Scientology in 2012: Mark Bunker and Mike Rinder Give Us a Preview of Enturbulation To Come


The new year has already started with a bombshell, but we wanted to get a longer view of how 2012 might turn out for Scientology watching. So we asked a couple of far-seeing church observers to give us their thoughts.

We have some fascinating prognostication from Mark Bunker, whose film Knowledge Report should be coming out this year. And from Mike Rinder, the former church spokesman with some thoughts on what sort of a year Scientology leader David Miscavige may experience. (And as a bonus, Bunker sent over the clip you see here of Rinder from the upcoming documentary!)

We asked Bunker for his 2012 plans, and Wise Beard Man was kind enough to send this reply…

I’m so looking forward to people getting a chance to see Knowledge Report. I expect to start showing a rough cut to people in the spring. I’d like to get some feedback from friends before taking it out for some test screenings but the main city I can’t wait to show it in is Clearwater. So far online, I’ve been showing brief snippets
from the raw interviews. Just a few minutes ago, I rounded them up
and put them on a page at XENU TV.

There you can also see me being introduced to a crowd of independent Scientologists at a Free Zone convention in early December. I can hear the nervousness in my voice. I wasn’t quite sure how they would react to me but it went well and I had an interesting time. I have never been audited on an e-meter before so I asked for a sample session which was taped for the movie. It will help me explain what the whole process is like. I’ve read a few comments from people who seem to think I’m about to attest to clear and soar up the bridge to OT VIII. That’s not the case.

I still have filming to do on movie. There are some key interviews left to do. I’m waiting to hear back from David Miscavige. I have my fingers crossed. He hasn’t done an on-camera interview since he spoke to Ted Koppel on Nightline back in 1992. I bet he’s itching to talk to me. Here’s part of what I wrote to him which can now be considered
an open letter:

Dear Mr. Miscavige,

I’m making a feature documentary on Scientology entitled “Knowledge Report” and am writing to make you aware of the film and to ask you to participate. I hope to make the definitive documentary on the subject. Your cooperation would ensure that your viewpoints and those of your organization are fully and fairly represented in the film.

As L. Ron Hubbard said, “Communication is the universal solvent.” I couldn’t agree more. I know that by sitting down with you, I will be going right to the source.

Given the media reports of the rapid expansion of Scientology, I understand that your time may be limited. I can make myself available at your convenience to talk with you in L.A., Clearwater or at the Int Base. Perhaps while there, I could tour Golden Era studios and talk with Heber Jentzsch and other officials of the church.


Mark Bunker

If he agrees to do the interview I will promise not to call him Slappy.

There are other elements of the film that still need to be shot which I’m keeping under wraps for now. I’ve started a new fundraising campaign over at IndieGoGo for anyone who is interested in supporting the project.

I appreciate all the support and goodwill I’ve received so far. I could use some help coming up with a subtitle for the film and would love to see what your readers come up with. I’m toying with the title “Knowledge Report: The Modern Scandal of Scientology” as a tribute to Paulette Cooper if she doesn’t object. Any ideas?

Commenters, let’s see your best suggestions!

I also asked Mike Rinder for his best guess about how things would go in the new year. Here’s what he sent me…

I think 2012 is going to be a year of upheaval in the RCS. [“Radical Corporate Scientology” is what I think Mike is referring to here, an epithet he and Marty Rathbun, another former high-ranking Scientology official, assign to the official church under David Miscavige. — T.O.]

I believe there will be more significant defections from Miscavige’s fold and more extensive media exposes — that you will be joined by other important media reporting on the demise of the RCS.

Miscavige will become increasingly paranoid, and his public appearances will become even less, with even more visible and always present security around him as he convinces himself that “everyone” is out to get him. Meanwhile, his staged events will become more over-the-top and make more outrageous and unverifiable claims.

I think there will be government action against the RCS in more than one country.

I think there will be a LOT of focus on money — how the RCS has become a “Vulture Culture” exclusively interested in extracting everything down to people’s last gold fillings. And how that money is spent. I think the flow of funds into Miscavige’s accounts is going to dwindle significantly. He will continue trying to convince his followers he is lording over massive expansion of Scientology by displaying grandiose buildings, but even those are going to become harder for him to pass of as anything other than props.

Sooner or later, Miscavige is going to have to sue someone because he cannot stand the fact that for someone with a litigious reputation, he has not sued anyone for what has been said about him and hasn’t sued anyone for using “his” tech. And when he finally decides that the downside of a lawsuit is less than the downside of not suing, he is going to find himself in a world of a hurt as he cannot afford to allow himself to be deposed or have to testify in a court of law. Maybe he will reach this tipping point this year…

And now it’s your turn. What major events do you think are going to grab our attention in this year of Scientology watching?

Tony Ortega is the editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. Since 1995, he’s been writing about Scientology at several publications.

@VoiceTonyO | Facebook: Tony Ortega


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