Episode 27: Jon Atack — OG Scientology Whistleblower

February 9 Episode 27: Jon Atack — OG Scientology Whistleblower

Leah and Mike talk all things scientology and Fair Game with one of the most well-informed former scientologist whistleblowers. Jon has spent decades studying and exposing scientology brainwashing and abuse and has fascinating insights on so much.

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Jon's YouTube channel

Contains many interviews Jon has done, including 3 fairly recent ones with Mike

A Piece of Blue Sky

Joon’s seminal work on scientology.

Scientology: the Cult of Greed

Jon’s introductory book for those unfamiliar with scientology

Opening Minds

Jon’s newest book, available later this month

Barefaced Messiah

Russell Miller’s superb unauthorized biography of L. Ron Hubbard

Intelligent Disobedience

Jon recommends this book by Ira Chaleff

Shattered Assumptions

Recommended by Jon

Take Back Your Life

Further recommended reading


  • Kevin Mahoney says:

    Great Episode! Jon’s insight into Scientology is amazing. I could listen to him for hours…

    Don’t forget to bring Jon back for another episode.

    Keep up the great work Leah and Mike!

    • G Porter says:

      I too could listen for hours, if only Leah would allow him to speak, the constant interruptions are infuriating, this applies to all the interviews.

      • Alexa says:

        Leah?? The host of the podcast?? She’s amazing and is doing this out of the kindness of her heart. How could you possibly take that for disruption? I take it as conversing, flowing as well as hosting…. to each their own.

        Keep up the good work Mike and Leah! I love you both and your show! One of the only shows that I anticipate for it to post each week so I can listen to it! Love it and what you guys are doing against this horrendous cult.

      • Deb Donner says:

        I have to disagree with your comment regarding Leah’s “interruptions”. She is a co-host and co-moderator and it’s her job to keep the interview on track. I think her interjections are spot on and her voice needs to be heard.

  • Diane Dierks says:

    I was fascinated by Jon’s story today. I was particularly interested in his podcast about various forms of mind control. I am a family therapist, specializing in working with children and parents who have experienced pathological parental alienation — when a parent deliberately turns a child against the other parent through brainwashing. In fact, I have recently used some of the things I have heard on this Fair Game podcast to help parents understand the dynamics of how even adults can be subject to believing irrational lies. Thank you for sharing and I look forward to listening to Jon’s podcast.

  • Jeffrey Absalom says:

    John is by far one of the best guest ever! Please have him return again and again!!

    Mike & Leah… I love you dearly but please let the guests speak. Leah, I’m with you all the way on the points you are making.. you aren’t talking just to talk… but as a listener, it’s a little discombobulating.

    I think you would be well served to have a an outline of your podcast ready before you begin. It’s pretty obvious you just wing it.

    Not trying to be a dick… just offering up some advice. I truly love the podcast and love what you are doing.

  • Emily says:

    Is there any insight as to why L. Ron Hubbard started Scientology? As a side note, for an embarrassingly long time I thought his name was Elron Hubbard 🤣

    AND…is the freeloader bill something Scientology can send to a creditor if it’s not paid? Or is it just another manipulation tactic?

  • Lucy Hornigold says:

    Hi – I have a question, do you ever worry that Scientology listen to the podcast and are able to shore up their weaknesses because you’re pointing them out – I.e they might destroy their records that could incriminate them? Or that Miscavage might curtail is behaviour given that he knows he could be recorded or that it can push sea org people to escape ? Love your work – thanks Leah and Mike x

  • Kathy says:

    Boy did this bring back memories. I was mission staff in Stockton CA. In the 80’s we separated from the Church, were labeled squirrels, brought in a mission holder who told us about his invention “SISing”, our mission holder was declared suppressive, our exec director had to go to a meeting where they were locked in a ballroom (with baby in arms) and screamed at, during all this I attested to Clear and did OT 3 at the squirrel center, some NOTS. Note to others, don’t bother. Seriously. I have many stories. None rise to the horrors of ex Sea Org members. Now it seems funny. Oh yeah, worked long hours with little money. I guess I got over it. Mostly.

  • J says:

    Just listened to this episode, and I thought I’d share some lingo. You were looking for vocabulary to describe how Scientology starts “training” “hypnotizing” off the get go. Another term is grooming. This is something that is generally referred to with ongoing pedophilia/sexual abuse. It starts out small, and before you know it you are doing things and allowing things to happen that would not be acceptable in any other situation. It also happens in areas where they recruit children for militia. In some areas the give the kids drugs, desensitizing them, and then guide them to do horrible things. Once they’ve done it, they continue the pattern and wind up training new children the same way. It’s very sad, and disgusting.
    Anyway-just thought I’d share.

  • Deb Donner says:

    “You’ll be given a fair trial and then we’ll hang you” I’m going to embroider that on a tee! This was a great interview. Jon Atack is fascinating. Looking forward to reading his books.

    You guys are doing a fantastic job with the podcast! As always, super educational and empowering. Love it. Effing LOVE IT.

  • Cathy S says:

    Thank you, Mike and Leah, and all of your AMAZING and BRAVE guests! I watched all of The Aftermath, and now I am working my way through the Fair Game podcast. In addition, I have read several of the books on your recommended reading list. (Just started another one this morning!)

    I appreciate all the information. It is a fascinating subject, and it is helpful to me because my parents and we children were part of a different cult back in the late ’60s and early ’70s. (It was less harmful and evil than Scientology, but it was a cult nonetheless and left lasting damage in our family.) Your work helps me to see honestly how my parents were manipulated and misguided, until one of the local leaders finally saw the light, due to witnessing that the founder’s son and his cronies were absolutely not living by the rules of the “church.”

    A whole group of families left the “church” at that time, but my parents, especially our father, continued to think and operate along the lines of what they had learned. (“Never apologize for anything because that is a sign of weakness” and many other such rules, which have not allowed healthy communication in his work and family life. He was fired from multiple jobs, and he has cut himself off from almost all of the family. Very sad!

    It makes me wonder how many of these thoughts were in his mind before he joined the cult. His self-indulgent and self-absorbed mind has no room for any thought about what anyone around him might be experiencing in their lives. His punishment of the children was quite violent, which was not specifically encouraged by the cult and may have been his own interpretation. not sure! Was he like that before and the cult simply affirmed what he already believed, or is his current sad state a result of the brainwashing of the cult? I feel it is the former, but there is no way to know for sure.

    Anyway, I wanted to say that I very much appreciate your work. As Mark Vicente said how helpful your show was for him, your work encourages many people besides ex-Scientologists to seek help, freedom, and healing.

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