Mike Rinder is a former executive of the Church of Scientology who was removed from his position for incompetence and gross malfeasance. Despite generous attempts by seniors to help him straighten out and come clean, Rinder eventually deserted his church, his wife of over thirty years and his two children and skulked off. He ignored every attempt by his family to communicate with him and instead soon took up with a younger woman and became a used car salesman. After failing just as miserably at that career, Rinder threw in with another apostate, Mark “Marty” Rathbun. Together they are involved in a scheme to discredit the Church of Scientology and its leadership for the purpose of lining their own pockets.
Mike Rinder has a weakness for status and the limelight. As a spokesman for the international Church, he was admittedly incompetent and in over his head, but also admitted that he was so slick, arrogant and underhanded that for years he hid it well, blaming his transgressions and incompetence on circumstances, other staff, even the press he was charged with informing. In truth, his history as a staff member was one of laziness, negligence and corruption aided by the fact that he was often in the field and able to fabricate events and his statistics to make himself look good. But the truth was ugly. During one aborted attempt to come clean, Mike Rinder wrote of himself:
"I fell asleep at my desk many times. This was when working on events—virtually every one I’ve done in the last 5 years. I was not confronting the writing of speeches. In fact, I was not wanting to confront what I was doing at the time—being irresponsible... I am now known for falling asleep. This has happened 50 times in the last 5 years and probably 20 times at my desk in the last 2 years."
“I was very lazy and did everything based on the ‘seat of my pants.’ From the outset I have been off purpose and out ethics.”
“I wanted to be important and maintain my status and I put that well before the well being [sic] of the organization. I have been anti-organization. I have had to lessen the importance of the organization and group in order to continue to live with the overts [transgressions] I committed.”
“I avoided responsibility by deliberately remaining ignorant of situations, hoping that a junior would handle them. This ‘it’s got nothing to do with me’ attitude in flying my hats right up the Org Board. This was motivated by a cowardly desire to have someone other than me to blame if the situation blows up. It ignored the actual consequences, because when these situations explode, it has always been Chairman of the Board who handled them… I have done this many times throughout the years—from legal cases to media situations and government attacks.”
“The cost to the Church through my neglect of situations has been huge, because these situations have blown up and turned into hugely expensive matters in terms of both money and distraction.”
— Mike Rinder
Rinder’s list of transgressions goes on and can be viewed here.
Mike Rinder had worked closely with Marty Rathbun for years and the two had much in common. Their years in Scientology organizations were spent dumping work and responsibility on juniors, avoiding training at all costs, and honing the one and only skill both possessed: an ability to deceive. Individually, and as a twisted “team” that covered each other’s crimes, Rathbun and Rinder put the Church in direct and substantial legal jeopardy by ignoring and subverting Church policy. They then passed the buck for the disasters they created up the chain of command, while at the same time sabotaging the Church’s efforts to legally defend itself. To protect themselves, they literally hid evidence that would have cleared the primary individual they pinned their own crimes on – the church’s ecclesiastical leader, Mr. David Miscavige.
Both Rathbun and Rinder were caught at different stages, demoted, and given numerous opportunities to redeem themselves but neither ever had the courage to truly clean up his act. Instead each wandered off – Rathbun in 2004, Rinder in 2007 – deserting their families in the process, and were eventually excommunicated.
By 2008 both found themselves flat broke and without an honest skill between them. Rinder was living in Denver selling used cars; Rathbun (after squandering an inheritance in the same manner in which he squandered church funds) was sweeping floors in Texas. Rathbun, a renowned egomaniac, desperate for money and out for revenge, came up with a wild plan to “take over” Scientology by painting himself as an aggrieved victim of injustice and offering himself to the internet fringe as a purported “savior” of L. Ron Hubbard’s technologies. To support this deceit Rathbun scraped together a ragged band of excommunicated apostates he had known in the past, who now lie for him to the press and to the public, likely in the vain hope that if Rathbun somehow manages to cash in from this scheme, they will share in the wealth.
But Rathbun’s plan relies heavily upon disseminating these lies through the media, and for that he needed and sought out Mike Rinder’s help . Even though the pair had been both allies and enemies while on staff [in 2004 Rathbun suddenly and inexplicably leapt at Rinder across a conference table and beat him to a pulp] they generally stuck together if only to have someone to provide cover.
Allergic to work as always, Rinder saw the opportunity to line his pockets and knew exactly how to go about it. The twisted team was back in business.
Rathbun has a megalomaniacal sense of his own importance due to the years he spent working in the shadow of a great man, Mr. Miscavige. Rinder, also a status-freak, has his slick PR arrogance and a wealth of media contacts from his days as a church spokesperson. Putting their warped egos together, they spin tales rife with blatant lies specifically and carefully designed to appeal to those media outlets that have a penchant for anti-Scientology stories – the same media outlets that the pair intentionally antagonized in the past. They satisfy these media outlets’ thirst for controversy by feeding them wildly sensational and alarming falsehoods so bold they are unlikely to be recognized as the fabrications they are. And to gain maximum press attention, they attempt to pin the lot on Mr. Miscavige; the same man who treated them generously and with great compassion, giving them ample opportunity to change their ways when they failed. In other words, the man they had harmed most.
The reason becomes evident when one realizes that for years Mike Rinder hid from the Church’s ecclesiastical leader the role he played in concealing the suborning of perjury and obstruction of justice committed by Marty Rathbun and another former staff member and current conspirator, Tom DeVocht. Only after the statute of limitations expired on Rathbun’s felony did he admit to it, and even then he and Rinder twisted it in a way to try and blame the Church and Mr. Miscavige.
Rinder and Rathbun would be put rapidly out of business were they not paid for their anti-Scientology press junkets (whether by direct fees as in the case of the British rags or through all-expenses-paid vacations offered by the odd news agency or anti-religious organization) and generally financed by apostate Robert Almblad, a.k.a Robert August, an “inventor” whose claim to fame is a questionable “clean ice” machine. Reportedly, Almblad is also “a financier of hate crimes and a virulent anti-Scientologist who keeps Rinder afloat and funds Rathbun’s cult as well.” (See The Violence of Marty Rathbun & his Cult Militia)
Among Rinder’s schemes was an attempted “photo op” that he hoped would set up the church to be blamed for the rift between Rinder and his family that he so manifestly created all by himself.
One day, as part of their discredit-the-church scheme, Rinder showed up at a church building, with his girlfriend and Rathbun wielding a camera to “document” the event, demanding to see the son he had deserted years before. It seems the hope was that this demand would be denied so it would appear the church was denying him access to his family. But Rinder’s son did come to the door and told Rinder he had no interest in seeing him.
The son had good reason. He had just recovered from an excruciating three-year battle with cancer, largely thanks to his church whose staff welfare executives had secured the services of the foremost specialist in the world in melanomas to treat him. His mother had traveled to see his father years earlier to alert him to the situation, but Rinder treated her with such hostility that she was unable to communicate with him, and at no time during the followings years did Rinder ever even bother to ask after his children’s welfare.
Yet here was Mike Rinder, along with fellow Scientology-haters, now attempting to wreak havoc on a church premises with video camera and recording devices, all under the pretense of “documenting” that he cares about his family.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Rinder’s family are long-time Scientologists. His father (now deceased) and his mother were founding members of the Australian branch of the church, and his brother and sister, as well as his wife and children remain active, dedicated members.
After deserting his wife and kids, Rinder also cut all contact with his elderly mother in Australia, despite repeated letters from her. Just as ruthlessly he cut contact with his brother and sister. But this did not stop them from reaching out to him. Rinder’s brother, Andrew, flew all the way from Australia to accompany Rinder’s former wife, Cathy, and their daughter, in one effort to contact him. But upon seeing them, Rinder reacted with such hatred that he physically attacked Cathy, gouging and stripping the flesh from her arms so severely it caused nerve that is still healing almost a year later, and dislocating her shoulder, an injury that required surgery to repair. Andrew returned to Australia with a near-broken finger from his attempt to aid his sister-in-law.
In revenge, Rinder later went on a paid anti-Scientology media junket to Australia where he tricked his way into his elderly mother’s retirement home while she was away on vacation. Earlier, the senior Mrs. Rinder had attempted to reach her son by letter and reason with him but to no avail. Now, owing to his vicious attacks on the church that she helped to establish in Australia, she wants nothing to do with him. As a last insult, before he left her room, Rinder rifled through her belongings, snapping photos as trophies.
But Rinder’s best efforts to destroy his former church and its leader, has in many ways backfired. Following Rinder’s departure from staff, several women came forward and made the following declarations, revealing that Rinder had a well-concealed history of intimidating and physically abusing female colleagues.
Female Victim #1
“I knew he was going to hit me, so I put my hands over my face. He grabbed me by the shoulders in a very strong, tight and painful grip (squeezing my shoulders very hard) and began shaking me violently, toward him and away from him, back and forth rapidly... He kept on shoving me back and forth and then, on a back shove, threw me against the wall hard enough that it hurt my rib cage, knocked the breath out of me and I bounced off the wall….”
Some years later, and well away from witnesses, another incident occurred:
Female Victim #2
“He placed both his hands on an 8-by-11-inch wooden clipboard he was carrying, did a half turn, swung and hit me on the side of my face with the clipboard, using the full force of his body… I developed a severe toothache. The pain became quite excruciating. The dentist…found that it had been cracked and had to be removed.”
A third woman who work in the same area as Rinder had inexplicably left staff some years ago, much to the surprise of her colleagues. Today, her reason is abundantly clear, as the following was submitted to the Church after she had read of Rinder’s other transgressions:
Female Victim #3
“I needed financial approval to purchase something, but I was worried as I had been told in the past that Mike Rinder would not approve this type of purchase. I mentioned my concern to a colleague as to whether or not Rinder would approve the request, but I was advised to make the request and turn it into Rinder anyway, which I did...
“He came out into the hallway, walked right up to me and physically slammed me against the wall. He used his right forearm up against my chest and moved toward my throat in a choking position, my head was pinned against the wall and I was desperately trying to get him to move his arm down by pulling down on his forearm with my two hands… Rinder never apologized for that incident, for slamming me against the wall, for upsetting me or anything. That was the beginning of my thinking about leaving..."
“The enemy actions I was engaged in were destructive to all of Scientology and ultimately every person on Earth. The magnitude of the overts is almost incomprehensible.”
- Mike Rinder
Prior to his departure, Mike Rinder would only vaguely admit to the damage he did to the church as being “hugely expensive.” Marty Rathbun blithely put a figure on the damage he personally caused of $43,799,000.
That was as of September 29, 2003. In a recent publication devoted to the issue, the Church takes a different view of the total cost of the “monumental disasters” created by Marty “Mark” Rathbun, in which Mike Rinder was often complicit:
“He [Mark “Marty” Rathbun] was being very conservative and the damage is far higher. For by engaging in his own psychotically motivated war, he also distracted Church leaders who ultimately had to clean up his mess. Then, too, he diverted Church funds from humanitarian programs to help Mankind, not to mention the creation of new Church facilities to service the greater community of Scientologists and the communities in which they work.
“Since the discovery and removal of Rathbun, the endless series of “unexplainable” external battles and legal cases has “magically” ended. Indeed, the Church has emerged victorious in country after country with religious recognitions as well as precedent-setting decisions in the European Court of Human Rights. Moreover, with the Church’s resources now dedicated to the religion itself, in the last decade the size of the Church has doubled what it had achieved in its first 55 years of existence.”