Showing posts with label Scientology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scientology. Show all posts

March 29, 2015

Scientology Cult Based on Secrecy is Loosing the Fight with an Open Internet



Since its founding in the 1950s, L. Ron Hubbard’s organization has put a premium on controlling the flow of information—an increasingly impossible enterprise in the Internet age.

Last year, the BBC reported that a building owned by the Church of Scientology in northeast England was drawing the ire of local residents. The property in Gateshead—purchased in 2007 for £1.5 million—is depicted on a U.K. Scientology website as an immaculately tended estate with a wide, sloping lawn. In the center of the image, an Arthurian sword, lodged in a stone, catches the rays of the sun. “Northumbria is the area where an entire revival of the United Kingdom's spiritual and cultural fabric emanated from in the 7th Century,” reads the accompanying text, “and now, from where it will shine once again.”
The Scientology site fails to mention that the building has never been occupied since it was purchased, or that it was damaged by a 2011 fire and never repaired. But the BBC article—the first Google search result for the words “Scientology” and “Gateshead”—describes it as a derelict building filled with squatters, its empty parking lot littered with “old sofas, rubbish, and used needles.” Nearby business owners and council members describe it as an eyesore.

Scientology, the movement established by L. Ron Hubbard in the ’50s, has long been known for its efforts to manipulate information about it in the public sphere. The group carefully crafts its image through widespread publicity campaigns (including a native advertisement published on this site in 2013) while suing and attacking those who portray it unfavorably. Over the past 25 years, the Church has filed lawsuits against high-profile publications such as Time and The Washington Post, as well as ex-employees who criticize the Church publicly. Hubbard himself encouraged aggressive legal action toward people who revealed secret information about the Church. According to a 1997 New York Times article, Hubbard once told his followers, “The purpose of the suit is to harass and discourage rather than win … If possible, of course, ruin [the opponent] utterly.”
But the Church is losing control of its public image—in large part because the flow of information in the digital age is irrepressible. “It’s the Internet that has changed everything,” says Tony Ortega, the former editor of The Village Voiceand founder of a website, The Underground Bunker, that’s dedicated to criticizing Scientology.

For example, in 2013, a Scientology spokesperson told the BBC that 27,000 people had attended its services in northeast England during the past decade. But those curious about the true number of members in the region can easily find the results of a 2011 census, which found only 2,418 self-identified Scientologists in England and Wales. (In contrast, 176,632 respondents identified as Jedi Knights.) The same census also found that in Northumbria, the number of Scientologists was 62.
Worldwide, too, the group’s membership claims appear to be dramatically inflated. The Church’s official media center states that Scientology has “more than 11,000 Churches, Missions, and affiliated groups across 167 nations." Karin Pouw, the group's spokesperson, says there are millions of Scientologists worldwide and that the Church has grown more in the past 10 years than in the previous 50 years combined.
But according to the new documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, directed by Alex Gibney and based on the Pulitzer-winning journalist Lawrence Wright’s book of the same name, the Church has fewer than 50,000 members. The movie, which airs on HBO March 29 and 30, is a portrait of an institution in flux, bewildered by the ubiquity of information.
“The genie’s out of the bottle,” Gibney says. “They can’t keep information bottled up, and their attempts to do so show them in the worst possible light. It’s like that moment in The Wizard of Oz where Toto pulls back the curtain and you see the wizened old man say, ‘Pay no attention!’ It’s too late. The curtain’s been pulled back."
* * *
Journalists have been reporting on the Church's practices for decades, from The St. Petersburg TimesPulitzer-winning report in 1980 to Janet Reitman's 2006 feature for Rolling Stone, Inside Scientology.” Historically, Scientology's default crisis-management mode has involved a combination of aggressive legal action and powerful counter-narrative. In 1991, when Time published a cover story titled “Scientology: The Cult of Greed,” the Church critiqued the story in a 48-page advertising supplement in USA Today. At the same time, it sued the magazine for $416 million. By the time the suit was dismissed in 1996, Time Warner had spent an estimated $3.7 million on legal fees.
In the early days of the Internet, the organization made efforts to restrict online information about its activities and core tenets. During the mid-1990s, it went after users for posting unauthorized information on newsgroups, tracking them down through their Internet service providers and even sending police to seize their hard drives. “They had a guy prosecuted for simply joking on the Internet about sending a ‘Tom Cruise missile’ to the secret headquarters compound,” Ortega says.
But censoring content online is a different proposition now that media can reach millions of people within seconds. The 2011 census reported that 71.7 percent of American households access the Internet at home, compared with 18 percent in 1997, while the Internet services company Netcraft estimated that there were 644 million active websites online in 2012, compared with 1.1 million in 1997. Policing information on the web is increasingly difficult, to the point of being nearly impossible: By the time content is taken down, screenshots of it have frequently been shared all over the Internet.
While the Church doesn’t sue news organizations with the same enthusiasm it once did, it still tries to counter criticism as loudly as possible. In 2011, after The New Yorker published “The Apostate”—a story by Wright detailing the director Paul Haggis’ disillusionment with Scientology—the organization printed a 51-page publication titled “The New Yorker: What a Load of Balderdash,” and distributed it outside the Conde Nast headquarters. In January, the Church placed an ad in The New York Times attacking the sources in Gibney's film. But these efforts reached just a tiny fraction of the people who read Wright’s story online, or saw any of the numerous articles discussing Going Clear.
Despite its shrinking size, Scientology is undeniably powerful, with holdings estimated at several billion dollars. Wright’s book was never published in the U.K. due to strict libel laws, and HBO reportedly hired 160 lawyers during the making of the documentary.
But some of the group's most outspoken online critics are former leaders, including Mike Rinder, who was the group’s international spokesperson before he left in 2007. Rinder still maintains that Scientology “can help guide one to fundamental truths about existence, happiness and one’s true nature and identity.” But he criticizes what he calls a “culture of violence and abuse” encouraged by the organization’s current leader, David Miscavige. Rinder recently posted a threatening email he’d received through his personal blog:
what DOES LRH think? Would he side with you if he was here? Reinstate you? No, Rinder. He’d cut your fuckin balls off and hang them from a tree. Something I would LOVE to do. And I mean, actually do. Unfortunately, its illegal in this country. Shut the fuck up Rinder. Shut up you fucking SP. Just shut your fucking mouth. You are being watched, 24-7. TWENTY FOUR SEVEN RINDER. TWENTY FOUR SEVEN.
When asked to respond to Rinder's accusation, Pouw, the Church's spokesperson, wrote in an email, "Mike Rinder has been making false, over-the-top claims about the Church since he left in disgrace eight years ago. We are confident he made this claim up from whole cloth, as he has countless others. And to be clear, the Church had nothing to do with any threatening message."
Pouw was equally dismissive of the claims of another high-profile former leader, Marty Rathbun—a lieutenant of Miscavige’s who has been credited with getting the group its tax-exempt IRS status in 1993. Like Rinder, Rathbun runs a website devoted to criticizing Scientology. Last year, his wife, Monique Rathbun, sued Miscavige and other Church leaders for harassment. The suit cited “numerous aggressive attempts to intimidate” Monique and stated that she had been “harassed, insulted, surveilled, photographed, videotaped, defamed, and humiliated.”
Tactics like these are heavily featured in Going Clear, which alleges that the Church exploits and abuses its members. Among other things, the film claims that one member was punished by being forced to clean a bathroom floor with his tongue, and that another, the actress Nazanin Boniadi, was made to clean toilets with a toothbrush after she displeased her former boyfriend Tom Cruise.
The organization denies the movie's allegations. During recent weeks, Scientology representatives have emailed critics who’ve written positive reviews of the film to state that it’s filled with “bald-faced lies,” and to chastise them for not reaching out to the Church for comment. The Church has also paid for sponsored tweets alleging that Gibney is “HBO’s resident propagandist,” that Rathbun "beat 'best buddy' Rinder to pulp," and that Rinder (who, like Rathbun, appears onscreen) “‘vice-gripped’ his wife of 36 years during assault” and “tore chunks of flesh” from her arm. The tweets link to the website for Freedommagazine, a Scientology publication—specifically, a special report about Going Clear that alleges the film glorifies “bitter, vengeful apostates expelled as long as thirty years ago from the Church.”
These claims—that two of its formerly high-ranking members are severely flawed individuals, and even psychopathic spousal abusers—might seem to reflect poorly on the organization itself. When Pouw was asked to comment on this, she gave an intriguing answer. "Unlike other churches, ours cleans ranks," she wrote in an email. "These individuals are a small few like the pedophile priests and we got rid of them. Our ecclesiastical justice system located their crimes and they were removed from their positions with authority." Pouw also appeared to acknowledge that Scientology expresses its displeasure with members by forcing them to do menial labor, adding, "Rathbun’s position for his final year in the Church was as a janitor in a woodworking mill."
* * *
For all its efforts to manage the media, Scientology’s leaders are strikingly reticent about speaking to the press. Leader David Miscavige, whose official title is Chairman of the Board of the Religious Technology Center (known informally as COB), almost never speaks to the non-Scientology press, and Going Clearalleges that he’s deliberately curtailed Church higher-ups whose public profiles threatened to eclipse his. The organization’s longtime spokesman and public face, Tommy Davis (the son of the actress Anne Archer), has left that role to work for a private equity firm in Austin, Texas.
Instead, the group has overwhelmingly entrusted its public-relations work to celebrities. Wright’s book focuses in large part on the close relationship between Miscavige and Cruise, the Church’s last remaining superstar congregant. Wright quotes Marty Rathbun as saying, “Miscavige convinced Cruise that he and Tom were two of only a handful of truly ‘big beings’ on the planet. He instructed Cruise that [L. Ron Hubbard] 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.” Rathbun also alleges in Going Clear that he carried out orders to wiretap Cruise's then-wife Nicole Kidman’s phone in an effort to drive the couple apart. (Pouw calls this accusation "false and defamatory.")
But Cruise’s association with the Church hasn’t always been advantageous to either the actor or Scientology. In 2004, Cruise spurred widespread rebuke when he stated that he thought psychiatry should be made illegal. (Scientology is vehemently opposed to psychiatry and teaches that mental illnesses do not exist). In 2008, a widely mocked video surfaced showing Cruise praising Scientologists as “the authorities on getting people off drugs, the authorities on the mind,” with the ability to "bring peace and unite cultures.” Then, in 2013, Cruise admitted in a deposition that his wife Katie Holmes had divorced him to prevent their child from being raised as a Scientologist.
Cruise’s career has arguably survived these controversies (his most recent film, Edge of Tomorrow, grossed over $350 million worldwide), but it’s hard to imagine that he’ll be able to avoid addressing Going Clear’s allegations. The film accuses the actor of benefiting personally from the labor of Sea Org employees—the Church’s most committed members, who live in communal housing on Scientology bases and work full-time for the organization. Gibney alleges that Sea Org Scientologists, who are paid less than $50 a week and punished for infractions by being confined to a set of bug-infested, double-wide trailers (sometimes for years at a time), have worked on Cruise’s cars and motorcycles and outfitted his aircraft hangar, because of his significance to the Church and his friendship with Miscavige. Wright’s book calls Cruise the second highest-ranking person in Scientology and states that Miscavige has entrusted him with special tasks—for instance, lobbying President Bill Clinton to ask former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to reconsider the Church’s tax status in the U.K.
Fellow actor and Scientologist John Travolta has already been damaged by his association with the Church, particularly following the box-office catastrophe Battlefield Earth, which was based on a 1982 novel by Hubbard. And Gibney’s movie makes the case that Travolta has known about abuses in the organization for many years. Travolta’s former Scientology liaison, Yvonne “Spanky” Taylor, describes on-camera how, after she fell out of favor with the Church, she was forced to do physical labor while pregnant, and her child was taken from her before she managed to escape with the baby. The movie alleges that Travolta knew about the way his friend was being treated. “He had the opportunity to affect the behavior of the Church, and he decided not to,” says Wright in the film. (When asked about Taylor's claims, Pouw responded, "The child was well taken care of. In addition, it should be noted ... that Taylor remained an active Scientologist for six years after her alleged 'escape.'")
In recent years, Cruise and Travolta have been less outspoken about their affiliation with Scientology. “You haven’t heard a lot from Tom Cruise or John Travolta extolling the virtues of the Church,” says Gibney. But he believes the actors should be publicly addressing the allegations against the group. “People are entitled to believe what they want to believe,” he says, “but when they’re the poster children for an organization that has a documented history of abuse, people should be asking them questions.”

Beyond Cruise and Travolta, Scientology’s celebrity advocates are mostly limited to Kirstie Alley, who had a high-profile feud with the actress Leah Remini after Remini left the Church in 2013; the Fox News host Greta van Susteren; the actress Laura Prepon (Orange is the New Black); and the musician Beck, who, like the Mad Men actress Elisabeth Moss, was raised as a Scientologist from childhood. According to Wright, Miscavige has pushed Cruise to “recruit famous people,” including David and Victoria Beckham, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, and Steven Spielberg, but these attempts failed, and other efforts to enlist new celebrity advocates for the Church have largely been unsuccessful.
Without credible high-profile spokespeople, Scientology has mostly been limited to doing damage control. Its efforts to wrestle back control of the narrative remain strong, but its ability to fight on a million different fronts—responding to accusations of everything from extortion to human trafficking—is clearly limited, while the voices making the accusations are growing louder. Whether or not the Church’s members demand institutional reform will depend largely on how much longer the Church can prevent them from being influenced by negative publicity, and to what extent Cruise and Travolta can continue to decline to answer questions about the more egregious allegations leveled at the organization.
Many of Scientology’s critics believe the Church is inevitably doomed on both counts. “They can’t stop the flow of information, and it’s destroying them,” says Ortega. “Scientology only worked when it could use secrecy to keep people controlled. That doesn’t work anymore.”
Pouw denies that Scientology is struggling to maintain control in the information age. "Like everyone else, Scientologists use the Internet," said Pouw. "We don’t advise Scientologists on what to read and what not to read online because we believe in free speech and expression. That said, we believe it is more than obvious to anyone reviewing the stale rants and lies churned out by Marty Rathbun, Mike Rinder and their tiny failed Texas cult that they are all obsessed zealots with no credibility."
The group's takedowns of people involved with the film don’t seem likely to sway curious moviegoers. But that might not be the point. “Those attacks really aren’t meant for people in the outside world,” says Gibney. “They’re meant for the current adherents of the Church.” As Gibney sees it, “Scientology is trying to put a kind of mask over its membership so they don’t ever see the real stuff. But what they’re finding, and one of the reasons for the declining membership of the church, is the Internet. The Internet has made information so available, and while it’s the vehicle for a lot of hate speech and viciousness, it’s also the vehicle for a tremendous amount of information that’s so easy to get. If you want to find critical stories about Scientology, it’s one click away.”

November 11, 2013

Capt.Scientology Tom Cruise,Finally Admits His Religion Played Role in Divorce Katie Holmes

Tom Cruise: Church of Scientology

  Tom Cruise admitted that ex-wife Katie Holmes filed for divorce “to protect Suri from Scientology,” according to court documents.
The "Mission Impossible" actor is embroiled in a $50 million suit against Bauer Publishing Company, the publisher of In Touch andLife & Style magazines over claims that he "abandoned" his daughter Suri after his June 2012 divorce from Holmes.
Cruise is asked by one of Bauer's attorneys whether one of the reasons that Holmes left him was "to protect Suri from Scientology," according to the transcript of Cruise's Sept. 9 videotaped deposition obtained by ABC News.
"Did she say that? That was one of the assertions, yes," Cruise said.
Holmes, 34, filed for divorce from Cruise in June 2012 after nearly six years of marriage. The pair "amicably settled" their divorce less than two weeks later but did not release details of the settlement.
At the time of the divorce, the former couple released a joint statement saying they were, "committed to working together as parents to accomplishing what is in our daughter Suri's best interests."
Cruise said Holmes was a practitioner of Scientology before and during their marriage, but left the church once she divorced him in June 2012, the court documents said.
While he did not pursue legal action against publications that claimed Holmes left him "in part to protect Suri from Scientology," he sued Bauer over the stories they ran concerning Cruise's supposed abandonment of his 7-year-old daughter, which he called "disturbing," according to the deposition.
"'He chose Scientology over Suri for good.' 'Has he chosen Scientology over Suri for good?' 'Abandoned by Daddy.' I mean come on, that is absolutely disgusting," Cruise said. "I tolerate a tremendous amount and I'm very privileged to be able to have the life that I have, and I believe that. But there is a line that I draw for myself and -- and that's it. And I asked for an apology. I asked for a retraction. They denied it."
While Cruise would not answer whether Suri practiced Scientology since his divorce from Holmes, he said his daughter was not currently practicing the religion, according to the court documents.
According to the suit obtained by, Cruise's lawyer sent the publishers of Life & Style a letter on July 18, 2012, objecting to its July 30 cover headline "Suri in Tears, Abandoned by Her Dad" and story entitled "Suri's Emotional Struggle." In the letter, the lawyer said that the actor had spoken to Suri regularly while he was shooting a film and had been with her the day before the issue was published.
A story headlined "Suri's Emotional Struggle" was printed in Life & Style's July 30 issue.
In addition to the July report, the lawsuit references an Oct. 1, 2012, issue of In Touch, the cover of which showed a photograph of Suri with the headline "Abandoned By Daddy."
Cruise said that he saw his daughter a total number of 10 days between June and Thanksgiving of 2012.
Cruise writes in his court filings that he was working overseas on two films at the time, but says that he never cut Suri out of his life, "whether physically, emotionally, financially or otherwise."
Suri now lives primarily in New York City with Holmes, who has been in South Africa filming "The Giver," with Taylor Swift. Holmes brought her daughter with her to South Africa and the pair were spotted together in Cape Town last month, according to a report in Us Weekly magazine.
Bauer Publishing filed court documents of its own in the case, writing that, at the time of publishing, Cruise had not seen his daughter in 44 days. The company claims Cruise was out at clubs and bars and vacationing, when he could have been with his daughter.
If Cruise prevails in his lawsuit, it would mark the first time the actor has successfully sued tabloids for stories involving his children, who, in addition to Suri, include a son and daughter with actress Nicole Kidman.
ABC News reached out to representatives for both Cruise and Holmes, but neither immediately responded.
Cruise's attorneys did not immediately respond to ABC News' requests for comment, and neither did representatives from the Church of Scientology.

October 10, 2013

Fred Karger Asks To See if Brian Brown(NOM) Violated Law by Lobbying DOMA Against Gays

Brian Brown, head of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM)
 (By Carl Schreck for RIA Novosti) – A prominent US gay rights activist on Wednesday asked top officials to investigate whether a leading opponent of same-sex marriage broke US law by consulting with officials in Moscow on legislation banning same-sex couples from adopting Russian children.
Fred Karger, an activist and longtime US political operative, alleges that Brian Brown, head of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), may have illegally lobbied a foreign government by meeting with Russian lawmakers in June prior to the Kremlin’s enactment of the ban.
“I hope that both of you gentleman will use the authority of your offices to immediately investigate this possible very serious violation,” Karger wrote to US Attorney General Eric Holder and US Secretary of State John Kerry in a letter dated Wednesday.
Karger, a former US presidential hopeful, argues in the letter that by lobbying Russian legislators on the issue, Brown may have violated the US Logan Act, a law forbidding US citizens from conducting private diplomacy with foreign officials against the interests of the United States.
“If Mr. Brown did travel to Moscow with French religious leaders with the express intention of furthering discrimination against LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender] Russians and all LGBT travelers to Russia, this could be in direct conflict with current United States laws,” Karger wrote.
The appeal follows a report last week by the progressive blog Right Wing Watch noting that Brown delivered a speech to members of the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, in June. There is no mention of the speech on the NOM website, but Right Wing Watch uncovered a blog post by a French Catholic group that said Brown accompanied its activists to the Duma.
According to the website of the Duma’s Committee on Family, Women and Children, Brown addressed lawmakers on June 13 to advocate for proposed legislation that would ban Russian children from being adopted by same-sex couples.
“We will unite. We will defend our children their normal civil rights,” Brown said according to a Russian transcript of his speech posted on the committee’s website. “Every child must have the right to normal parents: a mother and a father.”
No English-language version of the speech was available on the Duma committee’s website.
The ban was subsequently approved by both houses of the Russian parliament and signed into law by Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 3.
Brown told RIA Novosti in a telephone interview Wednesday that he spoke extemporaneously at the meeting, and he called Karger’s suggestion that the speech may have violated US law “absurd.”
“It is laughable how little he understands that in America we’re free to stand up and speak for things like traditional marriage around the world,” Brown said.
Brown said he was invited to speak to the lawmakers by Russian activists working with the World Congress of Families, an Illinois-based conservative group set to hold a global convention in Moscow next year.
He said Karger’s appeal to top US officials would not deter his work abroad.
“We’ve been very open that we’re going to work with allies around the world that believe marriage is a union between a man and a woman,” Brown said.
A State Department spokeswoman said Wednesday that she could not confirm whether Karger’s letter had been received but added that “if and when we do receive it, we will review it and respond appropriately.”

September 24, 2013

Our Favorite Scientology Top Man, Tom Cruise Seems To Have Found A Younger Replacement to Katie Holmes

Age Gap Dating

Hollywood’s rumor mill is in full swing once again. Tom Cruise, 51, is reportedly on the hunt for a new younger woman to replace his ex-wife, Katie Holmes, and he’s got his sights set on Jessica White, a 29-year-old Sports Illustrated model who has everything he’s looking for.
Cruise’s reputation took a hit after Holmes unexpectedly ended their marriage, and according to sources, he’s hoping being with a hot, younger woman will help lift his celebrity appeal. “He’s not used to being alone and believes that appearing to be a failure in the love department lessens his star power,” said a mysterious insider, adding, “Tom is sensitive about being over the hill and thinks a younger woman will make him more relevant with a younger audience.”
We’ll be the first to admit that this rumor seems a little out there. But if you really think about it, the prospect of Cruise and White as the next big celebrity couple really isn’t as farfetched as it sounds. Let’s look at the facts.
Aside from the obvious fact that White is a young, beautiful woman, she has also recently been showing a lot of interest in Scientology, the controversial faith that came between Cruise and Holmes—Cruise is still one of the religion’s most devout celebrity followers. If White does become a full-fledged Scientologist, she already meets the basic criteria for a future wife.
Their 22-year age difference wouldn’t be an issue either, because White is no stranger to dating older men—she used to date actor Sean Penn, who is 23 years older than her, and football player Terrell Owens, who’s 10 years older.
What do you think: Would Tom Cruise and Jessica White make a good couple, or would it just be a recipe for disaster?
“Tom Cruise Desperate For a Girlfriend,” ShowbizSpy web site;, last accessed July 19, 2013.
Photo Credits: Jaguar PS / (Tom Cruise), s_bukley / (Jessica White)

August 30, 2013

According to Former Girl Friend Scientology was Active in finding Wife for Tom Interviewing and Clearing Her

A former Scientologist yesterday claimed she was quizzed about her sex life during an ‘audition’ to be Tom Cruise’s wife.
Anette Iren Johansen, 36, told how she was asked ‘very private questions’ during an interview in Copenhagen in 2005, just weeks before he started dating Katie Holmes.
A senior Scientologist demanded to know if she had any ‘sexual perversions’ and whether she had previously had any lesbian affairs or ‘gay sex’, she alleged.
Former Scientologist Anette Iren Johansen
'Search for a bride': A former Scientologist has claimed she was among a number of women 'auditioned' to be the future wife of actor Tom Cruise before he married Katie Holmes
'Search for a bride': Former Scientologist Anette Iren Johansen (left) has claimed she was among a number of women 'auditioned' to be the future wife of actor Tom Cruise before he married Katie Holmes (right)
The Norwegian was training to be a vet in Denmark when she joined the Church of  Scientology in 2002 after it promised to help her mother recover from a serious illness.
As her involvement in the church increased, she says she was pressured to give up her studies and went on to feature in some of its training films.
 A film crew of four turned up along with a make-up artist and hair stylist who made her look ‘very glam’, she told Australian magazine Woman’s Day. ‘They asked me so many questions about my life, my family background, everything I’d ever done in Scientology,’ she said. ‘Days later, the man who had led the audition phoned from Los Angeles and told me he needed to ask some “very private questions”.
In January 2005 – a year after Cruise had separated from his girlfriend Penelope Cruz – she was invited to what she initially believed was an audition for another video, but which turned out to be something ‘very different’.

‘He asked, “Do you have any sexual perversions?”.’ During the ‘extremely weird’  interview he also demanded to know if she had had any lesbian affairs.
Miss Johansen said she had no idea why she was questioned until last year when a US magazine reported how Scientology had held a number of similar auditions of women to find Cruise’s next wife.

The auditions for the role of Tom Cruise's new wife allegedly took place at the Church of Scientology's Celebrity Center in Los Angeles
She said: ‘Every little detail was the same. There is no doubt I was auditioned to be Tom’s wife.’ 
Cruise got engaged to Miss Holmes in June 2005 and married her in November 2006. The couple separated last year amid claims that she filed for divorce because she feared Cruise would send their daughter Suri to a  Scientology ‘boot camp’.
Another former Scientologist, Marc Headley, who claims to have seen a highlight reel of the women’s auditions, said he believed Miss Johansen’s interview was ‘absolutely’ to assess her as a potential lover for Cruise.
He said: ‘Those are the exact same questions that they were asking the other girls.
‘The reason the sexual question came up was that they had some girls with histories that weren’t so great. So they were being careful.’ Miss Johansen has since left the Church of Scientology because she claims that ‘terrible abuse’ is being committed within the  organisation. She now lives with her boyfriend in Oslo.
British-Iranian actress Nazanin Boniadi is said to have been similarly ‘auditioned’ and even went out with Cruise for several months in the autumn of 2004.
Last night a Scientology spokesman said: 
‘There was no project, secret or otherwise, 
ever conducted by the Church to find a bride
 [via audition or otherwise] for any member.’
Daily Mail UK

July 13, 2013

Six Successful Well Knowns Who Finally Broke Off with Scientology

Leah ReminiAfter more than 30 years as a member of the Church of Scientology, actress Leah Remini, has decided to leave the organization.  The New York Post reported on July 11 that the King of Queens star became disillusioned with the Church after being subjected to “interrogations” and “thought modification” for questioning leader David Miscavige’s management. As a source told the Post’s Page Six, “She is stepping back from a regime she thinks is corrupt. She thinks no religion should tear apart a family or abuse someone under the umbrella of ‘religion.’” After reports of her defection were published, Remini issued a statement about her decision: “I wish to share my sincere and heartfelt appreciation for the overwhelming positive response I have received from the media, my colleagues, and fans from around the world. I am truly grateful and thankful for all your support.” 

Jeffrey TamborBest known for his role as George Bluth Sr. on Arrested Development, Jeffrey Tambor was reported to be a Scientologist in 2007.  However, a year later he went public, wishing to dispel the rumor by stating: “I took some Scientology classes at one time, studied Scientology for a while, but no more. I have nothing against it, but I am no longer a Scientologist.” 

Lisa Marie PresleyElvis Presley’s only daughter made a creative exit from the Church with the release of her 2012 album “Storm and Grace.”  Although her mother, Priscilla, remains a longtime Scientologist, multiple reports of Presley’s disillusionment with the religion appeared to be confirmed in the lyrics to a song on the album, “So Long,” which can be seen as thinly-veiled criticism:
Churches, they don’t have a soul
Soup for sale without a bowl
Religion so corrupt and running lives
Farewell, fair weathered friends
I can’t say I’ll miss you in the end
Jason BegheThe star has never officially issued a statement about her split from the Church, though the lyrics tend to say it all.
Actor Jason Beghe had one of the most outspoken defections from the Church when he released a passionate YouTube video in 2008 attacking the organization. In the two-hour segment, the Californication star expressed his profound discontent with the religion, saying, “If Scientology is real, then something’s f***ed up. It ain’t delivering what it’s promised.”  Several years later, Beghe told the Village Voice that he believes the Church is frustrated that he has become more successful since leaving.  “The entire Scientology mythology is that if you leave the church you go on to fail,” he noted, “But I’ve quadrupled my income. I’m hotter than I’ve ever been. And it’s killing them.” 
William S. Burroughs

Beat writer William S. Burroughs joined the Church of Scientology in the 1960s while living in London, and became a devoted follower, even preaching about its creative benefits to his friend Allen Ginsberg. But by the end of the decade, Burroughs grew deeply suspicious of the religion’s operational style and left the Church. His 1971 book Ali’s Smile: Naked Scientology was critical of the Church’s authoritarian rule, and Burroughs ultimately became vocal about his concerns. “Scientology is a model control system, a state in fact with its own courts, police, rewards and penalties,” the late author once warned. “It is based on a tight in-group like the CIA.” 

Jerry SeinfeldWhile Jerry Seinfeld never officially joined the Church, he did take some Scientology classes when he was in his twenties. What’s more, Seinfeld believes that its teachings contributed to his success. “In my early years of stand-up it was very helpful,” he revealed to Parade in 2007. “I took a couple of courses… I learned some things about communication that really got my act going.” Seinfeld also explained that his love of electronics might be partially responsible for his interest in Scientology. “They have a lot of very good technology,” he told the magazine. “That’s what really appealed to me about it. It’s not faith-based. It’s all technology. And I’m obsessed with technology.”

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April 26, 2013

From a Mormon } "Morally Wrong to Oppose Gay Marriage"

   Translating the Book of Mormon

I am 16 years old and I am a Mormon. I have been a Mormon all of my life. I have always been glad to be born to a Mormon family, and my baptism at the age of eight, was one of the happiest days in my life.
When I was introduced to the concept of gay marriage and the gay rights movement, I was amazed. How could such an issue be the cause of friction between so many people? It seemed to have been blown incredibly out of proportion. How could adults that I had respected and looked up to all of my life, be so completely consumed by petty bickering about who someone else was allowed to love? Of course gay marriage should be legal; there was no logical reason it shouldn't be.
I looked up the topic of gay marriage in conference talks and church magazines, finding to my dismay that same-sex marriage was indeed considered a sin. I was heart broken. I knew that the church was true and I could not in good conscience leave it. Yet, I knew it was wrong to oppose gay marriage, and could not in good conscience do so. I had no idea of how I could reconcile such apparently opposing beliefs. So I did what I felt was the only thing I could do. I prayed that God would help me to understand why the most important truths in my life contradicted.
I did not receive an answer for many months, until one day, my attention was drawn to a scripture I had glanced at before but never pondered.
I read in D&C 134:4 the following words: "We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience: should punish guilt but never suppress the freedom of the soul."
This passage remains one of my favorite scriptures, and increased the substance and beauty of my testimony more than any other spiritual experience I have had, with the exception of visiting the temple. I believe in the doctrine taught in the Mormon church.
For the same reason that I do not campaign against liquor stores, or shun those who use them, for the same reason I do not decide if someone else will smoke, I do not campaign against marriage equality. Separation of church and state is a doctrinal principal, and it is wrong in every sense to impose our religious beliefs on non-members.
One of the key elements of Mormon doctrine is the idea of agency. Agency was what separated God's plan from the devil's. People deserve to choose which of the commandments they will follow, if any. It is morally wrong to oppose gay marriage; it takes away another person's agency and forces a foreign world view on them. No matter how hard I try, I cannot see Jesus, defender of the outcasts and Savior of the weak, rallying against the most fundamental right to choose. I do not support marriage equality in spite of my religion. I support marriage equality because of it.
• Emily Wright lives in Orem.

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