The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology, No. 8: Mike Rinder

On August 5, we started a countdown that will give credit -- or blame -- to the people who have contributed most to the sad current state of Scientology. From its greatest expansion in the 1980s, the church is a shell of what it once was and is mired in countless controversies around the world. Some of that was self-inflicted, and some of it has come from outside. Join us now as we continue on our investigation of those people most responsible...

The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology

#8: Mike Rinder

Mike Rinder says he was 5 or 6 years old when his parents got into Scientology and then raised him in it. By 20 years old, he had left his native Australia and was running the telex desk at the Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater, Florida, where Scientology had just formed its land base after years of running things at sea. Rinder was one of several very young members on the rise who were beginning to take over Scientology -- his close friends Marty Rathbun and David Miscavige were also part of the new guard.

Their timing was good. In 1977, Scientology endured one of its most damning episodes when the FBI raided its offices, finding documents that proved the church's Guardian's Office had perpetrated the largest infiltration of government offices in this country's history. L. Ron Hubbard's wife, Mary Sue, and 10 other executives went to prison for "Operation Snow White," and the Guardian's Office (GO) itself was dissolved. Miscavige, Rathbun, and Rinder were among the young executives charged with picking up the pieces and moving Scientology away from the Snow White debacle. Rinder, in particular, helped create the Guardian's Office successor, the Office of Special Affairs.

"I can't be credited with creating OSA, but I was certainly there when it happened. And within a short period of time I became the head of OSA," Rinder told me recently. "These people [at the GO] had done a bunch of kooky things. Myself and a bunch of other people had the idea that we had to start doing things the right way and not the wrong way."

For more than 20 years, Rinder was involved in and led OSA before he left Scientology in 2007. He played a role overseeing Scientology's legal affairs, he ran an office that employed private investigators, and he eventually also became the church's chief spokesman.

"At some point [Scientology leader] David Miscavige decided that Heber Jentzsch was incompetent and stupid, so I ended up being the one dealing with any major media stuff," Rinder says. (Heber Jentzsch was chief spokesman and was also president of the Church of Scientology, International -- largely a nominal role -- but he has vanished, and his ex-wife says he's being kept in a kind of prison program at Scientology's international headquarters near Hemet, California.)

If OSA was meant to supplant the GO, there's the account of Nancy Many, who has written that she worked as a spy for both incarnations of Scientology's covert operations wing. I asked Rinder, did he really succeed in cleaning up the GO's legacy?

"I would look back and say, you see, spying isn't illegal," Rinder says. "The GO did things that were illegal. We said, no more illegal stuff. No more fake hit-and-run accidents and that sort of nuttiness. [Referring to the campaign to smear Clearwater mayor Gabe Cazares.] But I never considered that spying itself was illegal -- it's done by corporations all the time. It's not done by churches, I understand that, but it's done by corporations all the time. It's not very savory, but it's not illegal."

Speaking of "fair game" operations that were carried out under Rinder's watch -- attempts by Scientology to smear or harass its critics -- I asked him about readers of the Voice's coverage of Scientology who seem angry that he hasn't done enough to reveal what happened under his leadership, or to admit wrongdoing and do amends for it.

"Think whatever you want to think. I live my life according to what I think is right. I don't live it according to what other people think I should do. I did that for 20 years. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. But really, the people who say those kinds of things, they really don't have a clue. It doesn't matter what you do, there will always be people who are critical," he says. "There are people complaining to me that I haven't reported what I know to law enforcement. How do they know I haven't? I'm supposed to answer to those complaints? I don't have time for that."

Rinder worked very closely with church leader David Miscavige for many years. I asked Rinder what he thinks Miscavige worries about the most regarding ex-Scientologists or other critics.

"I think he's worried that he can no longer control the flow of information, and keep people in a state of suspended animation, circling around his world of bullshit PR. What he fears the most is a crumbling of his empire, and the support and money he gets from people who still buy his bullshit. On many fronts, there are things that worry him that he can't control what's being said about him. All of these things create holes in the black box, and the light is shining in through more and more of those holes, and he doesn't know where to stuff his hands to plug up the light," he says. "In Australia, in Germany, Scientologists there who see the media, they're going to start wondering what's really going on. More and more people then start finding out what the real truth is."

Rinder has been one of the key reasons Miscavige has that problem on his hands. After giving his first television interview to Bryan Seymour, cooperating in the groundbreaking St. Petersburg Times series "The Truth Rundown," and appearing in John Sweeney's BBC special, "The Secrets of Scientology," Rinder is now talking regularly about his time in Scientology and the abuses he saw under Miscavige.

I asked Mark Bunker about what a huge turnaround that is:

When I first started looking into Scientology, one thing was clear: Mike Rinder was evil. He had to be. He was the head of the Office of Special Affairs. He was in charge of all the nasty stuff that Scientology did to people like my friend Bob Minton. It was OSA who hired private investigators to follow me, who had me arrested while I was trying to interview former members in Chicago and then spread my mugshot to all my neighbors telling them that I was a dangerous criminal. It was OSA who sent Scientologists to leaflet my neighborhood with inflammatory flyers about me and sent two members to picket me at my home. I know one thing about me: I'm a good guy. So therefore Mike Rinder was a bad guy. The chief bad guy. How could you do all these evil things if you yourself are not evil?

But then I worked with Stacy Brooks at the Lisa McPherson Trust. She knew Mike Rinder. She used to work with Mike Rinder. She liked Mike Rinder. She hated what Mike Rinder was doing to people, especially to Bob Minton who was the man she loved. She was working to try to stop OSA from hurting anyone else. We all were. Mike Rinder was to me a caricature who I saw smirking on TV shows when asked about Lisa McPherson's death. But I started to see him as a human being, one who was part of this machinery that was in motion, grinding away, tearing up families. It was a step in moving away from my previous black and white mentality. I was starting to see some grays.

I'm not excusing what Mike Rinder did to me, to Bob Minton or to the other people who have been hurt by the Office of Special Affairs and by his own actions. I understand the viewpoint of those who want him to do more to make amends. But I'm grateful that he's no longer part of that machinery and has been helping to dismantle it.

The Church of Scientology has mastered the art of black and white messaging. Critics are Suppressive Persons. Reporters are Merchants of Chaos. Members are told not to even consider what we might have to say. I say we have to find some way to start communicating so we can work together to stop the abuses of the organization. I've sat down and talked with Mike Rinder a couple of times this year. One thing was clear: Mike Rinder is not evil. In fact, I rather like the guy.

For his upcoming movie, Knowledge Report, Bunker interviewed Rinder recently about Scientology's use of private investigators...

I asked Bryan Seymour what it has meant to have Rinder speak out about Scientology in Australia:

Apart from giving me his first broadcast interview about his time at the top of Scientology, Mike Rinder has helped with insight and contacts to unravel a host of anomolies and abuses. In Australia, Rinder has assisted in the understanding of Scientology's complex financial structures. He has also been a wellspring of detail on internal politics and policies. Other issues he has lent his experience to will emerge in the near future. Australians might have continued thinking Scientology was a largely harmless, weird religion but for the efforts to expose the truth of former members. Chief among them -- Mike Rinder.
Like Marty Rathbun, Rinder is now being targeted by OSA operations that the two of them helped develop over the years. The irony does not escape either of them. We reported earlier about how a contingent of the Squirrel Busters tried to disrupt a medical trade show where Rinder was working. Freedom magazine's sad imitation of a reporter, Jim Lynch, has also regularly showed up to question Rinder. But the former OSA chief seems largely unfazed by it. In fact, he's almost preternaturally calm as a final report from Australia's "Fair Work" Ombudsman is due to be released any day now. But then, he has his eyes on a larger game.

"I think a bunch of governments -- particularly in Europe and in the Commonwealth -- will follow in the footsteps of the Australian Fair Work Ombudsman and begin their own investigations and reviews," he told Australian television this week.

In other words, more holes for Miscavige to worry about, letting in more light.

UPDATE: In response to this countdown item, Marty Rathbun posted an interesting remembrance of what it was like to watch Rinder endure verbal abuse by church leader David Miscavige. Worth a look.

The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology
#1: L. Ron Hubbard
#2: David Miscavige
#3: Marty Rathbun
#4: Tom Cruise
#5: Joe Childs and Tom Tobin
#6: Anonymous
#7: Mark Bunker
#8: Mike Rinder
#9: Jason Beghe
#10: Lisa McPherson
#11: Nick Xenophon (and other public servants)
#12: Tommy Davis (and other hapless church executives)
#13: Janet Reitman (and other journalists)
#14: Tory Christman (and other noisy ex-Scientologists)
#15: Andreas Heldal-Lund (and other old time church critics)
#16: Marc and Claire Headley, escapees of the church's HQ
#17: Jefferson Hawkins, the man behind the TV volcano
#18: Amy Scobee, former Sea Org executive
#19: The Squirrel Busters (and the church's other thugs and goons)
#20: Trey Parker and Matt Stone (and other media figures)
#21: Kendrick Moxon, attorney for the church
#22: Jamie DeWolf (and other L. Ron Hubbard family members)
#23: Ken Dandar (and other attorneys who litigate against the church)
#24: David Touretzky (and other academics)
#25: Xenu, galactic overlord

Tony Ortega is the editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. Since 1995, he's been writing about Scientology at several publications. | @VoiceTonyO | Facebook: Tony Ortega

Keep up on all of our New York news coverage at this blog, Runnin' Scared


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In Germany with Ursula Caberta: [Announcing plans] | [Press conference] | [Making news about Tom Cruise, Bill Clinton, and Tony Blair] | [Post-trip interview]
The Squirrel Busters: [Goons with cameras on their heads] | [Rathbun's open letter to neighbors] | [Ingleside on the Bay, Texas rallies to Rathbun's cause] | [Squirrel Buster's claim to be making a "documentary"] | [VIDEO: "On a Boat"] | ["Anna" sent to creep out Monique Rathbun] | [Squirrel Busters go hillbilly] | [A videographer blows the whistle on the goon squad] | [Ed Bryan, OT VIII, shows the power of Scientology's highest levels]


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Spy operation against Washington Post writer Richard Leiby: [Part 1] | [Part 2]
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Grant Cardone, NatGeo's "Turnaround King": [Doing Scientology's dirty work?] | [Milton Katselas complained about Cardone's smear job] | [Cardone runs to Huffpo]


[Our review of Inside Scientology] | [An interview with Janet Reitman] | [A report from Reitman's first book tour appearance] | [At the Half-King: Reitman not afraid]
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[A review of Urban's scholarly history of the church] | [An interview with Hugh Urban]


[Marc Headley: "Tom Cruise told me to talk to a bottle"] | [The Nancy Many interview]
[Sympathy for the Devil: Tory Christman's Story] | [Jeff Hawkins' Counterfeit Dreams]
[86 Million Thin Dimes: The Lawrence Wollersheim Saga] | [Mike Rinder on spying]


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I just watched the very long and thorough talk that Gerry Armstrong gave in Germany, and if Armstrong is to be believed as telling the truth, then it is very obvious that Mr. Rinder lied when making this statement to Tony O:

"I would look back and say, you see, spying isn't illegal," Rinder says. "The GO did things that were illegal. We said, no more illegal stuff. No more fake hit-and-run accidents and that sort of nuttiness. [Referring to the campaign to smear Clearwater mayor Gabe Cazares.] But I never considered that spying itself was illegal -- it's done by corporations all the time. It's not done by churches, I understand that, but it's done by corporations all the time. It's not very savory, but it's not illegal."

I recommend that anyone that puts faith into Rinder's tales watch this video.  Now I will give credence to some that criticize Armstrong's methods and the fact that he doesn't let go of the past, but would you let it go if you had been through what that man went through?  I think Gerry would let it go if Rinder/Rathbun came clean.  As of today both of those men are very, very dirty still and they may be in for a surprise if they think the statute of limitations ran out for the crimes they committed years ago.  I'd love to see both of them in prison as much as David Miscavige.


Reading this 'countdown' series, I am reminded of an email I got from Robert Vaughn Young, not long before he passed away.  He considered the struggle against Scientology to be something of a relay race; you run what you can, and pass the baton. Only he said it way more eloquently, and at the time there were a handful of folks in the race.  Now it's more like a Fun Run.


#8..Mike! Ok, we're getting closer. I am  happy Mike is out. I understand people want him to do more, say more, be more...but if you honestly think about it: He is and has done quite a lotsince he left the "church" of $cientology.

Is it fast enough for many? No. Is that our choice? No it is not. So I say, thank you, Mike Rinder, for being # 8 in crippling C of $. Thank you for what you have done..and I hope you do continue to expose this Cult for the insidious abuses they have done, and are doing, especially re breaking up families and using Fair Game on we who have left and spoken out. If you helped expose my program of 2006, thank you! I hope you help shine more and more light. As my friend, Warrior, always posted: "Sunshine Disinfects".Blessings to ALL :) Tory/Magoo


Who replaced Rinder as Miscavige's punching bag? Does he speak to Tommy Davis the way he talked to Mike? I think the two guys he was most likely to abuse are in the "Hole." Willhere was too close to Cruise. I can't see him getting punched or screamed at.

Some executive has to have the presence of mind to get Miscavige recorded. The declining state of Scientology can't be causing him to get calmer. He's going to get worse.


Mike Rinder looks comfortable in his new role of squirrel co-leader, perhaps this was his real calling. I met him on two occasions and he was instantly unlikeable, a trait only a few people have I believe. Somewhat hard to put your finger on as to why he was so unlikeable, perhaps it was the arrogant little sneer that appeared on his face and in his voice, or maybe it was the way he somehow addressed people as if they were insignificant. Yes, I would have to say I wasn't comfortable knowing he was one of Scientology's top executives. I'm pleased he's out, it benefits both the church and adherents of Marty and his shack.


When you go to a big bookstore, and look at the religion section, there are all sorts of "how-to" books about the various religions, written by practitioners.  "All about Buddhism," or "Christian Meditations," or "The Practice of Judaism," or "Hindu Wisdom" etc.   

Why don't you ever see books like that about Scientology, written by the practitioners?  I'm not talking about official corporate scientology books.


predictions for top 7:1) LRH and David Miscavige (tie)2) Marty Rathbun3) Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Kelly Preston, Will and Jada, JLo (the only a/b list Scientology affliliated celebrities)4) people holed up in the RPF (i.e. Shelley Miscavige, Heber Jentzch, etc.)5) OSA6) Kirstie Alley (and other c-list Scientology celebs)7) Lisa Marie Presley and her pandora's box of secrets


This is in response to SFF's comment above, particularly about Hubbard.  It was nested deep in a thread that was getting unwieldy.  So I'm posting it here separately, as I think it also addresses a number of criticisms elsewhere:

SFF wrote: "Basically, I find it hard to reconcile the stated goals above with:- Hubbard's affirmations and the 'smash my name into history' bit"SFF, let me help you understand. If it had come out that Tony Robbins -- during his troubled years -- had done/written some goofy stuff while he was depressed and/or prior to "finding himself", would this be a problem for you? The Affirmations (whose provenance isn't even confirmed, but for argument's sake, let's say they are) are said to have been written while Hubbard was hanging out with Parsons and studying Black Magic in 1946. But look at the timing -- it was right after the war and during the years that LRH claims he was in pretty bad shape physically, was left by family, etc. And further, and perhaps more improtantly, he freely gave it (if these Affirmations are real) to his biographers to use in his biography. Why do you think Hubbard would do that if he was trying to hide his early life? So bottom line, I personally don't think it really matters much what kinds of goofy stuff Hubbard might have said or done before he developed and/or benefited from Dianetics, but especially Scientology.  Do you hold the Buddha's abandonment of his family or his foray into sexual escapades (or really anyone's past) against him, prior to his moments of clarity later in his life? So that's my argument back. To most Scientologists -- certainly me -- I don't care, except out of historical and biographical curiosity, the perceived morality or immorality of Hubbard's life, particularly prior to his having developed Scientology. It's moot and unimportant, imho. "- the fact that he felt the need to lie about his injuries, his war record, his qualifications and his research in order to sell people on it, not to mention frequently lying about financially benefiting from Scientology" This one certainly gets a lot of mileage. Hubbard was thoroughly open and honest about the fact that he didn't get his college degree, and the details of his post-war maladies, in as early as 1950. In fact, he announced the details of these to a nationwide audience in LOOK magazine (at the time, double the circulation as today's TIME magazine when accounting for population increases) in a cover story about Dianetics. Funny how the supposed "biographers" like Atack miss these sorts or details. Any designation as "doctor" or "PhD" or "nuclear physicist" in subsequent years were broadly known to have been "self studied" or "internally generated" by nearly anyone involved in the organization at the time (not unlike how "doctors" of chiropractic are so named). His claimed war-related maladies/injuries that he descibes in this LOOK article in 1950 (for which he had/was receiving veterans pay) match nearly item-for-item those found in his official war record. I've done the research. Chris Owen needs to once-again update his website (though granted, he's been pretty good at back-pedaling over the years, as he starts making a more honest assessment of things). As far as financially benefitting from Scientology. SFF, do this little project. Figure out how many books and lectures (not to mention emeters) were sold over the years after Hubbard retired his everyday hands-on management position in the 1960s -- to which any other author, lecturer or inventor would be entitiled to 10-30%+ royalties -- and tell me if you can find any reason why Hubbard should not have been a multi-millionaire as a result of his authorship, lecturing or inventions. Does Tony Robbins -- or Dr. Phil -- get pummelled for making an honest living by selling "feel good" advice or seminars? This whole money vs. religion obsession is a "hot button" that gets people really riled up. But in my opinion, it's irrational. Money is a fact of life. I think it's become abused in the Co$ big time -- and to some degree Hubbard holds some responsiblity by directing the increase of prices well beyond what they should have gone to in the late 70s. But that's about as far as I think the "money issue" goes. Imho, he deserved his royalties and his research stipend. I don't hold similar income against Tony Robbins, I don't hold it against Dr Phil -- and I don't hold it against Hubbard. "- the fact that he declared that no one else was capable of contributing to Scientology in a useful way" I've covered this elsewhere. Policy was always open to re-examination and modification/cancellation by Church leadership, per LRH policy -- minimally in spirit and certainly in intent, imo. In fact, even with KSW in place, Hubbard was making plans for others (such as Mayo) to take over "The Tech" hat and continue the research. This was all changed and reversed by Miscavige."- Scientology ethics -- particularly the crimes / high crimes- the SP doctrine- the sum of the odious policy" I thoroughly agree on each of these. The policies which define these things (notice they are "policy" and "rules" and not even "tech"), need to be thoroughly re-examined and reformed, imho.

"Although it is often too late when bad policies or pressure-group laws have been the order of the day to slash them from the books and exhume basic purpose, the action of sweeping away unreal, inapplicable and impeding laws and policies which were based originally on rumor and bad sources can have the effect of rejuvenation of a being, a group or an organization which has begun to die." -- (Hubbard, "THE STRUCTURE OF ORGANIZATION: WHAT IS POLICY?", 13-Mar-1965).

In my opinion, that's what's needed.  If you've been following Marty's blog, I think you'll find that he agrees with this too.


If you check out Google News, there's "Celeb Style Transformation: Suri Cruise", with an ad from Scientology as prologue.


This just in, a Youtube bit of SuriMania. Be sure to check out the ad that precedes it.

Looks like that Babylon Work the Squirrelly Nut and Rocket Boy were just foolin' around with in the 40's finally paid off!


It's fun the read the comments from the little Ron-bots, who "love the tech."   Hilarious, really.  

I'm curious though:

If you couldn't trust L Ron Hubbard to tell the truth about anything, and you couldn't trust him to hold your wallet for a minute, and you couldn't trust him to look out for your family.... then WHY would you trust him with your SOUL?  

Seem's a tad ignorant to me. 


Say whatever you like about the man, but without Mike Rindar, this wouldn't have happened:

" . . . Law firm Slater and Gordon has also been looking into the claims and says under the Fair Work Act, those employees and ex-employees are owed large sums of money in wages, holiday pay, overtime and superannuation.

Slater and Gordon commercial litigation lawyer Steven Lewis says the firm has been investigating evidence from some of the church's former workers.

"We have undertaken an investigation into that and we've come to the conclusion that indeed they were employees and they're entitled to be paid wages, back wages and other entitlements including superannuation under the Fair Work Act," he said.

Only those who worked for the Church of Scientology in the last six years are eligible to participate in any class action due to the statute of limitations.

Mr Lewis says evidence that some workers were getting as little as $10 a week means back-pay claims could be substantial.

"Potentially it could be for very large sums of money," he said."

In addition, the court has the authority under the Fair Work Act to impose a civil penalty in respect of each breach of the Act."

Jordan Anderson, who featured in the Four Corners program that led to the Fair Work ombudsman's inquiry, will be part of the class action.

Her mother Liz was one of the first people to talk to Slater and Gordon.

"This whole issue in relation to workplace relations has all come about because of Jordan's treatment in the Sea Organisation where she worked for years - 9:00 in the morning till 10:00 at night - with little or no time off on a gruelling schedule," she said.

"I was just driven because I knew that something was wrong. There is no way a person, a minor, should be treated like that." . . ."



Gerry Armstrong is an honorable man, as is Larry Brennan. They're both heroes.

Marty Rathbun is not being honest about his past, or about Hubbard and Hubbard's Scientology.

If this top 25 list is to be taken seriously, Armstrong and Brennan should be 3 and 4, right after L. Ron Hubbard - who created the destructive cult in the first place - and David Miscavige, the Hubbard clone sans imagination.

Then if Marty is #5, I could live with that.


Thank you for mentioning this. RVY called me almost daily, when I first escaped out,helping me understand ALL that I was going through. Your example of this beinglike a relay race is one that's helped me greatly, and I've passed on to others --always telling them RVY told me that, before he passed away.

 Also, one last thing that he told me that's helped is being in a cult (like Scientology) and then leaving it, is similar to the effects abused women have. (Many have the feeling of wanting to "go back", even though they KNOW that's a bad idea). Thankfully, that part I never had (wanting to go back)--but I'd spent 10 years "Waking up" ..unknowingly.

Very true, back then there was such a tiny amount of people willing to say their names. Thankfully, now it IS more like a "Fun Run". And my greatest thanks to ALL the people who have not, and may not be listed in this (or any other) Top 25 list. I know many, many people around the world who have helped ALL of those who do speak out. May they be remembered, always.


Ok, predictions for7-1

1) L Ron Hubbard--because Had he not written the stuff, we wouldn't even be here.Along on # 1 should be Gerry Armstrong who without what HE did, we would not be here, either.2) Davey boy Miscavige--who ordered the TC video off of the Net3) Tommy Cruise--who showed the world how nuts a Scientologist can be on AM TV and caught Anonymous' attention after his "You're either in or you're out" video was ordered off of YT4) Anonymous (or they may be #1)5) XenuTV--and WBM, who has helped expose a TON6) The Australian Crew (I know they were added to #14--but really they deserve their own #...but that's true for many in #14, too.7) Marty Rathbun and gang.

  Tick Tock, Tick Tock, Time is on **Our** side!!!!

Love to ALL :) Tory/Magoo


William, who said, " I'm pleased he's out, it benefits both the church [...]."

Hopefully the "benefit" of Rinder's departure is that your cult's adherents are now coming to their senses and not allowing your tiny leader to intimidate them into behaving monstrously as he seemed able to do with Rinder and so many others who believe(d) in the "technology" of that sick, demented madman, L. Ron Hubbard. I am not hopeful, though. 

Mike blew.  So can you.


   I'm sorry, but I ordered my copy pasta with the vodka sauce, not the alfredo.


Not allowed. They have to give it to you in tiny cups of KoolAid at the Org, until they get an IV started in the jugular.  It's all very spiritual.


You missed the SP Times, which certainly deserves a spot of its own. However I do agree with most of your list sans Kirstie Alley and Lisa Marie Presley having their own slot in the top 10. They would be tacked onto the celebrities list.


Thanks for your input Margaret.  It's educational in the sense of being a practically archtypical example of 'Discussion with a Scientologist' and something anyone discussing Scientology with a Scientologist will inevitably run into.

I'm sure you could continue the Merry-Go-Ron of circular logic, blunt if unsubstantiated assertion and rhetorical bootstrapping for hours or until your target was exhausted into submission. 

And, if after hours your target was not sufficiently 'run out't, you would start again from the beginning.


As I understand it, the affirmations were amongst a lot of other Hubbard personal papers. It would not have been surprising if in 1980 he had no idea that they were in there, so the notion that he wanted his biographers to have them is not really substantiated.

Anyway, if Tony Robbins, before he "found himself", had written "I intend to create a system to separate suckers from their money" I think it would have bearing on how you interpret his later work.

Therefore, when Hubbard writes (at the age of 35+, no less), "Material things are yours for the asking. Men are your slaves." and "Your psychology is advanced and true and wonderful. It hypnotizes people. It predicts their emotions, for you are their ruler." I do take that as being relevant to the interpretation of his overall work.

As to his post-war ailments, the Look magazine article is indeed seemingly accurate. However, you know perfectly well that this was later embellished greatly to include the claim that he was crippled and blinded in combat and healed himself through Dianetics. 

The idea that he was open about his qualifications is fanciful. While he may have been honest in that Look interview, Science of Survival calls him an "engineer". Fundamentals of Thought says he  "has many degrees and is very skilled by reason of study. Hubbard was trained in nuclear physics at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., before he started his studies about the mind." He bought a PhD from a diploma mill.

And sorry, the money and religion issue is not "irrational". Tony Robbins and Dr. Phil do not claim that their operations are a religion and therefore exempt from both taxation and any regulatory oversight. Nor do they claim that they aren't making any money, which Hubbard did repeatedly (what your fees buy?).

Him making money out of it (though I feel you are grossly understating his remuneration) would have been fine if it was a business that obeyed laws, paid its workers properly and paid taxes. Since it used the "religion" label to avoid doing any of those things -- thus becoming even more lucrative for Hubbard -- it is impossible not to factor the money into an analysis of Hubbard's motivations.

I disagree that the "tech" succession plan was as clear cut as you make out. Also, adherence to KSW seems to permeate Marty's followers as much as CoS members. If he wanted you to think for yourself, why can you still not alter the tech?

Finally, ethics appears to be considered part of the tech by both categories of Scientologists so I'm not sure you can categorize them as "policy" that cleanly, though I am glad that you disagree with Scientology ethics.

Other people have refuted the primacy of that "what is policy" order you document but I don't know myself about that one.

As an aside, it would be useful for independents to identify, maybe in a wiki or something, what they do and do not consider the "tech".


"Hubbard was thoroughly open and honest about the fact that he didn't get his college degree, and the details of his post-war maladies, in as early as 1950. In fact, he announced the details of these to a nationwide audience in LOOK magazine (at the time, double the circulation as today's TIME magazine when accounting for population increases) in a cover story about Dianetics."

The whoppers were reserved for those who, unlike LOOK Magazine, would do no fact checking.  Here is Ron 11 years after the 1950 LOOK article, making patently false claims about his education:

"Developed by L. Ron Hubbard, C.E., Ph.D., a nuclear physicist..." 

(from HCO INFORMATION LETTER OF 14 APRIL 1961, "PE Handout," which was signed by LRH)

He continued to be referred to as a nuclear physicist, engineer, and PhD through at least the late '60s or early '70s, in the front pages of most of his books.  Nobody who picked one up could miss it.  Find some old copies if you don't believe me. 


Many of them hold Hubbard blameless, and still think he's "mankind's greatest friend."  Everything bad is supposed to have originated elsewhere, most often with David Miscavige, but if he can't be blamed (see the discussion on "TR-L" authorship, for example), any scapegoat will do.


It is my understand that this was originated by and pursued for over a year - never by Mike Rinder or Marty Rathbun - but by Aussie Ex-Scientologists and members of Anonymous. Do you have any documentation, statements from anyone, or any evidence whatsoever that Mike Rinder had anything to do with this?


Thank you!  I was just about to post the same information!


Tory, you left out the SP Times, which Tony had mentioned would be on the list in an earlier blog comment. I believe they have been just as significant in the crippling of scientology as any other individual entity. The Internet has also played a huge role, and I believe celebrities such as Tom Cruise, Kirstie Alley, and the such, with their mainsteam appeal, have also done a lot of damage in terms of mainsteam understanding of how crazy it really is.


 So if a scientologist would write a "How-To" book about scientology, they would get kicked out?  What about their family?


Joe,  if there is a problem with my logic, then the proper response would be to point out the logical error.  Just calling it "circular logic" really boils down to ad hominem.  If there is "circular logic", then please point it out. I'll be happy to look it over.

In any event, I've done additional research now into Hubbard's honorary PhD and Sequoia University under the "#1 L. Ron Hubbard" article.  The result is that Sequoia University, in 1953 at least, was well-regarded.  Receiving an "honorary doctorate" from them at the time was considered respectable and newsworthy.  See the comments under the "#1 LRH" article.


Glad you are beginning to see the full picture SFF with this LOOK article.  Sad that Lerma and Armstrong had led you down a pile of lies in the 80s and 90s, so that now you (and so many others) have to look for ways to justify your erroneous views of Hubbard.

As mentioned, Hubbard had announced to an audience of millions exactly what his war-related maladies were.  His war records confirm that his eyesight had deteriorted to "legal blindness" -- describing himself as "blinded" at the end of the war is accurate, especially considering that he had earlier announced specifically what eye-related malady he suffered from during the war.  The same is true of calling himself "crippled" -- he had already told millions exactly what was meant by that.

So saying that Hubbard lied about his war record is itself a lie.  There's no need to try to justify it.  It's that simple.

The "Affirmations" -- your guess as to "Hubbard trying to hide them" has about as much evidence as my saying "they aren't real".  So it's pointless to even try to argue it.  But if it were to be claimed/revealed that Tony Robbins had written those exact words "during his depressive period" as part of some goofy "ritual" while studying what he nows considering to be the idiocy called "Black Magick", would you hold it against him?  Especially if he completely denounces them in every conceivable way in later writings or speeches? I'm sure you can see my point.

With regard to his "diplomas" and "degrees", I've already covered this twice now.  He widely announced to the nation -- right at the get go -- that he didn't have a formal degree.  Everything else he said subsequently about being a "doctor" or an "engineer" was understood as being "internal to Scientology" or a "label with no actual degree behind it".  And with the added fact that Scientology was handing out "doctorates" and "degrees" (just as chiropractic schools do), your argument is moot.

With regard to the money issue, Scientology has always been a religio-science -- it describes itself as the meeting place of religion and science.  And more than anything, that is a fully accurate statement, imho.  Hubbard -- and Scientologists -- have had every right to consider their subject a "religion".  And Hubbard never claimed he didn't get royalties from the books/lectures.  It was always understood to be his primary source of income.  And as "religious materials", he had every right to enjoy the tax benefits of however the IRS was treating income from these.

As far as anything else the Church has done with money matters, I've already expressed my views above.  The financial raping started especially in the late 70s, and I think that that was the beginning of the downfall.

The underlying theory of KSW is no different than how scientists treat the "scientific method".  No scientist would dare dream of "altering" the scientific method substantially.  It has proven useful just as it is, and trying to throw some astrology or alchemy into the mix just wouldn't fly.  This doesn't mean that there aren't astrologers or alchemists, or that they are outlawed.  It just means they aren't doing the scientific method, and they'd be crushed out of existence if they tried to apply astrology at a scientific research institution or university and tried to call it "scientific method".  At least that's how I see it, and I think its backed up by plenty of Hubbard's writings on KSW.

"Ethics" sits somewhere in between tech and policy.  But by and large, it's been published as policy letters and is ultimately considered part of policy.


"Find some old copies if you don't believe me."

Oh, I've seen it.  But I've already addressed it above.  Hubbard had widely announced to an audience of 3+ million that he had no degree.  Everyone knew, in those days, that any later degree designation (CE, PhD) would have been "internally bestowed" or "self studied".   Other Scientologists in the early days were also getting their "doctorate" degrees, as internally bestowed by the Scientology organizations.


And a cursory investigation into LHR's pre-Dianetics years expose a second-rate grifter. No, he's not about to have my soul handed over to him, no way.


Agreed, Aussie exes started that ball rolling 2 or 3 years ago, and busted their asses until it was almost unstoppable.  It's nice that Mike Rinder wants to help, but he can't be much more than a corroborating witness.


Gursy,  MarkStark is essentially right about the abuses going on in the official Church.  If you're interested in what some "independent" Scientologists are doing to stem and reform the abuses, feel free to check out Marty Rathbuns blog markrathbun . wordpress . com .


They would be sued by the cult for trademark violations and considered "squirrels." However, when the Super Power building (astronaut equipment, smell-o-rama) opens in Clearwater, FL, they'll probably have new materials published for the Super Power Rundown, but all that is controlled through their in-house publications, Bridge Publications, and it is supposed to point back to "Source," Hubbard's rantings and writings. I'm not absolutely sure of my answers. I was never a Scilon.

In general, Scilons are supposed to channel their exuberance for the subject matter into recruiting other paying members (raw meat). You should read the Russell Miller book BAREFACED MESSIAH, free online. You'll be an expert in no time, and it is an unbelievable story. Search for BAREFACED MESSIAH WIKI and near the bottom you can download the full text in PDF or HTML format.


from 'Barefaced Messiah':

 "On February 27, 1953, Hubbard cabled his associate Richard de Mille (a relative of the famous filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille) to instruct him to purchase a Ph.D. in Hubbard's name: "PLEASE INFORM DR HOUGH PHD VERY ACCEPTABLE. PRIVATELY TO YOU. FOR GOSH SAKES EXPEDITE. WORK HERE UTTERLY DEPENDENT ON IT. CABLE REPLY. RON"

Is/was this a lie?  Does it matter to you?


"I have no idea how you can read 'what your fees buy' and conclude he is saying the opposite of what is written. He clearly says he was _not_ paid for research costs."

SFF, I believe he's saying "independent of research costs", i.e. he got paid for the research costs but didn't get paid for a bunch of other things that one might normally get paid for.  Here's how I parse the sentence: "Other than research costs, I never collected the $13.5 million that were due me for all these other things." 

But I would agree that the sentence is confusing, and was probably more a function of how things were being allocated by the accountants than anything else.  And so that's why I think that it's simply fair to ask, independent of how the accountants and/or Hubbard allocated Hubbard's pay:  did he get more than a commonly expected royalty fee than 10-30% of all the books, lectures and emeters that were being sold?  And I don't believe he did.   "And yes, it does appear that he made more money than can be explained by royalties alone."

Well, I've yet to see a good, well-documented accounting of how many LRH royalty-related items were sold from 1950-1986.  From my own research (using published "completion lists", organizational growth, estimated book-sales and prices, and taking into account that the publishing was moved in-house at a certain point), I think there is no doubt that from royalties alone, he would have been a multi-millionaire by the early 70s, if not earlier.

"You claim he didn't take any of the Dianetics revenues so where did the money to buy St. Hill come from?"

He was drawing a salary and/or getting paid for "research costs" from the organization(s) through the 50s and at least until 1970.  LRH also wrote somwhere that he made his "credit creak" when he bought St. Hill, got a "great price" on it, and so he apparently went into debt to buy St. Hill."Also, it really doesn't matter what the Look circulation was in 1950. Just because Hubbard was more truthful in that interview it doesn't mean that what he said later was not a lie."

SFF, if in 2000, Joe Blow had had a multi-month best-seller on "how to improve your mental outlook" and then appeared on Oprah to talk about it (arguably the modern day equivalent of a 1950 "LOOK" cover story), and Oprah asked "but do you even have a formal degree?" and he announces to the nationwide audience: "No, I sure don't" -- and it's also mentioned elsewhere in the interview that he is lecturing and setting up these schools for training "mental outlook specialists", some of whom are MDs and psychiatrists -- do you really think anyone in the country would think that a "degree" designation of any kind a few years later for Joe Blow is anything but internal or "honorary"?  Especially if it's widely known that he grants his own students "doctor" degrees internally?

I wasn't there, so I don't know all the details.  From my research, it appears that Sequoia had certain criteria before an "honorary PhD" was granted (i.e. being published, being well-known in one's field, etc.).  Sequoia also appeared to offer "correspondence courses" for other degrees in "alternative health"-- which is not too far off than a variation on today's "online degrees" in chiropractic or "herbal therapy" etc.  I also notice that Hubbard was apparently even trying to buy Sequoia University (or its infractucture) at one time, for Scientology's own internal use in giving correspondence courses to its students, but I can't find the reference to remind myself of the details. I would say there is likely more to the story than we know.

"I find it interesting that you claim that Hubbard's personal flaws don't matter when it comes to evaluating the tech but you seem to feel that various people who have pointed out these flaws must be lying."

Ultimately, SFF, I forgive Atack and Armstrong for their flaws -- just as I forgive Hubbard.

The Tech however -- not unlike the scientific method or calculus -- are independent of the flaws of their authors/developers.


I along with many many people are grateful for the work and efforts of Arnie Lerma and Gerry Armstrong/ If it weren't for them and others of the early days of activism, you would not have the freedom you now enjoy to say anything critical on the internet about scientology.


I have no idea how you can read "what your fees buy" and conclude he is saying the opposite of what is written. He clearly says he was _not_ paid for research costs.

And yes, it does appear that he made more money than can be explained by royalties alone. You claim he didn't take any of the Dianetics revenues so where did the money to buy St. Hill come from?

Also, it really doesn't matter what the Look circulation was in 1950. Just because Hubbard was more truthful in that interview it doesn't mean that what he said later was not a lie.

I find it interesting that you claim that Hubbard's personal flaws don't matter when it comes to evaluating the tech but you seem to feel that various people who have pointed out these flaws must be lying.

I'd suggest you read Jeff Hawkins' blog entry on "confirmation bias".


LOOK magazine had nearly double the circulation as today's TIME -- and Hubbard used this outlet to make sure the country knew that he never got a degree and what his specific war maladies were, when asked.

You can downplay it as you wish, but thems are the facts.

And no, he didn't write What is Scientology, and yes, he did command a ship which led squadrons of other ships in and out of the North Atlantic. Some of these were corvettes. Look it up if you don't believe me.  I think even Chris Owen is coming to grips with it at this point.

With regard to the money, you apparently misunderstood his statement.  He said he paid for the research "with his typewriter" -- he's not just talking about from the 30s and 40s, he's talking about everything he wrote, including the 50s and later.  He excludes DMSMH income (this has been corroborated elsewhere), but clearly says that he was paid for "research costs".  And you will notice that at the end, he is specifically talking about not getting much income from "service fees" and is not talking about book/lecture/meter royalties.

The bottom line SFF is:  did he ultimately (and unfairly) make more than any other author/lecturer of his kind?  Add up the numbers, and I think you will find that he didn't.

Regarding scientific method and the tech, I'm saying that the "protectors" of each would/should only allow them to be changed after very very careful consideration, and only for a very good, proven, credible reason.


Sorry, the claim that various Hubbard statements are not lies because he expected that all Scientologists would interpret them in the context of an interview printed by "merchants of chaos" in 1950 -- even if they joined twenty years later -- is pretty hard to take seriously.

Not to mention that his PhD was purchased from Sequoia rather than any kind of Scientology accreditation. It's pretty hard to take that as anything other than an intent to deceive. Likewise, Scientology wasn't handing out degrees in engineering or nuclear physics, and saying "I studied nuclear physics but didn't take my degree" still implies a lot more than "I took one course in nuclear physics but failed". I passed a history course but wouldn't say that I've "studied history".

As to his lies about his war record, they can be found, for example,  in "What is Scientology", such as the claim he commanded a squadron of corvettes. While he did not personally compile that book he certainly approved it and is most likely the source of the material.

Back to the money, he did indeed claim that he didn't make Scientology. In "What Your Feed Buy" (1970) he says:

"None of the researches of Dianetics and Scientology were ever actually paid for out of organizational fees. With my typewriter I paid for the research myself. Occasionally orgs were supposed to but they never did.

Independent of research costs, the 13 1/2 million dollars that orgs owed me for services rendered, 10% (the usual author’s royalties), lectures, loans, things paid out of my own pocket I never collected.

As even the royalties of the first book were given to orgs for their work, I didn’t even make anything out of that best seller. Its paperback is again a newsstand best seller in the U.S. but I don’t collect those royalties either. Even today I draw less than an org staff member and they draw very little.

So the fees you pay for service do not go to me."

He claims all the money he had was made from writing pulp fiction, which is not at all plausible.

Am I supposed to interpret that in the context of something he said in the Life Magazine interview?

Also, writing a book on a religious topic doesn't make royalties tax free. Nor is a group entitled to tax exemption solely because they are religious. The IRS issue was the claim that Scientology financially benefited Hubbard, which is a no-no for tax-exempt groups.

And earlier you said that Hubbard left plans so that others could progress the tech, but now you are back to saying that the tech is like the scientific method and no one can change it without going off into dangerous territory. So I'm not sure what exactly you are saying on this point.


Note: I've done some additional research into Sequoia University and the "honorary PhD".  You can see the details in my comments responding to the article "#1 L. Ron Hubbard" here at the end of this villagevoice series.


No, a religio-science is not "science".  But Scientology has got plenty of metaphysics in it.

I suppose the Scientology equivalent to a "prayer" would be a "postulate".

So I'll postulate good things for you Andre.


. . . And eventually dwindle down to nothing, like the Shakers.

Did you know there's ten times more Mennonites than Scientologists?


"I always understood Scientology to be a religio-science."

Wow.  That explains a lot.  If you believe there is ANY science in scientology, you are just stupid.  Or gullible.  I'd also be curious to know what a scientology "prayer" would be.


"Someone I knew back then, who had also been immersed in the idea that Scientology was a science, was Roxanne Friend."

I've read her story, Xenu.  It's heartbreaking.

Things should have been done differently by many many involved.

I always understood Scientology to be a religio-science.  I came to that understanding not only from Hubbard's words directly, but from every aspect that the underlying system represented.  I know what you mean about "wearing those clerical outfits".  It WAS ridiculous and has ultimately proven to be a poor approach.  But to pretend there was no spirituality or "religion" in the underlying system -- and all was just a hoax -- is simply not true, in my humble opinion.

But lots of things were "poor approaches" in those days.  McCarthyism.  Racism. Homophobia.  Perhaps Scientology and Hubbard should have been better than that.  In many ways they were. But mistakes were made.  And I know it's no comfort after the painful loss of Roxanne.  But we can at least try to learn from the mistakes, and do our best to make sure things improve from this point forward.


"Everyone knew, in those days, that any later degree designation (CE, PhD) would have been 'internally bestowed' or 'self studied'."

I'll fill in the rest of the quote now, since the full text makes the degree of deception much clearer.

"Developed by L. Ron Hubbard, C.E., Ph.D., a nuclear physicist, Scientology has demonstrably achieved this long-sought goal. Doctor Hubbard, educated in advanced physics and higher mathematics and also a student of Sigmund Freud and others, began his present researches thirty years ago at George Washington University."

The self-awarded DScn (Doctorate of Scientology) was abandoned early.  In 1966 he was still talking about the fake PhD issued by "Sequoia University," a degree mill operating out of a PO box.  He was interviewed in 1966, on Rhodesian TV, saying, "Actually I have a degree in philosophy, a Doctor of Philosophy."  IIRC, the first mention that it might be honorary came in 1973, "Many awards and honors were offered and conferred on L. Ron Hubbard. He did accept an honorary Doctor of Philosophy given in recognition of his outstanding work on Dianetics..." (Mission Into Time).  There was never any mention of the entirely bogus nature of the awarding institution.

As for the other, that isn't even a degree per se, that's a UK/Commonwealth, government-issued, post-graduate certification to practice as a Chartered Engineer (CEng or CE).  Unless he considered himself a monarch who could award royal charters, that could never be self-awarded.

Calling himself a "student of Freud" is laying it on a bit thick, too, in that context.  It makes you think he'd actually studied under him, or at least set eyes on him before.  Kind of like Hubbard's "very good friend, Aleister Crowley" who he had also never met, and who thought that Hubbard was a disgusting con man.

This is kind of a big deal to me, because, like many old timers, I was getting involved with an alleged science.  Nobody then considered it a religion, and when the GO ordered us to start putting a cross in the reception area, and to wear those clerical outfits, it made us profoundly uncomfortable.  Being told that the whole "religion angle" was a hoax needed for legal reasons didn't make things much better.

Someone I knew back then, who had also been immersed in the idea that Scientology was a science, was Roxanne Friend.  You should Google her some time.  Her quackery-induced demise is a big part of the reason I'm posting here.  She died a slow and painful death because she believed Hubbard's misrepresentations and outright lies. 

dennis l erlich
dennis l erlich

Yes, the weight of the word of a professional liar must have moved them off the dime.


I'll agree with you there. The fact that Mike Rinder is taking his sneering, arrogant media style and turning it on David Miscavige will provide great color commentary on the work that Aussie Exes and Anonymous are doing to actually get something done.


I'm sure that what you're saying is true. Still, the fact that Rinder is willing to talk to the press is going to be a big factor in the take-down of CO$ in Australia.


So you have no documentation, statements from anyone, or any evidence whatsoever that Mike Rinder had anything to do with this? Is that right?

Because I'm pretty sure this is something that Aussie Exes and members of Anonymous produced after many years of hard work. 

Marty and Mike, and David Miscavige for that matter, don't like law enforcement. Per Marty, they just go in and "trample all over everything".

Without Aussie Exes, and members of Anonymous, this would have never happened.


But as a corroborating witness of high rank within the organization, his testimony will be weighed more heavily.

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