Bob Minton fights the church of
Scientology, calling it a cult, while the church calls him a criminal.
June 16, 1998, Tuesday
- Copyright 1998 National Broadcasting Co. Inc. NBC News Transcripts DATELINE NBC (10:00
Descriptions of video are in [brackets]. VO=VOICEOVER
[opening credits] ANNOUNCER: this is "Dateline," Tuesday, June 16, 1998.
[picture of Bob Minton on left side of screen; Scientology building] VOICEOVER: he's a one
BOB MINTON: The more I got involved, the more frightening the organization as a whole
became to me.
[Bob Minton picketing (on left side of screen); Scientology church] VO: And he says
nothing will stop him.
JOHN HOCKENBERRY: Are you nuts?
BOB MINTON: A lot of people would question my sanity on that score.
[close-up of Bob Minton at picket (on left side of screen); Scientology church] VO: Why is
he doing it?
HOCKENBERRY: Do you have any evidence that they're really evil and destructive?
BOB MINTON: Yes. Shattered lives, broken families, mental fragility.
[Bob Minton picketing (on left side of screen); Scientology church)] VO: But when he
turned on Scientology, Scientology turned on him.
HOCKENBERRY: People who oppose you are undoubtedly criminals?
MIKE RINDER: I believe that, yes.
HOCKENBERRY: Is Bob Minton a criminal?
RINDER: I think that we will, we will discover that at some point.
[Minton and John Hockenberry (on left side of screen); Scientology's Los Angeles church]
VO: John Hockenberry on one man's battle against the Church of Scientology.
Copyright 1998 National Broadcasting Co. Inc.
NBC News Transcripts DATELINE NBC (10:00 PM ET)
June 16, 1998, Tuesday
Bob Minton fights the church of Scientology, calling it a cult, while the church calls him
Announcer: From Studio 3B in Rockefeller Center, here is Jane Pauley.
Jane Pauley: Good evening. What would make you dedicate your life to a cause? We're not
talking about just signing a petition or making a donation, we mean spending most of your
time and much of your hard-earned money risking inconvenience, ridicule and heartache. The
man you're about to meet has done all that, speaking out for people he barely knew,
because he believed they'd been victimized by the Church of Scientology. The question
you'll want to ask is why. John Hockenberry on one man's crusade.
Mr. Robert Minton: I am involved in a controversy with the Church of Scientology over what
I consider to be one of the most fundamental rights in a democracy. That is, the right to
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) You've probably never heard of Robert Minton. But at age 51, this
soft-spoken former investment banker has decided to turn what was once a peaceful,
financially secure early retirement into a one-man campaign to turn the Church of
Scientology on its head.
(B. Minton speaking; B. Minton at home; B. Minton protesting; Scientology building)
Mr. Minton: At the core of Scientology is a very evil vein.
Hockenberry: An evil disguised as a church? Bob Minton has lots of terrible things to say
about a group that simply claims to offer a path to success and enlightenment. The United
States government, in fact, recognizes Scientology as a tax-exempt religious organization.
But Bob Minton has risked everything in the cause to convince people that the Church of
Scientology is a dangerous cult, a charge the group emphatically denies.
(Voiceover) What exactly is Scientology? The man who could best answer that question died
in 1986, Scientology's founder, L. Ron Hubbard, shown here in this video the church sells.
Scientology is based on Hubbard's world views. His writings contain ruminations about
ancient galaxies, reincarnation, and a deep hatred for the practice of psychiatry. Hubbard
himself claims to have discovered a unique self-help formula.
(Scientology video; Hubbard's books)
Mr. L. Ron Hubbard: Take an individual and put them in a position where they can confront
their own problems and solve their own problems, and so bring themselves up by their own
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) It's this whole notion of self-empowerment as the key to success
that seems to draw some of Hollywood's biggest stars to Scientology, including Tom Cruise
and his wife, Nicole Kidman, Lisa Marie Presley, Kirstie Alley and John Travolta.
(Scientology building; Cruise and Kidman; Presley; Alley; Travolta)
Mr. John Travolta: I found Scientology, and that gave me a kind of sanity. The technology
I found so brilliant that that kind of put things in perspective for me.
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) The technology' Scientologists talk about involves one-on-one
counseling called auditing' and the use of electronic body monitors called E-meters.'
Together, they're supposed to help clear Scientologists of the negative past experiences
that keep them from succeeding--succeeding like Mike Rinder says he has. Rinder is a
senior official in the Church of Scientology.
(People counseling; E-meter; Rinder)
Mr. Mike Rinder: It's a way of uncovering for yourself the cause of those things which you
perceive hold you back, or those things you would like to solve, all those areas in your
life that you would like to have a greater understanding of.
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) Sounds great, but Scientology's critics say that's the con. Some
former members say this religion that promises a higher awareness delivers something else.
By the time you learn the secrets of Scientology, they say, you'll be brainwashed and
(Scientology banner with protesters; protesters; Scientology pamphlet)
Hockenberry: But these days, learning the closely guarded secrets of Scientology is as
easy as logging onto the internet. There critics of the organization have posted
Scientology's copyrighted documents.
(Voiceover) There you can learn L. Ron Hubbard's teaching of how 75 billion years ago an
evil galactic overlord named Xenu transported all the universe's bad people to earth in
space ships and then blew them up with hydrogen bombs. Hubbard teaches that these exploded
souls are the root of all human problems and that only Scientology can clear them out to
make way for happiness and success. Until these secrets became public, critics say the
only way to learn about Xenu and the exploded souls was to pay money. Going up the ladder
of Scientology, they say, is expensive, sometimes thousands of dollars to advance just one
level. And if you can't pay to advance, there's another option: Devoted followers
literally sign billion-year contracts to serve the church, where former members say you
don't have to pay but are inducted into a highly structured lifestyle that can involve
periods of forced labor or disconnecting from your own family.
(Computer screen; photo of Hubbard; electrical instruments; Web sites; photo from
Scientology meeting; Scientology documents; Rinder with unidentified woman; protesters;
Unidentified Man #1: I've been locked in the basement.
Unidentified Man #2: They intercepted calls from my parents, they intercept mail.
Mr. Rinder: Oh, well, the critics will say any--almost anything.
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) Scientology regularly and forcefully denies the accusations from
what it says are a tiny number of critics, all with questionable backgrounds, several of
whom have lost copyright infringement lawsuits brought by the church for making public
secret church documents. Church officials insist that one can advance in Scientology
without paying money or giving up freedom. Scientology, they say is really no different
from other religions which must also fight the hateful intolerance around them.
(Protesters; stairway to heaven; photo of people signing papers)
Unidentified Man #3: You've been accused of having dirty hands, and your intention has
been to harass and intimidate critics into silence.
Mr. Minton: The more I got involved in the Church of Scientology, the more frightening the
organization as a whole became to me.
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) It was about two years ago that multimillionaire retiree Bob
Minton first logged on to the Internet and started to read the critics' stories of being
harassed and hounded by the church. He can't explain why exactly, but the stories moved
him to act. He made contact with many of the people he read about. He found himself
believing them and that he could help in their fights against Scientology.
(B. Minton at computer; Internet text)
Mr. Minton: The time has come to stand up to these people.
Hockenberry: What do you say to the thousands of Scientologists who joined voluntarily,
think it's going great, that it's helping them, in fact, and they don't want to see
anything changed. So, Thank you very much, Bob Minton, but go back to what you were
Mr. Minton: Well, then, let's--this is what I would really encourage then, that those
people within Scientology take a look at the other side of Scientology, what a lot of
people like to call the dark side of Scientology.
Mrs. Therese Minton: My first reaction was, Are you brain dead? Why do we have to do
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) Therese Minton has been married to Bob for 19 years.
(Mintons at home)
Hockenberry: Has your husband ever done anything like this in the past?
Mrs. Minton: No, he's never really had the opportunity. I mean, he's--he's given--he's a
very charitable person. He's given to various churches and charities and schools, but not
something of this type.
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) In fact, nothing in Bob Minton's past would suggest his present
course. He's a church-going Catholic who professes a live and let live' attitude about
other religions. And causes? His wife Therese says, Not Bob.'
(B. Minton walking; drugstore)
Hockenberry: Did you ever say to him, you know, Maybe tennis, what about...'
Mrs. Minton: Golf.
Hockenberry: ...butterfly collection, golf?'
Mrs. Minton: Yes, there were times when I did say, you know, Why can't we do something a
little more normal, a little more mainstream?' But it just wasn't striking the right
chord, and there came a point in time when I knew that this was it.
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) In the beginning, Minton's involvement was mostly about writing
checks, big ones to people who said they'd been hurt by the church. Minton has funded
lawsuits, rescued an anti-cult organization, given weary defendants and broken-down
activists the means to fight on. To date, he's handed out more than 1.7 million of his own
dollars to some of Scientology's harshest critics.
(B. Minton at computer; documents; Web site; protesters; B. Minton protesting)
Hockenberry: That's a lot of money.
Mr. Minton: It is. But keep in mind that in this--in this battle with Scientology, I'm the
little guy. Scientology are the big guys.
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) Just how big, is the multimillion dollar question. The church
claims eight million followers around the world, but the critics say by their count it's
more like hundreds of thousands. The global reach of Scientology is undeniable. Its urban
literacy projects and anti-drug crusades are welcome in the cities and towns where they
have won numerous civic awards and citations. The church is also clearly very wealthy, and
Scientology officials claim, like lots of successful people, they have attracted their
share of jealous, disgruntled critics and lawsuits.
(Large mansion; meeting; volunteers helping young people; Rinder walking)
Hockenberry: The church says you're something of a lifeboat for a small group of very
disturbed people who make outrageous claims on the Internet.
Mr. Minton: It may seem outrageous to the Church of Scientology, but they don't to me.
Hockenberry: But do you have any evidence that they're really evil and destructive?
Mr. Minton: Yes, shattered lives, broken families, mental fragility, a recovery process
that takes an incredibly long time.
Hockenberry: Although some people would say these people were mentally fragile and a
little odd before they went into the Church of Scientology.
Mr. Minton: Well, if you--that would be the easiest thing say, but they're no different
than you or me, by and large. And any of us at some stage in our life could be vulnerable
to the type of seduction that a cult can pull off.
Mr. Vaughn Young: (Feeding cat) (Unintelligible)
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) Not surprisingly, Minton has developed a loyal and passionate
following among some former Scientologists. In the home of Vaughn and Stacy Young, the
name Bob Minton is practically holy.
(V. Young with cats; S. Young with cats; Youngs)
Mr. Young: You've heard of these types, they--people call them angels, they just show up
and just do these things.
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) Vaughn Young and his wife, Stacy, left the church in 1989,
embittered by their experience and determined to start a new life. They rented a house in
Seattle and opened a sanctuary for abandoned cats and dogs. But a few years later, the
Youngs decided to go public, criticizing the church as a dangerous cult, and they provoked
what they say was an all-out assault by the church to destroy their lives.
(Youngs; Church of Scientology sign; Seattle; house)
Ms. Stacy Young: They will find your vulnerability and--and use that to try to silence
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) In the summer of 1994, a newsletter showed up around the Youngs'
neighborhood accusing them of things like extortion and promiscuity. Over the next three
years, they learned that private investigators were asking suspicious questions of their
friends and neighbors and accusing the Youngs of harboring diseased cats. The Church of
Scientology denies trying to harass Vaughn and Stacy Young. It says the Youngs were happy
church members until they decided they could make money selling what it calls untrue
horror stories of life in the church. But whoever called the neighbors, zoning officials,
and city hall to complain about the Youngs' animal shelter succeeded in getting the city
to shut it down.
(Documents; photo of Youngs; photo of S. Young with a cat; Scientology building; photo of
V. Young on phone; photo of S. Young)
Ms. Young: We were about a week and a half away from having to move. We were in a state of
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) And right around that time, Stacy and Vaughn got phone call.
(Youngs with Hockenberry)
Mr. Young: He says, My name is Bob Minton, I read what was happening with your animal
sanctuary, and I just want to know if there's some way I could help you out.'
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) Out of the blue, this Bob Minton, this voice on the phone, came
into their lives. He bought the Youngs a new house where they could legally keep the
animals, for $ 250,000. Incredibly, he saved the animal shelter. Stacy says she'll never
forget the day she picked up her new key.
(New house; cats in house; Youngs in house)
Ms. Young: We came to the house, we opened the front door, and Bob Minton had a huge
bouquet of flowers on the table for us. It was incredible. It was--it was real. It really
Hockenberry: And you still hadn't met him?
Ms. Young: And we'd never met this guy. And he just said, Welcome to your new house.
Mr. Minton: A lot of my friends say, you know, These people are not your problems.'
Hockenberry: They're not, are they?
Mr. Minton: But they are. I mean, we all do have a responsibility to each other.
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) Bob Minton's love thy neighbor' justification for becoming
Scientology's public enemy number one sounds like something else to church officials.
(B. Minton leaving a bank)
Mr. Rinder: Bob Minton falls into a category similar to those anti-Semites who are out to
make it seem like there is something wrong with being a Jew.
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) Senior Scientology Official Mike Rinder and his colleagues at the
church think Minton is an impressionable man who's been manipulated by the critics and
(Rinder with Hockenberry; B. Minton protesting)
Mr. Rinder: I think that he has decided that this is some crusade, something that will get
attention for himself. Maybe he was bored. Maybe he's an idle millionaire that doesn't
have anything better to do in life.
Mr. Minton: (Playing baseball) Good eye, good eye.
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) But if Minton was bored before, he's not anymore, because he is
finding out for himself that when you pick a fight with the Church of Scientology, this
church does not turn the other cheek.
(B. Minton playing baseball)
Hockenberry: L. Ron Hubbard says, We do not find critics of Scientology who do not have
criminal pasts. Over and over we prove this. We have this technical fact: Those who oppose
us have crimes to hide.' Do you believe that?
Mr. Rinder: Sure.
Hockenberry: People who oppose you are undoubtedly criminals?
Mr. Rinder: I believe that, yeah.
Hockenberry: Is Bob Minton a criminal?
Mr. Rinder: I think that we will--we will discover that at some point.
PAULEY: When we return: Will the Scientology investigation find out anything about Bob
Announcer: DATELINE NBC, winner of the Livingston Award for outstanding national
reporting. The only television program honored. The year's most honored news magazine.
Announcer: From Studio 3B in New York, here is Stone Phillips.
Stone Phillips: Returning to our story--Bob Minton is a private citizen who has committed
his time and his considerable personal resources to fighting the Church of Scientology.
Now, the Church of Scientology turns its considerable resources on Bob Minton. Here again,
Mr. Minton: (Public address) This is truly an organization whose so-called leaders have no
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) Bob Minton is now a crusader against the Church of
Scientology--giving speeches, leading protests, in addition to giving money. His now very
visible campaign against Scientology's tactics and money trail has, in effect, painted a
bright target around himself.
You know who these folks are. I mean, they--they have unbelievable loyalty to the church,
they sign billion-year contracts. And you've signed up to go against them all. I mean, are
(Minton delivering address to group of people; Minton and others picketing Church of
Mr. Minton: A lot of people would question my sanity on that score.
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) But they would not question his resolve. Bob Minton says he wants
to become for the Church of Scientology what Martin Luther was to the Catholic Church
hundreds of years ago. He wants to lead a mass protest movement to reform Scientology, to
allow free discussion and to liberate Scientology's beleaguered critics. In fact, what
burns Bob Minton up the most about Scientology is the lengths he says it goes to silence
(Minton working at computer; drawing of Martin Luther; people picketing against Church of
Scientology; Minder talking to picketers)
Mr. Mike Rinder (Church of Scientology): He is probably as misinformed or uninformed about
that as he is about everything else that he says about Scientologists. You know, there
isn't and hasn't been any effort which has been taken to, quote, silence critics.
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) That's a claim that this former member of the church says is
(Frank Oliver walking)
Mr. Frank Oliver: When someone speaks out against Scientology, they're considered fair
game. They can be lied, sued, tricked, cheated--anything to stop them.
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) Frank Oliver says he knows Scientologists will try to scare Bob
Minton into shutting up, because as a church intelligence officer, he used to do that kind
of work himself.
(Oliver in interview; International Association of Scientologists credit card; Oliver's ID
for position in Church of Scientology)
Mr. Oliver: The things that I saw, and the people that I spoke to and the things that
Scientology does, that's not known by the broad populace of Scientologists. I think it
would frighten a lot of them if they knew what their religion was really about, if they
knew how far they'll go to protect their religion.
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) Oliver's interview with DATELINE is the first time he's spoken
publicly since he left the church in disgust in 1992, following a summer in which he says
he was recruited to investigate the Cult Awareness Network, a group that at the time was a
declared enemy of the Church of Scientology.
(Oliver looking out to water; pamphlets from Cult Awareness Network)
Mr. Oliver: Our stated purpose was to bring about the destruction of the Cult Awareness
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) Oliver says church investigators follow critics, threaten them,
talk to everyone they know, and hunt for dirt. If a critic like Bob Minton doesn't have
actual crimes in his background, Oliver says the church takes minor transgressions and
blows them up. In his words, take a scratch and make it into a broken arm.'
(Man with video camera on picketers; Minton walking on sidewalk)
Mr. Oliver: They're looking for something criminal, something criminal or something--moral
injustice. Something--anything--that can be taken and made into whatever they need it made
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) And that's straight from the writings of Scientology founder L.
Ron Hubbard. "The maxim is, when under attack, attack." He once wrote. "It
is only those people that have crimes that will attack us, and they will soon back off for
fear of being found out when attacked back."
(Document of writings of Hubbard; excerpts from text of page)
Hockenberry: That sounds a little paranoid, Mike.
Mr. Rinder: Maybe so, John, but I, by experience...
Hockenberry: Why aren't they just people who disagree with you?
Mr. Rinder: Well, I think that there is a difference between people who disagree and
people who are on some sort of an active crusade or a campaign to attempt to destroy the
church. I think that that's a...
Hockenberry: Well, L. Ron Hubbard here says the difference is that they are criminals,
invariably. In their past are crimes.
Mr. Rinder: Yeah, I think that that's true.
Hockenberry: Now, he also says, Try it on your next critic, finding their crimes. Like
everything else in Scientology, it works.'
Mr. Rinder: Uh-huh.
Hockenberry: Sounds like that's saying, Go out and investigate your critics.'
Mr. Rinder: I think that you could characterize it that way, yeah. I think that--that
looking into the motivation of people as to why it is they are seeking to destroy the
church is a valid thing to do.
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) There are plenty of critics of Scientology against whom the
church takes no action. But the investigation of Robert Minton started last November, and
it started with his family back in Tennessee.
(Computer screen; Minton working at computer; house in countryside)
Ms. Carolyn Medwedef: He came in and he said, I am David Lee,' and handed me his card. I
am an investigator and I want to talk to you about Bob.'
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) Carolyn Medwedef is Bob Minton's aunt. She works as a
receptionist in in her husband's dental office. And when investigator David Lee, working
on behalf of the church, just showed up one day in the office waiting room, she says he
wasn't just asking for information, he was also giving it out.
(Medwedef and man walking out of house)
Ms. Medwedef: He was just trying to say that Bob had been terrible to his mother, and that
he thought Bob should help his mother and get off of this Scientology kick.
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) Lee then tracked down Bob's brothers, his father, his son from a
previous marriage, and both of his ex-wives.
(Photo of Bob's brothers' Photo of Bob with son)
Mr. Rinder: You know, these people don't have nice things to say about Bob Minton. His
former wives talk about how he beat them up, and his son is pretty upset about how he was
mistreated by his father.
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) Bob Minton denies beating his ex-wives, although his first wife
told DATELINE Bob hit her once. But there's no denying that Scientology has managed to
stir up a lot of old animosities. For instance, Bob's son Rob says he's always had money
issues with his father. But learning from a Scientology investigator that his dad spent a
quarter of a million dollars to buy some strangers a house was deeply upsetting. He told
DATELINE this the last straw between him and his father.
(Rinder and Hockenberry in interview; Minton walking; photo of Bob and son; people inside
of house; photo of Bob and son Rob)
Mr. Minton: The Church of Scientology destroys families. They know how to stir those
issues up. You know, they clearly were trying to do the same types of things with the
relationship between me and my son, which is clearly a button that they saw I was
vulnerable on and would like to push.
Hockenberry: And they pushed it.
Mr. Minton: And they did.
Mr. Rinder: His mother is upset about the fact that he's dishing off hundreds of thousands
of dollars to people whom he doesn't even know.
Hockenberry: Now, we--let's...
Mr. Rinder: And yet, she does--has a mortgage on a house and he gives her a loan rather
than gives her money.
Hockenberry: OK. A cynical view would say, if your investigator is going to Bob Minton's
mom and saying, Did you know he's giving away money?,' and she gets outraged, and that
gets back to Bob, that sounds more like harassment to me.
Mr. Rinder: It sounds more like an investigation to me. But, certainly, let--let's put the
shoe on the other foot for a minute. Bob Minton is going around to the media saying, Did
you know Scientologists do this, did you know Scientologists do that?' You know, he
characterizes that as free speech.
Hockenberry: Well, it is free speech.
Mr. Rinder: Well, certainly it's no different.
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) But Bob Minton says there's a significant difference. Scientology
is a powerful organization that seeks out the powerless, to stir up trouble. Bob's mother
has severe emphysema and dementia, and Bob's aunt Carolyn says the investigator took
advantage of her, confusing her, putting words in her mouth and taking other statements
out of context.
(Minton working at computer; photo of Bob's mother in bed; Carolyn Medwedef; photo of
Mr. Medwedef: She has been in the hospital emergency twice since then. She's in a nursing
home. It devastated her when she found out what David Lee did.
Hockenberry: (V) And Bob's current wife, Therese, says the church has brought its campaign
right to her doorstep. Leaflets about Bob arrived on their daughter's birthday.
(Therese Minton at home; man with picket sign against Minton)
Hockenberry: Which said what?
Mrs. Therese Minton: Oh, Bob's a member of the Ku Klux Klan, he's a religious bigot, he's
suppressing--the most un--unbelievable garbage.
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) Therese Minton says hate leaflets, that church leaders deny
having anything to do with, also found their way to the family's vacation this past
spring. On the beaches of the Caribbean, Minton was accused of having "exploited the
people of the third-world countries" to make millions, of brutally beating his
ex-wives, and of and "supporting a ring which includes wife beaters, child molesters
and a pornography editor." In fact, by this April, Minton says church investigators
had managed to badmouth him to most of the people he had ever worked with or known, going
back decades and on four continents.
(Therese in interview with Hockenberry; Caribbean beach; defamatory leaflet about Robert
Minton; excerpts from leaflet; Minton talking to people on street)
Mr. Minton: It is pure and simple harassment. You know, they've tried to turn my family
against me, they've tried to paint me as some insane person.
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) An associate of Minton says the investigators chillingly dropped
hints that he was unstable, worried that Bob would suddenly walk into a church and begin
(Minton walking down street; Scientology building)
Mr. Minton: These are not the types of things that one does when they're conducting a
legitimate, an ethical, investigation.
Mr. Rinder: I don't know what motivates this guy. I don't know what--but, on the other
hand, if you ask me, do I know what motivates Timothy McVeigh to go blow up a building
because his view is that the people sitting inside that building are violating the rights
of citizens of the United States, I don't know why he does that. I don't--I don't know
that you could...
Hockenberry: Now, you've just compared Bob Minton to Timothy McVeigh.
Mr. Rinder: No, motivation. Like, what is it that motivates someone to--to do that, I
don't know. I don't know how you tell someone does that before they do it.
Hockenberry: All right, but you very deliberately compared Bob Minton to Timothy McVeigh.
Mr. Rinder: All right.
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) Minton says he has no plans to shoot or blow up anyone. Having to
respond to such a charge at all is one sign of how completely his quiet life has changed
since he decided to take on Scientology.
(Minton at home with children; Minton and other people picketing the Church of
Hockenberry: What would it take for you to walk away from this battle?
Mr. Minton: The Church of Scientology would have to make some serious reforms.
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) But, toward the end of producing this story, we learned that, to
our surprise, Mike Rinder and Bob Minton have now met twice to talk about Minton's
concerns. Then, the church sent DATELINE several stories, asking us to reconsider our
story. Mike Rinder says Bob Minton may now have a whole new attitude about Scientology.
(Minton working at computer; letters from Church of Scientology to Dateline)
TEXT: hopeful you will reconsider
Mr. Rinder: I think that he is learning things that he didn't know before, admittedly so,
and that perhaps he is coming to the realization that some of these people that he has
been dealing with have misled him.
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) But when DATELINE talked to Bob Minton last Friday, he said he
hasn't changed his mind at all about the church.
(Minton working at computer)
Mr. Minton: I'm still very much of the belief that the Church of Scientology hurts people.
And I'm not changing my focus.
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) And the church doesn't seem terribly interested in Minton's
efforts to reform it either.
(Church of Scientology building)
Mr. Rinder: It's also sort of an arrogant view to think that because he has a lot of money
to give to people, that he is going to somehow get us to change our religion. We're not.
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) Rinder told DATELINE that the church thinks it's unfair that the
media constantly focuses on the claims of a few critics and ignores what it says are all
the good things he says Scientology does.
(Church of Scientology building; people picketing against Church of Scientology)
Mr. Rinder: The carping criticism or yapping things that happen over on the side get
attention, and certainly they attract the attention of the media. But they're not really
the story of what Scientology is.
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) Rinder also told DATELINE he'd learned a few things about former
Scientologist Frank Oliver, who, remember, told us just how seriously Scientology takes
the investigation of its critics.
(Frank Oliver walking down street)
What can you tell me about Frank Oliver?
Mr. Rinder: Well, I can tell you a couple of things. First...
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) Rinder then proceeded to make, on camera, a number of
unsubstantiated charges against Oliver. But the only evidence of Oliver's run-ins with the
law was this document, purporting to show the driving record of a Frank Oliver. Among some
speeding tickets, it shows an improper lane change.
So, what does the future hold for Bob Minton? Mike Rinder says if Minton decides he's made
a big mistake and walks away from his campaign against the church, the church won't
investigate him anymore. And if not...
(Rinder in interview; document of Frank Oliver's driving record; Minton talking to man on
Mr. Rinder: I think, ultimately, that will come out that he's been engaged in criminal
Hockenberry: Can they shut you down--the church--through their tactics?
Mr. Minton: There have been emotional times that one really has to question how many
punches you wish to take.
Hockenberry: Can you take a lot more punches?
Mr. Minton: I think so. You know, I am setting an example to show people that this
organization is not invulnerable to being criticized--that they cannot destroy everybody
all the time who's willing to stand up to them.
Phillips: Bob Minton says he wants to continue meeting with Scientology officials in the
hope of convincing them to reform the movement. If that fails, he says he'll keep fighting
and spending money to support the church's critics, until his wife tells him to stop. END
*Note: CultInfo would later be
officially named the Leo J. Ryan Foundation