It’s great to see the byline of Tony Ortega in the New York Post. The founder of The Underground Bunker and executive editor of The Raw Story lays out the rich details framing the very belated arrival in the U.S. of Bare-Faced Messiah, a 1987 biography by British journalist Russell Miller of Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
The Church successfully derailed U.S. publication with two years of litigation. However, thanks to independent publisher Silvertail Books, Bare-Faced Messiah was finally released stateside on March 18.
A portion of the book covers the same territory as Paul Thomas Anderson‘s acclaimed drama The Master. Amazingly, Miller says he was never consulted for the project:
I spoke to Miller recently and asked him if Anderson had ever reached out to him, since it seemed obvious that his book had been mined for that material. “I didn’t know about this until the bloody film was out. Had I known this was in the pipeline, I would have got my agent to ask to see the script.”
“Because I agree with you, I don’t think there’s any question that they must have used my book. I would have a) liked credit and b) I would have liked some acknowledgment in terms of some cash,” Miller said with a laugh.
Ortega says the book holds up as a “gripping read” and notes that other than some changes by Miller to the introduction, the 1987 tome’s 2014 U.S. edition is the same. Ortega at one point asked Miller if the author was ever followed or harassed by the Church while working on the book. Miller’s reply: “Oh sure, yeah. I was being followed every single day.” Much more in Ortega’s piece; read it here.
[Jacket cover courtesy: Silvertail Books]