The bizarre world of scientology

I have been paying close attention to the recent Tom Cruise situation covered by a recent Vanity Fair article. Cruise is one of several A-listers to have joined the ‘religion’. Among the well-known celebrities to have joined are: John Travolta, Juliette Lewis, Beck, Nancy Cartwright and Jason Lee.

The church had always encouraged celebrities to join, claiming it can help them be more successful, it has not been shy in taking vast sums of money in exchan,
for this service. More interesting is the list of those who have left. It includes William Burroughs, Charles Manson and film-maker Paul Haggis. Notably Haggis quit the organisation in response to the San Diego branch’s public support of California Proposition 8 and other factors, including Scientology’s “indefensible actions, and inactions” and lies. There have been numerous whistleblowers and critics of the network. All oppose its naked desire for money. In a new book about to be published called ‘Going Clear’, Lawrence taps into the imprisonment felt by members of the church. Why, when they are not bound by actual chains, do they not walk off and leave. The answer lies in a kind of Stockholm Syndrome, where prisoners become attached to their captors. Members of scientology who turned their backs on the religion were told they owed thousands of dollars, impossible for them to ever be able to pay back. They owned no credit card or bank account.And any living relatives they might call upon were disowned long after they committed themselves.

All of this was going on right under the nose of Tom Cruise, who according to Wright allowed Scientolgy leaders to pimp for him, among other favours. Young women were told they had been chosen for a special program and had to give up their boyfriends.

But not everyone in Hollywood has been so smitten. Steven Speilberg told Haggis that Scientologists seemed like the nicest people and Mr Haggis responded that ‘we keep all the evil ones in the closet’. This was close enough to the truth that Haggis was in hot water with the scientologist powers-that-be, but he didn’t quit.

What finally caused him to leave was its refusal to endorse gay marriage. Haggis has two gay daughters so one can see why this would be an issue he would feel strongly on. But he could have left over so many other things.

Founder Ron Hubbard died in in 1996. He was replaced by Miscavige. A close friend of Tom Cruise, he was best man at his wedding to Katie Holmes. Miscavige has been accused of denigrating his staff, physically assaulting them, and generally causing them emotional torment.

Sometimes the reports on Scientology are so mired in rumor it can be hard to get to the truth, the church is like a totalitarian empire, one funded by members of the Hollywood aristocracy. Tjis is exactly why Going Clear is such essential reading.

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