Meet Bob Minton:
June 16, 1998, Tuesday
Bob Minton fights the church of
Scientology, calling it a cult, while the church calls him a
Copyright 1998 National Broadcasting Co. Inc.
NBC News Transcripts
DATELINE NBC (10:00 PM ET)
Descriptions of video are in [brackets]. VO=VOICEOVER
ANNOUNCER: this is "Dateline," Tuesday, June 16, 1998. Tonight--
[picture of Bob Minton on left side of screen; Scientology building]
VOICEOVER: he's a one man crusade.
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 a criminal.
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 speak freely.
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
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 bootstraps.
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
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 broke.
(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; Scientology building)
Unidentified Man #1: I've been locked in the basement.
Unidentified Man #2: They intercepted calls from my parents, they intercept
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
(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 doing.'
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
Mrs. Therese Minton: My first reaction was, Are you brain dead? Why do we
have to do this?'
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
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
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 you.
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
(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 catastrophe.
Hockenberry: (Voiceover) And right around that time, Stacy and Vaughn got
(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 was real.
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. Congratulations,'
Mr. Minton: A lot of my friends say, you know, These people are not your
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 misinformed.
(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
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 Minton?
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, John Hockenberry.
Mr. Minton: (Public address) This is truly an organization whose so-called
leaders have no shame whatsoever.
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 you nuts?
(Minton delivering address to group of people; Minton and others picketing
Church of Scientology)
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 its critics.
(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 simply ridiculous.
(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
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
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 Network.
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 into.
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
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
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
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 Bob's mother)
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
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
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 shooting Scientologists.
(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
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
(Minton at home with children; Minton and other people picketing the Church
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 street)
Mr. Rinder: I think, ultimately, that will come out that he's been engaged
in criminal activity. Sure.
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.
*Note: CultInfo would
later be officially named the Leo J. Ryan Foundation