Postcards from the Edge or Marty Takes a Holiday
“Recent (investigation) revealed the source of special treatment being given to SPs (Suppressive Persons). It started with Marty Rathbun blowing the Sea Org on November, 1993. Marty took advantage of a number of false reports he had put in place over years giving a false picture as to his role in handling external attacks and the IRS in particular. It was against that false picture of contribution that Marty covertly negotiated a deal to keep his blow quiet... The web of lies that allowed that arrangement to stay in place is so complex it would take pages to recount.” —Marty Rathbun
Sobegins his own story—and in third person no less.
So this story begins with his departure in 1993. As the world of Scientology celebrates its greatest victory in history, the end of the 40-year battle with the IRS, Rathbun slinks off in the shadows.
Specifically, he takes off on a cross-country trip to nowhere without even telling his wife. The trip, due to frequent stops in bars, lasts only a few days. At which point he phones his wife and, tearfully, asks for help.
It’s assumed that this self-described external affairs warrior is battle fatigued and so he is afforded a sabbatical in the Caribbean aboard the Church’s religious retreat at sea, the Freewinds. Rathbun spends two years aboard the ship.
Two Church staff accompany him. One, a counselor, is assigned to attend to Rathbun's mental and spiritual needs. The counselor spends a year caring for a psychotic Rathbun.
The second staff member is aboard the vessel with Rathbun for the full two years. He attends to Rathbun's every need, ensuring he gets plenty of sleep, exercise, nutrition, vitamins and everything in between. Including strolls on the powdery white sand beaches of Aruba and dining with him under the stars, portside in Curaçao.
A seemingly restored and rejuvenated Rathbun returns to staff duties, eventually working his way back to external affairs. But it is just a matter of time before Rathbun again embroils himself and the Church in a tangle of disasters. (See A Brief Chronology of Monumental Disasters; The Career of “Kingpin” Rathbun.)
The upshot: Rathbun is relieved of any authority for gross misconduct, malfeasance—and for psychotic behavior. Ever the stand-up guy, ready to take responsibility for the calamities he’s left in his wake, Rathbun mounts his motorcycle and blows again.
What kind of man hands a 500cc motorcycle to a kid who can hardly see over the handlebars, much less mount the thing? One who next rents a car and drives north with a bottle of Jose Cuervo tequila as his traveling companion. The next morning, he awakens behind the wheel of the car he has drunkenly plowed into a ditch.
In evidence of his mental state at the time, one story is telling, if not downright bizarre. Rathbun parks the motorcycle and tosses the keys to a nine-year-old boy, telling the father: “I know this doesn’t make any sense but this is my bike and I don’t need it no more. And your kid loves it, so take the bike.”
What kind of man hands a 500cc motorcycle to a kid who can hardly see over the handlebars, much less mount the thing?
One who next rents a car and drives north with a bottle of Jose Cuervo tequila as his traveling companion. The next morning, he awakens behind the wheel of the car he has drunkenly plowed into a ditch.
Rathbun again telephones his wife, again in tears, and makes his way to the Scientology retreat in Clearwater, Florida.
There, he is provided a three-bedroom, two-bath apartment he shares with a pet Chihuahua.
Rathbun is additionally provided upwards of $85,000 in medical care to treat a shopping list of lingering medical issues.
Rathbun is then further given unlimited access to a private exercise facility, placed on a medically supervised nutritional regime, and given part-time vocational training in a Church carpentry mill. It’s a job he expressly requests.
This time his sabbatical lasts 10 months. His recovery begins to unravel one day in 2004 when Rathbun picks up the newspaper and reads that a protracted civil case involving the Church has reached a settlement. (When the Rathbun web is eventually unspun, it would be discovered that Rathbun himself began the entire affair. Moreover, a decade later he would coolly confess to coercing others to lie, destruction of evidence and obstruction of justice. (See A Liar is a Coward. A Perjurer is a Criminal.)
The descent continues when he’s further informed he no longer qualifies for any future executive position, in accordance with the Founder’s policies regarding Church executives.
In response, Rathbun once again turns violent, this time directing his fury and fist to the literal face of his wife.
Whereupon, he once more skulks away to yet another bar. After getting drunk, he remembers spending the night in a park sharing a pizza with a homeless man.
His descent was complete and irreversible.
Today he rails about the very people who tried to save him from his own madness.
Over the course of 10 years, Rathbun was afforded no less than three years of distraction-free vacation—with no work responsibilities whatsoever and all medical and mental care provided.
How could any individual repay such kindness with such rancor? Describing it as being “ungrateful” is a gross understatement and even “criminal” doesn’t do it justice. Rather, the answer lies in the very characteristics of the insane:
“They have a deep but carefully masked hatred of anyone who seeks to help them.”