Remembering Dan Sherman, Scientology’s bad biographer and worse speechwriter

Mar 5, 2023

One thing that’s changed over our years of covering Scientology is that we used to get more videos from big events that featured David Miscavige giving speeches.

And over the years, we noted repeatedly how crazy Miscavige’s sentence structure was in these hours-long stemwinders.

Miscavige is a high school dropout, and it turned out he was relying on a speechwriter named Dan Sherman for his high-falutin’ prose stylings. (Here’s a great piece from Mike Rinder pointing out the crazy Shermanspeak phrases in a typical Miscavige speech.)

And Dan’s influence on Dave’s lingo was confirmed when we got a chance to see Dan himself speak at a 2012 L. Ron Hubbard birthday event and got a load of his bizarre phrasing and sideways sentences that could be really tough to untangle.

We also dug his shaggy mullet, and Dan was also notable because he was Scientology’s official L. Ron Hubbard biographer, and was forever working on a book about the founder that we knew would never see the light of day.

Now there’s a report that Dan has passed away, and we’re working to get some confirmation of that (while flying back to New York after a family vacation), but in the meantime we thought we’d remind you of one of Dan’s finest performance.

It was something we wrote about at the Village Voice in 2012, and featured Dan telling a whopper about how Hubbard had prevented US atomic scientists from using the early A-bomb to overthrow the government! And who was the ringleader of this crazy scheme: Why, US Congressman Richard Nixon!

Seriously, enjoy Dan’s crazy ideas about sentence structure as you watch again this short clip from the 2012 LRH Birthday event, above. And here’s the transcript:

There are a couple of ancillary notes relevant to what transpired on the 15th of November [of 1945] in the basement of Caltech’s Atheneum Hall. In the first place, those participating in what is remembered as the Nuclear Scientists’ Revolt most definitely suffered severe punishments. Specifically and summarily, a full 64 were stripped of security clearances, thus effectively ending their careers in government research departments. Well, for another telling footnote, the henchman was none other than future American president and Watergate villain, Richard Nixon. In the second place, those in attendance indeed represented the cream of America’s atom bomb project, including a chief engineer who designed the triggering device, and no less than three Nobel Laureates for theoretical physics. Not in attendance but not far away in sentiment was A-bomb father Robert Oppenheimer who, when the first mushroom cloud arose was overheard whispering, “Now I become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” But the overriding point, and vastly so, is simply this: How is it, LRH asks, did these brilliant minds come to believe America would never actually drop the bomb? How is it they swallowed the story that went something like this: The government was to build a grandstand where Hitler and the Japanese emperor would sit, whereupon, as LRH described it, “They were going to press a button, they were going to have an atom bomb go off, and they were going to say, ‘See what we’re going to do to you’.” To which he adds, “And these dopes fell for that. These so-called great brains fell for that story.” But in so far as the bomb was now an inexorable fact of existence, and, as Heinlein so colorfully phrased it, “You can’t turn the sausage back into a hog,” we come to the next turn in our LRH trail.

Here’s how we reacted to that word salad in 2012:

How is it this isn’t in every school book in this great land of ours? L. Ron Hubbard stopped Richard Nixon from leading a group of rogue scientists to overthrow the U.S. government. Oh, and the Manhattan Project was going to fly Hitler and Emperor Hirohito over to watch an A-bomb demonstration from a giant grandstand in the New Mexico desert. Yeah, we didn’t hear about that one either.

These tall tales from Sherman were really something, and they were a staple for every LRH Birthday event for years. But now, well, like the rest of Scientology, Dan has faded away, and we’ll miss him.

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Thank you for reading today’s story here at Substack. For the full picture of what’s happening today in the world of Scientology, please join the conversation at, where we’ve been reporting daily on David Miscavige’s cabal since 2012. There you’ll find additional stories, and our popular regular daily features:

Source Code: Actual things founder L. Ron Hubbard said on this date in history

Avast, Ye Mateys: Snapshots from Scientology’s years at sea

Overheard in the Freezone: Indie Hubbardism, one thought at a time

Past is Prologue: From this week in history at alt.religion.scientology

Random Howdy: Your daily dose of the Captain

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