Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Scientology is not a Religion!

L. Ron Hubbard's Great-Grandson Spills The Family Secrets On How Scientology Started. Eek.
Adam Mordecai
20 July 2011 has a history of silencing critics. If you want to know where that history comes from, look no further than the experiences of Jamie DeWolf, the great-grandson of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. Learn his family's story. Then share it.

The Secrets of Scientology!!! (Full Documentary)
Scientology's Seduction of Tom Cruise, Role in Nicole Kidman Split Detailed
THR's exclusive excerpt from Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Lawrence Wright 's new book reveals how the church came between Cruise and Kidman, leader David Miscavige's intense courtship of the star, Bill Clinton's advice to the actor on how to lobby Tony Blair, and how Cruise once told Miscavige, "If f--ing Arnold can be governor, I could be President."

Lawrence Wright
January 09, 2013
This story first appeared in the Jan. 18 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
The past year hasn’t been kind to the Church of Scientology. Katie Holmes divorced Tom Cruise. A Vanity Fair cover story that revealed the Scientology-run “audition” process to be Cruise’s wife included an interview with one of Cruise’s original candidates who was forced, she claims, to scrub toilets with a toothbrush as punishment. Meanwhile, Scientologist John Travolta was hit with several lawsuits (albeit unrelated to the Church) that spawned endless Internet speculation. Behind those sensational headlines, details of an organization whose secrecy long has been guarded began to seep out with detractors using the Internet to expose the Church’s sacred documents and allege wrongdoing. Now, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Lawrence Wright, who profiled ex-Scientologist Paul Haggis for The New Yorker in 2011, delves fullon into the history and inner workings of the Church of Scientology in his book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief.
Despite bad publicity and questions about its size — one survey puts U.S. membership at 25,000 (the Church claims 8 million worldwide), with the largest concentration in L.A. — Scientology continues to survive, with ex-members claiming it has assets of about $1 billion. As many as 5,000 people belong to the Sea Org, its elite clergy. Adherents are drawn to Scientology’s emphasis on self-improvement, though the Church’s theology and practices remain unknown to the public. (Since 1993, the IRS has classified Scientology as a tax-exempt religion.) Wright’s account, which is detailed through Church documents, court records and hundreds of interviews, including many with ex-members, is disputed by Scientology, which declined to give interviews for the book.
Karin Pouw, a representative for Scientology tells THR that, “The one thing ‘clear’ about Lawrence Wright’s book is that he continues to carry water for a handful of angry, bitter individuals ... [who] regurgitate six decades of false, bizarre tabloid allegations about the religion’s founder, its leadership and its prominent members.” Far from being in decline, she says Scientology opened 30 new churches in 2012. (Read Pouw's complete response here.)
Wright argues that the Church’s mystique rests mainly on its celebrity members. Early on, founder L. Ron Hubbard recruited Hollywood notables like Gloria Swanson. David Miscavige, who has headed the Church since Hubbard’s death in 1986, followed this strategy by cultivating Cruise, who has become the public face of the Church and one of its largest donors. Cruise, now 50, became a Scientologist in 1986 and the biggest celebrity to join the Church since Travolta. Cruise admired Miscavige’s confidence and bravado. Miscavige, in turn, was seduced by Cruise’s celebrity and opulent lifestyle. But by the mid-’90s, Cruise and wife Nicole Kidman drifted away from the Church, which frantically scrambled to win him back. In this exclusive excerpt, Wright details the relationship between Cruise and Miscavige, the star’s renewed commitment to Scientology following his divorce from Kidman and his emergence as possibly the second most- powerful figure in the Church. — Andy
For five days in October 1998, Tom Cruise, one of the biggest movie stars in the world, secretly drove into a private parking lot in the back of the historic Guaranty Building on Hollywood Boulevard, with the yellow Scientology sign atop. Charlie Chaplin and Rudolph Valentino used to have their offices here -- now the lobby is a shrine to the life and works of L. Ron Hubbard. A giant bust of the founder greets the occasional visitor.
Cruise went in a back door that led to a basement hallway and went directly to the "secret" 11th floor, where senior Church officials like David Miscavige and Marty Rathbun maintained offices. "He was not in good shape, spiritually or mentally," Rathbun observed. "He was personally very enturbulated," Scientology terminology for agitated.
Rathbun, then the Inspector General at the Religious Technology Center, which oversees the Church's spiritual materials, had gone to Los Angeles to meet Cruise for auditing, the Church's system of religious counseling. (Rathbun is no longer connected to Scientology and is now one of its most outspoken critics. The Church has dismissed his accounts and refers to him as part of a "posse of lunatics.")
Cruise, the Church's most visible adherent, had been drifting away. According to Rathbun, Miscavige -- Scientology's de facto head since Hubbard's death -- blamed the actor's wife, Nicole Kidman, and viewed her as a gold digger who was faking Scientology. He says that Miscavige was hopeful that if they portrayed Nicole Kidman as a Suppressive Person, Cruise could be peeled away from her.
After that episode of auditing, Cruise went quiet again. He and Kidman were in England filming Eyes Wide Shut for Stanley Kubrick. Suddenly, in January 2001, Rathbun said he got a call from the actor asking for help. Cruise said that he and Kidman were finished. Cruise never offered a public explanation for the divorce, and Kidman herself was clearly surprised by his decision.
This was a decisive moment in Cruise's relationship with Scientology. Rathbun provided the star with more than 200 hours of auditing over the next couple of years. From July through Thanksgiving 2001, Rathbun was with Cruise at the Celebrity Centre frequently, doing auditing rundowns. He paired Cruise with another actor, Jason Beghe, to do training drills; for instance, Beghe would think of a hypothetical date, which Cruise had to figure out using the E-Meter, a Scientology device that measures a body's electrical resistance by gripping two metal rods, a guessing exercise Cruise found really frustrating. (Cruise's attorney says, "Cruise may have had a chance encounter with Beghe at the Celebrity Centre but had no such meeting with him.")
First footnote: Interview with Mark "Marty" Rathbun.
Second footnote: Interview with Mark "Marty Rathbun.
Third footnote: Interview with Jason Beghe.
At the same time, 29-year-old Tommy Davis began acting as Rathbun's assistant. He brought sandwiches and helped out with Conor and Isabella, Cruise's two children with Kidman, making sure they were receiving Church services. Despite his youth, Davis was already a unique figure in the Church: He was a second-generation Scientologist, a member of the Sea Org, an elite group of about 3,000 that functions in effect as the Church's clergy, and a scion of the Hollywood elite.
His mother was Anne Archer, a popular actress who had been nominated for an Academy Award for Fatal Attraction. She had always been proud to associate herself with Scientology in public, speaking at innumerable events on behalf of the Church, and her son Tommy embodied the aspiration of the Church to establish itself in the Hollywood community. He had known Cruise since he was 18 years old, so it was natural that he soon became the Church's liaison with the star. Rathbun assigned Davis to sit with Cruise in the parking lot of a Home Depot in Hollywood while the star was doing his Tone Scale drills -- guessing the emotional state of random people coming out of the store.
Rathbun was opposed to the endless courtship of Cruise. In his opinion, there was no need for it once Cruise was securely back in the Church's fold. He told Miscavige, "I think I'm done with this guy." Miscavige responded, "He'll be done when he calls me." Rathbun believes the leader was galled by the fact that Cruise had never contacted him when he came back for counseling.
During the actor's early years in the Church, Cruise and Miscavige, who are two years apart in age (Cruise was born in 1962, Miscavige in 1960), had been exceptionally close, drawn together by a similar meteoric rise to success. They were both short but powerfully built, "East Coast personalities," said Sinar Parman, Miscavige's then-private chef. They shared a love of motorcycles, cars and adventurous sports. Cruise had been a movie star since he was 21, with two popular movies in the same year, The Outsiders and Risky Business. By age 25, he was the biggest star in Hollywood, on his way to becoming a true movie legend. At the same age, Miscavige rose to his position atop Scientology. Each of these men assumed extraordinary responsibilities when their peers were barely beginning their careers, so it was natural that they would see themselves mirrored in each other.
Miscavige got involved in Scientology through his parents, who joined a Church near their Cherry Hill, N.J., home in the early 1970s and moved to its then-headquarters in Saint Hill, England, in 1972, where at the age of 12 David became one of the youngest auditors in the history of the Church -- the "Wonder Kid," he was called.
On his 16th birthday in 1976, he dropped out of 10th grade and formally joined the Sea Org, whose members dress in military-style uniforms -- a remnant of its original purpose as Hubbard's private navy. Less than a year later, he was transferred to the Commodore's Messengers in California, an even more elite inner circle that enforced religious doctrine and served as Hubbard's personal assistants. Here he continued to capture the attention of the Church hierarchy with his energy and commitment, renovating one of Hubbard's houses and ridding it of fiberglass (which the founder said he was allergic to). Miscavige filled a spot in the founder's plans that once might have been occupied by his troubled son Quentin Hubbard, who died in 1976 at age 22, although Miscavige displayed a passion and focus that Quentin never really possessed. Miscavige was tough, tireless and doctrinaire.
He was just 19 when Hubbard promoted him to Action Chief, the person in charge of making sure that the founder's directives were strictly and remorselessly carried out, and then at 23 to head of Special Project Ops, running missions around the world to fix sensitive problems that local Scientologists themselves could not handle.
[After Hubbard died of complications from a stroke in January 1986, Miscavige consolidated power by becoming Chairman of the Board (COB) of the Religious Technology Center (RTC), which controlled the Church's intellectual property, and forcing out Hubbard's designated successors. By April 1988, he was essentially running Scientology, nominally reporting to a figurehead board, but in reality controlling the levers of power.]
When it came to Cruise, Miscavige was bedazzled by the glamour surrounding the star, who introduced him to a social set outside of Scientology, a world Miscavige knew little about, having spent most of his life cloistered in the Sea Org. He was thrilled when he visited Cruise on the set of Days of Thunder, and the actor took him skydiving for the first time. Cruise, for his part, fell under the spell of Miscavige's commanding personality. He modeled his determined naval-officer hero in 1992's A Few Good Men on Miscavige, a fact that the Church leader liked to brag about.
In the early '90s, Miscavige surrounded Cruise and Kidman with a completely deferential environment as spotless and odorless as a fairy tale at Gold Base, Scientology's desert outpost near Hemet, Calif. Miscavige heard about the couple's fantasy of running through a field of wildflowers together, so he had Sea Org members plant a section of the desert with them; when that failed to meet his expectations, the meadow was plowed and sodded with grass. When a flood triggered a mudslide that despoiled a romantic bungalow specially constructed for the couple, Miscavige held the entire base responsible and ordered everyone to work 16-hour days until everything was restored.
Miscavige showed his instinctive understanding of how to cater to the sense of entitlement that comes with stardom. It was not just a matter of disposing of awkward personal problems, such as clinging spouses; there were also the endless demands for nourishment of an ego that is always aware of the fragility of success; the longing for privacy that is constantly at war with the demand for recognition; the need to be fortified against ordinariness and feelings of mortality; and the sense that the quality of the material world that surrounds you reflects upon your own value, and therefore everything must be made perfect. These were qualities Miscavige demanded for himself as well.(11)
Fourth footnote: Interview with Jason Beghe. Interview with Tommy Davis.
Fifth footnote: Interview with Mark "Marty" Rathbun. Interview with Tom De Vocht.
Sixth footnote: Sinar Parman, personal communication.
Seventh footnote: Interview with Karen de la Carriere.
Eighth footnote: Deposition of David Miscavige Larry Wollersheim vs. David Miscavige and Church of Scientology California, Oct. 30, 1999; Deposition of David Miscavige, Bent Corydon vs. Church of Scientology, July 19, 1990.
Ninth footnote: Deposition of David Miscavige, Bent Corydon vs. Church of Scientology, July 19, 1990.
Interviews with Marc Headley. Interview with Amy Scobee. Karen Pressley interview on One Day One Destiny, a French documentary produced by Magneto Presse, 2009.
Miscavige also cultivated Cruise to be a spiritual leader, not just a follower, having him trained as an auditor at Gold Base. Sixteen-year-old Sea Org member Marc Headley says he was among the first people audited by Cruise. He reported to a large conference room and right away noticed Kidman, who was also receiving auditing, and Kirstie Alley, whom he later came to believe was there mainly as a "celebrity prop," since she did little other than read.
"Hello, I am Tom," Headley remembers Cruise saying, vigorously shaking his hand. (Cruise, through his attorney, says he has no recollection of meeting Headley.) The actor handed Headley the metal cans that were attached to the E-Meter and asked if the temperature in the room was all right. Then he instructed Headley to take a deep breath and let it out. This was a metabolism test, which is supposed to show whether the subject was prepared for the session. Apparently, the needle on the E-Meter didn't fall sufficiently. Headley was so starstruck that he was having trouble focusing.
"Did you get enough sleep?" Cruise asked.
"Did you get enough to eat?"
"Did you take your vitamins?"
Headley said he never took vitamins.
"That might be the problem," Cruise said. He went into the pantry, which was filled with snacks for the celebrities. Headley was used to the meager Sea Org fare, and he was taken aback by the cornucopia laid out. The actor found several vitamins and then asked, "Do you take a lot of bee pollen?"
Headley had no idea what he meant.
"Never had bee pollen?" Cruise said excitedly. "Oh, that will do the trick for sure."
He led Headley to his Yamaha motorcycle and rode the two of them to the base canteen. It was dinnertime, and the canteen was filled with Headley's gawking co-workers. Headley was surprised to learn that there was bee pollen for sale, though he says Cruise didn't pay for it; he just grabbed it, and they went back to the conference room. This time, Headley passed the metabolism test, though he privately credited a Danish he ate over the bee pollen.
According to Headley, Cruise helped him through the Upper Indoctrination Training Routines. "Look at the wall," Cruise would have said, according to Hubbard's specifications. "Thank you. Walk over to the wall. Thank you. Touch the wall. Thank you." The purpose of this exercise, according to Hubbard, is to "assert control over the preclear and increase the preclear's havingness." ("Clear" is the state novice Scientologists aspire to that signals their subconscious, or "reactive," mind is free.)
Cruise went on to ask Headley to make an object -- such as a desk -- hold still or become more solid. Another exercise involved telling an ashtray to stand up, at which point the novice stands and lifts the ashtray, thanks the ashtray and then commands the ashtray to sit down. With each repetition, the commands get louder, so soon he is yelling at the ashtray at the top of his voice. The purpose is to come to the realization that your intention is separate from your words and the sound waves that carry them. These procedures went on for hours as Headley robotically responded to Cruise's commands. "You learn that if you don't do what they say, they'll just ask the same questions 5 million times," Headley recalled.
12th footnote: Headley, Blown for Good, pp. 116-18. Hubbard, “Training and CCH Processes,” HCO Bulletin, June 11, 1957, reissued May 12, 1972
After becoming associated with Cruise, the style of Miscavige's life came to reflect that of a fantastically wealthy and leisured movie star. He normally awakens at noon, with a cup of coffee and a Camel cigarette. Then he takes breakfast, the first of his five meals.
According to Parman, the chef, he was eating "three squares and a snack at night" until the late-'90s, when he said he wanted to "get ripped and have six-pack abs" like bodybuilders featured in magazines. At the time, Miscavige changed physical trainers, began taking bodybuilding supplements and adopted a diet that requires each meal to be at least 40 percent protein and to contain no more than 400 calories. Soon, he was looking like the men in the magazines.
To maintain Miscavige's physique, chefs have to enter each portion size into a computer. Miscavige often starts the day with an omelet of one whole egg and five egg whites. Two-and-a-half hours later, lunch is provided. Two choices would be prepared daily, for both him and his wife. Dinner is a five-course meal, and once again, dual entrees are prepared for him to choose from. Miscavige's favorite foods include wild mushroom risotto, linguine in white clam sauce and pate de foie gras. Several times a week, a truck from Santa Monica Seafood delivers Atlantic salmon or live lobster. Corn-fed lamb is flown in from New Zealand.
When guests such as Cruise come to dinner at his well-appointed house, the kitchen goes into extravagant bursts of invention, with ingredients sometimes flown in from different continents. Two hours after dinner, the first evening snack arrives, with lighter offerings such as Italian white bean soup or clam chowder. After midnight, there is a final late-night snack -- a selection of nonfat cheeses, an apple crisp or blueberry crepes, often garnished with edible flowers. Two full-time chefs work all day preparing these meals, with several full-time stewards to serve them. According to Headley's wife, Claire, who oversaw the finances for the Religious Technology Center between 2000 and 2004, the food costs for the Miscaviges and their guests would range between $3,000 to as much as $20,000 a week.
At the end of the evening, Miscavige retires to his den and drinks Macallan scotch and plays backgammon with members of his entourage or listens to music on his $150,000 stereo system (he loves Michael Jackson) or watches movies in his private screening room (his favorite films are Scarface and The Godfather trilogy). He usually turns in around three or four in the morning.
He collects guns, maintains at least six motorcycles and has a number of automobiles, including an armor-plated GMC Safari van with bulletproof windows and satellite television and a souped-up Saleen Mustang that Cruise gave him to match his own. Until 2007, when he traveled, Miscavige would often rent Cruise's Gulfstream jet, but he has since upgraded to renting a roomier Boeing business jet, at a cost of $30,000 to $50,000 a trip. His uniforms and business suits are fashioned by Richard Lim, a Los Angeles tailor whose clients include Cruise, Will Smith and Martin Sheen. Miscavige's shoes are custom-made in London by John Lobb, bootmaker to the royal family. His wardrobe fills an entire room, and two full-time stewards are responsible for his cleaning and laundry. Cruise admired the housecleaning so much -- even Miscavige's light bulbs are polished once a month -- that the Church leader sent a Sea Org team to Cruise's Telluride retreat to train the star's staff.
Miscavige keeps a number of dogs, including five beagles. He had blue vests made up for each of them, with four stripes on the shoulder epaulets, indicating the rank of Sea Org Captain. He insists that people salute the dogs as they parade by. The dogs have a treadmill where they work out. A full-time staff member feeds, walks and trains the dogs and enters one of them, Jelly, into contests, where he has attained championship status.
Interviews with Tom De Vochit and Mark “Marty” Rathbun. Information about David Miscavige’s diet comes from his former chefs, Sinar Parman and Lana Mitchell.
One of Miscavige's favorites, a Dalmatian/pit bull mix named Buster, went on a rampage one day and killed 10 peacocks on the property, and then the dog proudly laid out his kill for all to see. Buster also attacked various members of the staff -- sending one elderly woman to the emergency room -- before being transferred to another base, causing staffers to joke he had been sent to the dog equivalent of Scientology rehabilitation.
The contrast with the other Sea Org members is stark. They eat in a mess hall, which features a meat-and-potatoes diet and a salad bar, except for occasional extended periods of rice and beans. The average cost per meal as of 2005 (according to Headley, who participated in the financial planning each week) was about 75 cents a head -- significantly less than what is spent per inmate in the California prison system.
When members join the Sea Org, they are issued two sets of pants, two shirts and a pair of shoes, which is their lifetime clothing allotment; anything else, they purchase themselves. Although the nominal pay for Sea Org members is $50 a week, many are fined for various infractions, so it's not unusual to be paid as little as $13 or $14.
There are lavish exercise facilities at the base -- an Olympic-size pool, a golf course, basketball courts -- but they are rarely used. Few are permitted to have access to computers. Every personal phone call is listened to; every letter is inspected. Cultural touchstones common to most Americans are often lost on Sea Org members at Gold Base. They may not know the name of the president of the United States or be able to tell the difference between the Republican and Democratic parties. It's not as if there is no access to outside information; there is a big-screen television in the dining hall, and people can listen to the radio or subscribe to newspapers and magazines; however, news from the outside world begins to lose its relevance when people are outside of the wider society for extended periods of time. Many Sea Org members have not left the base for a decade.
Cruise's renwed dedication to Scientology following his divorce from Kidman permanently changed the relationship between the Church and the Hollywood celebrity community. Miscavige and Cruise became closer than ever. The Church leader flew with Cruise in the Warner Bros. jet to a test screening of The Last Samurai in Arizona. In July 2004, Miscavige hosted a 42nd birthday party for Cruise aboard the Scientology cruise ship Freewinds. Musicians (including Miscavige's father) played songs from the actor's movies as clips played on giant screens. Cruise himself danced and sang "Old Time Rock and Roll," reprising his famous scene from Risky Business.
Cruise later said of Miscavige: "I have never met a more competent, a more intelligent, a more compassionate being outside of what I have experienced from [studying L. Ron Hubbard]. And I've met the leaders of leaders. I've met them all."
Interviews with Janela Webster, Daniel Montalvo and Sandy Kent Fullerr. Mike Rinder, Lana Mitchell, Mariette Lindstein and John Brousseau, personal communication.
Tony Ortega, 'Scientology's Cruise Ship as Prison," Runnin' Scared (blog) The Village Voice, Nov. 29, 2011.
2004 International Association of Scientologists Freedom Medal of Valor Ceremony.
[In 2004 Miscavige assigned a team to help Cruise in his search for a girlfriend. The search came up with an aspiring actress Nazanin Boniadi, a 25-year-old Iranian born, London-raised woman whose mother was also a Scientologist. She was given intensive auditing and security checks by the Church and flown to New York and Telluride in late 2007 for elaborate dates with Cruise.]
But the relationship ended when Miscavige addressed comments to her and she couldn't quite understand what he said. She had to ask him to repeat himself more than once.
The next day both Davis and Cruise dressed her down for disrespecting the Church leader. Naz had embarrassed Miscavige because he wasn't able to get his message across. With his characteristic intensity, Cruise himself later explained the seriousness of the situation:
"You don't get it, it goes like this," Cruise said. He raised his hand over his head. "First there's LRH." He moved his hand down a few inches. "Then there is COB." Bringing his hand down to his own eye level, he said, "Then there's me." (Cruise's attorney denies that this exchange took place or that the Church set him up.)
A few months later, in April 2005, Cruise met Katie Holmes. The two were married in November 2006. Miscavige was Cruise's best man. [Though she was often seen with Scientology officials, it has never been revealed how much, if any, Scientology training Holmes engaged in before she and Cruise divorced in 2012.]
Cruise poured millions of dollars into the Church -- $3 million in 2004. He was not simply a figurehead; he was an activist with an international following. He could take the Church to places it had never been before. Whenever Cruise traveled abroad to promote his movies, he used the opportunity to lobby foreign leaders and American ambassadors to promote Scientology.
Cruise repeatedly consulted with President Clinton, lobbying him to get Prime Minister Tony Blair's help in getting the Church of Scientology declared a tax-deductible charitable organization in the U.K. Rathbun was present for one telephone call in which Clinton advised Cruise he would be better served by contacting Blair's wife, Cherie, rather than the prime minister because she was a lawyer and "would understand the details." Later, Cruise went to London, where he met with a couple of Blair's representatives, though nothing came of those efforts.
In 2003, he met with Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Scooter Libby, to express the Church's concerns over its treatment in Germany. Cruise had access to practically anyone in the world.
That same year, Cruise and Davis lobbied Rod Paige, the secretary of education during the first term of President George W. Bush, to endorse Hubbard's "study tech" educational methods. Paige had been impressed. For months, Cruise kept in contact with Paige's office, urging that Scientology techniques be folded into the president's No Child Left Behind program.
One day, Cruise flew his little red-and-white-striped Pitts Special biplane, designed for aerobatics, to Hemet, along with his Scientologist chief of staff, Michael Doven. Miscavige and Rathbun picked them up and drove them to Gold Base. Rathbun was in the back seat and recalls Cruise boasting to COB about his talks with the secretary.
"Bush may be an idiot," Miscavige observed, "but I wouldn't mind his being our Constantine," referring to the first Roman Emperor to convert to Christianity.
Cruise agreed. "If f--ing Arnold can be governor, I could be president."
Miscavige responded, "Well, absolutely, Tom."
(Cruise, through his lawyer, denies this exchange and says he has no political ambition.)
Cruise turned his attention to the other Scientologists in the industry. Many had gone quiet following the negative publicity surrounding several high-profile exposés of the Church or had never openly admitted their affiliation with Scientology to begin with. Cruise called a meeting of other Scientology celebrities and urged them to become more outspoken. The popular singer Beck, who had grown up in the Church, subsequently began speaking openly about his faith. Erika Christensen, a rising young actress who was also a second-generation Scientologist, called Cruise her spiritual mentor.
By the mid-2000s, Cruise was considered the unofficial Ethics Officer of Hollywood. He was the embodiment of Hubbard's vision of a Church with temples dedicated to celebrity rather than God. Cruise's intensity and commitment, along with his spectacular ambition, matched Miscavige's own. It was as if Miscavige had rubbed a magic lantern and Cruise had appeared, a genie who could open any door. He was one of the few people Miscavige saw as a peer. Miscavige even wondered if there was some way to appoint Cruise the Church's Inspector General for Ethics -- Rathbun's job.
"He'd say that Tom Cruise was the only person in Scientology, other than himself, that he would trust to run the Church," one former Sea Org member recalled. Rathbun observed: "Miscavige convinced Cruise that he and Tom were two of only a handful of truly 'big beings' on the planet. He instructed Cruise that LRH was relying upon them to unite with the few others of their ilk on earth to make it onto 'Target Two' -- some unspecified galactic locale where they would meet up with Hubbard in the afterlife."
Lawrence Wright is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of six books, including The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, which won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize.
Excerpted from Going Clear by Lawrence Wright. Copyright (c) 2013by Lawrence Wright. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Scientology Book Excerpt: 'The Church Had John Travolta Trapped'

by Lawrence Wright
Threats, a baby taken away, punishment: Extraordinary details of the tortured relationship between the actor and his handler, Spanky Taylor, as told by Pulitzer Prize-winning New Yorker writer Lawrence Wright in his revelatory new history of the controversial religion, excerpted exclusively in THR.This story first appeared in the Jan. 18 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine
Before Tom Cruise, John Travolta was the biggest celebrity Scientologist, joining during the mid-’70s when he was on the cusp of fame. The Church assigned Sylvia “Spanky” Taylor, a young, vivacious Sea Org member, as his liaison. She became his friend and confidante, helping him deal with his breakout success in Welcome Back, Kotter (1975) and Saturday Night Fever (1977). Their friendship unraveled in 1977, when the Church sent Taylor to Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF), its disciplinary program, and took custody of her child for opposing its treatment of her mentor. Ultimately, Scientology officials forced her out of the Church, and Travolta ended their relationship as detailed by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Lawrence Wright in this exclusive excerpt from his book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief.
Although in the book, Wright provides detailed notes on his sources and extensive research over the years, representatives for the Church declined to grant him interviews. Karin Pouw of the Church, in a statement to THR, said, "Of the 200 people [Wright] spoke with, only 9 were Scientologists. … Most of the remaining 200 were apostates, many who have shopped similar false claims to the gossip media for years." (Read Pouw's complete response here.) -- Andy Lewis
“Spanky” was a schoolyard nickname for Sylvia, but it had such a teasing twist that she could never escape it. She was the child of Mexican-American laborers in San Jose, Calif. When she was 14, she became a fan of a local band called People!, which included several Scientologists, and began helping it with concert promotion. Soon she was working with some of the other great local bands, including Creedence Clearwater Revival. Scientology was just another expression of the political and cultural upheaval of the times. Even members of The Grateful Dead were drawn to its promise of mystical experiences without hallucinogens. She joined the staff at the Santa Clara mission in 1969, when she was 15.
She was a cheerful young woman with warm brown eyes who called everyone “honey.” Because of her experience with promotion, she was posted to the Celebrity Centre in Los Angeles. The place was constantly buzzing with activity -- tie-dyeing, fencing, poetry readings -- and she loved it. Famous people were always passing through, which added to the sense that something fun and important was happening there. Spanky inevitably came to the notice of the Centre’s founder Yvonne Gillham, who arranged for her to work with high-profile followers.(1)
One celebrity quickly took precedence. Travolta was in Mexico making his first film, The Devil’s Rain, a cheap horror movie starring Ernest Borgnine and William Shatner. He got to be friends with Joan Prather, who was one of the few castmembers his age. “He glommed on to me from day one,” she said. “He was extremely unhappy and not doing well.” Prather began talking about how much Scientology had helped her.(2)
When he returned to Los Angeles, Travolta began taking the Hubbard Qualified Scientologist Course at the Celebrity Centre with about 150 other students. He confided to the teacher, Sandy Kent, that he was about to audition for a television show, Welcome Back, Kotter. Kent instructed everyone to point in the direction of ABC Studios and telepathically communicate the instruction: “We want John Travolta for the part.” At the next meeting, Travolta revealed he had gotten the role of Vinnie Barbarino -- the part that would soon make him famous. “My career immediately took off,” Travolta boasted in a Church publication. “Scientology put me in the big time.” (3)
Although Travolta craved fame, he was taken aback by the clamor that came along with it. Spanky managed his relationship with his fans. She went to the tapings of his television show, accompanied him to his many public appearances, and persuaded Paramount Pictures to buy a large block of Scientology auditing for his birthday. She was his liaison with the Church. He introduced a number of fellow actors to Scientology, including Forest Whitaker, Tom Berenger and Patrick Swayze, as well as the great Russian dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov. (Travolta’s friend Priscilla Presley was the only one who actually stuck with the Church.) Spanky Taylor was a visible reminder of Travolta’s increasing devotion to Scientology as well as the Church’s investment in his fame, which could be jeopardized by the indiscreet behavior of a talented but entitled star. (4)
In early 1977, Gillham fell ill. She complained of headaches and was losing weight. She wanted desperately to go to Scientology headquarters in Clearwater, Fla., where she could get the upper-level auditing she thought could cure her, but she was told there wasn’t money for that. Instead, she was sent on a mission to Mexico with her husband. On her 50th birthday, Oct. 20, 1977, while in Mexico, she suffered a stroke.
Desperate to get Gillham the auditing she still thought she needed, Taylor went to the financial banking officer and begged her for the funds to send her friend to Clearwater. For her impertinence, Taylor was sentenced to RPF.
Her new baby daughter, Vanessa, was taken away and placed in the Child Care Org, the Scientology nursery. There were 30 infants crammed into a small apartment with wall-to-wall cribs, with one nanny for every 12 children. It was dark and dank, and the children were rarely, if ever, taken outside.
When she got the news she was being sent to RPF, Taylor cried, “You can’t do that now!” She was thinking of Travolta. He had just called her the day before, saying that he was arriving on an Air France flight after his appearance at a film festival in Deauville, where he was promoting Saturday Night Fever. Despite his triumph, Travolta appeared depressed and withdrawn. During the filming of Saturday Night Fever, his girlfriend, Diana Hyland, had died in his arms. She was two decades older than he -- she played his mother in a made-for-TV movie, The Boy in the Plastic Bubble -- and had already had a double mastectomy when they met. Their romance was doomed when her cancer recurred. Taylor had helped Travolta through that period of grief, but now his mother, the most important figure in his life, had also developed cancer. Travolta asked Taylor if she would pick him up at the airport. She promised him, “Wild horses wouldn’t keep me from being there!”
The Church officials now told Taylor that someone else would meet Travolta. Taylor knew the star would feel surprised and betrayed. He would immediately suspect that something terrible had happened and worry about her. Taylor was mortified to think that she would be the cause of his discomfort.
The RPF had moved out of the basement up to the top floor of the old V-shaped building that formerly housed the Cedars of Lebanon Hospital. Nearly 200 people were crammed by the dozen into old patient rooms in bunks stacked three high. Because of the overcrowding,Taylor was given a soggy mattress on the roof. It was cold. She could hear the traffic on Sunset Boulevard only a block away. She had a view of the Hollywood Hills andthe endless lights of the wakeful city, which was throbbing all around her. So many young people like her had been pulled into the matrix of Hollywood glamour and fame, even if they would never enjoy it themselves. And now, here she was, in the heart of it — isolated, trapped, humiliated, an unnoticed speck on a rooftop. Who could believe that a person could be so lost in the middle of so much life?
After six months, a pair of missionaries came to see Taylor with a strange request. “We would like you to arrange a private screening of Saturday Night Fever” to reward those in RPF. Getting to Travolta wasn’t easy, however. He was now the top box-office star in the world. The Church hierarchy was worried that he was also drifting away from Scientology. There was a problem. The movie was still being shown around the world, and all the prints were out. The only one available was Travolta’s copy, but his personal assistant Kate Edwards said she would make the request. “Johnny said if you ever called and needed something, just do it,” Edwards assured her.
“You can’t tell John about this call!” Taylor said, embarrassed at being sent to RPF.
“I’m going to have to tell him,” Edwards replied. “I’m going to have to ask him to borrow it.”
Edwards told her that Travolta had agreed to loan Taylor the print, under one condition: that he could see her. The missionaries decided that as long as Taylor got the print, she could meet Travolta for dinner after the screening. (Travolta’s attorney denies that there was an agreement to visit Spanky in exchange for his personal copy of Saturday Night Fever.) Travolta followed up by sending flowers, which were delivered to Taylor in RPF.
The screening took place on a Saturday night. As soon as the movie was over and the credits were rolling, several Scientology executives escorted Taylor to an office and told her to call Travolta and cancel their date for dinner the following night.
“I can’t do that!” Taylor said.
“There have been all sorts of efforts to recover him, and we can’t let you get in the way of that,” an official told her. “Call him right now.”
Travolta was furious when he heard what she had to say. “We had a deal!” he said.“How could you do this?” he demanded.
“How could you leave your baby?” For the first time in their relationship, he raised his voice. “My mother died, and you weren’t there!”( Travolta’s mother died from cancer in December 1978.)
Taylor began to bawl so hard she couldn’t speak. She recalled that Travolta was asking questions she couldn’t answer, questions she had been afraid to pose herself. He seemed to know what she was going through. “Unless you killed somebody, which I don’t think you did, there’s no reason for you to be where you are,” Travolta told her. His frankness was devastating.
“I’m doing this so I can be better!” Taylor sobbed. “So I can help you more.”
Meanwhile, a Scientology official was jabbing his finger at her and mouthing an order to hang up the phone. She quickly said goodbye and set the phone in the cradle. Then she was escorted back to RPF.
All that night she cried and cried, but when the sun came up, she was flooded with clarity.“I am so f---ing out of here!” she decided. “I don’t know how, but I’m getting out.”
It wasn’t obvious how she could escape. She had been placed in RPF in March; now it was September. She didn’t know where to turn. It didn’t occur to her to call her parents because she was so apprehensive that she might bring shame on Scientology if anybody knew what had happened to her. Even if she did escape, she realized, she actually knew very little about what was going on in the world. Since she had joined Scientology at the age of 14, she had never read a book that hadn’t been written by Hubbard.
Taylor managed to slip away to visit her 10-month-old daughter in the Child Care Org across the street. To her horror, she discovered that Vanessa had contracted whooping cough, which is highly contagious and occasionally fatal. The baby’s eyes were welded shut with mucus, and her diaper was wet -- in fact, her whole crib was soaking. She was covered with fruit flies.
She finally conceived a plan. Explaining to her guards that she had to telephone the doctor, she managed a brief call to Travolta’s office and asked Edwards to meet her the next day at a certain time, giving the address of the Child Care Org. She hung up without even hearing Edwards’ response.
The next day, she was allowed a brief visit to the nursery. She had an extra diaper, a toothbrush and four dimes, all the money she had in the world. Fortunately, Edwards arrived, right on time. Lying, Taylor explained to her Scientology escort that Edwards washer sister-in-law who had come to take Vanessa to the doctor.“
“Is this approved?” he asked.
“Oh, absolutely!” Taylor opened Edwards’ door and handed her the baby.
Then, under her breath, she added, “Kate, when I shut this door, please drive away as quickly as you can.” Edwards nodded, then Taylor jumped in. Edwards hit the gas.
Edwards checked them in to the Tropicana Hotel on Santa Monica Boulevard, but the next morning three Sea Org executives found her and brought her back to RPF.
Taylor still believed in the revelations of her religion. She worried that her salvation was at stake. But she was also gripped with fear that her baby and her unborn child (Taylor had accidentally gotten pregnant again during a conjugal visit with her husband early in her time in RPF) were in mortal danger. At first, she was firm in telling the men that she wasn’t coming back. They told her that they hated to see her be declared a Suppressive Person and cut off from any other Scientologist — nearly everyone she knew. There was a proper way to “route out,” they reminded her. Eventually, Taylor agreed to return to the office to file the paperwork that would allow her to leave the Sea Org (with her child) on good terms and still be a Scientologist.
Many former Sea Org members found their departure from the Church to be tangled in confusion, panic, grief and conflicting loyalties. Many still cling to a relationship with the Church. A year after leaving the Sea Org, she traveled to Houston to meet with Travolta. He was filming Urban Cowboy. On her own initiative, she came to “recover” him for the Church. She had heard he was having problems in his life, and she worried that her own troubles had prevented him from turning to the Church for help. It was also possible that if she brought Travolta back into the fold, her standing in the Church would be improved.
Like most celebrities, Travolta had been shielded from the Church’s inner workings. The scandals that periodically erupted in the press about Hubbard’s biography, or his disappearance,or the Church’s use of private investigators and the courts to harass critics —these things rarely touched the awareness of Scientology luminaries. It was easy enough to chalk such revelations up to religious persecution or yellow journalism. “There are two sides to the story, but I don’t know both sides,” Travolta blithely said.
He and Taylor met in the evening, after dinner, over a plate of chocolate chip cookies that she had brought. She explained that she had left the Sea Org and was with her two children now, then quickly changed the subject and asked about him. He described the problems he was having.
Former Scientologists have given conflicting accounts of Travolta’s stressful relationship with the Church at that time. The Church hierarchy was desperately concerned that details about the private matters of their most valuable member would be revealed; at the same time, the hierarchy was prepared touse those details against him. Bill Franks, the Church’s former executive director, told Time magazine that in Franks’ opinion, the Church had Travolta trapped. At one point, the star sought assurance from Franks that his private confessions wouldn’t be used against him. In truth, intelligence officers inside the Church had already been directed to gather material -- called a Dead Agent pack -- that would be used against Travolta if he turned.(5)
In Houston, however, Travolta told Taylor that he didn’t really feel that he needed to be recovered -- he was just taking a break. However, Taylor did persuade him to buy a costly package of auditing. He had stopped his course work after completing OT III.
After that, she received a letter from Hubbard saying, “Well done.” The founder asked if there was anything she needed. She asked nothing for herself but begged Hubbard to do a “Folder Error Summary” on Travolta, in which the founder would personally review all the star’s auditing over the years -- considered a tremendous honor within Scientology.
Still, not long afterward, Travolta stopped talking to Taylor. She got a call from Priscilla Presley, who had run into Travolta, and he said that they should get together. “I’ll call Spanky,” Presley had told him.
“No, don’t go through Spanky,” Travolta said.
When Spanky heard this, she realized she had been declared a Suppressive Person -- a nonentity -- despite her efforts to remain in the Church’s good graces. Nobody had bothered to tell her, but from now on, no Scientologist would be allowed to talk to her. (6)
After leaving the Church, Taylor started her own business and raised her children, who never joined the religion. Her ex-husband is still a Scientologist. She has never spoken publicly about her experiences until now.
Excerpted from Going Clear by Lawrence Wright. Copyright (c) 2013 by Lawrence Wright. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
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First footnote: Interview with Jessie Prince.
Second footnote: Interview with Joan Prather.
Third footnote: Interview with Sandy Kent Anderson. What is Scientology? p. 233.
Fourth footnote: Reitman, Inside Scientology, p. 264.
Fifth footnote: Interview with William “Bill” Franks.
Sixth footnote: Interview with Sylvia "Spanky" Taylor.
Tom Cruise Admits Katie Holmes Fled Because of Scientology


Tom Cruise admitted that Katie Holmes left him partly because of his ties to Scientology.
Cruise sat for a deposition in his $50 million libel suit against a magazine company that claimed he abandoned his daughter Suri.
In the deposition ... Cruise squirmed in his chair as the lawyer for the magazine repeatedly asked if Katie fled their marriage because of the Church. Cruise hemmed and hawed, suggesting it wasn't true, and then the lawyer asked whether "Katie Holmes left you in part to protect Suri from Scientology."
Cruise answered: "Did she say that? That was one of the assertions, yes."
Cruise also admitted that Suri is NOT a member of Scientology anymore.
The story that triggered the lawsuit claimed Tom abandoned his daughter. In his depo, Cruise says for the period between June 18, 2012 and Thanksgiving, 2012, he estimates he only saw Suri 10 days. During one stretch ... Tom admits he didn't see his daughter for more than 100 days.
The lawyer for the magazine grilled Tom about his desire to see Suri. The lawyer pulled out aviation documents showing Tom flew from Pittsburgh to London on Oct. 15 for the International Association of Scientology convention. Tom returned to Pittsburgh the next day. Tom said it was very important to attend, and then the lawyer made it clear Tom never took such quick trips to see Suri.
And in another part of the deposition, the magazine's lawyer brought up the part of the story in which they claimed Suri was "upset and crying a lot" when Tom was absent. In the depo, Tom admits being absent, but adamantly denied Suri was upset.

Tom Cruise Scientology Video
The house that Scientology built: Tom Cruise and John Travolta are in the front row to see opening of $145m cathedral where members will be trained to develop 'super powers'
Less than 6,000 turned out for the unveiling of Scientology's new Flag Building in Clearwater, Florida yesterday
Actors Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Kelly Preston were in attendance
It is the tallest building in Clearwater, Florida and the home to Scientology's 'Super Power' program
The church broke ground on the building in 1998 but construction has been off and on for the past 15 years
By Ashley Collman
18 November 2013
Actors Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Kelly Preston were in attendance yesterday as thousands of Scientologists gathered in Clearwater, Florida for the dedication of their new $145million 'cathedral'.
The 377,000-square-foot Flag Building is the tallest building in downtown Clearwater, and has been in construction for nearly 15 years. The opening of the building will mark the first time Scientologists have a place to practice the 'Super Power' program, developed by the religion's founder L Ron Hubbard in the 1970s.
While the city was told to expect 10,000 Scientologists this weekend, the crowd gathered outside the Flag Building yesterday was noticeably smaller. The Tampa Bay Times estimated that numbers could have been less than 6,000.
In the front row: Tom Cruise and John Travolta side-by-side in the front row as the Church of Scientology's Flag Building in downtown Clearwater, Florida is opened. The building is rumored to have a floor where members can get 'super powers'
Jumbo-tron: Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige's speech was broadcast to the large crowd on a large video screen
Applause: Confetti falls as the Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige dedicates the massive Flag Building in downtown Clearwater
Headquarters: The $145m building reportedly will be the only place where a highly classified Super Power program, first advanced by church founder L. Ron Hubbard in the 1970s, will be conducted
Exclusive: The ceremony was for parishioners only but even born-and-bred Scientologists couldn't get into the dedication.
But she didn't seem to hold any grudge against the church for not letting her into the event.
'Thank God it's finally done,' she said. 'There are so many more people joining the church we really needed more space so we could be more comfortable and do more things for the community, and the response today is absolutely breathtajing. We've been looking forward to this for a long, long time.'
Brad Kugler is a second-generation Scientologist from nearby Palm Harbor and he too wasn't allowed into the ceremony.
Mr Kugler climbed a palm tree just for a better vantage point into the ceremony.
'I've been watching this come out of the ground for the better part of 15 years. It's huge,' he told the Tampa Bay Times. 
After a quick eight-minute speech by Scientology's leader David Miscavige, confetti-rained down and the cathedral's doors were opened to the thousands gathered outside.
But for non-church members excluded on the outside, the building's opening was not a celebration. Around four people were seen protesting the event in Guy Fawkes masks, while other locals weren't happy at the religion's takeover of the city.'People don't want to come to downtown Clearwater because that's all you see — big groups (of Scientologists) walking everywhere. Downtown Clearwater could be a really interesting, vibrant place,' said Debbie Halvorsen, 62, of Largo.
Mo Iskander would disagree. The local restauranteur sees the center's opening as a money-making opportunity. He opened his new restaurant Mixx Bar and Bar and Grill yesterday as well and aims to bring in Scientology parishioners.
'The church will play a big part in bringing attractions, festivals and nightlife to the downtown area, and we're just the first,' he said. 'The Scientologists are always well dressed, they look nice, and they keep our city a nice place. And they need to eat, too.'
The group broke ground on the Mediterranean Revival-style  building in 1998, but stopped work after finishing the shell.
For three years, the group ceased construction on the project until the city started imposing $250-a-day fines for code violations.
Scientology defectors have explained that the building's slow construction is due to church leader's who have allegedly used the project as a fundraising cash cow.
An analysis by the Tampa Bay Times discovered that the church had raised $145million for the building, much higher than the $100million it was estimated to cost.
Former Scientologist couple Rocio and Luis Garcia of Irvine, California contributed more than $340,000 to the construction of the Super Power building, before ultimately suing the church in federal court for dragging out the project 'as a shill'.
Church representatives have described the Garcia's suit as 'frivolous'.
While the new building is part of a larger complex of buildings that serve as a spiritual retreat for Scientologists, there will be space on the ground floor for visitors to learn about the religion.
The visitor center will have a 'grand lobby' with a three-story atrium and exhibits that explain the religion's belief system and practices.
The second and third floors are home to offices and classrooms while the basement houses a huge kitchen and dining areas.
Three hundred small rooms for 'auditing' can be found on the buildings upper floors. Auditing is the religions form of counseling and a session can cost $1,000.
But the jewel in the crown of the Flag Building is on the fifth floor, where members can pariticapte in the Super Power program for the first time.
The Super Power program was developed by the religion's found L Ron Hubbard and described as one of his greatest discoveries.
'Super Power is a series of spiritual counseling processes designed to give a person back his own viewpoint, increase his perception, exercise his power of choice, and greatly enhance other spiritual abilities,' church spokesman Ben Shaw said in a statement.
Hubbard went further in his description of the program saying: 'Super Power is the answer to a sick, a dying and dead society...With it we literally revive the dead.'
As part of that therapy, members will be spun on an anit-gravity simulator blindfolded to improve their 'perceptics' - Hubbard's 57 senses which include sight, smell, taste, blood circulation, and awareness of awareness.
Another interesting feature of the building is the circular running track located on floor six.
Scientologists use the track for 'Cause Resurgence Rundown'. Basically they run until they have a moment of enlightenment called 'cognition'.
Allegations: Former members of the church claim leaders have used the building's lengthy construction process as a fundraising ploy
Not present: Scientologists Elisabeth Moss and Kristie Alley were not present
Rabbi Shmuley: When Scientology Tried to Recruit Steven Spielberg
How come Jewish celebrities aren't jumping to support Israel?
By Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
The Week just voted Going Clear, the devastating account of Scientology by Pulitzer-Prize winner Lawrence Wright, the best non-fiction book of the year. I just finished it. It’s un-put-down-able.
A few striking things emerge from the book. The first is the near absence of the word God. So what do Scientologists worship? According to Wright it’s celebrity and fame, which is why Tom Cruise occupies such a central place in the faith. “[Cruise] was the embodiment of Hubbard’s vision of a church with temples dedicated to celebrity rather than God.”
Tom Cruise, left, with Steven Spielberg. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
According to Wright, Cruise, whose devotion to Scientology is legend, designed, in about 2005, the biggest “get” that Scientology could possibly aspire to, namely, to “draw the most powerful man in Hollywood into Scientology.” At the time Steven Spielberg was directing Cruise in War of the Worlds and Spielberg had apparently said to Paul Haggis, the Academy-Award winning writer of Million Dollar Baby, “I’ve met all these Scientologists and they seem like the nicest people.”
Haggis would later denounce his membership in Scientology as having been “in a cult for thirty-four years.”
Nothing more is mentioned about why Cruise failed in his aspiration and Spielberg obviously remains a loyal and devoted Jew. But the sheer brazenness of a small, modern, and highly controversial religion to pluck away from Judaism the man who had made Schindler’s List and who founded the Shoah Foundation Institute, with its goal of obtaining taped testimony from every Holocaust survivor, is absolutely striking.
Which got me to thinking. How is that Israel is attacked and vilified nearly every day, and increasingly from Hollywood stars, without Jews having recruited a single high-profile celebrity to galvanize Hollywood’s biggest names — especially Jews — to stand with Israel.
Recently I wrote of Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters vile comparison of Israel with the Nazis. I am not famous like Barbra Streisand, Steven Spielberg, Dustin Hoffman or Natalie Portman. Where were they to protest this despicable, anti-Semitic tirade?
I’m not blaming them so much as I blame the leaders of the Jewish community for failing to recruit them — not to another faith but to their own. Is it a lot to ask someone like Seth Rogen to condemn the comparison of Israeli soldiers to the SS? Are we asking too much of Adam Sandler to reject allegations that Israel is the Gestapo?
In 2001, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was visiting New York. I received a call from a friend who was hosting a reception in New York City. Knowing that Michael Jackson was in New York at the time, the friend asked if I would bring Michael to the reception. It would be good for Michael, and good for Israel, he said. I happened to be in Michael’s hotel suite when I got the call and asked him if he’d like to meet Prime Minister Sharon. I was honest about the criticism that might ensue; Ariel Sharon was highly controversial, as was Israel. Michael could pay a price among his fans. But he didn’t care. He told me he’d love to attend, and that evening I went with Michael, Uri Geller, and Michael’s manager to meet the Israeli Prime Minister. The next day the picture appeared in publications throughout the world, including The New York Times.
Michael has been accused by some of anti-Semitism because of the lyrics of his 1995 song, “They Don’t Care About Us,” in which he sang, “Jew me, sue me, everybody do me/ Kick me, kike me, don’t you black or white me.”
Then there were his taped comments in 2005 to German adviser Dieter Wiesner that Jews are “like leeches … I’m so tired of it … They start out the most popular person in the world, make a lot of money, big house, cars and everything. End up penniless. It is a conspiracy. The Jews do it on purpose.”
I’ve been asked about this a thousand times and my response has been the same. I took Michael to meet Elie Wiesel on many occasions. Michael spoke to me about the Holocaust on countless occasions. The comments he made about Jews, in my opinion, were made when he was drugged out of his mind. That doesn’t excuse them. Still, when Israel needed a major celebrity to welcome its Prime Minister to New York, Michael was there.
Some celebrities are finally beginning to fight back. Last week my good friend Roseanne Barr wrote to me about how disgusted she was by Mr. Waters’s comments and publicly vilified him for “using a pig with a Magen David on it to represent ‘Zionists’ while he simultaneously erases his own country’s guilt in creating the entire problem in the middle east, and everywhere else on earth where the Royal Empire devours Tribal homelands/resources ethics, and Law.”
At the end of Going Clear, Mr. Wright indicts Tom Cruise for his silence about the abuses of Scientology. “Probably no other member of the Church derives as much material benefit from his religion as Cruise does, and consequently none bears a greater moral responsibility for the indignities inflicted on members of the Sea Org, sometimes directly because of his membership.” Wright condemns the many Scientologist celebrities who have not spoken out against “the widespread allegations of physical abuse, involuntary confinement, and forced servitude within the church’s clergy.”
If we flip it, might the same be said of all those silent Jewish celebrities who see a Jewish state struggling to survive against Hezbollah terrorists, Hamas murderers, and Iranian genocidaires and remain silent while Israel is slowly destroyed?
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, whom The Washington Post calls “the most famous Rabbi in America,” will shortly publish Kosher Lust: Love Is Not the Answer. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley, and “like” Rabbi Shmuley’s Facebook page.

Some crazy scientology stuff

Media Mayhem : Scientology Truth, Scandal, and Leah Remini 

John Travolta on Scientology
Chapter 20
The Truth About L. Ron Hubbard
For heaven's sake, tell them I'm not God. -- L. Ron Hubbard, quoted by Eric Barnes, Public Relations Chief of New York Church of Scientology
Lafayette Ronald Hubbard, born in 1911 in Tilden, Nebraska, is a man of many
talents and accomplishments, although not quite as many as he claims. In a number of biographies and autobiographies, both types of which were said to have been written by him, he claims to have been descended from Count de Loup, to be part French and Scotch and to have part of his family come from Little Clacton, Essex. He claims to have been a blood brother of the Pikuni Indians, "fast friends" with Calvin Coolidge Jr., and to be the real life model for the book, play, and movie, Mister Roberts.
He also claims to have graduated in mathematics and engineering from Columbian University (a part of George Washington University), sometimes claims to have graduated in civil engineering from George Washington University, to have attended Princeton University (sometimes the Princeton School of Government) and to have gotten a Ph.D. from Sequoia University. He was a prolific writer, a singer, an explorer (and claims to have been a member of the Explorers Club since 1936), a seaman, a Lieutenant in the navy, who was severely injured in the war.
Many of these things are true; for example, his family does come from Little Clacton, Essex, he was a writer, he was an explorer (and a member of the Explorers Club, but since 1940, not 1936 as he claimed), he was severely injured in the war (and in fact was in a lifeboat for many days, badly injuring his body and his eyes in the hot Pacific sun). But there are a number of small unimportant things in his Brief Biography of L. Ron Hubbard (which his son claims his father really wrote) that were exposed by the Daily Mail in England as false. Because of these errors, it tends to cast suspicion, perhaps unjustly, on the rest.
Actually, most of the "errors" in that biography and others, with the exception of his academic background, were simply sins by omission. Although Hubbard admits he wrote screenplays and westerns, it was in science fiction that he made his mark, a fact he conveniently omitted in his Brief Biography and frequently underplayed elsewhere. This is important because a science fiction background is not considered good preparation for the understanding of true scientific phenomena and also because Hubbard wrote so much science fiction at one time that it would seem almost impossible that he could have carried on the careful research he claimed he did to formulate Dianetics upon which Scientology is based.
Nonetheless, Hubbard says Dianetics was based on his exhaustive research with 270 subjects, and this research formed the basis of his engram and other theories. A recent article in Freedom stated that Hubbard spent thirty-five years researching the mind before Dianetics came out. If this is true, it means that he started researching at the age of three. Generally, Hubbard is content to have people believe he spent twelve years researching Dianetics before coming out with his basic book, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health.
He says that the research began with his 1938 book, Excalibur, which appears to have been the manuscript he claims was stolen by the Russians. During these twelve years, especially in the last three or four before Dianetics came out, he wrote at least seventy-eight science fiction stories alone (under his name, or the pseudonyms of Rene Lafayette and Kurt Van Strachen) not to mention writing in other fields. With all this writing, it's hard to believe he had the time to research those 270 subjects properly (to research them properly would require 540 people; a control group that has not been given the Dianetic treatment should have been included in the sample).
With the exception of his one article on Dianetics published in a science fiction magazine, a cursory examination of Hubbard's other stories shows no indication that his imagination was being applied to the science rather than the fiction. (The one exception is a story written in 1938 called "Her Majesty's Aberration" but it appears that only the title presaged anything that was to come later.)
Another thing that Hubbard was doing at the time -- also apparently not conducive to Dianetics research, and also an item he failed to mention in his "autobiographies" -- was that he was possibly practicing black magic. Alexander Mitchell, who writes for the Sunday Times in England, claimed that Hubbard was once practicing witchcraft with John Parsons, who joined the American branch of the cult of Aleister Crowley, the reknowned sorcerer and mystic.
Parsons got Hubbard to act as a high priest during a number of rituals, during which time Parsons had sexual relations with his girl friend, Betty, who was also allegedly having relations with Hubbard. Hubbard seemed unconcerned about the competition, though, since Mitchell wrote that in the "climax" of the ritual, he allegedly "worked" his two subjects into a "sexual frenzy."
In addition to these sexual unions, there seems to have been some pooling of finances on a business partnership. Parsons was believed to have invested $17,000, Hubbard about $10,000, and Parson's girl friend Betty nothing. But it was said that Hubbard used about $10,000 of this to buy a yacht, while his friend Parsons was "living at rock bottom and I mean rock bottom," according to another cult member. Aleister Crowley cabled his United States office that he "suspected" that Hubbard was playing a "confidence trick" since Parsons had given away his girl friend and his money to Hubbard.
Eventually Parsons did recover the yacht, describing how in a letter to Crowley, reprinted by the Sunday Times.
Hubbard attempted to escape me by sailing at 5 P.M. and performed a full invocation to Bartzabel within the circle at 8 P.M. (a curse). At the same time, however, his ship was struck by a sudden squall off the coast which ripped off his sails and forced him back to port where I took the boat in custody.

All this happened after the war, at approximately the time when Hubbard claimed he had resumed his studies of Dianetics.
In his biographies Hubbard conveniently omitted or altered his educational qualifications. In his Brief Biography, he said he had graduated from Columbian University and in Who's Who in the Southwest (they claim he supplied the data) he said he graduated in Civil Engineering from George Washington University. (He has sometimes used a C.E. after his name.) Hubbard has even dedicated one of his books to his "instructors in atomic and molecular phenomenon, mathematics and the humanities at George Washington University and at Princeton," and in his Brief Biography he said he "excelled in but thoroughly detested his subjects."
Actually his grades were appallingly low. Although he did do well in his engineering and English courses, the man who frequently calls himself a nuclear physicist got a D in one physics course, an E in another, and in the atomic and molecular physics courses that he most often emphasizes (to the degree of thanking his instructors for it), he received an F. With those grades, along with similar ones in mathematics, it is not surprising that Hubbard was placed on probation after his first year in college and didn't return for his second -- and of course never received the degrees that he claims he has.
As for the Princeton School of Government that he says he attended, it was the Princeton School of Military Government, and he went there only three months in what was possibly a war service course.
Hubbard also claims to have a Ph.D. from Sequoia University. Sequoia was originally called the College of Drugless Healing, and might have been called the College of Instant Learning, since it has been traced by the United States government to a residential dwelling in Los Angeles which operated through a post office box and delivered mail order doctorates without the formality of exams, or for that matter, of classroom attendance.
In fact, Hubbard didn't even have to pay for that degree -- it was an Honorary Degree for his work in Dianetics. A Harvard student discovered that Hubbard was also on the staff of the school; might Sequoia be another name for one of Hubbard's own establishments? (Hubbard's establishments have variously been called Hubbard College, Hubbard International School for Children, The Apostolic Church of Theological Scientologists, The Academy of Religious Arts and Sciences, Church of American Science, Church of the New Faith, Scientology Consultants for Industrial Efficiency, National Academy for American Psychology.)
Nonetheless, Hubbard apparently considered this "doctorate" to be significant because he renounced it in a public notice:
I, L. Ron Hubbard of Saint Hill Manor East Grinstead Sussex having reviewed the damage being done in our society with nuclear physics and psychiatry by persons calling themselves "Doctors" do hereby resign in protest my university degree as a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) anticipating an early public outcry against anyone called "Doctor" and although not in any way connected with bombs or "psychiatric treatment" or treatment of such and interested only and always in philosophy and the total freedom of the human spirit, I wish no association of any kind with these persons and so do publicly declare and request my friends and the public not to refer to me in any way with this title.

Even so, Hubbard is referred to as "doctor," has used the title himself, and he does indeed have a D. Scn., or Doctor of Scientology. But that even this degree is haphazardly awarded became apparent when Hubbard's son, L. Ron Hubbard Jr., who also has a D. Scn, testified at the United States Court of Claims that he didn't have to do anything special to get the degree, and in fact, wasn't certain whether he got his Bachelor of Scientology before or after he got his Doctorate of Scientology.
Another omission in his biographies -- and one can hardly blame him for it -- are the dates of his various marriages and divorces. In the Scientology Security Check, a preclear is asked whether he has ever committed bigamy. Perhaps Hubbard should have put himself on the meter.
On April 13, 1933, he married Louise Grubb at Elkton, Maryland, and had two children by her. In December of 1945, she claimed he abandoned her and the children, and she filed suit for divorce on April 14, 1947. The divorce was granted on December 24, 1947, in Port Orchard, Washington. The only problem is that on August 10, 1946, in Chestertown, Maryland, Hubbard married Sara Northrup 8 months before the divorce suit was filed, and a year and a half before it was finalized.
Also omitted, obviously, are the speculations that have been made about his sanity. The Australian Report said that "expert psychiatric witnesses" were of the opinion that Hubbard's writings indicated "symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia of long standing with delusions of grandeur." There have been rumors for years about Hubbard's sanity, and he has acknowledged these rumors:
Two million traceable dollars were spent to halt this work [Dianetics and Scientology].... All that has survived of this attack by the two A.P.A.'s, the A.M.A. and several universities is a clutter of rumors concerning your sanity and mine -- and rumors no longer financed will some day die.

The Australian Inquiry finally came to the conclusion that Hubbard's "sanity was to be gravely doubted." Certainly some of Hubbard's statements, even coming from a former science fiction writer, do sound rather strange. Hubbard claims to have visited Venus, the Van Allen Radiation belt, and heaven -- twice. The first time in heaven, he said, was from "the moment of the implant to forget ... 43,891,832,611,177 years 344 days, 10 hours, 20 minutes and 40 seconds from 10:02 to 2 P.M. Daylight Greenwich Time, May 9, 1963." The second time was about a trillion years later. Lest anyone doubt he was there, or think that he might have ended up in the wrong place, he described Heaven as follows:
The gates of the first series are well done, well built. An Avenue of statues of saints leads up to them. The gate pillars are surmounted by marble angels. The entering grounds are very well kept, laid out like Bush Gardens in Pasadena, so often seen in the movies.
The second series ... is shabby. The vegetation is gone. The pillars are scruffy. The saints have vanished. So have the angels. A sign on one (the left as you enter) says "This is Heaven." The right one says "Hell."

In addition to having visited Heaven, Hubbard has also rewritten Genesis. "Before the Beginning was a Cause and the entire purpose of the Cause was the creation of effect," etc. He has also rewritten the calendar to read "A.D. 1, A.D. 10," etc., (to stand for "After Dianetics 1951," "After Dianetics 1960"), as if his discoveries were as important as the birth of Christ. When Hubbard first came out with Dianetics he wrote that it was a "milestone for Man comparable to his discovery of fire and superior to his invention of the wheel and arch." Now he sees Scientology as purer than Buddhism, Taoism and Christianity.
Hubbard's "case studies" contain a constant repetition of torture themes in which people are held in bondage, inflicted with pain or violently killed. He often attributes (or projects) the cause of neurosis or engrams to the father's committing violent physical acts against the mother while she was pregnant or in the act of conceiving, as in the following "case study" Hubbard presented.
Fight between mother and father shortly after conception. Father strikes mother in the stomach. She screams ... and he says "Goddamn you, I hate you! You are no good. I'm going to kill you." Mother says, "Please don't hit me again. Please don't. I'm hurt. I'm frantic with pain." Father says, "Lie there and rot, damn you, good-bye."

An even more violent example which one of his research subjects allegedly remembered, occurred when the child in the womb got an engram when her father knelt on her mother and started choking her before raping her.
FATHER: Stay here! Stay down, damn you, you bitch! I'm going to kill you this time. I said I would and I will. Take that! (his knee grinds into the mother's abdomen) You better start screaming. Go on, Scream for mercy! Why don't you break down? Don't worry, you will. You'll be blubbering around here, screaming for mercy! The louder you scream the worse you'll get. That's what I want to hear! I'm a punk kid, am I? You're the punk kid! I could finish you now but I'm not going to! ... This is just a sample. There's a lot more than that where it came from! I hope it hurts! I hope it makes you cry! You say a word to anybody and I'll kill you in earnest! ... I'm going to bust your face in. You don't know what it is to be hurt! ... I know what I'm going to do to you now! I'm going to punish you! etc.

Hubbard's hostility and unconscious obsession with violence runs through all of his writings. But it was apparent even before he presented Dianetics or Scientology. One of his earlier pseudonyms was "Winchester Remington Colt" and although it's possible he consciously chose the name for its euphony it does seem strange that all three names are those of guns. Freudians could have a field day with this pseudonym, and its obvious phallic counterpart, perhaps surmising that he unconsciously chose the name to compensate for other weaknesses.