Mark Rathbun — also known as Marty — left the Scientology organization in 2004 after having been involved for 27 years. Throughout the majority of his tenure as a member of the organization, Rathbun held high-ranking executive posts and was involved with managing multiple litigation issues.
He was raised in Laguna Beach, California. He first joined the Scientology organization in 1977 at age 20 after being introduced to a communications course in Portland, Oregon. He subsequently joined the elite Scientology group known as the Sea Org and was assigned to Los Angeles, California. He rose in the ranks and reported to Scientology leader David Miscavige in the 1980s as his lieutenant.
Rathbun attained the high-level position of Inspector General of the Religious Technology Center, the division which manages trademarks and copyright over works by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard relating to Scientology and Dianetics.
He served as director of external legal affairs for the organization. He described his role within the organization to the San Antonio Express-News, "I had the No. 2 position from 1998 until I left. I answered to no one but David Miscavige, who was chairman of the board. I was the personal counselor for Tom Cruise, Lisa Marie Presley, John Travolta and Kirstie Alley."
He helped manage multiple key hurdles for Scientology, including its 1993 success at attaining tax exemption in the United States, and dealing with the aftermath of the 1995 death of Scientology member Lisa McPherson. He assisted in the Scientology defamation claim against Time magazine over its 1991 article "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power".
Rathbun left the Scientology organization led by Miscavige on December 12, 2004, leaving on a motorcycle. Rathbun has stated he left due to physical abuse witnessed at the Scientology international headquarters known as Gold Base, located in Riverside, California. He later took up residence in Texas.
In 2009, he began speaking out critically about the organization as managed by Miscavige, with coverage from CNN, The New Yorker, and the St. Petersburg Times of Florida. Rathbun explained to the San Antonio Express-News his motivation for coming forward publicly with criticism of the Scientology organization, "I did a lot of soul-searching before going public. I was concerned there might be some type of Waco or Jonestown event."
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