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‘You encourage people to leave the Church of Scientology’: The Mike Rinder deposition

Mike_RinderOn Wednesday, we told you about the startling admission by Mike Rinder in his January 6 sworn deposition that Leah Remini, who defected from Scientology in 2013, has been in talks to join a federal fraud lawsuit against the church.

Now, we’re going to post the entire deposition for you to examine, and we think you’ll find a few other things in it pretty entertaining.

Rinder was once the international spokesman for Scientology in a long career in the church that began while he was quite young. His Adelaide parents first became interested in L. Ron Hubbard’s ideas in 1959 or 1960, and Rinder first remembers being audited at about 15, in 1970. In the 1980s, he became one of David Miscavige’s most trusted lieutenants, and oversaw Scientology’s intelligence wing, the Office of Special Affairs, and was involved in its legal affairs for many years. He finally left Scientology in 2007 after he’d spent more than a year in Miscavige’s notorious office-prison for executives, “The Hole.” (For more background on Rinder, and video of him talking about his imprisonment see our earlier item.)

Rinder began speaking out publicly about Miscavige and Scientology in 2010, and he’s become one of the most visible and vocal critics of Miscavige in the world. He was prepared to testify when Debbie Cook was sued in 2012, and he’s offered declarations and affidavits for numerous other cases since then. But in that five years, he has never faced off with one of the church’s attorneys in an adversarial sworn deposition.

Until now.

Rinder was deposed because Luis and Rocio Garcia, in the fraud lawsuit they filed against Scientology in January 2013, are heading for a February 18 showdown with the church in the Tampa federal courthouse over Scientology’s internal arbitration scheme. It’s a preliminary matter, but a potentially huge one — if Judge James D. Whittemore agrees with the Garcias and their witnesses, including Rinder, that Scientology’s arbitration is a sham and that the Garcias have a legitimate reason to be in civil court over the money they donated, it could be fairly disastrous for the church.


So Scientology, which never shies away from spending lavishly on litigation, flew in a ringer, the California attorney that Miscavige prefers to have ask questions in depositions — Bert Deixler.

It was Deixler’s job not only to question Rinder about his knowledge of the arbitration rules — which Rinder had a hand in amending — but also to look for ways to attack Rinder’s credibility and get under his skin. We enjoyed the opening section of the deposition, when Deixler, from the very first question, began putting Rinder on the spot about leaving the Church of Scientology and then becoming involved in the independent Scientology movement.

If you read Rinder’s excellent blog today, you know that he’s moved away from the “indie” view of things in important ways at the same time that his writing is still popular with many independents. It’s been fascinating to watch the evolution of Rinder, and his former church colleague, Mark “Marty” Rathbun, as their time in the organization recedes.

But Deixler wants to paint Rinder with the indie brush, which we have a feeling is something Miscavige asked him to do…

Deixler: Let me make sure that I give you the proper credit. Is it proper to address you as Reverend or Minister?
Rinder: I prefer that you just address me as Mr. Rinder.
Deixler: Mr. Rinder. You are, however, a minister of the Independent Church of Scientology; is that true?
Rinder: I wouldn’t — no, I wouldn’t — I wouldn’t say that’s true.
Deixler: Let me, in that case, have marked as Exhibit Numbered 1 a document filed with the State of Florida and ask you to take a look at it. I have a copy for your lawyer, and it purports to be a Department of Health Vital Statistics, State of Florida, marriage record involving the marriage of Mark Charles Rathbun and Monique Renee Carle, and at the bottom left-hand corner of the document there appears be a signature above a printed name. First, do you recognize that signature, sir?
Rinder: Yes, I do.
Deixler: And is that your signature?
Rinder: Yes, it is.
Deixler: And this was a signature which you applied in connection with your role as a minister of the Independent Church of Scientology?
Rinder: Correct.

Deixler: And as of the time that you signed this document in or about July of 2010, were you a minister of the Independent Church of Scientology?
Rinder: I was.
Deixler: And where is the Independent Church of Scientology headquartered, if you know?
Rinder: I don’t.
Deixler: Do you continue to work as a minister of the Independent Church of Scientology?
Rinder: No. I already told you that I don’t — I don’t do that now.
Deixler: You don’t do that now. What do you mean by that?
Rinder: Work as a minister of the Independent Church of Scientology.
Deixler: When did you stop being a minister of the Independent Church of Scientology?
Rinder: I’m not sure when I would — when I would say that I no longer considered myself to have that view of life.
Deixler: View of life. Are you still a member of the Independent Church of Scientology even if you are not a minister of that charge?
Rinder: I wouldn’t — I wouldn’t think so.
Deixler: When did you stop being a member of this independent church?
Rinder: Same answer: I’m not really sure.
Deixler: Sometime in 2014 or 2013 or sometime — a different time?
Rinder: Yeah. Like I said, I’m not really sure.
Deixler: I see. When were you anointed as a minister of the Independent Church of Scientology?
Rinder: I don’t think that there is such a — I don’t understand the question.
Deixler: You don’t? How were you invested with the powers of being a minister of this independent church, what was the mechanism, procedure?
Rinder: There wasn’t really a procedure.
Deixler: You just decided that you were a minister of the Independent Church of Scientology and that was the end of the procedure?
Rinder: I — hmm. I’m not so sure that I know exactly what the answer to that is. I think that it’s probably the fact of the people that considered themselves or do consider themselves Independent Scientologists would nominate or decide who is or isn’t someone that they would look to to perform ceremonies on their behalf.
Deixler: I see. Who nominated you to perform this marriage ceremony?
Rinder: Mr. Rathbun.
Deixler: OK. And were you nominated on the morning of July 8th, 2010, or sometime before then?
Rinder: Oh, no, sometime before that.
Deixler: I see. And you don’t know exactly when you stopped serving in that role as minister; is that fair?
Rinder: Yeah, that’s —
Deixler: Now, one of the things that you’ve done, sir, since you became a minister of the Church of Scien — Independent Church of Scientology is to encourage other people to leave the Church of Scientology. Is that fair?
Rinder: No.
Deixler: As recently as this week am I correct that you have given interviews to say if you want to be a dedicated practicing Scientologist, you’re better off doing that outside the church than inside?
Rinder: This week?
Deixler: Yes, sir.
Rinder: I don’t recall doing an interview this week that said that.
Deixler: Did you give — did you give a podcast or participate in a podcast recently?
Rinder: A podcast? Is that — is that Jeffrey Augustine, you mean?
Deixler: Yes.
Rinder: Yeah, I participated in that.
Deixler: And am I correct to say that in the course of that podcast you encouraged people to leave the Church of Scientology?
Rinder: I don’t know. You have a transcript there? I don’t know. Maybe I did. I don’t know.
Deixler: You don’t remember?
Rinder: No, I don’t remember.
Deixler: Do you remember participating in the podcast with Mr. Augustine?
Rinder: Yes. I just told you I did.
Deixler: And how — how long ago was that?
Rinder: Two weeks ago.
Deixler: OK. Sometime in the end of 2014?
Rinder: Uh-huh.
Deixler: Yes?
Rinder: Yes.
Deixler: And you don’t recall whether you encouraged people to leave the Church of Scientology —
Rinder: No, I don’t.
Deixler: — is that fair? OK. Do you remember saying anything like “you’ll get a lot further for a lot less money with a lot less pain and suffering if you left the Church of Scientology”?
Rinder: Yes, I do recall something like that.
Deixler: OK. And the reason for your saying that was to discourage people from remaining in the Church of Scientology, correct?
Rinder: No. I think that the reason for saying that was to let people know that there was an alternative.
Deixler: And the alternative is this Independent Church of Scientology?
Rinder: No. The alternative is whatever someone is looking for to resolve their spiritual needs.
Deixler: You encourage people to leave the Church of Scientology and look elsewhere for satisfaction of their spiritual needs; is that fair?
Rinder: That’s fair.
Deixler: And that’s something you’ve undertaken over a considerable period of time since you yourself left the Church of Scientology, correct?
Rinder: Yes, that’s correct.
Deixler: In fact, that’s been one of your principal both occupations and hobbies since you’ve left the Church of Scientology; is that fair?
Rinder: I would neither call it an occupation nor a hobby.

Later, Deixler begins to get to the same thing he asked Marty Rathbun in a December deposition — haven’t you lied in the past, in sworn testimony for the Church of Scientology?

“I think that I have said that there were things that I lied about when I was in the church and lied about as a spokesperson for the church,” Rinder answers, and then offers a specific example. “I lied specifically when asked by the BBC, John Sweeney, whether David Miscavige had struck me and I said no, and that was a lie, and I am not aware of other things where I have said I lied to the media or acknowledged having lied. Who knows, maybe there are others, but I’m not aware of them. That’s the one that I’m aware of.”

A little later, Deixler asks Rinder how he prepared for the deposition — a very common question asked of witnesses — and Rinder says he did little preparation. He’s already familiar with the lawsuit’s various pleadings, he says.

Deixler: Do you have a copy of pleadings that have been filed in the case?
Rinder: I have a copy of some of the pleadings. They’re online.

Deixler: I see. And how did you get the copies of those?
Rinder: I read Tony Ortega’s blog. That’s how I usually get them.
Deixler: Tony Ortega, who is Tony Ortega?
Rinder: He is a guy that has a blog in New York.
Deixler: And he’s covered or published information about this case?
Rinder: Yes, he has, routinely.
Deixler: And you are — and you are a regular reader of information about this case?
Rinder: Yes.

Well, we’re just crushed that Mr. Deixler doesn’t remember the time we got in his face at the Comal County courthouse in Texas a year and a half ago and asked him what it might do to his reputation that the “very religious” and “sacrosanct” documents he told the California and US Supreme courts should be kept secret from Laura DeCrescenzo in her lawsuit turned out to include such things as notes showing that Laura, then about 12 years old, was punished for missing her mother after being separated from her. The rest were similarly “religious” in nature.

Deixler is very fortunate that the only member of the media pointing out how he lied about that to the highest courts in the land is just a lone blogger in New York that even he hasn’t heard of.


Deixler then asks Rinder about the money he’s been paid as a consultant in litigation against Scientology (which isn’t very much), and then gets to the question about who he’s been talking to in regards to joining the Garcia suit or otherwise suing the church for refunds. Among them is the actress Leah Remini. As we indicated last week, our source close to the actress tells us Remini is serious about suing Scientology in order to get back “very large” donations she made under circumstances she now considers false pretenses.

The questioning then gets to Rinder’s involvement with the arbitration rules — from Deixler’s questions, he seems interested in making Rinder’s involvement seem momentary and long after the rules were first set down. Rinder pushes back, saying that he was intimately involved as the rules underwent various changes.

As with Rathbun, Deixler tries to get Rinder to say that he has hatred for Scientology leader Miscavige…


Deixler: The ecclesiastic head of the church is Mr. Miscavige, correct?
Rinder: Correct.
Deixler: Whom you despise, true?
Rinder: Incorrect.
Deixler: You like him?
Rinder: No. I — neither way. Neither do I despise him nor do I like him. I mean, there are times in my life when I’ve kind of liked the guy. He’s a — he’s a personable sort of a guy. There are times in my life when I have despised him. My view of Mr. Miscavige is based strictly upon his actions, what does he do.

Deixler asks Rinder about leaving Scientology in 2007, which he has described numerous times in the media. Rinder was in London, finally fed up with his treatment, and one day he gave his colleagues the slip and made his escape.

Scientology, however, always says that former members who make a run for it were actually fired for incompetence, and now, in his deposition, Rinder learns that he’s accused of making some errors with some documents in the lengthy litigation filed by former member Lawrence Wollersheim.

Deixler: Did Mr. Miscavige express to you his dissatisfaction with the manner in which you had handled certain documents that were involved in the Wollersheim case?
Rinder: Oh, I have no idea. I haven’t got a clue. I mean, he expressed his dissatisfaction about how I did all sorts of things numerous times, many, many times over.
Deixler: But one of the things that you knew he was upset with was the manner in which you handled documents in the Wollersheim case, correct?
Rinder: Not at all. I mean, I have — I don’t know. I’m sure you’ve got something that says that but I have no recollection of that whatsoever.
Deixler: The — in connection with the McPherson case, which you were involved with here in Florida, wasn’t an issue raised regarding what had happened to the Wollersheim documents?
Rinder: I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Deixler: Really?
Rinder: Really.

Deixler then explained that former church official Jesse Prince had claimed that some OSA documents in the Wollersheim case had been pulped, but then it turned out that the supposedly destroyed files were found, and Miscavige blamed Rinder for “allowing the lie” about the missing documents to be “perpetrated.”

“It’s certainly not something I recall,” Rinder answered.

As in the deposition with Rathbun, Deixler has a document from Rinder’s past that he wants him to read aloud. In Rathbun’s case, Deixler asked him to read a 1993 confession of his loyalty to Miscavige. And now, he asks Rinder to read a similar document he had written ten years later, when he was being punished by being forced to live in a tent on the golf course at the Scientology International Base near Hemet, California with three other Sea Org workers.

Rinder: “Many times — many times I’ve looked at the overts I’ve committed when I have lied to you and I’ve always had the idea that it was bad because it had caused upset but not really confronted it as a basic violation of integrity and therefore something far more fundamental and degraded. It is a reflection” — how long do you want me to go?
Deixler: Just finish that paragraph.
Rinder: “It is a reflection on my cowardice and lack of integrity that I would do this and it’s just black and white wrong and a low-tone suppressive trait. I’ve done it many times with you and have always had some justification for it that I then didn’t really confront it for what it is. I finally confronted this for real. There is no justification or Q&A about it. It’s wrong, it’s low-toned and, especially under the circumstances of being in the midst of a war, it’s suppressive. I don’t mean it’s OK at any time, it’s not, but the times I have done this with you have been when my neck has been so precious to me that I have been willing to put you and the church in danger because of it.”
Deixler: OK. Thank you. Now, at the time you wrote Exhibit Number 2 to Mr. Miscavige, the statements that you’ve just read into the records, did you believe those to be true?
Rinder: Oh, yeah, yeah.
Deixler: And now, from your new perspective, do you think you were lying to Mr. Miscavige on that occasion?
Rinder: I think I was telling him what he wanted to hear.

We’re not really sure why Miscavige thinks this is an effective strategy. He’s having his attorney press Rinder to read a handwritten document that was produced while Rinder was in a Scientology gulag. Does Miscavige really believe that Rinder’s words from 2003 will convince a judge or jury that Rinder’s credibility is in question? Or rather, will it only prove that Miscavige can force a pathetic and obsequious petition out of someone he’s confined and has restricted to rice and beans? It’s truly puzzling.

Later, Deixler, as he had with Rathbun, questions Rinder about some of the things he’s said and written about Miscavige. In particular, comparing the Scientology leader to Adolf Hitler and Jeffrey Dahmer. Rinder answers that he was merely following the example of L. Ron Hubbard, who illustrated his concept of the antisocial personality with comparisons to Hitler.

“I don’t think Mr. Miscavige is a cannibal, nor do I think he’s a murderer, not even — not even in my remotest wildest dreams do I believe that. I don’t believe that he persecuted Jews. I don’t think that he really is Hitler. I’m talking about is that the personality type? Yes, I think he is that personality type as described in the scripture of Scientology, which was what I knew, and now I have read other books and I come to understand the term ‘sociopath’ and so now I more commonly describe him as a sociopath than an antisocial personality or a suppressive person,” Rinder answered.

Deixler then turned to an incident our readers will remember well

Deixler: In connection with the opening of the Flag Church in Clearwater, is it correct that you hired a helicopter to stream a banner in front of the assembled Scientologists at the time Mr. Miscavige was speaking for the purpose of drowning him out and embarrassing him?
Rinder: No.
Deixler: Did you hire a helicopter?
Rinder: No.
Deixler: Did you ride a helicopter?
Rinder: Yes.
Deixler: Over the church?
Rinder: Yes.
Deixler: At the time of the opening dedication of the church?
Rinder: Yes.
Deixler: And what was that purpose for?
Rinder: To document how many people were there.
Deixler: I see. And did it have any banner or streaming behind it, the helicopter?
Rinder: Not that I saw.
Deixler: Make any statements?
Rinder: Not that I saw.
Deixler: Ever raise any questions about the whereabouts of Shelly Miscavige after you had learned that there had been a police investigation which concluded that she wasn’t, quote, missing?
Rinder: That’s a separate thing. That’s a plane.
Deixler: Will you answer my question?
Rinder: No.
Deixler: OK. Tell me about the plane.
Rinder: I was trying to help you.
Deixler: Thanks, and I appreciate your help, believe me. Tell me about the plane as it relates to your involvement in questioning the whereabouts of Mrs. Miscavige?
Rinder: There was a plane that flew over the Fort Harrison that had a banner towing behind it saying “Where’s Shelly?”
Deixler: And what did you have to do with that?
Rinder: I watched it.
Deixler: Anything else?
Rinder: No.
Deixler: Did you know it was going to occur before it did?
Rinder: Yes.
Deixler: How did you know that?
Rinder: The person that hired the plane told me.
Deixler: Who told you?
Rinder: Mike Bennitt.
Deixler: And what did you say to him?
Rinder: What time?
Deixler: What was your — what was your — why did you think that was appropriate?
Rinder: Why did I think that was appropriate? Are you asking me why do I think that Mike Bennitt told me?
Deixler: No. Why did you think it was appropriate to have a plane with that banner go over the Fort Harrison?
Rinder: Well, I think it’s a good question.

Deixler then pulls out another old document written by Rinder, in which he lauds Shelly Miscavige for helping him in some way. Deixler again is trying to portray Rinder as someone out to hurt people who previously had helped him.

The deposition ended relatively early. Deixler seemed frustrated, and Rinder really wasn’t giving up anything very useful. He comes off as calm throughout the session.

There are other interesting items in the deposition, and we have no doubt that our readers will track them all down.

Here’s the document itself…


Garcia v. Scientology: Mike Rinder Deposition


Big news in LA?


Here’s the email that also went out about tonight’s big meeting at PAC base…

I am E-Mailing you directly as there is a MASSIVE LA AREA meeting being held on Tuesday at 6:00pm in Leb Hall.

It is very important and that’s why I am telling everyone.

Scientology expansion is happening like you’ve never seen or heard of before and a LOT more is coming. There are VERY EXACT TARGETS that are going to be accomplished by LRH’s Birthday.

Top Pacifica Base executives will be briefing you on the specifics.

You are a Scientologist and want to clear this area and thus the planet and that is exactly what this is about.

Need you there!

Tuesday, Leb Hall at 6:00pm. (1368 L. Ron Hubbard Way, Los Angeles CA, 90027)

See you there.

Commanding Officer
Continental Liaison Office WUS

LA tipsters, put out your feelers and let’s find out what the big news is tonight!


Posted by Tony Ortega on February 10, 2015 at 07:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of LA attorney and former church member Vance Woodward

UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists

GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice

SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer
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