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[Laura DeCrescenzo and David Miscavige]

We have some updates for you from Laura DeCrescenzo’s forced-abortion case as it rapidly approaches its August 13 trial date.

A week ago, we told you that Scientology’s attorneys were scrambling to deal with a last-minute surprise from Laura’s legal team — she had filed a “notice to appear” requiring church leader David Miscavige to testify in the trial, which will consider her allegations of abuse as a child working for the church’s “Sea Organization.”

Scientology’s lawyers filed a motion to quash that subpoena, and asked Judge Mark Mooney to expedite his handling of it. The judge set a hearing date of Monday to make a decision about whether Miscavige would have to show up for the trial.

We have now learned that during that hearing on Friday, the attorney for the Religious Technology Center — the nominally controlling entity of Scientology as a whole — told the judge in open court that a mediation hearing on the case would be going on the next day.

We don’t know the result of that Saturday mediation hearing. However, we did learn that earlier today the Church of Scientology International dismissed its Ninth Circuit appeal on a federal lawsuit it had filed against Laura in one of its final gambits to try and delay her trial.

Also today, Laura’s attorneys withdrew the notice to appear that would have required Miscavige to testify in the trial. As a result, the Monday hearing to quash that subpoena won’t be held.

We called Laura’s attorney, John Blumberg, asking him what we should conclude from these changes, and he responded that he was unable to comment on the developments.

Even without Miscavige’s participation, the trial should be an ugly mess for Scientology, as attorney Scott Pilutik explained last week. “For Scientology, goal number one has always been to prevent any trial where the types of grisly abuses alleged by Laura are made public,” he told us.

So, here’s what we know. After a mediation hearing, both sides have now given up something going into the trial. Scientology’s Ninth Circuit appeal was a longshot attempt to overturn the dismissal of a longshot federal lawsuit it filed in December, hoping to convince the federal courts to kill Laura’s state court action. But even though the federal lawsuit seemed like a Hail Mary pass, if the appeal somehow succeeded, it would make her state lawsuit moot. So getting that dropped is one less headache for Laura.

And is she giving up a lot by letting Miscavige off the hook? A significant increase in media attention occurred in the last 24 hours over the prospect of Miscavige trying to get out of the case — imagine the press feeding frenzy if he’d actually been compelled to testify. So yes, this does seem like a pretty big chip to lose.

But either way, Scientology is still facing a major headache with the trial just a little more than three weeks away. Expect more fireworks as it nears.

 
——————–

Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,181 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,784 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 327 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 215 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,390 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,164 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,938 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,284 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,850 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,518 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,778 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,818 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,530 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,056 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,145 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,285 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,605 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,580 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 936 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,238 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,344 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,747 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,619 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,201 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,706 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,950 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,059 days.

——————–

Posted by Tony Ortega on July 19, 2018 at 19:30

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes 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 book, 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, 1995-2017 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2017), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
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

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten 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

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

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[Judge James D. Whittemore]

Judge James D. Whittemore has ruled that Luis and Rocio Garcia will have to live with the kangaroo court Scientology put them through in the name of religious arbitration.

The Garcias, a California couple, sued the Church of Scientology in Whittemore’s Tampa federal court in 2013 over allegations that they had been defrauded out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations they had made to the church over the years. But Whittemore ruled in 2015 that his court couldn’t hear their case because they had signed contracts as Scientology members with promises that they would take grievances to Scientology’s internal arbitration.

Court testimony established that the contracts had been cynically designed to keep members from getting refunds, and that there actually were no procedures for arbitration established by the church, but Whittemore brushed aside those concerns and gave the Garcias no choice but to submit themselves to whatever arbitration rules the church came up with, and he put the lawsuit under a stay.

The arbitration took place in October. Of the $969,269.10 the Garcias were seeking in refunds, the panel awarded them $18,495.36. But the Garcias complained to Whittemore that the money amount wasn’t an issue — the arbitration itself had been a farce, they argued, and they filed a motion asking Whittemore to call for an evidentiary hearing to investigate the matter. The Garcias had evidence, they said, that both the Garcias and Whittemore had been lied to by Scientology, and most of the evidence that the Garcias brought to the procedure was tossed out by the church’s “International Justice Chief,” Mike Ellis, and wasn’t even put before the three-person arbitrating panel.

But Whittemore, in the order he issued this week, says none of that matters.

“The Garcias agreed to arbitrate in accordance with Scientology arbitration procedures including the selection of arbitrators in good standing with the Church, whose partiality was a given,” the judge writes.

Translation: Once the court forced the Garcias to accept Scientology’s internal arbitration, the fact that Scientology stacked the deck against them was to be expected — and the court can do nothing about it.

“It therefore follows that comments by the arbitrators demonstrating their commitment to the Church and agreement with its policies, which the Garcias interpret as prejudice, cannot serve as a basis for vacating the award,” Whittemore also ruled.

Translation: They’re Scientologists and you’re never going to get a fair shake from them — but the court is powerless.

As for Ellis, the IJC, tossing out exhibits the Garcias had brought to show the panel, Whittemore writes, “Scientology justice procedures specify that the IJC would determine the arbitration procedures…[and] consider the documentary evidence…and the grounds for disallowance (irrelevance, hearsay, Entheta, or Other) on the ‘Religious Arbitration Exhibit Form.'”

There you have it, folks. A branch of the US government, in an official order, saying that Scientology can fleece people under the excuse of “entheta,” Scientology jargon for “anti-Scientology material.”

David Miscavige himself could not have written a more favorable order to the Church of Scientology.

The Garcias were not allowed to present evidence that they had been defrauded when they donated for the Super Power project, and when the panelists were asked if they were entitled to a refund, they simply checked “no” on a form given to them by the IJC.

“That is a sufficient finding,” Whittemore says.

Ultimately, Whittemore concludes, the Garcias were asking him to make judgments on Scientology as a religion, and he says he can’t go there.

So that’s the upshot. Fraud has been recognized as a sacrament of Scientology, enshrined and protected by a federal court.

But what do we know. We’re no legal expert. But we do know one. And here’s attorney Scott Pilutik to give us his thoughts on the order…

Judge Whittemore’s order is something of a disgrace but also not surprising, at least at this point. Once the judge accepted the premise that a Scientology arbitration hearing can be fair and impartial where the parties are Scientology and an ex-member even against that ex-member’s quite legitimate protestations, it would have been next to impossible for him to find that it wasn’t fair and impartial, no matter the evidence, because he’d already disregarded the Garcia’s concerns as invalid.

Mandatory arbitration, generally speaking, stacks the deck against plaintiffs, so it’s a cold day in hell when a plaintiff, seeking to escape a mandatory arbitration clause, loses and then prevails on the resulting arbitration. Religious arbitration is even worse for plaintiffs because the religious body can institute rules that the court can’t even interpret without violating the First Amendment.

This case was lost, however many years ago, when Judge Whittemore simply blew right past the manifestly obvious fact that Scientology just made up an arbitration procedure, only because the Garcias put them on the spot. What the Garcias were then subjected to was some hash of Scientologese and Calvinball that it had never used before.

And then Whittemore even helped set the parameters of this newfound religious arbitration despite having already decided that he couldn’t rule on the underlying merits out of First Amendment concerns. That’s like saying you can’t stay and eat and then wind up cooking the meal yourself. I think Whittemore’s activities here may render this vulnerable to appeal.

But this case went off the rails even earlier than that, when the judge agreed with Scientology’s fiction that the dispute was religious in nature. Either Scientology did or didn’t make false claims in emails to the Garcias inducing their donations. Deciding that question requires neither the red nor green volumes because it’s the same dispute brought in non-secular arenas.

Ultimately the Garcias were subjected to a rigged game with a predetermined outcome, and that statement is just as true for the arbitration as it was for their treatment by the court. In (mild) defense of Judge Whittemore, his declining to permit religious arbitration would be going against the wind. Judges love arbitration because it clears their dockets and there have been a load of pro-arbitration cases even since the Garcias brought their complaint. Add the pro (so-called) religious freedom trend to the mix and the wind is a gale.

 
We’ll let you know if the Garcias decide to appeal. For now, here’s Whittemore’s ruling…

Garcia v. Scientology: Order denying Garcia motion by Tony Ortega on Scribd

 
——————–

Shelton interviews Geoff Levin, part two

Says Chris: “This is part two of my conversation with former Scientologist Geoff Levin. In this part, we talk more about what happened when he left the Sea Org after a short stint in the RPF under L. Ron Hubbard, why he kept going in Scientology and how that led to the famous Dianetics ad campaign in the 1980s under the supervision of none other than Jefferson Hawkins.”

 

Scientology in the 80s & the Dianetics Ad Campaign - Geoff Levin (Part 2) - YouTube

 
——————–

Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,180 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,783 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 326 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 214 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,389 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,163 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,937 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,283 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,849 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,517 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,777 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,817 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,529 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,055 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,144 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,284 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,604 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,579 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 935 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,237 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,343 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,746 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,618 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,200 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,705 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,949 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,058 days.

——————–

Posted by Tony Ortega on July 19, 2018 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes 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 book, 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, 1995-2017 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2017), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
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

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten 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

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

Read Full Article
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[Efrem Logreira]

Earlier this year, we first heard from Efrem Logreira, who shared with us a letter he had sent to the Church of Scientology.

The letter was stunning. In it, Logreira, who is now 75, described making the long drive this past December from Palm Springs to the Scientology New Year’s Event being held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, only to be turned away at the door.

Logreira had only joined Scientology the previous June, at 74 years of age. But now he was shut out after the church had drained his savings, maxed out his credit cards, and impoverished him in only a few months.

By the time we first spoke with Logreira in the spring, the interest payments alone on the charges the church had made to his credit cards was $900 a month, and was about to make him homeless.

Since then, Logreira has made repeated attempts to have Scientology refund him the charges on programs that he will never use.

During that time, he asked us to hold off on writing an article. He wanted to give Scientology the opportunity to respond to his messages.

Now, months later, his most recent letters to the church have gone unanswered.

For years, we’ve heard from law enforcement officials and experts that one of the reasons government agencies are reluctant to take on Scientology is that the people who come forward with horror stories of being abused by the church only do so years or even decades after those abuses happened. And, we often hear that it’s financial crimes law enforcement are most interested in, the kind of thing that can be demonstrated with documents which spell things out in black and white.

Efrem Logreira’s struggles with Scientology did not happen years or decades ago. They are happening right now.

And as for financial documents, he has mountains of them.

This week, Logreira began turning over those financial records to law enforcement.

And to us, in regards to writing a story, he said yesterday, “go for it.”

 
[Efrem: “They opened all of these cards in my name.”]

“He’s a famous musician and a very talented man,” Efrem’s longtime friend tells us about him. “He has also contributed to the legal field and to informing Hispanics on legal issues, interpreting for people. He’s produced videos about workplace harassment.”

The friend, 77, met Logreira through LA’s latin music scene in the 1970s, and they’ve been close ever since.

“Efrem is a world-class act. He traveled with Stan Kenton. He traveled with the Jazz Crusaders and BB King. He’s got a resume that would choke a horse,” the friend says.

Efrem — who also spells his name Efrain — grew up in Cartagena, Colombia, and came to the US in 1969. His credits as a latin percussionist with Stan Kenton and BB King span from 1970 to the 1990s, and in re-issues to 2014.

But when music jobs got scarce in the 1990s, he turned to business. “I started Corte Hispana. I make educational films for the workplace,” Logreira says.

Then, last year he lost his footing when his business partner left, taking the business with her. “I was depressed. I had lost my place. So I turned to Scientology last year,” he says.

“His life was turned upside down after the separation,” his friend says. “And like all artists, he’s impulsive. He found Scientology through a friend, and they sold him a bill of goods. That’s not good for someone in his 70s.”

On June 21, 2017 Logreira was convinced to spend $215 on an introductory course at the LA Org, which is located in the “Big Blue” complex on Sunset Boulevard. That was followed in August with the “Purification Rundown,” which cost him $2,500.

In his initial letter to the church, Logreira says he has no issue with either of those expenditures. But he explains that when he was convinced to pay for the Purificiation Rundown, he was also sold the “Survival Rundown” (SRD) for another $2,500.

He only attended two sessions of the SRD and was unsatisfied with it. Also, he says he had been promised a job at the new Scientology Media Productions complex because of his background as a musician and composer.

No one told him, however, that in order to work at the SMP, he would have to join the Sea Organization and sign its billion-year contract.

Logreira also says that the Org promised to find him cheap housing while his life was a shambles. Instead, he was found a dangerous place to live and was kicked out by his landlord.

“The Staff at the LA Org were advised of my financial and unstable conditions, as I had just separated from my significant other and had no place to live nor did I have a job,” he wrote to the church in his initial letter. “However, in my weak state of mind they offered me salvation through Scientology, and told me that they would resolve my condition by taking additional courses and auditing and providing me with a job and a safe place to rent. I was looking for an answer to my sorry state of mind and fell for their empty promises.”

Beginning in August the church ran up huge charges on his credit cards for things he didn’t authorize and would never use.

— On August 7, the LA Org charged him $24,500 for 125 hours of “HGC Auditing Intensives.” No one explained to him what the purpose for this was.

— On August 10, the LA Org charged him $23,500 for 75 additional hours of HGC auditing for “Academy Levels 0, I, II, III, Professional TR courses, and Basic Books and Lecture Pack and the Student Hat.”

— On August 23, the LA Org charged him $20,000 for an additional 75 hours of auditing.

Logreira says he was being charged for more auditing (counseling) than he could receive in his lifetime, and for books that never arrived.

“Since October of 2017, I have made every congenial effort with all of the departments at the LA Org to be reimbursed for the interest charges and the payments extracted on my credit cards — $73,630.00.”

Even though he had received nothing for those charges, he was unable to pay even the interest on them.

When we first spoke with him, Efrem was renting a room from a friend. He was down to only enough money to cover one or two additional monthly payments of $900 on the interest, and his credit scores were diving.

In February and March, he met with an ethics officer at the LA Org to explain his predicament: After being charged more than $70,000 for Scientology services, he had been overheard at the Org complaining about his situation — that he was having to drive all the way in from Palm Springs for his courses at the same time that he was having such trouble just getting through his separation. Then, when he showed up at the New Year’s Event in December, he was told he couldn’t have a ticket and was barred from Scientology events.

After Logreira first spoke to us in the spring, he finally did get a response to his multiple letters — the LA Org refunded him $45,379.82 to one of his credit accounts. But he’s heard nothing more from the church, and he says Scientology owes him much more.

“I am damaged — financially, emotionally and physically. My state of mind is in confusion with the stress of owing almost $40,000, which is too big of a burden for me,” he wrote to the church in his most recent letter, which went unanswered.

We sent our own message yesterday to Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw, asking her why a 74-year-old would be charged for 275 hours of auditing after only his first course in Scientology.

Minutes after we sent that message, Logreira finally heard back from the LA Org for the first time in months, acknowledging that they had not responded to his letters of June 14, June 21 and July 9.

“I just wanted to let you know that your emails have been received and that this matter is being reviewed so that it can be resolved as fast as possible,” wrote the org.

Even Scientology has to know how bad this case looks. And we have to think law enforcement is going to take it seriously.

We’ll let you know what we can about Efrem’s ongoing ordeal.

 

 
——————–

Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,179 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,782 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 325 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 213 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,388 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,162 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,936 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,282 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,848 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,516 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,776 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,816 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,528 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,054 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,143 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,283 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,603 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,578 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 934 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,236 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,342 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,745 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,617 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,199 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,704 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,948 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,057 days.

——————–

Posted by Tony Ortega on July 18, 2018 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes 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 book, 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, 1995-2017 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2017), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
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

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten 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

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

Read Full Article
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Regular correspondent Jeffrey Augustine has a rather startling discovery to share with us…

It’s December 2, 1993, and in Colombia’s city of Medellin, in the Los Olivos residential district, the world’s wealthiest and most violent drug dealer is hiding out in a nondescript two-story home. The man is the notorious Pablo Escobar, whose cocaine cartel has brutally murdered countless people. Even the United States is not safe. Miami has been gripped in a wave of violence and killings ordered by Escobar.

Escobar is talking to his son on the phone. A Colombian military intelligence operative intercepts the call and relays information to other members of the Search Bloc, a special unit of the National Police. Led by Colonel Hugo Martínez, the Search Bloc team moves in and stealthily approaches the building containing Escobar, located at Carrera 79B #45D-94. Alerted to their presence, Escobar says goodbye to his son.

Álvaro de Jesús Agudelo, a/k/a “El Limón,” is Escobar’s only bodyguard this day. Escobar and El Limón open fire on the police as they make their way upstairs. The two men then jump out of a second story window onto the roof of the smaller home next to their hideout. As they do so, another group of Search Bloc members make their way onto the neighboring rooftops.

 
[The Final Moments: Heavily armed Search Bloc members close in on Escobar and El Limón]

Escobar and his bodyguard never make it off the red tile rooftop of the house onto which they had jumped. El Limón is shot and killed almost immediately. The force of the gunfire propels his body off the rooftop of the house and onto the ground.

Escobar is trapped on the rooftop as he fires at the Search Bloc in a desperate attempt to escape. Two bullets rip through Escobar’s leg and torso. The fatal shot tears through Escobar’s right ear and kills him instantly. Escobar collapses on the tile roof. Colonel Martínez shouts into his radio, “Viva Colombia! We have just killed Pablo Escobar!”

Since that shootout, debates have raged over whether Escobar was actually killed by the police or ended his own life. He had reportedly told his family that if he were ever cornered, he would put a bullet into his ear, which was the location of the fatal shot. But either way, the location of that scene has become a local landmark, and you can find numerous websites and videos that provide a guide to finding the two-story hideout.

In one particular video of the location, the camera operator shows that the old hideout has gained a third story, but it’s clearly still recognizable as the house were Escobar had been hiding out…

 

 
And when he zooms out a little, his eye is drawn to a curious looking volcano next door…

 

 
As he then quickly pans past that next door storefront, we can see that it bears the name “Casa Hubbard”….

 

 
A check of Scientology’s website confirms that the Scientology Mission in Medellin is, in fact, located right next door to the Pablo Escobar death house:

 

 
Scientology’s choice of location for a mission is, in our view, a perfect metaphor: Scientology is a transnational criminal syndicate run by a crime boss with an army of enforcers and paid thugs.

 
— Jeffrey Augustine

 
Thank you for that sobering connection, Jeffrey. And looking at the most recent Google streetview of the location, taken in July 2017, you can see on the left the low rooftop where Escobar came to rest, in the middle the two-story-turned-three-story hideout (now a “Spanish School”), and on the right the building no longer has its Casa Hubbard signage. As so many other Scientology missions around the world, this one appears to exist only in a church website directory.

 

 
——————–

Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,178 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,781 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 324 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 212 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,387 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,161 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,935 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,281 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,847 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,515 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,775 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,815 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,527 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,053 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,142 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,282 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,602 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,577 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 933 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,235 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,341 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,744 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,616 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,198 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,703 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,947 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,056 days.

——————–

Posted by Tony Ortega on July 17, 2018 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes 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 book, 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, 1995-2017 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2017), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
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

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten 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

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

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[David Miscvaige during Maiden Voyage]

A couple of weeks ago, we posted some images from this year’s “Maiden Voyage” celebration in the Caribbean. Over three weeks, the faithful at local orgs get a chance to watch some video from the event. On this past Saturday, it was “IAS Night” on L. Ron Hubbard Way in Los Angeles, and we happened to have a correspondent on the scene where the faithful gathered to watch video of dear leader David Miscavige. Here are some of our tipster’s observations of how that shindig went…

 
Nation of Islam Minister Tony Muhammad attended the event on LRH Way and sat in the middle of the first row. He wore his IAS Freedom Medal.

Joy Villa also attended the event on LRH Way. She also sat in the front row.

Former NAACP figure Fred Shaw also attended and sat in the front row. He was also heavily featured in the video.

Four other things stood out for me about the video.

First, an unnamed LAPD Captain — in uniform — praised the Church of Scientology by name (and not one of the front groups, like Drug-Free World). The Danny Masterson accusers might have some thoughts on that.

Secondly, Scientology front group Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) is really pushing the button of psychiatric racial discrimination with Black people and other people of color, such as First Nations People in Canada. And by “psychiatric racial discrimination” I obviously do not refer to deprivation of such services, but on the contrary alleged over-diagnosis of mental illness (if I recall correctly, the video stated that one of of every six Black people were diagnosed as having a mental illness), over-prescription of psychiatric medication (particularly ADHD medication), and overuse of ECT (particularly with minors). ECT was featured. It appears the majority of pro-CCHR testimonials were by people of color who thanked CCHR for addressing these issues.

Third, with regard to Scientology United / Youth for Human Rights efforts, it appears in the US Scientology may now be content if other groups use their U/YHR materials but retain their own branding and group identity.

Fourth, also featured were the group Gentleman’s Course, led by BB King’s grandson, and the fact he is now conducting it in conjunction with a Youth for Human Rights seminar.

The focus was really on CCHR and Youth for Human Rights. Drug-Free World, Narconon, Way to Happiness, and Applied Scholastics all got attention, but not as hard hitting. I don’t recall a word being said about Criminon.

For me, the news was the CCHR focus on minority communities. But no mention of Tony Muhammad or NOI. None. The focus was on Fred Shaw in LA, then First Nations and a chief in Canada.

 
[Maiden Voyage — the official T-shirt]

 
——————–

Bonus items from our tipsters

Says our correspondent: “Golden Era Productions sends out these casting notices almost every day. It looks like some of the Scientology Channel programming is being translated to other languages: ‘Narrate 50 hours of programming’? The notices are a look into where the church is looking to expand. Evidently, these countries are on the list to be cleared first.”

 

 
——————–

Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,177 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,780 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 323 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 211 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,386 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,160 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,934 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,280 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,846 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,514 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,774 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,814 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,526 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,052 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,141 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,281 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,601 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,576 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 932 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,234 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,340 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,743 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,615 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,197 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,702 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,946 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,055 days.

——————–

Posted by Tony Ortega on July 16, 2018 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes 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 book, 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, 1995-2017 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2017), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
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

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten 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

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

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Rod Keller once again finds Scientology trying to capitalize on the misfortune of others…

The moors around Manchester are on fire. These are peat fires, slow and smoky rather than the blazing inferno fires of the American west. Fire crews have battled to contain fires at Saddleworth Moor in Tameside, Winter Hill in Bolton and in Denshaw around the clock and supplies for the crews are running low so the call went out for donations from the public.

“We are in urgent need of the following at Stalybridge Community Fire Station, SK15 1RF: – Sun cream – Insect repellent – Baseball caps – Pairs of socks, thick and thin” reads a tweet from the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.

 
[Did somebody mention socks?]

The response from the community has been tremendous, including one organization that collected donations from local businesses for transport to the fire stations – the Scientology org in Manchester.

To all in the Manchester area! You know we have some wildfires about us? Well, we are formulating a VM response. Please be ready to help. You will be contacted soon. The Org is the coordinating point. Andrea Hadjigeorgiou is the Org I/C for this, for today. Donations so vital supplies can be bought would help, and some of your time. These two things you can be sure of. This VM action is all part of going Ideal!

 
[Volunteer Minister I/C (in charge) Neil Martland picks up donated pizza from Bits ‘n’ Pizza]

VMs, or Volunteer Ministers, are part of Div 6C under the Field Control Secretary. In many orgs that post is empty, and they report to the Public Executive Secretary who is in charge of all of Div 6, the Public Division that is usually the largest division in an org. In the UK they are best known as being called “vultures” for setting up a tent at the Grenfell Tower site in West London where 79 people died in a horrific apartment building fire in 2017.

 
[VM van at Grenfell Tower]

At Grenfell Tower Scientology was accused by neighbors of inappropriate recruiting, but that’s not the VMs main concern. The VMs exist to implement L. Ron Hubbard’s policy called “safepointing.” Opinion leaders, such as fire station captains, are recruited as allies of Scientology rather than as members. Hubbard wrote that establishing allies was essential to establishing a Scientology org. Allies would help defend the org when the inevitable attacks come from Suppressive Persons and Psychologists. Manchester org is renovating a building to be its Ideal Org and Scientologists believe that safepointing is essential to that effort. As the call for donations says “This VM action is all part of going Ideal!”

 

[Andrea Hadjigeorgiou picks up donations from Subway and delivers to the Bolton fire station]

Hi VMs we are gathering our resources and finding out what’s needed and wanted and delivering it to tackle the fires that are still burning away on Saddleworth moor and north of Bolton. At the moment it’s caps, socks, water and non perishable foods that’s required and Andrea and Jon have done a great job in getting some of this out to Bolton in particular! This message is a call to be on standby to help with further efforts of a VM kind that only we can deliver! Are you with us!!!??

 

[19 biryani were donated by Mumtaz Indian restaurant for the Bolton fire station]

The hubris that only Scientology VMs can help deliver socks and Indian takeaway food is typical of Scientology. Their literature is full of claims that only Narconon can treat drug addiction, only a Scientologist can help those injured in a car accident, only Scientology can prevent war, end crime and insanity. That attitude trickles down to the smallest VM action such as delivering donated pizza.

 
[The Duckworth’s Essence Distillery building will become the Manchester Ideal Org]

Today the fires appear to be contained due to hard work from firefighters and some heavy rain. Scientology may have some new allies in the fire stations, but the Ideal Org will open with or without safepointing. Hubbard’s theory that allies are needed to establish an org is absurd, and the strength of bonds formed with allies from donations such as these are casual at best. The fire stations put out a call for supplies and were happy to receive them. They will not protect Scientology from attacks, lawsuits, protests or investigations into the harm Scientology does.

 
— Rod Keller

 
——————–

Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,176 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,779 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 322 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 210 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,385 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,159 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,933 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,279 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,845 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,513 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,773 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,813 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,525 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,051 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,140 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,280 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,600 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,575 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 931 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,233 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,339 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,742 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,614 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,196 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,701 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,945 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,054 days.

——————–

Posted by Tony Ortega on July 15, 2018 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes 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 book, 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, 1995-2017 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2017), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
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

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten 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

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

Read Full Article
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[Kay Rowe]

Continuing with our Saturday series of book excerpts, we’re happy to give you a substantial look at Kay Rowe’s book Over the Edge: A Pawn in the Scientology Money Machine, which came out last year. She is giving us a look at the world of asking other Scientologists for money, which is a neverending quest under David Miscavige.

I was trained in fundraising from November 1991 to February of 1992, aboard Freewinds, a cruise ship the church maintained as a religious retreat and a delivery center for its most advanced counselling procedures. The program included extensive study of Hubbard’s writings and lectures on the state of society, and how urgently the world needed the salvaging only Scientology could provide.

If I recall correctly, Hubbard expressed his low opinion of existing educational systems, the middle class, the news media, the medical profession in general and psychiatry in particular, politics and government organizations — with particular attention to the judicial system, the FDA, and IRS. Most of these writings were from the late 60s and early 70s — the hippie era, when it was fashionable to be “anti-establishment.” Again, in all his materials, Hubbard presents Scientology as the only workable solution to these, and all of mankind’s other ills. Another focus of the training program was “registration” — the term the church uses to refer to sales of its training and counselling services.

Church salespeople are called registrars, or reges. The idea that registrars sell services is sometimes skirted in church writings. The preferred narrative is that they sign people up (register them) for services, and accept their donations. Although fundraisers did not sell training or counselling, they still received registrar training so they could convince people to donate to various church-related funds, causes and crusades. The subject of control is given special attention in some of the founder’s writings on registration. One essay explains that the ideal personality type for registration personnel is one that can control others. Another essay asserts that “control equals income,” and explains that any control exerted to achieve a sale (a Scientology sale) is completely justified, being for the greater good.

With my fundraiser training completed, I was sent to the IAS’s Western U.S. Membership Office in Hollywood, on Berendo Street (later renamed L. Ron Hubbard Way). I was to work under someone who had been with the IAS since its formation in 1984.

In addition to direct, one-on-one fundraising, my work included setting up fundraising events for myself and for other fundraisers, ordinarily in cities with a church or large mission. I’d usually arrive at an event location 48 to 72 hours before the event. I’d have been assigned daily quotas for amounts to be raised, and for numbers of “confirms” – people contacted and confirmed as planning to attend the event. It should be noted that these events were usually very sparsely attended, due to the fact that most members abhorred being solicited for donations. To say I had my work cut out for me would be an understatement.

While setting up the event, I was also expected to meet my daily income quotas and report up on them. My daily schedule was also supposed to include time for studying Scientology materials. There were penalties for not making the daily quotas, as well as for not putting in my study time. Not a very pleasant experience, to say the least, but I kept my chin up and bore it as a dedicated Sea Org member. It goes without saying that I had no time to build a relationship with a significant other. In fact, I’d had such a relationship going before I was transferred, but was persuaded to end it. Also, there was virtually no time for family. Despite that, I stayed in touch and even made a point of spending a few hours with my family in Denver at Christmas time, around the mid-90s — but only because I happened to be in the Denver area for a fundraising event.

My senior and I didn’t get along very well. He had a habit of telling me what was wrong with me, something that was frowned upon, according to the founder’s policies. He also criticized me for having “poor case reality,” meaning that I wasn’t on the same page as the most committed Scientologists, who understood that we have a “brief breath” of time to “salvage mankind,” and if we didn’t succeed, we’d be “in the dark, in pain, alone and oblivious for an eternity.” My initiation included statements from my senior to the effect that all people lie about their money. He even went to great lengths to relay stories of members who had lied to him, when he knew they had lots of money they were withholding information about. How he got the data about their finances, I don’t know.

The stress was on “hard sell.” In so many words, it was drilled into us that “hard sell means caring about the person and not being reasonable about his/her barriers, but caring enough about the person to get them through the barriers to get the services that would rehabilitate them and give them everlasting life.” If I failed to get a substantial amount of money from any parishioner, I was reprimanded for being “soft sell.” There were not only reprimands, but penalties or “too-gruesomes” for anyone who failed to meet their assigned quotas, and get the public to donate substantial sums (Note: a “too-gruesome” was a penalty that was so awful that you wouldn’t dare fail to comply with an order, meet a quota, etc.) Penalties included (but weren’t limited to) things such as:

— Not being permitted to sleep, sometimes for days on end, or being allowed just a few hours of sleep a night.
— Being kicked out of one’s office and not allowed to return until a quota was met.
— Married couples losing their living quarters (married couples were ordinarily assigned private quarters, while unmarried staff lived in same-sex dormitories; losing your married couple quarters meant you and your spouse had to live separately, in dorms).
— Being assigned to cleaning duty in the galley – washing pots and dishes, cleaning walls and floors, etc.
— Being assigned to clean “rats’ alley” (a crawl space infested with mice, rats and roaches) and/or the grease pits or dumpsters.
— Serving meals to the crew (where you’d be ridiculed and scorned by your fellow staff members).
— While on tour, not being permitted to return home until a quota was met.
— Being sent to a tour area that was known to be a set-up for failure, then being required to meet unrealistically high donation quotas, regardless.
— Being permitted only rice and beans at meals (all meals).
— Being billed personally for long-distance fund-raising calls.

If your production wasn’t up to expectations (no matter how unrealistic those expectations might have been), you could expect to be screamed at and threatened, usually from within an inch of your face. Executives also encouraged staff in the office to exert “group internal pressure” on their fellows. This took the concepts of accountability and peer pressure to brutal extremes. As just one example, in our office late one night, a fellow fundraiser lashed out at me and cut into my wrist with her nails; I still have the scar. As another example of the systemic lack of compassion, my life was put at risk countless times during my years as a fundraiser. I was routinely required to leave the office and go raise funds — many times late at night, usually unaccompanied and with no means of self-defense — in high-crime areas of cities like New York City, Los Angeles, Houston, Philadelphia, and in foreign cities like Johannesburg, South Africa. Once, while working in a high-crime area of Sacramento, I arrived at a church member’s house at the same time a burglar was attempting a break-in. It scared the living you-know-what out of me! Fortunately, it scared the burglar, too, and he ran away. It turned out that the family’s children were home alone; they let me in, and I made sure they were safe, called their parents and waited with the kids until the parents returned.

Though I reported the incident, the powers-that-be didn’t change the way they operated. They continued to put me and others at risk. Apparently, money was more important than safety, let alone a staff member’s life.

Another troubling but routine aspect of fundraising work was deceit. During my tenure as an IAS fundraiser, as well as in other IAS positions, it was commonplace to lie to church members in order to “get in the door” and obtain donations. For example, out of desperation, I would often go to their homes or workplaces, unannounced — usually without even the courtesy of a phone call to request an appointment, since most people would not agree to meet. I’d use statements such as, “I haven’t been able to reach you, and I was concerned,” or “There’s something extremely urgent you need to know about right away — otherwise I wouldn’t have come unannounced,” or “I was in the neighborhood and thought I’d stop by,” or even the supremely lame, “May I use your bathroom?”

I wasn’t the only one who used such methods; many of my fellow fundraisers did, too. In fact, I’d learned the tricks from more experienced colleagues. While we were encouraged to make appointments whenever possible, the pressure never let up on meeting quotas — so we did what we had to do, and tried our best to not create an upset with a member in the process. It was a double-edged sword: there were penalties for not making a quota, and penalties if a member reported you for having created an upset. I couldn’t win for losing! Quite often, I would be teamed up to fundraise with a high profile Scientology personality – a movie or TV star, for example, or the winner of a major award from the church. In my opinion, such team-ups were arranged to leverage church members’ interest in meeting the celebrity, as a way to extract donations. Also, note that these celebrities (as well as other public who raised funds for the IAS) earned a 10 percent commission. At one point, some of them were earning in excess of $250,000 a year. It wasn’t long before a new policy came down: once they hit the $250,000 mark for a fiscal year, any IAS fundraising work they did beyond that would be pro-bono.

During the holiday season in particular, most church members were reluctant to accept fundraising calls or visits. Nonetheless, there was no excuse for failure to meet a quota, so I sometimes had to get very creative. I often chose an artistic solution: I’d write parodies of popular songs, then e-mail them, fax them, sing them over the phone, or even go directly to prospects’ homes to win their hearts and get donations. Our managers instilled in us the attitude that the public (regular church members) were beneath us; that we (staff) were superior, and that they were lazy dilettantes, of low moral character. The “reasoning” here was that if they weren’t lazy they would already be on church staff or in the Sea Org! The least they could do to make up for their sorry lack of dedication was to donate large sums to the IAS. During interviews with prospective donors, I would receive phone calls coaching me on how to “close” the prospect, and threats that if I ended the interview without money in hand — no matter how late it got — I’d be dealt with severely (see penalties above). We established a network of church members and church staff all around the world, called “bird dogs,” who supplied us with leads: They’d tell us who had come into money, who was “loaded,” who was a “good guy” (and also well-qualified to pay). If they assisted directly in the fundraising interview, they would earn that 10 percent commission. In the event that a bird dog couldn’t be on the scene to assist directly in closing a prospect he’d alerted us to, we’d get a public fundraiser to do the interview so the bird dog would at least get a split of the commission. We did this because at the time, there was a rule in force that one had to be present when a donation was closed, in order to claim any commission.

Quite often a bird dog could not be present, but we wanted to reward them for their work. These bird dogs also alerted us to people who had been “bad” (violated church ethics rules), and therefore needed to make amends. Of course, they mostly tipped us off about “bad guys” who were also in a position to make substantial donations. In some instances, such people were wheedled and guilt-tripped into making over-the-top contributions that used up just about every resource and credit line they had. Bird-dog leads even included church staff and Sea Org members, despite the fact that such people were already contributing their very lives to the cause. Once a “hot prospect” was found, the approach to be taken would be painstakingly worked out in advance. Such plans often included calling on people with influence over the prospect to help in “hard-selling” them, to secure the biggest possible donation. Our preparations included learning a prospect’s “buttons,” whenever possible, so these could be stomped on hard. For example, if we knew a prospect had a keen interest in a particular church project (drug rehab, for example, or kids’ education), we would carefully script our approach to give the impression that their donations would go to that cause.

In fact, there was no way we could honestly promise such a thing, and we were strictly forbidden to do so under any circumstances. We had to be very clever to give just the right impression, and come away with funds in hand. Judging from the bits and pieces of communication I picked up during my fundraising days, only a very small portion of the donations taken in were ever used on the projects we promoted. The most important aim and purpose was “building the war chest.” That was a nebulous statement at best; I was never told where this “war chest” was located (though there were allusions to its being overseas), who controlled it, exactly what it was used for, or how much was in it. It seemed to me that it must be a defense fund, to be used to protect the church from legal and PR attacks. We used all manner of tools to lead prospects to believe their donations would “save the day” by funding this or that “vital project.” High-profile church celebrities would guest-speak at fundraising events and team up with us on interviews. We had videos of the church’s lavish international events, featuring such big names as Tom Cruise and Chairman of the Board, David Miscavige, exhorting parishioners to donate, or touting this or that IAS-funded project or campaign. Again, neither fundraisers nor donors were ever told how much, if any, of the funds raised actually went to the causes mentioned.

It should be noted that at times, in the process of my fundraising, I would run up against questions and objections from regular church members and staff, particularly those who worked or volunteered for the projects and entities the IAS claimed to be funding. Some would say that they had received very little or no funding from the IAS. This came up often enough that eventually, everyone in the IAS offices where I worked was ordered, in no uncertain terms, to submit detailed reports on anyone making such complaints. The implication was that any such claims were false and unfounded. At one point, it was explained to us that IAS could only legally fund certain specific things, and could not fund staff pay, airfares, etc. I don’t recall the whole list, but when it came right down to it, there was very little we could fund, legally – so it seemed to me the complaints from regular church staff and volunteers might not be false after all. Fundraisers were advised to steer away from complaints, and to give a “no-answer” (an evasive or misdirecting answer) if questioned on the matter.

 

 
In retrospect, I realize that I was being used as a tool to lure public into donating; my very good reputation for being compassionate, genuine, and kind was being exploited. Since I was considered “soft-sell” (that is, because I was known to avoid using the hard-sell techniques employed by the top fundraisers) I became a favorite bird dog for the big-money guys. I would nurture prospective donors, help them mend personal issues with the church and in their lives, and get them into a favorable frame of mind. Then I’d set them up for interviews with high-dollar IAS fundraisers who would “hard sell” them to donate just about everything they had. All “for the greater good,” of course. Sadly, the donors truly believed that, and so did I!

Although I was never part of any IAS Financial Planning Committee (a select group that worked out how IAS funds would be allocated), I did witness how some of the donated funds were spent. Early in my fundraising career, when I worked in what was called the West U.S. Membership Office, there was a short time when we were paid regular wages, rather than the $50 weekly allowance paid to other church staff. As mentioned earlier, the church provided regular Sea Org staff with food and living quarters (sub-standard though they were). When we IAS staff began receiving normal wages, it was announced that we would be expected to use those wages to pay the church for our room and board!

During that same period, we would sometimes be awarded “bonuses” after particularly successful weeks of fundraising. These were not necessarily funds paid out to us, however, to spend as we saw fit. Instead, the organization often “donated” the “bonus” amounts, in our names, to itself! My rough estimate is that I was “awarded” $10,000 in this way. I never saw a penny of it. It all went into an IAS account under my name, to be used as the IAS saw fit. The only benefit any of us received under this scheme was elevation of our “member status” in the IAS. Sometime in the mid-90s, our office was renamed the IAS Western United States Membership Office (or something to that effect). Though still legally a separate entity, not officially part of the Church of Scientology, we were moved into a very nicely renovated space in the church’s Western U.S. management building. Our pay system also changed again. Instead of weekly wages (which we had to use to pay the church for our room and board), we were given a weekly allowance, and our room and board were covered by IAS Administrations. Our allowance was supposed to be $50 a week — the same as Sea Org members were meant to receive. However, just like in the Sea Org, what was actually paid out (if anything) depended upon the organization’s income and expenses for a given week. Still, IAS staff were generally far better off than Sea Org members, financially.

Eventually, a system of bonuses was established, mainly for fundraisers who made their quotas, and for weeks when the office made its overall donation quota. As I recall, early on in my tenure, our office quotas were on the order of $175,000 to $250,000 per week. For a long time, my personal minimum quota was $20,000 a week, in order to be eligible for a bonus. This was eventually increased to $30,000. The bonuses weren’t large, but enough that I felt secure in obtaining a few credit cards, with a combined credit limit of $10,000. I ended up donating most of that amount to the IAS. When I was eventually transferred from the IAS to a regular church management position — one with even lower weekly allowances and almost never a bonus — I was unable to pay off the credit card debt I’d accumulated.

It should also be noted that there was so much pressure to make quotas that the rules were often bent. Specifically, on many occasions we were allowed to include sums received as part of a week’s income total, even though the funds had actually come in minutes or even hours after the official administrative week had ended. (To Scientology staff, and according to clear and definite policy, this is blatant and unethical cheating.) Of course, such cheating made it possible for us to meet our quotas and be “bonus eligible,” not to mention the fact that our office would be rewarded for our “good work” with a healthier allocation for the week, by the financial planning committee. Among the other benefits of working for the IAS, we were usually well provided with vitamins and nutritional supplements. Our food allotment was also fairly good, so that we ate well, even when the other local Scientology organizations couldn’t afford proper food for their staffs. We were also well dressed, in very classy, expensive uniforms. This while regular Sea Org members had to make do with just a few uniform parts, of questionable quality, and had a hard time getting replacements when anything wore out. The expense was justified by the idea that IAS people had to look very polished and professional to raise the sums we were after. At one point, our uniforms were being custom made by Mr. Lim, of High Society in downtown Los Angeles.

I have no idea how much this cost, but I recall seeing photos on display in Mr. Lim’s shop, depicting some of the big-name celebrities and VIPs he’d worked for. His clientele also included church head David Miscavige, who supposedly wore hand-made Lim suits in the $5,000 range. (Remember, this was while a regular Sea Org member’s weekly allowance — when it was actually paid out — was at most $50 a week.) At one point, after accumulating some cash bonuses, one of my seniors encouraged me to have Mr. Lim make me a tailored three piece suit. As I recall, this cost me about $600, thanks to deep discounts he extended in recognition of all the business he did with the very highest church officers. In my later years with the IAS, we were sent to Brooks Brothers to be fitted for full wardrobes, including blazers, pants and long winter coats. We each had two full sets of uniforms, one for fall and winter, the other for spring and summer – each with four shirts, four pairs of pants and two blazers, if I recall correctly. Women also carried seasonal Coach purses to match their uniforms. Additionally, we usually received handsome Christmas gifts. Hermes scarves, Coach bags, a Seiko pocket electronic dictionary/encyclopedia, nice luggage, etc.

We also contributed handsome (for us) amounts for Christmas and birthday gifts for David Miscavige, and a bit less handsomely for the head of the IAS Administrations. No expenses were spared when it came to “staff awards,” either. It was not uncommon for us to be treated to a nice restaurant dinner, then a movie or a play. In fact, in 1993, after the IRS awarded the Church of Scientology tax-exempt status, our entire office of ten or so staff were flown to Las Vegas for a show and dinner, followed by a couple of days’ stay in a top hotel, with some meals at 4- and 5-star restaurants. When I occasionally worked out of the IAS’s office in New York, instead of eating with the regular Sea Org staff there, I was given travel expense money to eat all my meals out. I don’t recall how much, but it was at least $25 a day. Quite a lot, by church staff standards and in those times. If we would have had our meals provided for us in the Galley, with the non-IAS Sea Org members, we would have only been required to pay perhaps $7 per day for meals. In addition to that, when any of our staff went out of town on tours (which was nearly every week) we were disbursed travel expense..

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[Laura D and her attorney, John Blumberg]One month from today, Laura DeCrescenzo is finally scheduled to get the trial against Scientology that she first asked for more than eight years ago — and the church is scrambling to keep leader David Miscavige out of it.

Today, the court will hear a request by the church to shorten the time it can file a motion to keep Miscavige out after he was served with a notice to appear by Laura’s legal team. As we’ve seen in previous cases, particularly one in Texas, the church will go to enormous lengths to keep Miscavige out of a witness chair, and it seems pretty clever for Laura to demand his presence so close to her trial.

Laura joined the Sea Org at twelve, alleges she was forced to have an abortion at seventeen, and was so desperate to leave the Sea Org she drank bleach. She also believes she was intimidated by the church from filing her lawsuit sooner, which is a central issue in this first of two trials, scheduled for August 13 at Los Angeles Superior Court.

To help us understand what’s at stake in this first trial, and how bad it portends to be for Scientology, we asked attorney Scott Pilutik to explain what’s about to happen…

For every tort claim there is a statute of limitation — a time period in which you must file — and should you fail to timely file your claim, as was the case with Laura, you must have a good excuse, or your claim will be dismissed. Laura’s excuse is called “equitable estoppel,” which, as applied here, is an argument that Scientology cannot rely on the statute of limitations having run out because it was their own conduct that prevented Laura from filing on time. That is, Scientology can’t take advantage of a rule that would otherwise benefit them if they effectively prevented Laura from becoming aware of it. Reduced even further, Scientology can’t profit from its own misdeeds.

Laura alleges she didn’t comprehend her legal rights enough to timely file a complaint because (1) Scientology falsely represented to her that the documents she’d signed released Scientology from liability; and (2) Scientology threatened and intimidated Laura. The legal standard at trial will be whether Laura’s reliance on Scientology’s misrepresentations and threats was reasonable, which will take into account Scientology’s particular influence over Laura, given that she was raised in the Sea Org as a child and continued in service as an adult.

Now, Scientology has already sort of won the argument about whether Laura’s delay was reasonable, twice even — once in federal court and again in state court — though the circumstances and facts at issue were slightly different each time, and on neither occasion was there a trial, both were successful motions to dismiss (meaning that as a matter of law even crediting Laura’s claims as true, the courts found that Laura’s excuse for not filing on time wasn’t good enough).

The reason Laura’s day in court is finally approaching is because in 2011 the Second District Court of Appeal in California reversed the state court, finding that the reasonability of Laura’s delay in filing was a factual matter to be resolved at a trial. And yes, you’re right, 2011 was long time ago. The intervening years found Scientology throwing spaghetti at the wall hoping some would stick, and that they’d emotionally and/or financially exhaust Laura to force a settlement. But none stuck and we’re finally here.

At this trial, the task for Laura’s attorneys will be to connect Scientology’s conduct to the impact it had on Laura’s mindset between the time the claims occurred and the statute of limitations ran out, which will cover Laura’s time in Scientology and a short period of time after she left. When you consider that Scientology’s handling of Laura was more or less standard operating procedure, it should be obvious why their wall-spaghetti budget was so high since 2011. Because if Laura can show that it was reasonable for one ex-cult member to exist in a period of legally incapable limbo, it undermines any release or waiver signed by ex-cult members and provides them with extra years to consider suing.

The ramifications for Scientology are huge because not only would a loss broaden the time window during which ex-cult members could sue (providing they could show similar harms as Laura), it would damn the practice of Scientology itself by recognizing that not only is Scientology not helping the “able to become more able,” as they like to claim, they’re literally rendering their members unable to comprehend their legal rights.

Scientology, whose goal at trial will be to show that Laura’s delay was *unreasonable* will attempt to undermine Laura’s credibility by making a hundred versions of the same argument: If it was so bad, why did you stay so long? They’ll say she was fine, that she didn’t suffer at all, and her suit is entirely motivated by greed (as if waiting a decade for a trial to commence is a viable financial strategy).

Postscript: It’s important to remember that this is only the trial before the trial on Laura’s main claims (forced abortion, false imprisonment, violation of liberty under California Constitution, wage violations, unfair business practices). Laura needs to win this in order to get a hearing on those issues. That said, the trials would naturally cover the same terrain and proceed somewhat similarly. For Scientology, goal number one has always been to prevent any trial where the types of grisly abuses alleged by Laura are made public. It’s for the reason that I wouldn’t be shocked by an eleventh-hour settlement, probably one much higher than might have already been offered, since they’re all out of wall-spaghetti.

— Scott Pilutik

——————–

Peter Nyiri, part two

Jeffrey Augustine continues the conversation. Says Jeffrey: “Peter Nyiri shares an inside view of the Sea Org culture within: How does the Sea Org act towards each other? For example, Peter had several bosses who constantly gave him multiple and conflicting orders — and this while expecting him to get all orders done all at once. Peter also talks about the constant screaming and endless mental abuse inflicted upon Sea Org members by Sea Org managers. Peter also discusses Scientology TV; the inefficiency of Scientology’s in-house printing factory called Bridge Publications; and the psychologically cruel event that caused him and his wife to escape from the Sea Org.”

Scientology Sea Org Member Peter Nyiri flees the cult after 22 yrs. Part 2 - YouTube

——————–

Scientology disconnection, a reminderBernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,174 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,777 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 320 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 208 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,383 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,157 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,931 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,277 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,843 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,511 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,771 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,811 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,523 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,049 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,138 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,278 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,598 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,573 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 929 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,231 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,337 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,740 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,612 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,194 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,699 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,943 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,052 days.

——————–

Posted by Tony Ortega on July 13, 2018 at 06:45

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes 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 book, 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, 1995-2017 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2017), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
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

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten 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

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

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[Derek Bloch]

 
Several days ago, someone sent us some photographs from a wedding and asked us to forward them to a regular figure here at the Underground Bunker, a young man named Derek Bloch. We sent those images to Derek, and they hit him hard. We suggested that he deal with that emotion by writing something, and that’s just what he did. So fasten your seat belts.

I often think back fondly to the days before Scientology, or at least what I can remember from those days. My parents joined when I was just a few years old. I was originally raised Catholic. I think I made it to my First Communion. My parents were very strict when I was a kid. My sister and I would talk to each other after bedtime, for example. My parents didn’t like that, even when we were whispering. I never understood why it bothered them so much and even as an adult I still can’t fathom hitting children because they are talking to each other. But that was my parents’ response — my dad with the belt and my mom with the wooden spoon (or hanger). One time, I remember that my mom was hitting my ass through the blankets when I was laying in bed. It didn’t hurt me at all, but she took that as a challenge.

So, she made me pull the covers off and she hit me so hard it broke the spoon. When they took me to stay with my aunts or grandparents, it was always a reprieve from the constant fear of crossing my parents when I was home.

After Scientology, that all changed. My parents took a more “hands-off” approach. It’s been said many times that Scientology’s philosophy is that children are just adults in tiny bodies. In fact, this is all set up by the belief that a child’s soul (thetan) can choose the body and family they want to be a part of. Now that I am not a Scientologist and I know how to act and think like a grown-ass human being, I realize that is such a powerful way to guilt-trip children. My parents used to say to me all the time, “you picked this family, we didn’t ask you to be here” as if it was a matter of fact. They used it repeatedly to make it like I was some kind of burden that had inflicted myself upon them. They would also use it to explain why I was similar to them. Imagine my shock when I grew up and learned that children are random combinations of genetic material between parents.

I was indoctrinated into Scientology through courses which are specially designed for children. I never did go to Scientology school. Not only was it too expensive for my parents, but my dad said all the kids that graduated from them were stupid. He wanted me to get a “real” high school diploma and he felt that public school would give me the necessary life experience. Ironic that neither one of those things happened, but Scientology isn’t known for making sense.

I remember one of the first times that I was severely embarrassed by Scientology confessionals. I was 13 years old and I had looked at pornography a few times since I was 11. The Internet was still a new place back then. I had a Hotmail account, but I had one time accidentally typed in “hotmale.” I immediately clicked back. I was afraid my parents would see that I had visited that site so I learned how to delete Internet history. After a while, I realized my parents had no idea. My dad was Clear and I was afraid that meant he could read my mind. That fear became more prominent when he was OT, but I quickly realized that he couldn’t. So I visited the site a few more times, along with some others. Anyway, I started on the Personal Values & Integrity course, which is one of the beginner adult courses. At the end of it, it requires that you write down transgressions in a specific format. Not only that, but you have to hold the cans of an e-meter and answer to whether or not you have written down “all of them.” I hadn’t written down the porno visits. Somehow, I got by with not admitting that they were gay porno sites. I was able to keep the information generic enough that it wasn’t clear.

That is what I was really worried about, after all. I didn’t want my parents to find out that I was gay. I remember my dad talking about the “gay agenda,” and how they are using TV and movies to force gay people into normality. This was ever since I was young. My dad would quit watching shows just because there was a single gay character. I knew better than to let on that I liked dudes. I kept it hidden from everyone. I was afraid that if I told my friends and especially church members that it would get back to my parents.

I hated that walk home, especially towards the end of the school year when it was hottest. There had been some Sea Org recruiters on me for months, named Luc, Vanessa, and Jimmy. They were like dogs with a bone when they saw me. I had made the mistake of answering “yes” to a questionnaire a Church member had given me which asked if I was interested in the Sea Org. I was interested because I didn’t know what it was. Jimmy was at that event and he was all over it. From then on I would get phone calls every day at all hours — 6am, 9pm, 1am. All wanting me to go visit the Sea Org recruitment office in Hollywood on L. Ron Hubbard Way. My parents explained to me that the Sea Org was only for the most dedicated Scientologists, and that if I went there I would not be allowed to come home. They said I would never get a driver’s license or be able to make any real money. My dad said that I could join if I wanted to but only as an adult. That way, if I fucked up, it wouldn’t reflect on him. That was always his concern, his image to other Scientologists.

When I was 14 years old, it was a hot, hot summer day in Eagle Rock — a community within the City of Los Angeles. I had to walk home about a mile and a half, and most of it was steep hills. I saw two of the three recruiters sitting in a black Camaro out in front of my school. I did not want them to embarrass me in front of my classmates. I also didn’t know how they knew what school I went to. My dad would later tell me that it was probably me that had told them without realizing it. I took a different route home through the back of the school so I could avoid them. They found me anyway when I was a quarter of the way home or so. They offered me a ride and I politely refused. I clearly said, “I don’t want to talk to you.” They said that was fine, but that they were offering me a ride home because it was hot.

The car had A/C. They convinced me to get in the car and put me in the back seat. The Camaro was a two-door, four-seater with a small back seat that was only accessible through the front seats. I was stuck in there. I had been taught to trust these people, but they lied to me. Around 4 pm we arrived at the Pacific Area Command Base of Scientology on L. Ron Hubbard Way. This was despite my numerous protests. I wasn’t allowed to leave the tiny room they locked me in. The phone in that room was disconnected. When there weren’t also eight to ten Sea Org members in the way, there was a solid steel desk between me and the door. I was stuck again. They spent hours and hours working me on an emotional roller-coaster. They told me that everyone in the world would die if I didn’t join the Sea Org. They told me that I was a piece of shit if I didn’t join the Sea Org. They asked me if my parents were telling me not to join and suggested that my parents were SPs. Tempting as it was, I didn’t take that bait.

I ended up signing the contract out of desperation to get out of that tiny room and get something to eat and drink. It was almost 1 am when I called my dad for a ride home. He was livid. When he finally showed up with my mom in the car they berated me on the whole ride home about how this was my fault for answering the stupid questionnaire. Even after I explained my kidnapping and imprisonment to them, they said it was my fault for not being stern enough.

Eventually, my dad reneged on his promise not to sign me over to the Sea Org, and once he did I had no reason to stay home anymore. I went to the Sea Org. For the next three years, between the ages of fifteen and eighteen, I rarely had more than four hours of sleep a night. I worked 17 hours a day and made $50 a week on my largest paychecks. I was restricted to stay on the same city block that I worked. I was on camera 24/7 and all my movements were monitored. The Security staff on L. Ron Hubbard Way make sure to remind you of that by periodically questioning you about your movements.

I see the stupid ads from Homeland Security all the time now, “Human Trafficking is Modern day Slavery.” How hypocritical that they are so worried about human trafficking but they refuse to have anything to do with Scientology or even entertain reports like mine that are sitting with the FBI. I was being trafficked, as a child, for labor in the years 2001 to 2004. I gave the FBI the names of my abductors and my traffickers. It’s been a year and a half with no response from anyone.

I was trafficked to Florida next, where I had the unfortunate experience of falling in love with another male staff member. We spent time lying in bed together and one time got caught by a fellow roommate. After months of manual labor and interrogations, I was finally released two days after my 18th birthday. I called my parents after the security guard Alex dropped me off. First, my dad asked me how he was supposed to explain this to his friends. What were they going to think of him now that he has this degraded ex-Sea-Org son? Then he hit me with “I told you so.” Then I explained why I was kicked out. I knew they would find out anyway, so I told him that I had been in bed with another male staff member. You’d have thought I’d admitted to strangling one of our pet dogs. My dad started shouting at me that he didn’t raise me like that. My mom said that she couldn’t trust me to be alone with my little brother because I was going to molest him. Then my dad told me that I should kill myself to spare him the embarrassment of having a gay son. I convinced them both it was a mistake and that the other guy made me do it. That was not true of course. Then I lay in bed after they went back to work and I cried while staring at the ceiling. I cried for hours. When my parents came home I left. I just went walking all over the city. When I got home, they pretended like they were worried about me. I don’t believe they were anymore. I found out from my uncle that my dad never even wanted kids. My dad used to say he hated kids while talking about a daycare across the street from the accounting practice he owned.

As if having my own dad tell me to kill myself was not bad enough, he pushed me to get a job through a Scientologist head hunter named Mya. Scientologists love to employ ex-Sea-Org because they know we are desperate to make a buck and to get work history. I was young enough that I still had a chance, but some people are so old when they leave the Sea Org that they will never be able to build up a resume.

Scientologists that employ ex-Sea-Org will work us 12 hours a day, knowing that we appreciate not having to work the additional five hours. They don’t offer proper benefits because they know we don’t care. What’s worse, Scientologists know that if they mistreat us at work, we cannot sue them. If we do sue them, we will be expelled from Scientology as well as our parents’ home. In a city like Los Angeles, you cannot live on your own with a minimum-wage job. There is an alleged recourse within Scientology where you can arbitrate labor disagreements with WISE. WISE is an organization that monitors and manages all Scientologist-owned companies. They convene a committee that automatically sides with whichever Scientologist is more valuable in the Church’s eyes. Ex-Sea-Org members are considered the lowest rank of Scientologists in the entire Church community. Needless to say, I would never have won a labor dispute. This is what ultimately lead me to get out of working for Scientologists and into the normal world. My dad would complain about the crappy pay and benefits working for a Scientologist, but he refused to follow my example. He said that no one else would give him personal loans and time off to do things like the OT Levels.

When I got my first paycheck, my dad sat me down and split up my money for me. He told me how much he was going to take from it. He wanted 30 percent of my paycheck to pay rent. I understand now that he needed the money because he was destitute from giving all of his money to Scientology. I have been paying rent since I was 18 years old. By the time I was 20 I was paying $500 month which was full market value for a room in Los Angeles in 2006. I know because I checked into moving. I had to keep hiding the fact that I was gay from my parents. I would often sneak out for late-night rendezvous and I was afraid they would catch me. That’s why I had been trying to figure out how to move. Eventually, I gave up altogether because I could never afford to move out on my piddly salary.

My parents repeatedly reminded them that I was a “liability” to them. This is something in Scientology used to make people feel guilty for not doing what’s expected of them. In order to get out of liability you have to take a sheet of paper around and have members of whatever group you’re in sign it, until at least 51 percent of them have signed. Before they will sign it, you have to convince them that you did enough to make up for whatever your failure was. Doing your regular job is not enough — you have to go above and beyond. Which I did at every opportunity for my family. They never once acknowledged this. I tried to tell them for years about how bad the conditions were in the Sea Org. About how I was sharing a room with 30 other boys and men. How I had to work such long hours, and I was always tired. I told them how the gifts they gave me were confiscated or stolen. They would have none of it. They said to report it to the Church, as if the Church weren’t the very people who were abusing me. I gave up after a while.

I wanted to learn how to drive because taking the bus was adding hours to my commute. My dad flat-out refused to let me learn in his car. He told me if I wanted to drive, I needed to get my own car and learn in that. He wasn’t going to have his degraded son wrecking his precious Mustang. After I got my own car and my license, he gave the Mustang to my sister who used it to learn to drive and get her license. She promptly wrecked it by crashing into a wall in the rain. My dad even came to me to complain about it as if I was supposed to care. I pretended to care, but really I was already fostering a lot of rage at both of my parents. The longer I stayed there the more they rubbed it in my face by giving my sister everything she needed and leaving me to fend for myself. She never had to pay my dad rent or utilities. In fact, she would go long periods of time without working and my parents would say nothing. When I was let go from one job, my parents hounded me every day about submitting applications to other jobs until I got one a month later.

At one point my dad took up a volunteer position at work, helping people with their personal lives. He would come home and tell us all about how his co-worker Erin was a slut or how some other person was a drug addict. He would boldly share intimate and embarrassing details of the people that he was supposed to be counseling. This is standard in Scientology. There is no privacy. In fact, I got into a shouting match with my parents because they were opening my mail. I installed a lock on my bedroom door because they were snooping in it when I wasn’t home. My parents would casually discuss their sex lives, in vulgar detail with their teenage son and pre-teen daughter around to hear it. I remember one time when I was 12 or 13, we were visiting my aunt’s house in Orange County. My parents were talking to the neighbors and mentioned that my little brother was a “hot tub accident.” My sister was 9 years old at the time. This is what happens when you think of kids as “little adults.” My dad also shared intimate details about my mother’s personal life with me. He confided in me that she had planned to cheat on him with a co-worker named Kevin. He wanted me to cheer him up — again I was 13 at the time. My mom would come to me and talk about their financial troubles. She would apologize for us having to eat beans and cheese for dinner so much because they didn’t have any money. She blamed it on my dad’s investments in Scientology. One time, my dad told me that Charles who was in security at PAC had convinced my mom to join the Sea Org. She was ready to leave the family behind and do it, until my dad made her stay, somehow.

My dad convinced my aunt Brenda to divorce her husband. Her husband had never been active in Scientology. My dad believed that my aunt’s health issues — which were related to diabetes — were because of her husband. He offered to share a home with her and so she started divorce proceedings and moved in with us. She was online dating. My dad managed to get into her room and dig through her computer messages. This was condoned by the Church personnel at the local church because my aunt had become uninterested in Scientology. After reading her messages on the online dating sites, my dad called my sister, brother, mother, and me together so he could discuss them with us. I came home from work one day to find out she had moved out. She was being declared and I was not allowed to speak with her. My dad facilitated all of this. My aunt died within two years. She was in her early 50s. After my aunt passed she left me with a small life insurance claim. I was let go from work in early 2011 and because of the financial crisis at the time, I was unemployed for nearly a year. I survived off of the money she left me. My aunt, who was disaffected and declared, had left me cash so I could for once in my life take a vacation from working. Those few months were the only vacation I had had since I was 15 years old. I was 25. I realized that my aunt cared more about me than my parents ever did. We had to move again and my dad said he needed money for the deposit. He asked me to borrow $4,000 for it. I later found out he gave that money to the Church in my name. Evidently, he never needed money for the deposit. I was so angry and I told him as much. He never apologized to me for stealing my money.

In early 2012, my car was stolen from a friend’s house and wrecked. I called the police to report it and it had been impounded after being involved in a hit-and-run. I wasn’t worried, because I wasn’t in the car. Plus this is what insurance is for. When I called my dad he flipped out. He asked me how was I going to get to work. He screamed at me through the phone so much so that my friends could hear and I had to go to another room. He asked me to go home and I told him I would not with him acting like that. I hung up on him. He called me back and threatened to have me arrested since the car was in his name. When I finally agreed to go home, after he had calmed down, he called me outside with him. I thought maybe he was going to comfort me or apologize, but I should have known better. He asked me if I was having sex with men. I stormed up to my room and cried all night. This is when I downloaded Inside Scientology to my phone and read it all. I realized that I wasn’t weird and that there was something wrong with my family. I had known for a while because my friends were all non-Scientologists. This just confirmed it.

All of that led up to me posting my original story online. I was expelled from Scientology and my home. My parents came to a friend’s house to tell me they knew I had posted something online. Initially, I lied to them, but it wasn’t convincing. I agreed to go home and meet them. I was just going to go upstairs and grab my stuff and go to a different friend’s house. My dad wouldn’t have it. I stood there and listened to him berate me for an hour or so. I can hardly remember what he said, but it was all about how embarrassing this was for him. I was having a case of déjà vu. One thing I do remember clearly was when he asked, “Why didn’t you tell me you didn’t want to be involved with Scientology? I would have left you alone.” I told him, “I thought it was obvious.” He just started to cry while my mom and sister patted him on the back like he was some kind of martyr. It was disgusting to watch, especially now that I was coming to terms with how horrible my parents were — not only as parents but also as people. My mom convinced me to go with her to the church on L. Ron Hubbard Way so that I could read my declare. It was there that she had me sit in front of Lon and Julian so that they could show me why I was being declared. (Lon is the one of the senior enforcers of Scientology “ethics” in California. He had previously rejected me as a friend because of his homophobia and told his brother to also reject me as a friend later on only to then personally insert himself into my family’s disagreements and order them to disconnect from me.) Their reasoning was that I had said bad things about Scientology online. I looked all through it but I could find nowhere that they accused me of lying. Apparently, if the truth looks bad for Scientology, it’s your fault not theirs.

I haven’t heard from anyone in my family besides my mom. I spoke to her for 30 seconds as part of an episode of a show that never aired. Funny how not only does law enforcement not care about people like me who were abused by Scientology — seems like the media doesn’t much either (unless you’re a celebrity). I told the producers of that show that I wouldn’t do it unless they knew it was going to air. They lied to me, but by then I was used to it.

Six years it’s been, plus a couple of months since I moved out. Recently, I found out my brother was married in 2015. I saw some photos of the wedding. I will not share them or say from whom I got them at this time because I appreciate what that person did for me. My sister wasn’t there, which makes me wonder if she’s fallen out of my dad’s grace as well. My brother was being hugged by Lon. One of two people who are personally responsible for surveilling me on the Internet and telling my parents to eject me from their home. I’m not really mad about being separated from my parents, but I wish they hadn’t done the same thing to my brother that they did to me. I used to be sad that I couldn’t see my mom and dad because I thought maybe deep down they still loved me. Seeing how close they are with Lon, though — he was my brother’s best man. It was disgusting. It made me so angry and it made me feel so sad for my brother. He does not have an identity outside of Scientology and he will never have the opportunity to form one.

When I first parted ways with them in 2012, my parents sent mass e-mails to our extended family. They accused me of freeloading off of them. They said that I was unsupportive of them and even accused me of doing drugs. My sister visited our extended family exactly one week after I was there visiting. My visit was the first time I’d been to see them in a decade or more. It was right after Tony had written my story and it had been passed around to all them. I was there to answer their questions about me. I had no interest in bad-mouthing my parents or siblings. My sister had a meal with a cousin of ours. She asked my cousin if they thought that I was disgusting. After all, don’t Catholics hate gays too? When I was there visiting at a different time, I mentioned that my parents had talked about my granddad having a reverse mortgage on his house. He asked me how they knew that, but I had no idea. Apparently, he had not told them so they had found out on their own somehow. After that, my grandparents told me they had caught my sister digging through their financial papers when she visited. My granddad also told me that my parents had the nerve to ask him to cash out his retirement for them, so they could give it to the Church.

It is with the writing of this that I am formally..

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Although the Church of Scientology has veteran rapper Chill EB at its beck and call, once again the church has put out a video by some young pale members who don’t appear to have Chill’s chops. But that just means more Scientology hip-hop for us, and we can never get enough of it.

As Scientology continues to crater, at least we have these moments of levity to punctuate the ignominy. So immerse yourself in this video, “Bring it on,” which is aimed at all of you SPs…

 

Bring It On Scientology's Craptacular Music Video - YouTube

 
Besides actor Michael Roberts, did you recognize anyone else in the video? Let us know.

Speaking of recognizing people,

a few days ago we posted photos of four youngish speakers who were featured during Scientology’s Maiden Voyage expedition on the Freewinds. We found this significant because church leader David Miscavige had been sharing less and less podium time with others during the big international events.

Brendan Tighe was the first to identify three of the four speakers for us. Here they are, along with Brendan’s comments, which he posted at our Facebook account…

 

Brendan: “Jason Hemphill. He used to be the Deputy Captain for Training at Flag. That was the post he was on my entire time at Flag after the RPF 2002-2011.”

 

Brendan: “Daniel O’Farrell. He was the Deputy Landlord at Flag under Uli Huber for many years until I left in 2011. You can see his name on numerous public records in an easy online search. I believe he got his contractor license and was pulling permits for church building projects in Clearwater. Pretty sure he’s now in some capacity overseeing Ideal Org renovations.”

 

Brendan: “I could be wrong but I’m quite certain this is QC (Quentin Christopher) Strom, son of Kathy True in OSA. He and I grew up together and joined OSA at the same time when we were both just 12 years old and straight out of the Cadet Org. He went up to Gold about two years later and I only saw him rarely after that. I haven’t seen him in about 10 years. I would only see him briefly when I was in Security and he was Gold stage crew that would come down to Clearwater for the big events.”

Another reader also identified this speaker as QC Strom.

We’re still looking for an ID of this fellow:

 

According to the Scientology website, this speaker was talking about Scientology TV. Could he be an outside contractor brought in for the TV network? Let us know if you recognize him.

We asked Brendan what he thought it meant that these youngish execs were allowed to speak at the podium during Maiden Voyage.

Brendan: “What was odd for me was when Miscavige stopped letting anyone else speak for the longest time starting in the early 2000s. For sure these new speakers have been through the gamut of observing Miscavige up close for many years and being directly under his pressure and yet remain loyal. One part of my take on it is that Miscavige holds bigger than usual events and possibly lacks the stamina to MC/speak singularly at all of them, so he brings other speakers every few years now. It probably also helps to pump up the image that the ‘news’ being delivered is HUGE!”

We also asked another recent defector, Paul Burkhart, for his take.

Paul: “Having young speakers on the podium has been going on for a while, six years at least. I’m sure the old guard can’t bow and scrape without a hint of resentment – since they have been the scapegoats for all of the church’s many issues. Having younger, enthusiastic speakers may extend the life of the cult somewhat.”

Fascinating!

 
——————–

Bonus items from our tipsters

Meanwhile, at Source magazine, Scientology is still trying desperately to sell Super Power like it was Super Cool…

 
And best of all, Meghan Fialkoff working the Smell Wall!

 

 
——————–

Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,172 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,775 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 318 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 206 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,381 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,155 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,929 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,275 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,841 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,509 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,769 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,809 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,521 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,047 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,136 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,276 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,596 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,571 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 927 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,229 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,335 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,738 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,610 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,192 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,697 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,941 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,050 days.

——————–

Posted by Tony Ortega on July 11, 2018 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes 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 book, 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, 1995-2017 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2017), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
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

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten 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

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

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