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 As we slide into this subject, we thought we’d take a look at how the JW ruling body engages in social media.

We’re used to seeing Jehovah’s Witnesses handing out literature in the New York subway (or, more accurately, standing around their literature stands while being ignored). But in this age of instantaneous electronic ubiquity, how [...]

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 We finally got a chance to catch up with Lloyd Evans to ask him about his appearance on Leah Remini’s special Aftermath episode about Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Lloyd was understandably grateful for the opportunity to appear with several other ex-JW activists in a 2-hour show in an Emmy-winning series. But we had to ask, how significant [...]

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[Rick Ross]

 We first heard about Nxivm and Keith Raniere more than a dozen years ago and from Rick Ross, an Arizona cult expert we’ve known since 1995.

Ross and Raniere tangled for years, and for that reason Rick is reluctant to say much at all about the criminal court case that Raniere is currently facing.

“Raniere [...]

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 The other day we mentioned that even in this age of the Internet, the Watchtower is still using an art style with an old-timey feel. Which we are not criticizing! We just find it interesting.

Anyway, we then ran across some more of that art, which JW.org has posted online from a book that was [...]

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 Rod Keller connects some dots concerning Scientology’s claims about drug use…

Scientology presents itself as the experts. They claim to be the experts on the human mind. Through front groups they claim to be the experts in education, criminal justice, mental health, marriage, raising children, disaster response, and preventing crime and war. Tom Cruise expressed this [...]

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[Keith Raniere and his attorney Marc Agnifilo]

The big news from yesterday’s court hearing was that three additional Nxivm defendants are negotiating plea deals, which, if it actually happens, would leave just Keith Raniere and Clare Bronfman facing trial scheduled to begin April 29.

It was also interesting to see Raniere’s attorney, Marc Agnifilo, push back at [...]

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 Javier Ortiz and Lloyd Evans have spent two years working on a film that needs some funding to get it into post-production. Here’s some of what Javier and Lloyd have to say about it in this short video appeal…

Javier: Two years ago we decided to document the stories of former Jehovah’s Witnesses whose lives have [...]

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 One of the people we heard from after posting our story yesterday about the Jehovah’s Witness prohibition of blood transfusion was ex-JW activist Lloyd Evans, who complimented us on bringing up Watch Tower president Nathan Knorr’s role. We really appreciated the encouragement he gave us.

We told him that we had also heard from a [...]

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[US Attorney Richard P. Donoghue]

Underground Bunker regular John P. Capitalist has been digging into Nxivm for years, and we asked him to give us his thoughts on a couple of recent additions to the court file in the looming trial. And keep in mind, we expect a superseding indictment from the government in the near [...]

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[Keith Raniere]

Nxivm watchers have been anticipating this for some time, and today the new superseding indictment landed and we have a copy. One of the biggest changes from the previous indictment is that Nancy Salzman has been removed as a defendant now that she’s pled guilty.

But there are other changes, namely the addition of [...]

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 Ah, it’s finally the last day of winter, and we’re really looking forward to things warming up. It also gave us a thought: We wondered about how global climate change and its potential for destruction fit into the Jehovah’s Witnesses obsession with an impending Apocalypse. So we decided it might be fun to ask Lloyd [...]

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 We were thrilled to learn that our man in Los Angeles, Jeffrey Augustine, took his camera down this weekend to Scientology’s attempt to relate to the people who live in its neighborhood.

“It was an emergency preparedness, community food market, and blood drive at Big Blue on Sunset Boulevard, and there were tents all over the [...]

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 Correspondent VillageDianne snapped the photo above of Nxivm defendant and Seagram’s heiress Clare Bronfman, right, and her attorney Mark Geragos, left, as they left the Brooklyn courthouse yesterday. And she gave us her thoughts on how the hearing went…

The hearing started late, 4:30 instead of 4 PM because a previous case ran late.

The first thing [...]

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 Lloyd Evans is premiering a new film today, Reclaimed Voices: Abuse Survivors Speak Out, and we were lucky enough to get a sneak peak at some of it. As usual, Lloyd’s production qualities are first rate, and the subject matter is stunning.

We’ve taken a short excerpt from his introduction to give you a sense [...]

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[CCHR Florida President Diane Klein, center]

Rod Keller keeps us up to date on Scientology’s latest anti-psychiatry antics…

A new article from Scientology front group Citizens Commission on Human Rights opposes implementing mental health screenings to combat school shootings. This comes to us from the Florida chapter of CCHR, which in Scientology means Clearwater. It’s another article [...]

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[Teny Geragos and her famous father Mark]

The other day we noted that one of Keith Raniere’s attorneys, Teny Geragos, had assured the court that there would be no conflict if her famous father, defense attorney Mark Geragos, represented Raniere’s co-defendant, Seagram’s heiress Clare Bronfman, in the upcoming Nxivm trial.

But now there’s a new document [...]

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[Keith Raniere and Nancy Salzman]

Hey, we just got off a long flight and saw that the Nxivm story blew up in a big way while we were in the air.

The big news is that defendant Nancy Salzman, known as “The Prefect” in Nxivm, is expected to plead guilty and become the first conviction in the [...]

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 Leah Remini’s JW special was outstanding, there’s simply no doubt about it. But it dawned on us later that the program did miss out on one opportunity, and that was to make a slightly bigger deal about one of its guests.

Fortunately for us, we can do that now, in our conversation with the very [...]

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[William Burroughs in 1968]

In 2013, we interviewed author David Wills about his book on William Burroughs, Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the ‘weird cult’. He argued that Burroughs biographers tended to play down (or merely not understand) how deeply into Scientology Burroughs had been before famously falling away from it in scathing testimonials. We thought [...]

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[Denise Byrne and Adam Holland]

We have some follow-ups to recent stories that we collected for you today. Up first, we told you on Friday about the suicide of former Sea Org member Adam Holland. After leaving Scientology, his father Paul Holland cut of all ties from him in the Scientology way, and it devastated the [...]

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 We were really impressed by Shannon Rowland’s appearance on the Aftermath Jehovah’s Witnesses special, so we decided to ask her about it.

Did it go as well as she was hoping?

Shannon: We only had two hours, but I’m very happy that so many stories unfolded to make such an impact.

The Bunker: Two hours is an eternity [...]

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 This is Nathan Homer Knorr. He was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in 1905, and by the age of 18 he was so dedicated to his faith he was volunteering at the Watch Tower headquarters of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Brooklyn, New York.

He never went to college. He never got any medical education.

Instead, Knorr [...]

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[Jeremy Howell]

Lloyd Evans has a new video today about Jehovah’s Witness homophobia and shunning. Here’s what he said about it at Facebook…

Jeremy grew up in a Jehovah’s Witness household. After an embarrassing failed attempt at exploring his sexuality, elders told his parents to shun him for being gay. Driven from the family home, Jeremy one [...]

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 Here’s a timely treat for us today as Jeffrey Augustine talks with Leah Remini’s Scientology and the Aftermath costar Mike Rinder about several issues that we’ve been concerned with here at the Bunker lately.

Rinder is one of the chief targets of Scientology’s smear machine, headed up by OSA goon Ed Parkin and his “STAND League.” [...]

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 We were approached recently by a man who wanted to describe what he’s been through in the Church of Scientology. We decided to let him tell you his story in his own words, and we’ve spoken to his attorney and examined his documentation to corroborate his tale. We think you’ll find that, once again, the [...]

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[Keith Raniere and Nancy Salzman]

In January, prosecutors filed a memo with the court in order to counter arguments by Nxivm defendants that their upcoming six-defendant criminal trial should be broken up into multiple trials.

That government document was filed under seal, but late on Friday Judge Nicholas Garaufis unsealed the memo, and we found that it [...]

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 We heard from a family member last night that Adam Holland, a former Canadian Sea Org member who went public about the Sea Org’s degrading conditions after leaving the organization in 2009, took his own life on February 17. He was only 30 years old.

Adam was born on August 8, 1988, into a Scientology family. [...]

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[Keith Raniere and Nancy Salzman in happier times]

The Albany Times Union really uncorked a beauty today. Written by Brendan J. Lyons, it does a great job tracing Nancy Salzman’s involvement with Keith Raniere and Nxivm now that she’s pled guilty, the first of the Nxivm defendants to do so.

A few excerpts from the piece…

— For [...]

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[Judge Chantal Corriveau and the Quebec Superior Court]

Our readers know we love court documents. And so we went hunting for a recent court ruling that we’d read some news stories about. At the end of February, Quebec Superior Court Judge Chantal Corriveau authorized a class action lawsuit against three Jehovah’s Witness ruling bodies in a [...]

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[Catherine Oxenberg]

 This week’s story about Catherine Oxenberg in the Daily Mail about her recent book about Nxivm has us thinking about some parallels with Leah Remini and Scientology, and we’ll just put down a few thoughts in the hope that it will spark some conversation.

Like Scientology, Nxivm has been rocked by a series of journalistic [...]

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[Keith Raniere and Allison Mack]

We’re still just setting in here at our new blog that will be watching the Nxivm trial unfold in the coming months. Some of our readers are asking us what this Nxivm thing is all about, not having been caught up in the fascinating coverage that’s appeared in places like Vanity [...]

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[Danish JW Dennis Christensen escorted into a Russian courtroom. Credit: Mladen Antonov]

We find it interesting to write about the controversies of certain unusual groups. We investigate allegations of abuse by groups like Scientology and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

But that doesn’t mean we want to see any Scientologists or Jehovah’s Witnesses mistreated for their beliefs. That’s just right [...]

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