Marty Rathbun

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Marty Rathbun
Mark Rathbun.jpg
Mark C. "Marty" Rathbun
Born 1957
United States
Known for Former Inspector General, Religious Technology Center (RTC)
Spouse(s) Anne Joasem (divorced)[1]
Monique "Mosey" Rathbun (present)[2]
Children 1 adopted

Mark C. Rathbun (born 1957), more commonly known as Marty Rathbun,[3] is a former senior executive of the Church of Scientology who last held the post of Inspector General of the Religious Technology Center (RTC), the organization that is responsible for the protection and enforcement of all Dianetics and Scientology copyrights and trademarks.[4]

As the lead inspector overseeing the Inspector General Network at the international level, his official duties as claimed by RTC were to investigate and correct "instances in which departure from a standard, policy or ethic could betray an organization’s service to its constituent public."[5] In actuality he served as a high-level Church strategist and intelligence officer.[6] The post is widely acknowledged as one of the most senior management functions in the hierarchy of Church organizations.[7] As of 2017, it was not known who took the post after Rathbun escaped from a Church of Scientology compound in 2004, and he became an independent Scientologist and notable Church critic for several years. Later, he began to pursue his own spiritual studies.[8]

Scientology career

According to his official biography, Rathbun became a Church staff member in 1978, and joined the RTC board in 1987. The biography also credits him with having played a major role in various Church victories, including the negotiation of the Church's tax exemption agreement with the Internal Revenue Service in 1993.[4] In 1998, Florida newspaper the Tampa Bay Times described Rathbun as "top lieutenant" to Scientology leader David Miscavige.[9]

In 1997, The New York Times reported that according to an internal Scientology publication, Rathbun and Miscavige jump-started stalled negotiations over Scientology's tax status when they made an unscheduled visit to I.R.S. Commissioner Fred T. Goldberg, Jr. at the Internal Revenue Service headquarters in Washington in October 1991.[10] The Church of Scientology and Rathbun later denied that there had been an unscheduled meeting between Goldberg, Rathbun and Miscavige that day.[11] The Church said that "While an internal publication of three years ago does recount Mr. Miscavige approaching the I.R.S., it never states he was granted an unscheduled meeting on demand."[11] Rathbun, in a separate letter to the New York Times, explained that the first meeting he and Miscavige had with Goldberg and other I.R.S. officials was approximately one month after their impromptu visit to the I.R.S. building.[11]

As a Scientology propagandist, Rathbun commented to the same newspaper on the involvement of celebrities in Scientology, saying that "Scientology works for these people, and they just want to give to others what works for them. We don't give them a badge and send them out. They do it on their own."[12] When discussing the reluctance of established churches to collaborate with Scientology under the umbrella of "interfaith organization", he was also quoted as saying that "Bigotry is born out of ignorance."[12]

Tom Cruise confessionals

In May 2010, Rathbun asserted that during his tenure as Inspector General of the Religious Technology Center, Scientology leader David Miscavige issued him orders that the auditing sessions of celebrity Scientology member, actor Tom Cruise, be secretly videotaped. Rathbun had himself been the individual responsible for performing auditing counseling with Cruise.[13][14] Rathbun wrote on his blog that he had been tasked with auditing Cruise during the period in 2001 directly after he had separated from Nicole Kidman.[15] Rathbun wrote, "I audited a number of intensives of confessionals on Tom Cruise from July through November 2001. ... By order of Miscavige many of those sessions were secretly recorded by a well-concealed video camera and voice recorder system built into the VIP auditing room at Celebrity Center International."[13] Rathbun subsequently learned that transcripts of the videotapes of Cruise were brought to meetings where they would be discussed by top management of Scientology.[13][16] Rathbun wrote that Miscavige would read out information from the reports about Cruise's auditing sessions, "While sipping scotch whiskey at the end of the night, Miscavige would read Tom’s overts and withholds ... joking and laughing about the content of Tom’s confessions."[13]

The nature of what was discussed in the confessional sessions by Cruise was not revealed.[17][18][19] Rathbun ceased the filming of Cruise in 2002, because he felt it was unethical.[14] Rathbun left the organization in 2004, and since then has given counselling to former members of Scientology.[13][15] In a post on his blog, Rathbun wrote a statement addressed to Cruise, "Wake up, Tom. It is not too late. Though, time is getting very, very short."[13] As of May 9, 2010, representatives for Cruise had not yet responded to the statements made by Rathbun.[13][15][16]

Lynn Hayes of Beliefnet discussed the revelations by Rathbun, writing, "Religion in any form provides a solid structure that can offer comfort and security, and departure from that security can be frightening and painful. As humans we always have a choice, and it will be interesting to see how Tom Cruise and the Church of Scientology manage this revelation."[20] El Tiempo commented, "Although Tom Cruise is a staunch supporter and defender of Scientology, apparently other members of this doctrine do not profess the same devotion to the actor."[21]

Departure from the Church of Scientology

Rathbun escaped from the Church of Scientology's Gold Base in 2004[22] and now offers counseling and auditing services for other Scientologists who have cut their ties with the Church of Scientology.[23][24] Initially, he considered himself an independent Scientologist, but now considers himself non-religious.[8]

Rathbun emerged as a critical source in a 2009 St. Petersburg Times expose on the organization, stating that physical violence is a common occurrence within Scientology management, and that Miscavige regularly beats his staff, or orders staff to administer beatings to designated individuals – accusations which the Church of Scientology categorically denies.[25] This reporting series by the St. Petersburg Times titled "Inside Scientology: The Truth Rundown" was recognized with honors including the 2010 Gold Medal for Public Service award from the Florida Society of News Editors,[26][27] and was a finalist for the 2010 National Headliner Awards in the category of investigative reporting.[28][29]

Media appearances

Scientologists at War

A one-hour feature on Mark Rathbun titled Scientologists at War, directed by Joseph Martin and produced by Danielle Clark and Michael Simkin was broadcast on June 17, 2013, on British Channel Four.[30]

On November 10, 2013, The Passionate Eye, an investigative TV series rebroadcast the program as a premiere in Canada on CBC Television, describing it as an investigation into "the pressure tactics used to discredit and silence members who leave the church."[31]

Videographer Bert Leahy reported being paid $2,000 a week to help document the "Squirrel Busters" activities.[32]

Going Clear

Rathbun was a participant in the 2015 documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief. In that film, Rathbun alleged the church had wiretapped celebrity Nicole Kidman.[33]

My Scientology Movie

Rathbun featured in Louis Theroux's 2015 documentary film My Scientology Movie where he recreated incidents within the church he and other ex-Scientologists had witnessed.

Legal issues

Harassment claims

In 2013, Mark Rathbun's wife Monique, a non-Scientologist, filed suit against the Church of Scientology, alleging four years of harassment by the church.[34] In October 2014, Rathbun filmed an encounter which he claimed showed three members of the church’s top management abusing him at Los Angeles International Airport.[35]

Alleged return to Scientology

Some of Rathbun's statements have been described as "inscrutable".[36] By 2016, he had also started criticizing the anti-Scientology movement.[37]

In 2016, Monique Rathbun suddenly fired her lawyers and shut down the lawsuit. Both actions were performed in writing under her name, but she never spoke to her lawyers or the media.[38] Working for contingency fees, the lawyers would not be paid for their work. Mark Rathbun refused to discuss the matter on his blog, but it was widely speculated that Scientology's "intelligence agency", the Office of Special Affairs, had somehow persuaded the Rathbuns to drop the lawsuit. He refused to answer whether he was being paid by Scientology.[39]

A subsequent court deposition (believed to be written by Mark Rathbun but submitted under Monique's name) gave as a reason that Rathbun's lawyers said there was no chance of a legal victory, blamed her lawyers for unstated legal errors, and implied that the lawsuit had no legal merit.[40] The lawyers strongly disagreed with all these claims. They said they would monitor the Rathbuns' finances to make sure they weren't being secretly paid by Scientology to drop the lawsuit.

Rathbun became much maligned in the anti-Scientology movement after these events, and was called a "traitor" and a "turncoat" by some, though others said his motives could never be known.[41] In 2017, Rathbun released a series of professionally produced short videos through his blog where he criticized the alleged hidden motives of anti-Scientology reporters and documentarians Lawrence Wright and Leah Remini. These videos were produced in a style that gave the impression that Rathbun was once again working for Scientology. Critics claim these videos contain inaccuracies and some lies.[42][43] It was suggested he was hired only to discredit him as a witness in future legal cases that could threaten Scientology's tax exempt status.[44]

Monique Rathbun's former lawyers then started legal proceedings against her husband in Texas, saying they believed Mark Rathbun had been secretly paid by Scientology to drop the case, and demanding to see his financial records. The lawyers would be entitled to a percentage of any payment Scientology made to him, under the terms of their contingency fee.[45] Rathbun's new lawyers who defended him at the first hearing in San Antonio on August 29, 2017, were allegedly provided for him by Scientology.[46]

Rathbun allegedly turned over private email exchanges he had with fellow Scientology critics to the Church, though that would not necessarily be illegal.[47] He continued to make videos where he accused anti-Scientology activists of being involved in vast conspiracies.

In February 2018, Monique's former attorney announced he would not seek to expose Rathbun's alleged secret deal with Scientology, or seek any reimbursement for the years of legal work his office had performed in preparation for the lawsuit, as the former attorney admitted to fearing the size and scope of Scientology's responses to such an effort.[48]


  1. "Ex-members spar with Scientology over beating allegations". CNN. 2010-03-30. Archived from the original on 2012-02-09. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "First Independent Scientologist Wedding". Moving On Up a Little Higher. Retrieved 21 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Jennifer M. Wood (Apr 9, 2015)
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Mark Rathbun Inspector General Religious Technology Center". Religious Technology Center. Archived from the original on 2005-09-04. Retrieved 2007-02-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Protecting the Advanced Technology: Inspector General Network". Religious Technology Center. Retrieved 12 August 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Memoirs of a Scientology Warrior", 2013 autobiography |
  7. "Matters of RTC concern", Religious Technology Center, 2006. Retrieved 2007-02-18
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Scientology Whistleblower Tells All, Admits to Secretly Recording Tom Cruise". David Pakman Show. Retrieved 12 November 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Tobin, Thomas C. (1998-10-25). "The Man Behind Scientology". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2007-12-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Frantz, Douglas (1997-03-09). "Scientology's Puzzling Journey From Tax Rebel to Tax Exempt". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-12-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Frantz, Douglas (1997-03-19). "Scientology Denies an Account Of an Impromptu I.R.S. Meeting". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-12-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. 12.0 12.1 Frantz, Douglas (1998-02-13). "Scientology's Star Roster Enhances Image". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-12-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 "Tom Cruise's confessions mocked at Scientology parties". MSN NZ. MSN New Zealand Ltd. May 9, 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. 14.0 14.1 "'Tom Cruise afgeluisterd binnen Scientology Kerk'". De Telegraaf (in Dutch). Telegraaf Media Groep. May 9, 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-10.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 "Tom Cruise heimlich bei Scientology-Beichte gefilmt?". Klatsch-Tratsch.De (in German). May 9, 2010. Archived from the original on July 19, 2011. Retrieved 2010-05-10. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. 16.0 16.1 ninemsn staff. "Tom Cruise 'ridiculed at Scientology parties'". ninemsn. PBL Media & Microsoft. Retrieved 2010-05-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Tom Cruise's confessionals 'mocked by Scientologists'". The West Australian. West Australian Newspapers Limited. May 10, 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Heidi Klum et Seal sont toujours aussi gnangnan... Les candidates de Miss USA en tenue légère..." 20 minutes (in French). Schibsted and Ouest France Group. May 10, 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-10.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "¿Traicionado por la cienciología?". (in Spanish). May 21, 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-10.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Hayes, Lynn (May 10, 2010). "Tom Cruise betrayed by Scientology leader". Beliefnet. Retrieved 2010-05-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "Tom Cruise, burlado por la Cienciología". El Tiempo (in Spanish). May 10, 2010. Archived from the original on March 9, 2011. Retrieved 2010-05-10. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. (Jul 2, 2012) | Dangerous Persuasions documentary:
  23. Sweeney, John (September 26, 2010). "Mr Shouty and Cruise: the rematch". Sunday Times. |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Also see Rathbun's comments at his blog.
  24. About page, Mark Rathbun blog
  25. "Scientology: The Truth Rundown". St. Petersburg Times. 2009-07-21. Archived from the original on 2012-01-14. Retrieved 2009-07-21. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. Sentinel Staff Report (June 18, 2010). "Orlando Sentinel wins 17 awards from Florida Society of News Editors". Orlando Sentinel. Florida: Retrieved 2010-06-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. Florida Society of News Editors (June 18, 2010). "FSNE Gold Medal for Public Service". FSNE 2010 Journalism Awards. Florida: Retrieved 2010-06-18. Inside Scientology - The St. Petersburg Times reporting on the Church of Scientology is in the finest traditions of American journalism. The reporting by Joseph Childs and Thomas Tobin stands out for the ways in which it held accountable the powerful.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. "Winners of 76th Annual National Headliner Awards". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. March 24, 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  29. "Print Division - Daily Newspapers and News Syndicates - Writing & Reporting". National Headliner Awards. 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-03-25. Retrieved 2010-03-25. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  30. "Channel 4: Scientologists at War". Channel 4. Retrieved 21 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  31. "CBC The Passionate Eye - Scientologists at War". 10 April 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  34. McCormack, John (January 22, 2014). "Judge to Scientology: Leader must testify in Texas case". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved May 27, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  35. Mintz, Zoe (October 21, 2014). "Top Scientology Leaders Caught In Videotaped Verbal Assault At LAX". International Business Times. Retrieved May 27, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  36. Tony Ortega |
  37. blog post about the "anti-Scientology cult" |
  38. Dianna Wray (May 25, 2016)
  39. email question by Tony Ortega and reply by Mark Rathbun|
  40. Tony Ortega |
  41. critical and sympathetic responses: (retrieved Jul 7, 2017) |
  42. Tony Ortega |
  43. Mike Rinder (Jun 20, 2017)
  44. Tony Ortega (Jun 16, 2016)
  45. Tony Ortega (Aug 24, 2017)
  46. Tony Ortega (Aug 29, 2017)
  47. Tony Ortega's blog: | Rathbun's initial comments:
  48. (Feb 17, 2018)

Further reading

External links