Reaching For the Tipping Point

Scientology News and Propaganda => Scientology-related Blogs to Watch => Topic started by: News Thetan on September 16, 2011, 13:03

Title: The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology, No. 7: Mark Bunker - Village Voice (blog)
Post by: News Thetan on September 16, 2011, 13:03
The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology, No. 7: Mark Bunker - Village Voice (blog) (
16 September 2011, 9:18 am


Mark Bunker is currently working on Knowledge Report (, a documentary about Scientology that we've been previewing here at Runnin' Scared for months. You probably also know that Bunker was famously dubbed "Wise Beard Man" by Anonymous when he counseled ( in January 2008 that the upstart movement adopt a more Gandhi-like approach to its fight against Scientology.

But do you know how Bunker first fell into his interest in Scientology on his way to becoming the dean of old time critics? No you don't -- and that's because Bunker said he was telling the full story to the Voice for the first time anywhere.

Bunker had worked in radio in the Midwest before he moved to Los Angeles in the mid 1980s to work as an actor. He found work in television commercials and theater.

At that point, he says, he had some understanding of Scientology -- he'd seen a 60 Minutes report in the 1980s, and when he moved to LA, he suddenly had a reason to become more curious about it.

"I moved into a house, and the previous resident had been a Scientologist. So I was getting all this Scientology mail. 'What is this?' I thought. I mean, this is crazy," he says.

Besides his acting work, Bunker later also took a job working for a company that did market research for Hollywood studios. One day, he remembers, he was driving past a Scientology building on Sunset Boulevard with a coworker, who asked about it. Bunker told her what he knew: that Scientology was the invention of a science fiction writer, and that he'd heard various negative things about it. Later, he learned that his co-worker was in fact a Scientologist, and he felt some embarrassment.

As a kind gesture, he told her that he'd actually like to learn more about Scientology. "'Would you come tomorrow?' she asked me," Bunker says, trying to capture how eager she sounded. "She arranged for me to get my own screening of the orientation film, to take a personality test, to play with an e-meter. I even sat down with the president of the Hollywood Celebrity Centre -- I can't remember his name. But I told them I thought this wasn't for me." Bunker says he also wanted to ask them some challenging questions, but he didn't know the material well enough to do so. It made him curious to learn more.

"I started looking more into it, and it made me see that things my coworker did were starting to make sense now. Like, she tried to talk me out of going to a therapist at one point," he says. "She audited me one night. I found it really annoying. She kept asking me to tell the same story over and over." She was taking large amounts of vitamins, and was getting them in injections. "She was even investing in ostrich eggs," he says, referring to a bizarre get-rich-quick-scheme that some Scientologists hoped would help them raise money quickly to pay for expensive church services.

"I don't know if she's still in. One of the things she did was show me the grade chart at the Celebrity Centre, the chart that goes all the way to the top, which is OT VIII. She pointed at the bottom to show me where she was -- the very bottom. And she'd been in for 15 years. She'd made no progress because she had no money and didn't want to join the Sea Org," he says. (Scientologists who join the Sea Org sign billion-year contracts and work for almost no pay, but they can get free services to help them move up the grade chart.)

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