Episode 34: Journalist and Author John Sweeney

March 30 Episode 34: Journalist and Author John Sweeney

Our friend — and scientology nemesis — journalist, author and podcaster John Sweeney talks about making his BBC programs on scientology and compares his experiences to his reporting in N. Korea, Russia, Serbia and other places. He is an entertaining and well-informed observer of scientology.

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View Documents (12)
BBC Panorama: Scientology and Me

John Sweeney’s 2007 Panorama expose on scientology

BBC Panorama: Secrets of Scientology

John’s follow up 2010 Panorama program that told the behind the scenes story of the 2007 episode

The Church of Fear

John’s excellent book on scientology

Hunting Ghislaine

John’s podcast on Ghislaine Maxwell

Audio of the Parking Lot Incident
The Sheriff Report from the Parking Lot

The Sheriff report concluding “incidental contact” as Mike was trying to leave their assault

View/Download Document
Blog Post about the Incident
Scientology Money Project blog

The Endless Lies of Scientology Operatives Taryn Teutsch & Cathy Bernardini

Letter from Cathy "Fuck Off"

Mike’s ex-=wife responds to his attempt to reach out to her after he escaped

"Damaged for life"

One of numerous videos with the shifting stories of damage — this one a message of love for Valentine’s Day…

Judges on Scientology

Look for the statements from 1984 by Judge Latey in the UK and Judge Breckenridge in Los Angeles

"Justice4Mom" website

The smear website created and run by OSA


  • Kathy Williams says:

    I would like an entire episode dedicated to Mike Rinder’s story in scientology particularly his experiences working directly with David M.

  • J says:

    To Production Staff:

    Someone needs to link this site on the I-Heart landing page and YT individual podcast landing pages and L & M should mention the name of the website as well.

    So we can easily find the Linked Documents they always talk about and post here.

    The only link I found was on the YT main page under About. You tell us about the Documents which are infinitely interesting and an extension of the podcast but don’t tell where to find them besides the website.

    This is standard practice for any podcaster or YTer. You could add L & M’s other social media links but maybe they want to make this about scn and not them individually.

  • Future Mike says:

    Excellent Episode. Who is going to take over leadership when COB transcends? Who or how is it decided.? Are there internal power plays going on. Question for Mike: As an Executive did you have to “fight” off others looking to take your position? I dont just mean the musical chairs incident.

  • Gracie says:

    Hi Mike
    Why does Taryn say on one video that you and your exwife had three children, and then on another video that you had two children?

  • Kathy Herman says:

    Not a Scientologist and I count myself luck. I was thinking of moving down to the Clearwater area when I was at very difficult period of my life and I could see myself getting sucked in. Things didn’t work out and I didn’t move down there. Although there is a Scientology “church” in a neighboring community, I never see cars in the parking lot. Have never seen anyone there.

    One of the things I wanted to ask you is about current politics and Scientology. I know Mike said before that it wasn’t entangled in politics, but after the money it got from Trump last year during the pandemic and some of the same sort of tactics I’ve seen various politicians using that seem so similar to what you’ve talked about with Scientology, I wonder if They are trying to infiltrate. I especially wonder after the connection Leah related about Louis Farrakhan and this latest attack on the Capitol from one of his followers. I don’t mean to see that he ordered it, but ….. Could it be that Scientology wants to expand it’s role?

  • Najda Sarfaraz says:

    One of my favourite episodes so far. The laughter and respect that connects the three of you today was wonderful to listen to.
    Much love and continued success! XX

  • Joel says:

    I love your podcast and never miss an episode. But when are we gonna hear from Mark Ebner?

  • Jay says:

    I liked this episode. I think John Sweeney is hilarious. But he made an interesting point about why it is important to understand Scientology. And I think he is right. Because right after I read his book, I read the book by John Carreyrou on Theranos. And it was mind blowing how much a culture of stifling and shouting down people can cause a cult like acceptance of ideas, or the lack thereof.

    I loved your show, and now your podcast. It is really eye opening to me.

    I have one question for you: was there a period of time where everyone thought David Miscavige was nice? Because, I cannot work out what kind of person he is. I think he is probably senile, but definitely has megalomania or narcissism or something. And I always wonder why someone like that gets to the position he does.

    • Jay says:

      Also i wanted to say – I admire the courage that you both show everyday in bringing these points to the forefront.

  • Stephanie says:

    How exactly did you leave Scientology? One person left in the trunk, one person left by motorcycle (and almost getting killed in the moment), did you just not go back after travelling one day? Or did you legit just walk out the front door? (I would imagine you would have had more freedom to do the latter since you had been travelling so much.) Thank you!

  • Suzanne F says:

    I have listened to John’s book on Audible twice. His sense of humor in spite of the seriousness of his investigation into Scientology is what makes this book so enjoyable. There were so many moments I found myself laughing out loud. The chapter that covers the Wild Hogs opening was a scream. His retelling of his interview with Leah R. and her calling him “Babydoll” was another big laugh. My favorite part was when he befriended Mike Rinder. The guy has a heart. John is one of my favorite guests you have had on your program.

  • Karin says:

    I really enjoyed the Aftermath and like listening to both on the podcast, but how come Leah gets to always tease Mike about his involvement with OSA when she gave Scientology several millions, making all sorts of things possible by financing them?

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