persuade the United Nations and all governments to select a site for and construct an International City, preferably in North Africa on the Mediterranean coast where land reclamation can expand its area and where its communication lines can be easily centered for Earth. Third step: Persuade all governments to remove their capitals to International City complete with heads of government, congresses and parliaments. Prohibit a secondary capital or even a communication relay center within the country itself.” — L. Ron Hubbard, March 24, 1964


Avast, Ye Mateys

“TELEXES are meant to be answered the same day; when answered, they go to the ‘Telexes In’ basket in the Comm Bu. Deadline 2300 hrs. Even if they cannot be answered immediately, they should be returned to this basket, as these telexes go up to LRH for his viewing after 2300. These unanswered telexes will then be returned for answering.” — Org Off Bu IV, March 24, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“The point is not to evaluate who is a squirrel or what groups are squirrel. The point is that they tell the truth about their training and the source of their programs. As long as the PC/Client is aware of what is the true training and the source of their processes, some of the auditors invent their own rundowns. If the person is fully aware and still wants to go ahead and accepts that, it’s up to them. I have seen PCs who don’t care if the person is doing their own invented processes, or Internet auditing, etc. The point it’s not to control what is going on, but to detect who is perpetrating fraud and report them. That way PCs, students and clients know the risks. In other words what is their ethics status.”


Past is Prologue

2002: Scientologist John Mappin has lost a case in the U.K. for defrauding a gossip columnist, claiming that he would produce a film based on the writer’s life. From The Guardian: “Benjamin Pell, better known as ‘Benji the Binman,’ has won back the 77,500 pounds he was hoodwinked into paying to finance a bogus Hollywood blockbuster about his life, following a high court ruling this afternoon. Mr. Pell brought an action for fraudulent misrepresentation against John Mappin, an heir to the Mappin and Webb jewelry empire, claiming he had been ‘duped.’ He made four separate payments totaling 77,500 pounds so as not to miss this ‘unique opportunity to work with one of the biggest names in Hollywood.’ His counsel, Marion Smith, said: ‘He believed there were going to be Hollywood writers on the case, for it to be picked up by a Hollywood studio, cast with big-name actors and a Hollywood film resulting.’ In fact, the ‘well-connected Hollywood film-maker’ was a friend of Mr. Mappin called Iain Jones, who turned out to be a hairdresser. Mr. Jones, she claimed, had never directed or produced any film at all, but had been credited with hair design on three Quentin Tarantino films – Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and White Man’s Burden. Describing a videotape which showed Mr. Pell boasting about his ability to deceive judges and court officials, the judge said: ‘He appears proud of his ability to pass himself off as ‘an absolute nutter’ so as to hoodwink his psychiatrist.’ But, the judge ruled, Mr. Pell’s conduct in the witness box ‘paled into insignificance’ when compared to Mr. Mappin’s ‘mendacity’ in the case. He said his deception began when he ‘lied to the police’ over the money Mr. Pell had paid to him, and he ‘compounded’ his lies by ‘putting before the court a witness statement which gives a wholly mendacious account of his dealings with Mr. Pell.’ Mr. Mappin, who was also ordered to pay costs estimated at 250,000 pounds, said the high court failed to understand the way Hollywood worked. ‘We are actually on track to deliver exactly what was promised to Mr. Pell,’ he said. ‘There are no guarantees where film making is concerned, but the Pell film project is certainly on track.'”



Random Howdy

“I went to the Scientology rebuttal site for ‘Going Clear’ and it’s almost as long as the book! They start fairly low-keyed and then next thing I knew they were inferring that Dave Touretzky was trying to get people to bomb Scientology orgs. They can’t control the crazy for too long.”


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: Some defamation claims were removed by Judge Hammock. Leah seeking to amend her complaint.
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 May 29.
Jane Doe 1 v. Scientology, David Miscavige, and Gavin Potter: Case unsealed and second amended complaint filed. Scientology moves for religious arbitration, hearing on April 16.
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] Private eye firm that spied for Scientology throws up the white flag in sordid lawsuit
[TWO years ago] Scientology leader says he has 2.5 million square feet of new churches coming soon
[THREE years ago] Danny Masterson holds on to his passport as judge decides he’s no flight risk
[FOUR years ago] Scientology leader David Miscavige calls the pandemic ‘planetary bullbait’ in epic briefing
[SIX years ago] Leah Remini talks ‘Aftermath,’ developing a new show, and more with Chris Shelton
[SEVEN years ago] DREAM LAWSUIT: ‘God of Pop’ Kuba Ka vs the Church of Scientology. THANK XENU, IT’S ON!
[EIGHT years ago] Chris Shelton: How Scientologists can use critical thinking to break free
[NINE years ago] ‘Going Clear’: Paul Haggis pens a description of the Scientology experience you won’t forget
[TEN years ago] Jillian Schlesinger says Scientology now ‘sneakier’ about forcing abortions
[ELEVEN years ago] It’s Ron’s Birthday, And Your Present is More Scientology Stuff to Spend Money On!


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 2,849 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 3,344 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,859 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,409 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,399 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,280 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,584 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,455 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 5,007 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,348 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,915 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,834 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 5,002 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,583 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,844 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,880 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,596 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 3,160 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,475 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,650 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 7,201 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,332 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,670 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,523 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,644 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 3,000 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,303 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,409 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,807 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,683 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 3,248 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,761 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 4,015 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 15,124 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on March 24, 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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