April 14, 2023
President and Publisher
Simon & Schuster, Inc.
1230 6th Ave, New York, NY 10020
By Canada Post and email: [e-mail redacted]
Re: Simon & Schuster book A Billion Years: My Escape From a Life in the Highest Ranks of Scientology by Mike Rinder
Dear Mr. Karp:
I am the Gerry Armstrong Mr. Rinder writes about in his book.
You might not be the person to deal with the matter I’m mentioning here; so please forward to the appropriate person in your company.
Mr. Rinder writes:
The legal case in question had been filed by the Church of Scientology of California (CSC) against Gerry Armstrong, a member of the Sea Org and longtime research assistant to Hubbard’s official biographer, Omar Garrison. During his research, Gerry had dug up incriminating documents that revealed inconsistencies and lies about Hubbard’s exploits, credentials, accomplishments, and even his marriages and family. Gerry subsequently spoke up to the person in charge of Hubbard’s biography at Author Services and said the truth should be told about Hubbard’s life. This made him instantly and enormously unpopular. Nobody wanted to hear it, and he became public enemy number one. Gerry left the Sea Org and was subsequently declared an SP. Before he departed, however, he made copies of the evidence he had uncovered and delivered it to his attorney as an insurance policy against future harassment. Following Hubbard’s directive to always attack, never defend, CSC sued him for theft in 1982, a suit that eventually came to trial in 1984. It did not go well. Judge Paul Breckenridge, who presided over the case, stated, among other things, “The organization clearly is schizophrenic and paranoid, and this bizarre combination seems to be a reflection of its founder LRH.” The case was a blow to the reputation of Hubbard and scientology. (p. 107). Gallery Books. Kindle Edition. (Bold mine.)
Mr. Rinder’s statement that before I departed the Sea Org (the inner core of the Scientology cult headed by David Miscavige), I made copies of the evidence I had uncovered and delivered it to my attorney as an insurance policy against future harassment is untrue. Mr. Rinder could not but have known his assertion is untrue. It is a lie that he told and had his juniors tell around the world while he worked in or ran the Miscavigeite Scientologists’ “Office of Special Affairs” (“OSA”), which contained their Public Relations, Legal and Intelligence Bureaus. Relevantly, it is a lie he has been telling and getting others to tell since disavowing, or claiming to have disavowed, any allegiance to Scientology or Mr. Miscavige.
Michael J. Flynn is the attorney to whom I sent the documents that became the subject of the lawsuit the Scientologists filed against me: Church of Scientology of California, Mary Sue Hubbard, Intervenor, vs. Gerald Armstrong, Los Angeles Superior Court, No. C420153. Mr. Flynn conducted my trial defense and obtained the judgment Mr. Rinder quotes from about Scientology and its founder L. Ron Hubbard being schizophrenic and paranoid. The Scientologists’ charges that I had no permission to copy Mr. Hubbard’s biographical documents and that I had lifted, stole or thieved boxes of those documents when I “blew” the cult were intensively litigated issues in the case and were specifically adjudicated in the judgment. (Relevant portions below.)
I left the Sea Org and Scientology on December 12, 1981. I had no attorney while inside. I first contacted Mr. Flynn in May 1982, and he undertook my representation at that time. I sent him documents in June/July 1982. These are the subject documents.
Judge Paul G. Breckenridge, Jr. stated in his judgment concerning my permissions and the chain of possession of these documents:
The court has found the facts essentially as set forth in defendant’s trial brief, which as modified, is attached as an appendix to this memorandum. In addition the court finds that while working for L.R. Hubbard (hereinafter referred to as LRH), the defendant also had an informal employer-employee relationship with plaintiff Church, but had permission and authority from plaintiffs and LRH to provide Omar Garrison with every document or object that was made available to Mr. Garrison, and further, had permission from Omar Garrison to take and deliver to his attorneys the documents and materials which were subsequently delivered to them and thenceforth into the custody of the County Clerk.
While defendant has asserted various theories of defense, the basic thrust of his testimony is that he did what he did, because he believed that his life, physical and mental well being, as well as that of his wife were threatened because the organization was aware of what he knew about the life of LRH, the secret machinations and financial activities of the Church, and his dedication to the truth. He believed that the only way he could defend himself, physically as well as from harassing lawsuits, was to take from Omar Garrison those materials which would support and corroborate everything that he had been saying within the Church about LRH and the Church, or refute the allegations made against him in the April 22 Suppressive Person Declare. He believed that the only way he could be sure that the documents would remain secure for his future use was to send them to his attorneys, and that to protect himself, he had to go public so as to minimize the risk that LRH, the Church, or any of their agents would do him physical harm.
The evidence is clear and the court finds that defendant and Omar Garrison had permission to utilize these documents for the purpose of Garrison’s proposed biography.
In June of 1980 Defendant Armstrong became involved in the selection of a writer for the Hubbard biography. Defendant Armstrong learned that Hubbard had approved of a biography proposal prepared by Omar Garrison, a writer who was not a member of Scientology. Defendant Armstrong had meetings with Mr. Garrison regarding the writing o00f the biography and what documentation and assistance would be made available to him. As understood by Mr. Garrison, Defendant Armstrong represented Hubbard in these discussions.
Mr. Garrison was advised that the research material he would have at his disposal were Hubbard’s personal archives. Mr. Garrison would only undertake a writing of the biography if the materials provided to him were from Hubbard’s personal archives, and only if his manuscript was subject to the approval of Hubbard himself.
In October of 1980 Mr. Garrison came to Los Angeles and was toured through the Hubbard archives materials that Defendant Armstrong had assembled up to that time. This was an Important “selling point” in obtaining Mr. Garrison’s agreement to write the biography. On October 30, 1980, an agreement was entered into between Ralston-Pilot, ncv. F/S/O Omar V. Garrison, and AOSH DK Publications of Copenhagen, Denmark, for the writing of a biography of Hubbard.
Paragraph 10B of the agreement states that:
Publisher shall use its best efforts to provide Author with an office, an officer assistant and/or research assistant, office supplies and any needed archival and interview materials in connection with the writing of the Work.”
The “research assistant” provided to Mr. Garrison was Defendant Armstrong.
From November of 1980 through 1981, Defendant Armstrong worked closely with Mr. Garrison, assembling Hubbard’s archives into logical categories, copying them and arranging the copies of the Archives materials into bound volumes. Defendant Armstrong made two copies of almost all documents copied for Mr. Garrison – one for Mr. Garrison and the other to remain in Hubbard Archives for reference or recopying. Defendant Armstrong created approximately 400 binders of documents. The vast majority of the documents for Mr. Garrison came from Hubbard’s personal Archives, of which Defendant Armstrong was in charge. Materials which came from other Archives, such as the Controller Archives, were provided to Defendant Armstrong by Scientology staff members who had these documents in their care.
The Organization wished to determine what materials Defendant Armstrong had provided to Omar Garrison. Defendant Armstrong was struck by the realization that the Organization would not work with him to correct the numerous fraudulent representations made to followers of Scientology and the public about L. Ron Hubbard and the Organization itself. Defendant Armstrong, who, for twelve years of his life, had placed his complete and full trust in Mr. and Mrs. Hubbard and the Scientology Organization, saw that his trust had no meaning and that the massive frauds perpetrated about Hubbard’s past, credentials, and accomplishments would continue to be spread.
In December of 1981 Defendant Armstrong made the decision to leave the Church of Scientology. In order to continue in his commitment to Hubbard and Mr. Garrison in the biography project, he copied a large quantity of documents, which Mr. Garrison had requested or which would be useful to him for the biography. Defendant Armstrong delivered all of this material to Mr. Garrison the date he left the SEA Organization and kept nothing in his possession.
From his extensive knowledge of the covert and intelligence operations carried out by the Church of Scientology of California against its enemies (suppressive persons), Defendant Armstrong became terrified and feared that his life and the life of his wife were in danger, and he also feared he would be the target of costly and harassing lawsuits.
In addition, Mr. Garrison became afraid for the security of the documents and believed that the intelligence network of the Church of Scientology would break and enter his home to retrieve them. Thus, Defendant Armstrong made copies of certain documents for Mr. Garrison and maintained them in a separate location.
It was thereafter, in the summer of 1982, that Defendant Armstrong asked Mr. Garrison for copies of documents to use in his defense and sent the documents to his attorneys, Michael Flynn and Contos & Bunch. 1
The Scientologists appealed from this judgment, and in 1991 the California Court of Appeal, Second District affirmed it: 232 Cal.App.3d 1060, 283 Cal.Rptr. 917. 2 Mr. Rinder was in charge of Scientology legal matters during this time.
In his “Author’s Note,” he writes that his book is his “recollection” of his life, and he implies he did not check his facts, and Simon & Schuster staff didn’t, because he was only writing his recollection. I challenge, however, whether he recollected that sentence, down to the comma, from Judge Breckenridge’s twenty-seven page judgment, or he cut&pasted it from the easily available e-copy. It is clear that Mr. Rinder had available to him the judgment that contains the excerpts above that spell out when I was given the subject documents and sent them to Mr. Flynn.
It might seem like a trivial point, whether I copied Hubbard’s documents that I sent to Mr. Flynn before I departed the cult or months after I departed the cult; after I was declared a “Suppressive Person;” after the Scientologists stole photographs from me; after they told me to get an attorney; after they sicced PIs on me; after I knew I was “fair game.” It is not, however, a trivial point to the Scientology cultists and their collaborators, who still fair game me. There is a lot of evidence that Mike Rinder still participates in this fair game campaign.
Despite the judgment, the evidence, and reason, Mr. Rinder, et al., have continued to disseminate this lie about me absconding with Hubbard’s documents. This is actually understandable, because they have used it around the world for forty-one years to justify doing their damnedest to silence or destroy me. Mr. Rinder telling the truth about that seeming nothing lie imperils that justification. In the decades following the first Scientology v. Armstrong case, the Scientologists have attempted to invalidate or undermine the Breckenridge judgment by planting this lie in a slew of books, other publications and litigations.
I am the person Mr. Rinder most victimized during his years in the Sea Org, and his victim he most ignored or smeared since leaving. His Billion book is a whitewash of his actions against his cult’s external enemies, notably Mr. Flynn and me. Mr. Rinder lied about us both in the cult’s submissions to the IRS on which the Scientologists’ infamous and undeserved tax exemption and their escape from a billion-dollar tax liability are based. In what he submitted to the IRS, he included the same lie he tells in his book, that before I left his cult I swiped Hubbard’s documents and delivered them to my attorney.
Since he has been claiming to have left the Miscavigeites’ control and to be helping the people he and his fellow cultists had victimized, I have reached out to Mr. Rinder many times. He has not lifted a finger. All I was seeking from him was the truth, which would not have cost him a cent. Before I obtained a copy of Billion, I wrote to Mr. Rinder requesting a “complimentary e-Book.”3He did not reply.
Given what the book is about, Simon & Schuster doubtlessly had a duty to fact-check Mr. Rinder’s averments. It would have been very easy to determine that his fact statement that before I departed the Sea Org I made copies of Mr. Hubbard’s documents and delivered them to my attorney as an insurance policy against future harassment is false. So I am asking what your company proposes to acknowledge this falsehood, to correct the record, and do something creative with this situation, perhaps get behind telling my story.
[contact info redacted]
Cc: Michael J. Flynn, Esq. via email [e-mail redacted]
Cc: Hazel-Ann Mayers, Esq. via email [e-mail redacted]
Cc: Mike Rinder via email [e-mail redacted]