FREEDOM MAGAZINE*: They call themselves “The Posse” and they’ve got a leader who goes by the name of “Kingpin.” They saddle up and ride in loose formation, incessantly shooting their mouths and crying in their whiskey about how they’ve been dealt a bad hand. All of which is meant to conjure up images of a renegade gang that rides from town to town serving up their own brand of ruthless justice. They sashay from one reporter to the next with a saddlebag of self-corroborated stories to vindicate themselves for having been excommunicated from the Church.That’s not even remotely what it’s all about, but let’s carry on with the imagery. It’s true, they’re misfits and drifters to a man, but in reality the Posse is nothing more than a half-dozen or so embittered apostates. And instead of riding the range, they sashay from one reporter to the next with a saddlebag of self-corroborated stories to vindicate themselves for having been excommunicated from the Church. It all began with a pair of tabloid newspaper reporters to whom the Posse recited a litany of well-rehearsed allegations. Every one of their fabrications was subsequently exposed and disproved. Whereupon the Posse simply thunk up a passel of new stories and moved on.
They next landed in the lap of a tabloid TV host desperate to save his slipping ratings. The host specializes in on-site coverage of natural disasters, but with the Posse all gussied up under the lights, he featured a man-made disaster right inside his TV studio. When their newly spun tales were similarly shot down as patently false, the Posse came up with a fresh pack of lies and soon jangled their spurs on the doorstep of the next media outlet. And that’s how they ride… But before unfolding the whole panoramic picture of the Posse, an introduction of the individual players is due:
• Marty “Kingpin” Rathbun, a selfproclaimed psychotic with a long history of violence—including more than 50 separate acts of assault against co-workers, one in which he nearly killed a man with his fists. He’s lately added a few more notches to his belt: publicly admitting to suborning perjury and obstruction of justice, while formally and ceremoniously getting himself arrested for disorderly conduct—in New Orleans, no less.
• Mike Rinder, the man who was at the receiving end of Kingpin’s aforementioned homicidal attack. That he now refers to Kingpin as his “best good buddy” is yet another strange twist in the story of the Posse. But the “best good buddy” has his own violent streak—when his estranged family went to see him, his “welcome” was an attack that left his brother injured and his wife in the care of paramedics and, later, surgeons.
• Tom DeVocht, by his own prideful admission, is also an unrepentant liar. Indeed, there is nothing wrong with lying for financial gain, he boasts, so long as “you don’t get caught.” He left the Church with a deep secret only later revealed by “Kingpin”—that he was, in fact, Rathbone’s partner in his suborning perjury scheme.
• While rounding out the rest of the Posse there is Amy Scobee, dismissed from any position of authority years earlier—specifically for sexual misconduct with the person she was ministering to; Jeff Hawkins, the former copywriter who counts himself a member of the cyberterrorist organization known as Anonymous that remains under federal investigation for hate crimes against the Church of Scientology—with two of its members having served time in federal prison for said hate crimes; Steve Hall, the man known within the “Posse” for apparently creating the universe (not necessarily in seven days) and who claims he was previously both Jesus and the Buddha (not necessarily in that order); Marc and Claire Headley, the Posse’s own “Bonnie and Clyde” (albeit devoid of the glamour and cool) whose frivolous his-and-her cookie-cutter lawsuits were tossed out of court and the judge ordered the couple to pony up $40,000 to pay the Church’s court costs; and finally, Jason Beghe, the d-list character actor whose “anger management” problems and battery convictions served as his initiation rite into the ranks of the Posse. MORE
*Freedom Magazine is a the official magazine of Scientology
RELATED: Who Ya Gonna Call? Squirrel Busters!
THE GUARDIAN: It only seems natural that Scientologists would get a little fussy when people try to leave the church. It has to be tough, after all, to convince people a space alien lord named Xenu caused all the woes of mankind through an intergalactic war 75 million years ago. However, dressing in cartoony squirrel T-shirts and following defectors around with a camera is a little excessive, as Marty Rathbun has become painfully aware of. The former spiritual mentor to Tom Cruise outlines his plight since he left the church with the so-called “Squirrel Busters,” (a “squirrel” being a heretic in the Church of Scientology) beginning with this bizarre video recorded last year at his house. MORE
THE NEW YORKER: Everyone knew that the big revelations resided in level O.T. III. Hubbard called this level the Wall of Fire. He said, “The material involved in this sector is so vicious, that it is carefully arranged to kill anyone if he discovers the exact truth of it. . . . I am very sure that I was the first one that ever did live through any attempt to attain that material.” The O.T. III candidate is expected to free himself from being overwhelmed by the disembodied, emotionally wounded spirits that have been implanted inside his body. Bruce Hines, a former high-level Scientology auditor who is now a research physicist at the University of Colorado, explained to me, “Most of the upper levels are involved in exorcising these spirits.”
“The process of induction is so long and slow that you really do convince yourself of the truth of some of these things that don’t make sense,” Haggis told me. Although he refused to specify the contents of O.T. materials, on the ground that it offended Scientologists, he said, “If they’d sprung this stuff on me when I first walked in the door, I just would have laughed and left right away.” But by the time Haggis approached the O.T. III material he’d already been through several years of auditing. His wife was deeply involved in the church, as was his sister Kathy. Moreover, his first writing jobs had come through Scientology connections. He was now entrenched in the community. Success stories in the Scientology magazine Advance! added an aura of reality to the church’s claims. Haggis admits, “I was looking forward to enhanced abilities.” Moreover, he had invested a lot of money in the program. The incentive to believe was high.
In the late seventies, the O.T. material was still quite secret. There was no Google, and Scientology’s confidential scriptures had not yet circulated, let alone been produced in court or parodied on “South Park.” “You were told that this information, if released, would cause serious damage to people,” Haggis told me. Carrying an empty, locked briefcase, Haggis went to the Advanced Organization building in Los Angeles, where the material was held. A supervisor then handed him a folder, which Haggis put in the briefcase. He entered a study room, where he finally got to examine the secret document—a couple of pages, in Hubbard’s bold scrawl. After a few minutes, he returned to the supervisor.
“I don’t understand,” Haggis said.
“Do you know the words?” the supervisor asked.
“I know the words, I just don’t understand.”
“Go back and read it again,” the supervisor suggested.
Haggis did so. In a moment, he returned. “Is this a metaphor?” he asked the supervisor.
“No,” the supervisor responded. “It is what it is. Do the actions that are required.”
Maybe it’s an insanity test, Haggis thought—if you believe it, you’re automatically kicked out. “I sat with that for a while,” he says. But when he read it again he decided, “This is madness.” MORE