A Brief Chronology of Monumental Disasters; The Career of “Kingpin” Rathbun

“I have proven a proclivity for creating some of the greatest catastrophes in Church history when allowed to have some leash.” 
Marty Rathbun

Contrary to his public utterances to an uninformed media who know nothing about the Scientology religion or Church (and aren’t expected to know, since they are the media and not part of the religion), Rathbun never served in an ecclesiastical management capacity. Rather, his entire Church career was in external affairs, responsible for legal matters. Here follows a sampling of his malfeasance, covered up for years.

1) 1986: The Church’s Founder had passed away in January. As with any Church, the transitive years from a living Founder are the most critical to the religion determining its future survival. As part of this transition, all past legal disputes against the Church were directed to be amicably settled. Unfortunately, however, a civil trial in one case had already been scheduled. Nevertheless and even after the plaintiff had presented his case, a court-supervised nuisance-value settlement had been agreed to.

However, after the check was delivered to the court, by Rathbun, he returned and reported it “fell through.” Consequently, due to the religious prejudice of what was then a new religion, the trial ended in a staggering $30 million judgment. On appeal, the courts reduced this figure to less than a tenth, but still far greater than the agreed-upon nuisance settlement. For more than 15 years, Rathbun blamed the botched settlement on an attorney who had suddenly passed away from a diabetic seizure. Meaning, this attorney was not there to defend himself. Either way, Rathbun next refused to pay the greatly reduced judgment following appeal and by the time all was said and done, between legal fees and interest, the matter cost the Church more than 100 times the original settlement.

It was not until 2003 that Rathbun admitted he had torpedoed the 1986 settlement, as he felt the Church should only engage in wars and he could not imagine a cessation of fighting battles. In his own words:

On external lines my operation is the same—it consists of the [suppressive] characteristic of only restimulating and never destimulating.” Marty Rathbun

Attached to that confession he listed the monetary costs:

Judgment $8 million.

Legal fees $7.5 million.

That’s $15.5 million. In fact, his math is conservative, but for the sake of his amends, the $15.5 million of losses caused by him will be accepted. That he never came clean for 15 years, and the mental anguish this mystery caused others, is noted as incalculable damage.

2) 1988: Pursuant to his “fight, no matter what” mentality, he next launched a legal war against Church counsel. He was upset over a disputed $50,000 in legal fees—a paltry sum in terms of legal expenses for a global organization. In his own words:

“… when there is a threatening situation or suit, I get the [external affairs] staff and attorneys wound up toward ‘destroying the threat.’” —Marty Rathbun

Why he felt the Church’s own attorney was an “enemy” can only be explained by him. What is not in question is that the civil case he insisted on bringing to recover these fees was lost. Instead, he wasted $3 million in attempting to recover the disputed $50,000 and was further ordered to pay the party $199,000 in additional fees.

In total, $3,199,000 of wasted parishioner funds because Rathbun was upset over a disputed $50,000 that he wanted returned.

3) 1988: The Church had successfully prosecuted a case to prevent a violation of the Church’s intellectual property rights. Having already been granted a federal injunction against the offending party, Rathbun was not satisfied, as said party had not screamed “Uncle!” Whereupon, he snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by:

  • Refusing to provide documents the court requested so that the judge could calculate the amount of monetary damages the offending party owed to the Church.

  • Throwing a fit in a courtroom and verbally abusing the federal judge until he had to be escorted from the courtroom.

Result? Court-ordered sanctions against the Church of $2.9 million in a case in which the Church had been victorious. And $600,000 in legal fees wasted on his post-victory “crush the enemy mercilessly” strategy AFTER the Church had won.

4) 1992: A person who had served on staff for years, but was now employed in the private sector, approached the Church for charity—having fallen on hard times and now indigent. A severance of $50,000 was ordered by Rathbun’s superiors, which the indigent would have gratefully accepted. Rathbun, in his “I hate everybody and nobody should be shown compassion or charity” mode, covertly torpedoed the payment. This individual descended into the economic status of welfare case. As this person would later state—he couldn’t pay his grocery bills and so turned to what he never imagined. Specifically, selling stories to the tabloids and personal injury attorneys, whereupon he was next accusing the religion’s ecclesiastical leader of killing the religion’s Founder, killing his mother-in-law… Well, why go on. All allegations were, of course, untrue, scandalous and promptly dismissed by the courts. But the mere cost of doing so reached millions of dollars. Rathbun only admitted a decade after the fact his role in torpedoing the charity payment.

5) 1984-1995: The Church had been viciously attacked and wrongly accused by the government of Canada—accusations for which the Church was vindicated in the courts. However, before the vindication, Rathbun insisted on Church lawyers making a statement, on the courthouse steps, accusing Canadian officials of complicity in obstruction of justice for which Rathbun assured Church lawyers he had evidence. Factually, he later discovered he had the wrong identity and accused the wrong individual. Rather than retracting the statement, he covered up his discovery (that he had the wrong identity) and had counsel continue to defend a libel case brought against the Church. That case was ultimately lost after 10 years of litigation at a cost of $10 million in legal fees and court-ordered judgment. He did not confess to his cover-up for another eight years (after the lost judgment), which was in fact 19 years since he had become aware of his blunder in accusing the wrong party.

6) 1993: Notwithstanding Rathbun’s irrational and psychotic desire to fight, fight and fight some more—preferably until the end of eternity—the leader of the religion managed to bring to an end a 40-year conflict with the IRS, resulting in the recognition of the Church and all its related social betterment organizations as fully tax-exempt. So protracted had been this battle that its genesis preceded the birth of most Scientologists. Consequently, it was no overstatement when the victory was announced as “The War is Over!” live before 10,000 Scientologists at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, with satellite replays to congregations in hundreds of cities world over.

While Scientologists celebrated this monumental accomplishment as the history-making event it was, to be looked back upon by generations of Scientologists to come, Rathbun blew in the middle of the night—without so much as a word to his colleagues, friends or even his wife. When he contacted the Church a week later, it was assumed the pressures of the external battles had taken their toll on him and he was granted a two-year sabbatical. Meanwhile, his superiors had to clean up the remaining legal skirmishes he had created and left behind. (Rathbun would not confess for another decade that his departure was not due to external pressures but, rather, because the war was over and he was prevented from realizing his desire—to start a new one.)

7) 1995-2004: Having completed his sabbatical but a few weeks earlier, Rathbun was placed on a training program in Florida. Church staff and executives at these facilities were unaware that he had lost all authority, since his blow had not been broadly publicized. This was done as an act of kindness so as to not utterly destroy any reputation he had. As it turns out, failure to make known his mental breakdown was an epic mistake. Because no sooner was he once again provided a work position than he set in motion a new disaster to give him the legal battles he so desired. In contravention of longstanding policy by the religion’s Founder, he allowed a psychotic individual on Church premises—overriding objections of all then Church staffers. When investigations were ordered by Rathbun’s superiors to see who had allowed this to occur, he was the person charged with investigating. Rather than admitting his guilt, he named more than a dozen innocent parties—all of whom were then subsequently removed or dismissed. Also undisclosed at the time was his participation in suborning perjury to law enforcement. In a misguided attempt to “defend the Church” and the reputation of the psychotic against a biased police force (who were, in fact, biased), he ordered staff to not disclose the circumstances of the individual’s psychosis (even though the psychotic was violent and physically harmed the staff attempting to care for her). The real reason for Rathbun’s cover-up was the knowledge that he himself would be dismissed from the Church for violating Church policy on allowing psychotics on Church premises. All this quite in addition to the matter of a potential 10 years in jail—the length of two five-year sentences for suborning perjury and obstruction of justice. (See A Liar is a Coward. A Perjurer is a Criminal.)

It was not for another decade plus that the Church would finally discover his familial history of insanity—never revealed by him although required on his application for Church staff—which caused him to act irrationally in allowing psychotics on Church premises. In particular, he was acting in a misguided effort to attempt more than was done to help his institutionalized mother and two brothers.

 The consequences of his actions resulted in criminal charges. While the Church was ultimately vindicated, it was not before Rathbun’s criminal conduct spun out of control and the ecclesiastical leader was accused of the very conduct Rathbun had engaged in. Of course, the religion’s leader was unaware of Rathbun’s involvement, as Rathbun had manipulated himself into the position of “defending” the leader against these “scurrilous allegations,” and never once mentioned or confessed that the charges would have been true had they been leveled against Rathbun himself. He kept this secret for eight years. It was only once all charges had been dropped and internal investigations to find the actual perpetrators narrowed in on him that he blew. He still was not to confess to his suborning perjury and obstructing justice for five more years—a full 14 years after he’d committed the crime. By then, the legal ramifications to the Church had long since been settled. But not before expending millions in legal fees defending itself.

The motivations for these acts are a psychotic computation for self-preservation: keep enough chaos and threat stirred up in the environment, make myself appear to be a solution to it instead of the instigator of it, and lots of people go down and remain in turmoil while I go unrecognized as the source of it and survive.” —Marty Rathbun

8) Summary: By Rathbun’s own calculation on September 29, 2003, the total amount of harm visited upon Scientology due to his “reign of war” and secret misconduct was $43,799,000.

He was being very conservative and the damage is far higher. For by engaging in his own psychotically motivated war, he also distracted Church leaders who ultimately had to clean up his mess. Then, too, he diverted Church funds from humanitarian programs to help Mankind, not to mention the creation of new Church facilities to service the greater community of Scientologists and the communities in which they work.

Since the discovery and removal of Rathbun, the endless series of “unexplainable” external battles and legal cases has “magically” ended. Indeed, the Church has emerged victorious in country after country with religious recognitions as well as precedent-setting decisions in the European Court of Human Rights. Moreover, with the Church’s resources now dedicated to the religion itself, in the last decade the size of the Church has doubled what it had achieved in its first 55 years of existence.


All of which answers the question as to how Rathbun could lose all touch with reality in the full-blown psychotic break that is now his daily existence. The answer is simple. Sometimes one can easily make amends for misconduct. By way of example, a low-level staff member or executive could be responsible for foul-ups that cost the organization thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of work to undo the damage caused. However, what does one do when the damage caused is so great that it’s in the tens of millions and required hundreds of thousands of hours of combined work by others to undo the destruction? For the individual who wishes to atone for such misconduct, it’s a long road back. One either travels that road to redemption or, instead, one of delusion.

It’s a well-known mental phenomenon, mostly seen in institutions for the criminally insane or maximum-security prisons. That is, unable to come to grips with the depths of evil one has engaged in, one instead has an “epiphany.” One “realizes” one day that “None of it was my fault! Those were the cards I was dealt and I was just a victim of fate!” At which point one has a euphoric resurgence, losing touch with all reality of one’s past, and reinvents oneself as what they wish they were. They blame their failures on somebody else (No Responsibility For Anything) and when they look in the mirror they see a “warm and fuzzy guy,” while the rest of the world sees someone in need of an exorcism.

That’s Marty Rathbun. Because while he paints himself as a lovey-dovey, pop-psychology guru to the indigent, his actions belie his self-proclaimed façade. Worse, he seems utterly unaware of the turmoil that is his life. He could have kept fishing from his used trawler like the Old Man and the Sea. But all he sees is an endless battle to be picked and imaginary war to be fought.

The Church is at peace. Indeed, the only battles today are the rantings of Rathbun and his “Posse.” No longer able to create and then fight wars for the Church at Church expense, he now attacks the Church itself for no other reason than its refusal to let him continue to fight his psychotic war against what he imagines are the enemy—the entire world and anybody who doesn’t see it his way.

As L. Ron Hubbard discovered in researching psychosis and describing the insane:

They are involved in warfare, with conflicts around them which are invisible to others. One wonders how they can be so involved or get so involved in so much hostility.”
— L. Ron Hubbard

NOTE: This above listing only includes external affairs misconduct. His technical crimes in the malpractice of Scientology auditing are kept in confidence, pursuant to priest-penitent privilege, and will only be provided Rathbun for atonement once he has made amends for the cost of the above misconduct and has demonstrated he can be trusted by anybody in any way.