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Trophy life: A rare look inside the family of a wealthy Scientology ‘whale’

[Liz and Dave, up to Platinum Meritorious With Honors, $3.75 million]

TODAY AT SUBSTACK: If you’ve signed up for free emails at Substack, you will receive today’s feature story at your inbox: For years we’ve watched Scientology’s richest members accept large trophies for the millions they give the IAS, and often we wonder, who are these people? Where did their money come from? And how does it affect their families that they fork over so much cash to David Miscavige? [What is this Substack thing, anyway?]


Technology Cocktail


“Dianetics and Scientology (demonstrated by carefully controlled tests) greatly speed up reaction time. They also increase IQ rapidly and were the reason colleges came off their ‘IQs never change.’ As a person is audited he becomes quicker mentally. Also he becomes less comm-laggy. Also he is more familiar with technology and his own case and is less afraid of himself and his ‘bank’.” — 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 [55] Mark Bunker [56] Trish and Liz Conley [57] Trish Conley [58] Alex Barnes-Ross [59] Alex Barnes-Ross [60] Alex Barnes-Ross [61] Alex Barnes-Ross [62] Alex Barnes-Ross [63] Alex Barnes-Ross [64] Tory Christman [65] Tammy Synovec [66] Dennis Erlich [67] Alex Barnes-Ross [68] Valerie Ross [69] Kat in Austin [70] Mark Bunker [71] Phil Jones



Source Code

“The fact that a bank has been built and maintained and added to works against just achieving higher levels of beingness in the process of livingness. And that is all that prevents it. And this was quite revelatory to me. You’d say this is not much of a point and it’s true enough, it isn’t much of a point. It’s one of these elementary things that doesn’t change around the basic concepts of Scientology any. But it does this, it does this: it puts a different complexion on this universe; and it puts a different complexion on what you might care to do; and it puts a different complexion on your future for the next two hundred trillion years. See, this changes that. Your concept that the only thing you could do is get to a point where you could get totally out of this universe, or something like that, if you had such a concept — the only way you could ever win is to just get away from all this MEST and space and so forth — those concepts are, apparently, invalid. Which is a very hopeful happy note. I feel like a certain Pollyanna idiocy taking over, you see?” — L. Ron Hubbard, April 25, 1963


Avast, Ye Mateys

“NEWS ITEM: Phil Wearne, whose instigation of the infamous Melbourne inquiry began the Anzo attacks and who later confessed and fully documented his lies and guilt, died recently in Sydney. Cause of death not known here. Sooner or later it seems to kill them.” — The Commodore, April 25, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“I was inserted into a meat body and lived in an age old rural space in ancient buildings. Endless study from books and tablets for several thousand of what I would call years. This space was large and somewhat Earth-like, but still separate from the general population of this universe. I was asked often about what I had learned and what I was learning. This was the portion of training in which punishment was introduced. The pain, and confusion, and disorientation implants. Electronic implants as well as deprivation implants. But it was done in such a way that it was always your fault for making errors. These implants were effective, but depended entirely on previous training and AGREEMENTS for their strength. The most powerful and most difficult implants to find and sort out were the times of ACCOMPLISHMENT. When I learned to keep a balance between keeping harmony and initiating new activity, according to the instructions, I was given praise and graduated to the next step. The abilities that I was not allowed to use in order to keep things ‘fair for all’ etc. Using mental machinery to predict occurrences is an example of things not allowed. These were VERY powerful postulates and decisions that were imposed. And this was just the most recent universe. There were many before with similar training requirements and ‘accomplishment’ implants. Each one more refined and more effective than the previous.”



Past is Prologue

1998: Bob Minton posted the text of his address to the Cult Information Service this week. “I am involved in a controversy with the Church of Scientology over the most fundamental right in a democracy–the freedom to speak. Scientology hypocritically cries that theirs is a persecuted religion attacked by bigoted and intolerant critics. Further, Scientology’s mantra, repeated ad-nauseum throughout their paranoid and delusional history, continues to be that those individuals and governments who dare criticize their anti-social goals, tactics and civil rights abuses of their own members are engaged in some grand conspiracy to destroy Scientology. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am just one of many persons working actively to force much needed reform on Scientology. These reforms must acknowledge that all of us, Scientologists especially, have an inalienable right to criticize, oppose or scrutinize practices and tactics used by their organization which we view as contrary to the respect and dignity required towards our fellow man. Without these most basic rights, there certainly cannot be religious freedom, or in fact any freedom, in our democracy. This is an organization that literally cowers at the truth. Scientology claims to be able to create supernatural powers and enable people to confront any situation except one — the truth about their organization. Perhaps Jesus has an explanation for this anomaly that can be found in (John 3:20-21) when he warned: ‘For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved [exposed and rebuked]. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.’ Standing up to the Church of Scientology has been an incredibly enlightening and enriching personal experience — a test of my character at every step of the way. I’ve gotten to know many former scientologists, and clearly they are some of the nicest people I’ve ever known. While in scientology, these very same people were taught to lie and betray and acquiesce to having their own rights taken away from them. This proves to me that even an organization as totalitarian as scientology cannot strip away innate human goodness, and gives me hope that we will get to know many more former scientologists as our actions continue in the coming weeks and months.”


Random Howdy

“I think it’s called the ‘If you become rich & famous, all is forgiven’ tech.”


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 May 17, 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] Opening statement a big improvement for prosecution at Danny Masterson retrial
[TWO years ago] When Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard revealed how crazy your afterlife will be
[THREE years ago] Scientology social media: Salvaging the planet by draining one bank account at a time
[FOUR years ago] Calling all patsies: Scientology tries desperately to keep its isolated members busy
[FIVE years ago] VIDEO: Danny Masterson accusers face down Scientology ploy at Denim Day rally
[SIX years ago] Former Scientology mouthpiece Tommy Davis has a new look and a new friend in his life
[SEVEN years ago] Someone forgot to notify the Dept. of Defense that Scientology is the world’s coolest religion
[EIGHT years ago] One of the best examples ever that Scientology can only be understood from ex-Scientologists
[NINE years ago] Jon Atack announces a five-day Toronto conference on Scientology to take place in June
[TEN years ago] Video Vault: The universe is yours to duplicate, Mr. Hubbard!
[ELEVEN years ago] FED COURT DENIES SCIENTOLOGY REQUEST: Decision on Religious Arbitration Coming Soon?


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 2,881 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 3,376 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,891 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,441 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,431 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,312 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,616 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,487 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 5,039 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,380 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,947 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,866 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 5,034 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,615 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,876 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,912 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,628 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 3,192 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,507 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,682 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 7,233 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,364 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,702 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,555 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,676 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 3,032 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,335 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,441 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,839 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,715 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 3,280 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,793 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 4,047 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 15,155 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on April 25, 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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