Celebrities And Scientology — What’s The Draw?

With Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes‘ divorce being finalized, Scientology has really been in the spotlight recently. There are allegations that the Church sent people to follow Katie, that she divorced Tom to keep their daughter Suri safe from the ‘security checks’ that begin when a child reaches the age of six, and that Katie herself was auditioned by the Church for the role of Tom’s wife, among maaaaany other rumors too numerous to mention. So what’s the point of all this? We’ll never know what’s really going on, so why are we speculating? I’ll tell you why: because Scientology is effing crazy and one of the greatest pleasures of human beings is watching other human beings engage in irrational behavior. It’s sort of like schadenfreude, except we don’t necessarily want them to fail, we just want to watch what happens, Bravo-style. We spend so much time thinking that celebrities are better and smarter and richer and hotter and more talented than us, that it’s thrilling to watch them do things that make absolutely no sense.

So honestly — what is it about Scientology? That’s the real question, here. I get why the Church of Scientology seeks out celebrities; they need prestige, credibility, and visibility to disseminate their message, and those are three things that celebrites have in spades. But what does Scientology have to offer in return? Pretty much every rational person I’ve ever spoken to considers Scientology to be a perverse mix of a joke and a cult, so why are people like Jason Lee, Leah Remini, Jenna Elfman, and Juliette Lewis publicly speaking out on its behalf? What are they getting out of it?

I have only one firsthand experience with Scientology, but it’s defined all my future interactions with it. I grew up in Oregon and went to a private school that was small enough that my awkward, gangly self was deemed sufficiently athletic to make the junior varsity basketball team. We had a mix of home and away games, and one of these away games was at Delphian, a Scientology boarding school in rural Oregon where John Travolta‘s son was rumored to be a student. As the bus pulled to a stop, a school official got on the bus to make a few announcements. We assumed she was getting on to welcome us to the school and give us directions to the basketball court, but instead she warned us against snooping around while we were on-campus. I can’t recall the exact wording of the whole warning, but the phrase “don’t try to steal our secrets” has stuck with me ever since. Why did an adult feel was necessary to threaten a bus full of teenagers like that? And then when we got to the basketball court itself — built as a dome so that no evil energies could hide and collect in the corners — I remember being scared and a little exhilarated that there were adults in the world who were this fearful and irrational.

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    • Georgie

      Fucking interesting post. Key Quote:

      “If I was able to that quickly assess and reject Scientology as a fourteen-year old, then why are dozens of celebrities willing to donate hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars just to move through the levels of a religion invented by a science-fiction writer?”

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        Thanks so much!

      • Maddon

        The answer lies within their belief that they are going to achieve super powers over other people, it is their selfishness and greed that motivates them.

    • Pennie

      Totally agree with your points. I’ve always thought the same. Makes total sense, non?

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        Thanks, I think so!

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    • Lola Martinez

      This was really enlightening. Where as in Christianity less is more, in Scientology more is more. No wonder. Great post.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        Thanks for reading!

    • johnalexwood

      I would like to take you up on your unsubstantiated claim that “Scientology supports that kind of behavior…”

      The truth is in fact the opposite. The moral code that Scientologists strive to follow, The Way To Happiness, encourages its members to “Honor and Help Your Parents (Precept 5); Try Not to Do Things to Others That You Would Not Like Them to Do to You (Precept 19); Try to Treat Others as You Would Want Them to Treat You (Precept 20). And Precept 21, by the way, is Flourish and Prosper. Remarkably, this article seems to take exception even to this! I don’t see how doing well in life (which is the message of Precept 21) is somehow wrong. So, being a liability on society is somehow right…?

      I would also like to add how the article makes no mention of the wonderful social betterment activities that the Church of Scientology carries out worldwide, namely: its youth drug education campaigns via Drug Free World and Say No To Drugs; its human rights education campaigns via Youth For Human Rights; its highly successful drug rehabs called Narconon; the effective work it does in prisons to reduce crime, particularly recidivism, the revolving door of crime, via Criminon; its free literacy campaigns helping people read and write; and its public awareness campaign concerning the dangers of psychiatric treatments, particularly the drugging of children with Ritalin and other ADHD medications. The campaign run by CCHR also highlights the fact that the side effects of some antidepressants include violent behaviour and suicide and it points out that nearly all the shooters in the notorious shooting massacre incidents were on (or were withdrawing from) such medication at the time of the shooting. Time will tell whether the recent Aurora shooting is yet another in this hall of shame. Innocent people are not safe while these drugs are being prescribed.

      • Adrienne

        The media attention on celebrity is the back lash the Church has to face for chasing these “stars” and promoting them in public to try to raise its profile, numbers and income. Unfortunately it has back fired dramatically.

        Scientology would/could have been more successful if it kepts its low profile and worked in the communities with it programs.

        Tom Cruise and the media attention he draws to his rants in interviews has generated so much negative attention to the Church. It has also drawn attention to the stories of people like Marty, Mike and Marc. Would I have read Blown for good, if I hadnt seen Toms interview with Matt L and his negative comments about Brooke Shields… I dont think so.

        How many books written by defecters in the 90′s got as much media attention as books written now? None because it wasn’t on the media hitlist. General people weren’t interested. Tom and Kristie have made people interested, but it is all negative. Chart the number of followers in the Church over the years and you will probably see a direct correlation between the declining memberships and the increase in media/celebrity focus.

      • kirbyjay

        The reason that these people shoot up schools and public places is because they are mentally ill and are either not on the proper medication, stop taking it, or are just to far gone to be successfully treated. I agree that many kids are being unnecessarily prescribed ADHD drugs when the solution would be proper diet and parenting, but to claim that all anti-depressants are bad is just ignorant. I had depression and anxiety so severe 15 years ago that I was borderline suicidal. I was prescribed an anti-depressant, not a barbiturate like Xanax, but an actual SRI that balances your chemicals but does not alter mood. Within a week I felt absolutely normal again and have ever since. They saved my life and I deeply resent the misinformation that Scientology doles out about “violent” behavior and suicidal thoughts.
        L.Ron Hubbard detested psychiatry because it interferes with his “auditing” process which is a form of repetitive brainwashing.
        Let me ask you this, Co$ member. Why does every person that leaves Scientology say the exact same thing? Disassociation from friends and family members, Sea Org labor camps, harassment from high echelon management, etc….

    • Arun

      Really interesting and makes sense once you start put the dots together. Religion is religion. Cult is cult. Scientology the “religion” where you pay for enlightenment.

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