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My Thanksgiving Message to the President of the University of Pennsylvania

Dear President Magill,

Your University is currently promoting Mike Rinder as an upcoming speaker on your campus and a book he recently published. Mike Rinder is my father. I am appalled that you would give him a platform to spread his venom.

Mike Rinder’s book is filled with lies. Mike Rinder was never a father to us. He demeaned me and my brother Benjamin constantly as we were growing up and has continued to this day. He violently attacked his former wife, my mother Cathy, and caused her permanent physical damage.

I have chosen some examples of the lies Mike Rinder published in his book about me, Benjamin, my mother and the rest of my family. These should show you how much of an absentee father Mike Rinder was and how much he had no care for his family:

• Mike Rinder states that I never went to regular school. That is a lie: I attended public school in Los Angeles, and I have attendance and report cards to prove it.

• Mike Rinder states that our mother “rarely saw” my brother and me when we were growing up. That is a lie: My mother was always there for us and saw us all the time. She was involved in our lives since our birth and still is today. It was my father who was never there. He was, at best, an indifferent parent. He did not care. See my video.

• Mike Rinder states that once I became a Church staff member, there was no parent-child relationship and my parents rarely saw me. That is a lie: I always saw my mother and still see her all the time. My father was the one who avoided me and did not care.

• Mike Rinder was such an absentee father that he can’t remember Benjamin’s and my ages. He said we were 28 and 23 years old when he left us. That is a lie: I was 27, and Ben was 21.

• He also states in his book that Ben moved to Clearwater, Florida, in 1995 when he was 12 years old. That is a lie: Ben moved to Clearwater in 1999 after he had completed school.

• My father states that after he left the family, he wrote a letter to my mother in which he tried to get her and us to come to him in Virginia. That is a lie: Mike Rinder sent an email to a Church staff member about shipping his belongings to him and relaying a short message to my mother about joining him. He never wrote to my mother directly and never mentioned me or my brother at all.

• My father abandoned us in 2007, never reached out to us, and since 2009 he has attacked our family, even trying to do a video ambush on his own son, when Ben was recovering from cancer, assaulting my mother and calling us humiliating names like “puppets,” “liars,” and “slaves.” See my brother's statement.

• He states that there was a “big upside” in moving to Florida in 2009 because Ben was in Clearwater and just 20 minutes away if he ever needed help. That is a lie: My father knew his son had cancer at the time, but he never reached out to help him.

• My father says he went to the Fort Harrison in Clearwater on April 14, 2010, to see Ben because he was anxious to find out how Ben was doing. That is a lie: In June 2009, nearly a year before, my father learned that Ben had cancer, yet he did nothing. He did not try to see him or call him. He showed up 10 months later at the Fort Harrison with a videographer so he could record the visit for the media.

• Finally, Mike Rinder has the audacity to write that “somehow Cathy’s arm was grazed” when we tried to see him in April 2010. That is a lie: He attacked my mother. I was there. I witnessed the assault. The injuries he inflicted were so severe that she is still in constant pain and has limited use of her arm.

Benjamin and I wrote an Open Letter to Mike Rinder in which we describe how he completely denigrates us, and we detail more lies in the book. You can read it here on my website: An Open Letter to Mike Rinder

Finally, I saw in the news that Mike Rinder testified in favor of a convicted rapist, Paul Haggis.

A cookie-cutter response from someone in your faculty staff who doesn’t understand the severity of supporting such a woman abuser on campus is why I had to do this video message on Thanksgiving.


Do the right thing. Cancel Mike Rinder’s event.

Taryn Rinder



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