Between the criminal trial in France and the new cable and online advertising campaign in the United States, we had been planning to post something here about Scientology. Now comes a remarkable series in the St. Petersburg Times containing explosive allegations against church leader David Miscavige by four formerly top-ranking Scientology officials.
The defectors include former Miscavige lieutenant Marty Rathbun and former church spokesman Mike Rinder. Lawyers and current spokespersons for the church deny any wrongdoing and describe the whistle-blowers as disgruntled former employees who were demoted or removed from their jobs and now are attempting to stage a leadership coup from outside the church.
On Sunday, Times reporters Thomas C. Tobin and Joe Childs alleged a culture of violence promoted among the church leadership by Miscavige, who the defectors allege personally beat underlings who would not fight back. Monday’s installment detailed the last days of Lisa McPherson, a Scientologist who died in 1995 after 17 days in the care of the church.
Tuesday, the reporters describe a bizarre game of musical chairs to determine who among the church leadership was the most committed to the tasks at hand. According to the defectors, Miscavige told the group that all but the winner would be reassigned to Scientology's far-flung outposts – a threat he did not ultimately carry out.