Marty Rathbun—Journey to Nowhere
This is the story of a squirrel—one who, over time, has become increasingly erratic. He is a powder keg primed to explode. His name: Marty Rathbun.
Burly, unkempt and middle-aged, he runs a small cult in South Texas. Rathbun delivers so-called counseling sessions to a small band of down-and-out followers. A former external affairs officer of the Church of Scientology who was removed more than nine years ago for gross malfeasance, Rathbun left the Church for good in 2004 only to surface five years later to attack it in the pages of a small-time Florida paper. In wild, unsubstantiated claims, he blamed Church staffers for physical abuse, yet confessed to that same physical abuse. Today, Rathbun continues to attack his former Church. Why? It’s because he can’t work and he has burned through his savings. Rather than rebuild his life, Rathbun—broke and bitter—seeks solace from the company of like-minded losers, themselves failures in life.
The beginning of Marty Rathbun’s journey to nowhere began on that fateful day in 2004 when his pent-up resentments and rage finally boiled over.
Rathbun leapt on a motorcycle and roared off into the California darkness, deserting his position and his friends and colleagues at the Church of Scientology.
Contrary to later claims that he would make to media outlets eager to spread his lies, Rathbun never held an ecclesiastical management position in the Church. He was an external affairs staffer—one who repeatedly faced justice within the Church for malfeasance, incompetence, and, indeed, what became a pattern of irrational behavior.
He said so himself when he wrote: “I have proven a proclivity for creating some of the greatest catastrophes in Church history when allowed to have some leash. If told to go iron out some line at some org, [organization] I would be hesitant and unconfident. You invested in me and I haven’t been paying back on the investment. The more I try the more harm I…do. The biggest source of cross-orders and chaos and counter policy is from me.”
Rathbun’s ineptitude and gross dereliction of duty caused untold damage to the Church. His work on external legal lines created and exacerbated disasters that wasted untold sums. In his own words he said:
“Each and every time on major situations, COB [Chairman of the Board, Religious Technology Center] has had to intervene to clean up wars I had exacerbated. For example, left to my own devices in handling IRS litigation, the end result would undoubtedly have been no exemption, a billion-dollar tax bill, and possible shutting down of the Church. I have developed a slick false PR technique of positioning myself as having been integral in handling threats during and after the fact, when they are actually terminatedly handled by COB. By calculation I have lost the Church 43 million dollars on losses and expenses that could have been avoided.”
On a personal level, Rathbun mentally and physically abused fellow staffers, callously fostering what he himself described as an “atmosphere of hate.”
So when he jumped on that motorcycle, yes, Marty Rathbun had plenty of reasons to leave the Church.
But, in typical and psychotic fashion, he didn’t get far.
Chilled to the bone, he screeched the motorcycle to a halt and tossed the keys to the first person he encountered—a young boy.
That would not be the last of Rathbun’s self-centered, irresponsible actions.
Again flouting all responsibility, he rented a car and headed north. His companion: a bottle of Jose Cuervo tequila.
It wasn’t long before a drunken Rathbun crashed the vehicle into a ditch—his only safety net a cell phone.
Sobbing, and seeking help, he called the same Church staffers he had abused.
After making a tearful confession, Rathbun was once again given another chance—an opportunity to return to the Church and reform his ways.
He was even given the opportunity to pick a job that would help him heal.
And so Rathbun began working a part-time schedule in the furniture mill at the Church’s spiritual headquarters in Clearwater, Florida.
But after eleven months, he couldn’t even handle that.
On December 12, 2004, just hours after he cocked a loaded fist just inches from his wife’s face, Rathbun, once again, was out the door—this time, never to return.
In his grandiosity, Rathbun paid no heed to his wife, nor the members of the Scientology community he had brutalized and who still had forgiven him.
No, in that grandiosity, in that paralyzing obsession with self, the psychotic Rathbun saw the world as he always did—revolving around him and only him.
Later, when he talked about his departure on that December Sunday he acted surprised, if not shocked, that no one was on hand to, perhaps, change his mind or to plead that he not leave.
On that day Rathbun walked over to the Church carpentry shop where he had been working as a helper for the last six months. It was closed that Sunday morning.
As he said:
“And I walked over there at noon and there was nobody there. Uh, so I just decided to just keep on walking.”
“Uh” —that’s the Rathbun who was baffled that he wasn’t met by an overflow crowd blowing trumpets and begging him to stay.
And then, in a portent of things to come, Rathbun spent that day in a bar watching a football game and getting drunk with some “guy off the street.”
In a period of less than 24 hours, that’s how much Marty Rathbun’s universe had changed. And now he was wallowing in a booze-fueled pity party and singing his sad songs to an audience of one, and a stranger at that.
At that point in time, Marty Rathbun’s real universe was nothingness.
That was his reality.
But it was a reality that Rathbun would do anything not to see, even as he, drunk and reeking of beer, boarded a bus in Tampa early the next morning for points north.
In the solitary cell of his mind, Rathbun would have people think he was “going to go hiking and get some space.”
But that was just a facade.
Inside, somewhere in that soulless cavern of his body, the infernal gears were already turning—focusing, relentlessly, on himself.
And, on the revenge he would wreak on those whom he had already brutalized. That is if they didn’t come calling and take him back.
And, thus, the “hiking,” or “getting some space,” were excuses that Rathbun would use for himself, and, others he would seek to lure into his ever diminishing universe, a universe that, in time, would become a small cult—with Rathbun as its militia leader.
But, the all-too-obvious reality—one experience by sane people—is that Rathbun was at the beginning of a journey to nowhere.
But he could not—would not—see it.
That was Marty Rathbun’s reality—anything to avoid seeing his own nothingness.
Where’s the Money?
But first, he needed money.
And, without money, his chances were slim to nonexistent.
In late 2004 Rathbun was 48 years old. He had no references given his long history of dereliction of his Church external affairs duties as well as his violence against Church staffers.
He was a zero—a cipher as seen against the backdrop of society. That is, any lawful or rational society.
The day after he walked away from the Church for the last time, Rathbun called his wife from Orlando where the bus from Tampa had dropped him.
There was no regret, no hint of guilt or self-examination, not even a token semblance of remorse.
There was just a calculated indifference to the woman he so abruptly left.
There was also along with a matter-of-fact request for a contact number that would be necessary for the halving of marital assets and transferring of an inheritance from his father, Slade—the father that he had never gotten along with but, now, whose money Rathbun was happy to take and gladly spend.
After getting those ducks in a row, Rathbun—armed with a credit card—started off on a ramble that would take him north to Georgia, up through the Carolinas, over to Louisiana and across to the barrier islands of the Texas Gulf.
He was a drifter—aimless in his travels with the recurrent thought that Church members would ask him to come back, even plead with him.
They were the thoughts of a fantasist—one who thinks the whole world is going to come to him.
Instead, the whole world is content to carry on without him.
Rathbun was on the road for just shy of six weeks—staying in hotels while splashing out on roadhouse dinners and Blockbuster video nights.
By the end of January 2005 Rathbun was living in Port Isabel, Texas, a flyspeck of a city in the southernmost part of Texas.
The transient nature of the place suited him. Nobody asked questions on the border, as he told a newspaper:
“It’s not a big thing that a guy in middle age comes into town destitute or depressed. There’s a lot of that along the border,” Rathbun said. “So it wasn’t like I stuck out like a sore thumb. It was nice.”
But one wonders how “nice” it really was for a man nearing the half century mark—a man with no skills or real job prospects. And, a man who had contributed nothing but havoc to his former Church and former friends.
Rathbun eked out a living on the southern tip of the Texas Gulf coast by writing for a small newspaper—the type of publication that relies on volunteer contributors.
He was lucky to earn minimum wage.
He padded out his new resume—and income—by hawking beer in a ballpark and working shifts in a convenience store.
It is a meteoric fall for the man who fancied himself a senior executive in his former life, a man to be looked up to, a man who had power.
Working behind the counter or pushing a broom in the convenience store he blamed others for his new life.
The malfeasance and intimidation through violence was not his fault. He took no responsibility.
He still thought his former friends would come for him—and beg him to return.
After meeting a local woman online via an Internet dating service, Rathbun demanded—and then signed—divorce papers from his wife.
The woman was 34-year-old Monique Banks, a recent divorcee and health insurance worker and Rathbun wasted no time—quickly declaring his love after he and “Mosey” tired of their Internet trysts and met for dinner.
By then Rathbun had managed to purchase a house in the town of Seabrook, Texas, on Galveston Bay.
By midsummer 2005, he was living in the Seabrook home with Mosey.
Rathbun continued to embellish his new resume.
He added some color to his new identity: a dedicated environmentalist and an enthusiastic Boys & Girls Club volunteer.
The only problem was that the needy boys and girls never heard of him. Nor has the Sierra Club.
As the year went on, Rathbun burnished his newly-crafted identity with more fabrications. He now spoke of working for an “educational entertainment outfit” along with “adopting a family that was a refugee from Hurricane Katrina.”
The legend in Rathbun’s own mind loomed larger.
But there is was also discontent.
Mosey let drop to a friend that her lover was looking for extra shifts in the convenience store after a failed attempt in the coffee business. When pressed by the friend, she didn’t want to talk about it.
The meteoric fall of Marty Rathbun continued.
But still, he believed he would be vindicated—in his mind the world would still come calling.
Hallmarks of a Guru
In an Internet posting that he would not make until five years later, Rathbun told of a bizarre incident—one that has all the hallmarks of a zealot who claims to have had a vision—a harbinger, perhaps, of his real-life mental state and his perception of self as a cult leader.
It was a day in the spring of 2006 when Rathbun said that he lay seriously ill—even dying—in bed.
He claimed that he hadn’t gotten out of bed in a week and, when he tried to rise the whole room swayed.
Rathbun said the cause later became clear—that he was “dying of a broken heart and spirit.”
He said he was living in a “surrealistic haze” and, suddenly, he sensed an urgency and Monique appeared in the doorway and said, “Mark, don’t leave me.”
Rathbun said he came out of his near-death experience and attributes his recovery to then girlfriend—and future wife—Monique.
As for the “surrealistic haze,” that goes unexplained—but the type of phrasing is symptomatic of Rathbun’s obsession with self and unbridled grandiosity.
For what sounds like a bad case of the flu is twisted into a zealot’s vision, one that would morph into a mission of hate.
By the summer of 2006, Rathbun had sold his Seabrook home and moved to another in Ingleside on the Bay, Texas, ostensibly to be closer to “Mosey’s” job.
And while his bedmate Mosey took home the bacon, one can only imagine what went on as her man barely eked out a living, writing for a paper along with doing his shifts at the convenience store.
But, while banging out tedious articles on subjects as disparate as “Tips for Aerobic Beginners” to “Tips for Safe Driving,” the disgraced former Scientologist had plenty of time to troll the underbelly of the Internet to meet up with a handful of disaffected former Church members.
They are apostates.
The virtual meetings made perfect sense to Rathbun. Always planted at the center of his own universe, no matter how small, the vitriolic cyber chatter and chat room rants he found a salve to his bruised ego—and gave new understanding to that strange “surrealistic haze” he underwent.
Now, alone at a computer terminal, stroked by a handful of apostates, Rathbun wallowed again in self-pity, blaming former friends and associates of his former faith for his own transgressions.
The apostates compose the world that finally came to him.
By the spring of 2008, Rathbun—casting himself as the impoverished writer—made email contact with a woman who had Hollywood experience.
He was now, in his grandiosity, planning on writing a screenplay. Again, like the failed coffee business, the experiment was short-lived.
There were no takers.
Struggling to bring a paycheck home, he became a “news editor” at a Gulf Coast Internet site.
It was barely a subsistence wage but so deluded had Rathbun become that, to get the job, he hoodwinked the editor of the site into believing that he is an accomplished author—of books that he hadn’t written.
Then, finally, with no other visible means of support, one day in February 2009 Marty Rathbun, practically broke and having failed at every one of his attempts to start a new life—and with none of his former friends to rescue him—he decided to throw away his entire life and violate every religious precept he was taught by the Founder of the Scientology religion that he once practiced.
Rathbun turned to the Internet classified site craigslist and began advertising a paid counseling service.
He was now an apostate. He had become a full-fledged heretic or what the Church of Scientology calls a squirrel.
Rathbun took on the nickname “Kingpin,” surrounding himself with the same small band of apostates and ax-grinders he had met on the Internet.
They slavishly fawned on his every word and he, in turn, called them his “Posse.” All disaffected liars and reprobates, they shared something in common: None of them would ever be allowed into a Church of Scientology again.
One of the posse—in an astounding breach of civil law—presided at the wedding of Rathbun and his trusty Mosey, though he was no licensed minister or officer of the court.
Instead, and as is always the case with Rathbun—where logic does not apply—he is Kingpin’s “best good buddy,” someone who Rathbun once almost killed with his bare hands in a volcanic fit of rage.
True to form, the “marriage” did not exactly get off to a good start.
On their so-called honeymoon to New Orleans, Rathbun and Mosey set up court in a foul-smelling bar at the corner of Toulouse and Bourbon Streets, in the heart of the Big Easy’s notorious French Quarter.
After Rathbun left the tavern to play basketball with a street hustler on the vomit-coated street outside, a bouncer denied him re-admittance.
Rathbun’s response was to explode in rage. Meanwhile, inside the bar an inebriated Mosey was being groped by fellow drunks and, by all accounts, was loving every minute of it.
Outside, a bellowing and shirtless Rathbun attracted the attention of two mounted police officers who pinned him up against the wall.
He was handcuffed and arrested for drunken and disorderly conduct.
And true to a now established pattern of behavior, Rathbun’s bravado dissolved into pitiful sobbing in the back of the police cruiser as it sped to the drunk tank.
Rathbun’s long, slow fall from grace was now complete.
Booked and photographed by the New Orleans Police Department, he was officially a criminal.
But, he is more than that.
Rathbun is a loser—one who has destroyed and perverted everything he has come into contact with. When Church members came to visit him, simply to ask why he had misappropriated Church beliefs for his own material gain, the blustering “free-speech” advocate lapsed into silence.
He had no answers or explanations for them.
The next several years saw Rathbun becoming increasingly violent and erratic, lashing out at the Church of Scientology in ever-increasing fits of rage. People who know him recognized his familiar pattern of seeking out conflicts and, where none existed, inventing them. Many rejected him for his arrogance and obvious disdain for people. And as his rants grew more and more irrational, people knew it was only a matter of time.
Rathbun has a very long history of making false claims about the Church and he is totally unreliable. His descent to nowhere was complete when, on 4 June 2013, he posted the his latest guru missive: “The core ideas I propose and what I do cannot be accepted under the title ‘Scientology.’ I accept that. So, there is no more reason to discuss the chapter of trying to win folk over to my ideas to the contrary. It is history.”
Given this, his journey has reached its inevitable conclusion.
Because of his attacks on the Church of Scientology and his alteration of the Church’s teachings, Marty Rathbun is nothing more and nothing less than a squirrel.
For more information read: "Posse of Lunatics" on Freedommag.org