There is something deeply motivating and fulfilling about being certain of one’s path. Dedicating one’s life to good. Working towards a goal in spite of any obstacle. Fighting for something REAL and worthwhile gives direction and confidence to life.
Where others drift through the world from one thing to the next like so much flotsam in a flooded river, knowing with certainty that the path before you is right is both an anchor and a rudder.
But what if things begin to change?
Something happens and the certainty starts to crack.
One tries to ignore the damage at first but when that no longer works, the justification and excuses set in.
Finally however it all falls apart and one finds himself standing at an unknown and frightening crossroad.
Everything you have ever known, believed in and sacrificed for has coalesced into a moment of confused clarity.
You know it is over but why and how did you arrive at this place?
And so, in 2007 Mike Rinder finds himself faced with this moment. There is no going back, because going back would in effect, place him in the same bag as leaving.
Of all people in the world of Scientology Rinder knows full well the consequences of stepping off the curb into the unknown. He knows what Fair Game is and how it is used against those named “enemy” and “Suppressive”.
Mike knows all the capabilities of an angry COB.
What is before him? Raised to believe that the rest of the world is filled with evil, horrible Wogs, everything facing him, once so set and familiar, is now a roiling fog of unknown.
It is devastating when one loses everything one thought was unshakable and immutable.
Gripping his briefcase, Mike Rinder starts walking into the future.
Since his departure Rinder has rebuilt his life and created a new normal. He has dedicated himself, along with Leah Remini, to providing support and compassion to others who have found themselves lost in the new unknown. Forming The Aftermath Foundation, those who escape Scientology find what they need to move forward in safety.
For Mike however, he pays a stiff price in the Fair Game Attacks against him by his former “religion”.
His daughter, Taryn Teutsch, is being used as a weapon against him in an ugly campaign designed to have him fired.
More recently, the Twitter Account @ExposeNetwork, blind and misguided defender of the indefensible cult, pulled out another ugly, personal attack against Rinder by bringing up his son, Benjamin.
After Mike left, he attempted to contact his then wife, Cathy.
Her response speaks volumes about her feelings for her husband of 35 years.
Where a loving, confused wife would at least ask “why?” Would try and figure out what happened and what went wrong, Cathy simply responded “fuck you.” Then divorced him.
Later she would scream at him “YOU abandoned our family!” Yet she did nothing to try and help the situation, either. It takes two.
He tried to reach out and was firmly rebuffed.
According to Scientology’s account, Mike was expelled from the church. (we all know differently)
This would have made him a Suppressive Person. Cult policy forbids members in good standing from interacting with SPs. This policy extends to family members as well.
When one is an enemy of Scientology, Disconnection is the response. To continue a relationship with a Suppressive Person means to put your own neck on the line.
In order not to end up being sec checked or tossed into the RPF the ties must be cut.
Cathy made this clear in her “fuck you” letter.
Not long after Rinder blew, his son Benjamin was diagnosed with cancer.
Mike was not told about his son by any member of his family. He was not made aware that Ben was truly ill and had been given only 5 more years to live.
Mike was an enemy of Scientology.
Why would they reach out to him and tell him anything when he was considered Suppressive and was being subjected to Fair Game?
How does it make any sense that COS would ruin Robert Almblad’s career, causing him to lose millions, just because he’d befriended Rinder and given him a job only to turn around and kindly let Rinder know his son was potentially dying?
Cathy certainly did not make her former husband aware of the situation. Shouldn’t that have been her responsibility to the father of her children? She made that choice to deny Ben the chance of a relationship with his father during this terrifying time.
Cathy Rinder Bernardini was the one who kept this information from Mike. She is the one in the wrong here. As the one in close proximity to Ben, as his mother and co-member of Scientology, it was completely Cathy’s obligation to contact her child’s father and make him aware of this illness. She knew the diagnosis. Mike did not. It was up to her to step up as a parent, put her own emotions aside and make contact happen.
It has already been established that she is capable of the most serious of lies against her former husband.
For her, Ben’s illness was simply one more way she could make Mike look bad.
This woman denied Mike the chance to spend time with his dying son out of spite and the petty need to be in control.
Mike can not be condemned for something he did not know about.
The fact is that he did try to reach out after he left and then again once he discovered his son was ill.
Both times he was shunned and rebuked.
Both times Scientology had the opportunity to allow Mike access to Ben.
Scientology denied him.
Cathy denied him.
So who is truly in the wrong?
Mike found out through a reporter that Ben was ill. He went to the Ft. Harrison Hotel in Clearwater to try and see his son.
This proves that Mike cared.
Knowing exactly how Scientology operates, Mike brought along a camera to document any conflict so that COS could not use it later against him. This was a completely understandable and reasonable choice given the circumstances.
Scientology’s own Fair Game Policy states that they can lie and manufacture anything against the SP in order to destroy him. Mike clearly had the need to protect himself as he approached his former cult.
Here again Scientology turned something that should have been left between father and son into a public farce.
COS called the police who then approached Ben.
Ben, caught in the web of deceit and rage spun by his mother and the directives of the cult that punishes members for breaking their rules, did the only thing he could do.
Refuse to see his father. (If this is truly what happened. If it is true that Ben was contemplating leaving COS at that time, that would be all the more reason to keep father and son separated.)
There was no alternative for him. Scientology does not allow choices like this to be made. Had Ben agreed to see Mike, Ben would have ended up on the receiving end of an Ethics Check.
Scientology, for its part, used the situation to get a trespass order against Rinder, effectively preventing him from a second attempt to speak with his son.
@ExposeNetwork and Scientology claim that a cold blooded, uncaring Mike Rinder simply refused to see his son in spite of knowing about the diagnosis.
This is clearly, provably wrong.
Mike was kept in the dark until a stranger informed him. As soon as he found out he made an attempt to see his son. He was refused contact and any further attempt was quashed by a trespass order.
Did Cathy tell Mike about Ben’s treatments? Did she let him know dates and times of doctor visits and facilitate Mike’s inclusion in Ben’s treatment and recovery?
The fact of the matter is that from start to finish, it is Scientology and a more than willing Bitter Bernardini who has refused Mike access.
Cathy Bernardini has made the situation crystal clear.
In the John Sweeney BBC recording of the April 2010 Fair Game attack on Mike, after he attempted to see Ben at the Ft. Harrison, Cathy explicitly says:
“You fucking stay away from Benjamin, you mother fucker!”
As for Ben in all of this mess one should feel compassion and pity for the young man.
For Taryn, his sister, as well.
These children of the Cult grew up with both parents missing the majority of the time as SeaOrg members. They had a nanny when young rather than the love and stability of their parents’ presence.
For a SeaOrg member, there is nothing more important that the job at hand. Not your spouse, not your children, not family or friends. Children especially were seen as a hindrance to the Objective to the point where a women finding herself pregnant was considered a Potential Trouble Source.
Later there would be a policy of forced abortions in order to keep the SeaOrg woman child free to do her duty.
When Taryn Teutsch describes Mike as an absent parent she was right, he was. That is how Scientology does things.
But there is more to it than just the dysfunctional framework of family provided by Scientology.
From all outward appearances Cathy Bernardini is an angry, bitter woman.
Given her response to Mike when he reached out to her after he fled, she had no real love for the man she’d been married to for so long. It is reasonable to assume that Bernardini engaged in Parental Alienation after Mike was gone.
If so, this would have created a new and insidious manipulation for the children to navigate.
Never having a close relationship with either parent, suddenly Ben and Taryn find themselves united with their Mother in adversity. For any child the opportunity to form a bond with their hitherto absent parent would be worth anything.
Even the betrayal of the other parent.
One would be willing to risk much for the chance that at least one parent would be in their life. They would overlook and excuse away anything for the approval and love so longed for.
Ben and Taryn are now getting the attention from their mother they both craved and the cost is the chance of a loving relationship with their father.
Unlike the picture being painted by Scientology with Mike as the evil, black hearted monster, when one actually looks at the facts, one clearly sees that Mike Rinder loves his children very much.
To Ben and Taryn, you are both adults now. There comes a time when pulling the covers over your heads and hiding no longer works. According to the policies and rules of your own “religion” both of your parents were equally absent from your childhoods. Your father had real, serious reasons for blowing and if either of you were remotely mature and open minded, you would at the least allow him the fairness of a hearing. You have made choices that are causing pain and harm and while it may be nice that your mother is finally focused on you, ask yourself what the cost of that attention truly is.
A relationship is not loving or healthy when it is based on anger and lies.
Ben, thank God you have conquered your cancer and have been given a second chance.
The question is what are you doing with that chance?
Are you going to continue to allow yourself to be used? Are your feelings and emotions truly worth nothing more than weapons to be exploited by Scientology?
Are you willing to live your life never having given your father the chance to love you?
After all, what do you have to lose?
If you are right about him, then you will have that proof.
But what if you are wrong?