Mike Rinder

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Mike Rinder
Mike Rinder.jpg
Rinder in April 2010
Born Michael John Rinder
(1955-04-10) April 10, 1955 (age 59)
Adelaide, Australia
Residence Palm Harbor, Florida, USA.[1]
Occupation Former Executive Director, Office of Special Affairs, Board of Directors, Church of Scientology International, 1983-2007.
  • Catherine "Cathy" (née Bernardini/Neal/Rubio) (m. 1976–2007)
  • Christie (née King Collbran) (m. 2013–present)

Michael "Mike" John Rinder (/ˈrɪndər/; born April 10, 1955) is an Australian activist and former Scientologist based in the United States. He had formerly been a senior executive in the Church of Scientology International (CSI) and the Sea Organization.[3] From 1982 to 2007, Rinder served on the Board of Directors of CSI and also held the post of Executive Director of its Office of Special Affairs, overseeing the corporate, legal and public relations matters of the Church at the international level.[4] Rinder left the Church in 2007 after becoming disillusioned with what he perceived to be the increasingly authoritarian nature of senior management under David Miscavige, instead becoming an independent Scientologist.[5][6]


Rinder is an Australian national who joined the Sea Org on the Apollo at 18. In a 2006 interview with Rolling Stone, Rinder said he had experienced discrimination in Australia during the period when the Australian state of Victoria had banned Scientology: "You couldn't own Scientology books ... If you did, you had to hide them because if the police came and found them, they'd take them away."[7] During his time as Executive Director, he served as Church spokesman in countless interviews with newspapers and television outlets.[8]

Leaving the Church of Scientology and criticism[edit]

In March 2007, Rinder was sent as the international spokesperson of the Church to defend Scientology from John Sweeney, who was filming a BBC documentary titled Scientology and Me.[5] Rinder defended Scientology leader David Miscavige, but Miscavige was unhappy with the documentary.[5] As a result, Rinder "was to report to the church's facility in Sussex, England, and dig ditches" and then was allowed to return to the United States.[5] Rinder decided to leave the church instead.[5] Rinder went to Virginia and told the church he wanted to talk to his wife and also wanted his possessions. He did not talk to his wife, but was sent a FedEx package with a check for $5,000, but his family photos were not sent.[5] Rinder and his first wife (Cathy) divorced after 35 years. He and his second wife, Christie King Collbran, were married in 2013 and have a son. He has no contact with his two adult children from his first marriage.[5] Rinder's official biography has since been removed from the official Church of Scientology website.[4]

In 2009, St Petersburg Times asked Rinder for an interview, but he declined.[9] Then a month later, two Washington-based Scientology lawyers went to his home unannounced, informed Rinder that they knew about the newspaper's visit and asked what he had revealed.[9] Subsequently, he spoke to the Times about Scientology's management and repeated beatings he gave as well as received.[10] The interviews became part of the paper's "The Truth Rundown" special issue.[9] Rinder said he was speaking out because "I don't want people to continue to be hurt and tricked and lied to."[9]

In October 2009, Rinder and Marty Rathbun revealed to the St. Petersburg Times how Scientology silenced critics, such as Bob Minton, by digging into personal details and secretly recording conversations.[11] Rinder told the Times: "There were things that, really, he was worried about and had caused problems for him in the investigation that we had done" and Minton and church reached a private settlement.[11] Rinder, who left the church in 2007, considered Minton a friend at the time of Minton's death in January 2010.[11]

In March 2010, Rinder again confirmed allegations of abuse within Scientology to CNN's Anderson Cooper on AC360.[12] Rinder did not speak on camera because he promised his first interview to the BBC.[12]

In April 2010, Rinder, who lived in Clearwater, Florida for over a year, went to meet with his son who also lives in Clearwater, Florida but his son refused to see him. Mike Rinder, Marty Rathbun and two others were cited for trespassing by the Clearwater Police.[2][13] A few days later, according to police reports: "five senior members of its California-based international management team — surrounded and screamed at [Rinder] a former church executive. At the time he was approached, Rinder was sitting in his car in a doctor's office parking lot during a phone interview with BBC journalist John Sweeny. The screaming was so loud, Sweeny was able to record the episode and later aired the recording on The Secrets of Scientology broadcast by the BBC series, Panorama.

The dispute continued into the office of an unsuspecting and startled doctor. During the incident Rinder's then wife, Cathy, said she was attacked by Mike Rinder after trying to talk to him. She also stated that he shoved their daughter and almost broke his brother's finger. Rinder recalls Cathy physically trying to stop him from getting away from her. The police report of the incident says Cathy's injury came about as "incidental contact". (Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, Report # SO10-111460.) Rinder has admitted to almost breaking his brother's finger."[14]

On 28 September 2010 Rinder appeared on The Secrets of Scientology broadcast by the BBC series, Panorama.[15] He discussed his life, losing his family and behind the scenes activity of Scientology.[15] The documentary claims that private auditing sessions are secretly recorded, including ones with secrets about Tom Cruise.[16]

Mr. Rinder appears in the HBO documentary entitled "Going Clear, Scientology and the Prison of Belief" by Alex Gibney, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January, 2015. "Going Clear" is based on the book by Lawrence Wright: "Going Clear, Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief".

Personal life[edit]

Rinder lived in Denver, Colorado as of 2009.[5] After that, per his blog, he has lived in Florida.[1] From 2009-2014, Rinder considered himself an independent Scientologist.[6][17] Mr. Rinder is no longer affiliated in any way with Scientology or its teachings and beliefs.


  1. ^ a b "About Me - Mike Rinder. Something Can Be Done About It: Mike Rinder's Blog.". Rinder, Mike. Retrieved 7 February 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Scientology run-ins bring warnings". St. Petersburg Times. 28 April 2010. Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  3. ^ Cook, John (17 March 2008). "Scientology - Cult Friction". Radar Online (Radar Magazine). Retrieved 20 March 2008. 
  4. ^ a b "Mike Rinder Biography". Church of Scientology International. Archived from the original on 28 January 2008. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Joe Childs, Thomas C. Tobin (23 June 2009). "Leaving the Church of Scientology: a huge step". St Petersburg Times. Retrieved 13 July 2009. 
  6. ^ a b "John Sweeney revisits the Church of Scientology". BBC. 26 September 2010. Retrieved 21 December 2010.  More detailed coverage in: Sweeney, John (26 September 2010). "Mr Shouty and Cruise: the rematch". Sunday Times. Rinder, though a 'heretic' to the church, lives and breathes independent scientology. 
  7. ^ Reitman, Janet (23 February 2006). "Inside Scientology". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 13 November 2007. 
  8. ^ For example Rinder served as church spokesman on: Anderson Cooper, AC360, 14 May 2007; CBS, Public Eye, 7 January 1998; "The Dark Side of Scientology," WDR - Germany 1997; CBS 60 Minutes, 28 December 1997; A&E "Inside Scientology," 14 December 1998; Dateline NBC "The Crusader," 16 June 1998.
  9. ^ a b c d Joe Childs, Thomas C. Tobin (23 June 2009). "The Truth Rundown". St Petersburg Times. Retrieved 13 July 2009. 
  10. ^ Joe Childs, Thomas C. Tobin (23 June 2009). "Scientology: Ecclesiastical justice". St Petersburg Times. Retrieved 13 July 2009. 
  11. ^ a b c "How Scientology got to Bob Minton". St. Petersburg Times. 2 November 2009. Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  12. ^ a b "Scientology: A History of Violence". AC360. Retrieved 28 April 2010. 
  13. ^ "Mike Rinder Violence". Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  14. ^ Tobin, Thomas; Joe Childs. "Scientology run-ins bring warnings". Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  15. ^ a b "John Sweeney revisits the Church of Scientology". BBC's Panorama series. September 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  16. ^ "Mr Shouty and Cruise: The Rematch". Sunday Times. 26 September 2010. Retrieved 27 September 2010. 
  17. ^ Mike Rinder: The Real Third Party, scientology-cult.com; 2010 Independent’s Day Celebration, scientology-cult.com

External links[edit]