Scientology – it’s the modern poster child for crazy pseudo-religious cults. It’s rich, it’s powerful, it has straight-up real life space aliens hiding inside human bodies as a central aspect of its doctrine. As if that wasn’t enough to pull in the mindless hordes, they have the ultimate status symbol for any burgeoning cult: Hollywood followers.
Scientology gathers its celebrities like it’s harvesting season in LA, and they’re all doing very strange things: John Travolta’s releasing church-sponsored albums, Nancy Cartwright is phoning people as Bart Simpson to collect donations, Juliette Lewis is slamming pharmaceutical companies.
But there’s one celebrity who practically screams “I’m a Scientologist” wherever he goes. He is the living, breathing, rabidly-ranting advertisement for everything Scientology purports to offer. Give them a percentage of your income, and he’ll help you get powers you never dreamed of…and if you ever try to leave, he’ll probably hunt you down personally. Tom Cruise.
Yes, Tom Cruise is Scientology’s most visible and most vocal supporter. Since being introduced to the cult in the late 1980s by his then-wife Mimi Rogers, he has risen through the ranks to reach Operating Thetan Level VIII (the highest operating level) – which, if it sounds like something that’d be made up by a science fiction novelist, that’s because it is.
Here are some of the incredibly bizarre experiences surrounding Tom Cruise’s life in the organization. Though both Cruise and the Church itself fiercely deny any of them occurred, or simply won’t acknowledge their existence.
15. Tom Cruise is Scientology
The Church of Scientology has clearly spent a lot of time, effort, and money (that, one assumes, they garnished from unsuspecting members) over the last three decades in sculpting Tom Cruise into the disquietingly child-sized face of their cult. Not the founder, L. Ron Hubbard, not its current leader David Miscavige, but some guy who once played homoerotic volleyball with Val Kilmer.
Leah Remini – who somehow managed to escape Scientology, but not Kevin James – stated that, “To be critical of Tom Cruise is to be critical of Scientology itself”. Not even the Pope can say that he is Catholicism.
And what Remini says is true: through relentless, concerted publicity that in any other situation would be tantamount to propaganda, the church has ensured that when we think of Tom Cruise we think of Scientology.
14. The Church Auditioned Potential Wives
That’s right, the Church of Scientology has essentially treated Tom Cruise’s life as though it were the world’s most disturbing version of The Bachelor. Which could have been way more awesome – with Tim Curry hosting it in full Legend makeup. But no, they decided to go down the path of creepy.
In 2004 Cruise split with Penelope Cruz because she was unwilling to fully embrace Scientology. He then allowed the organization to audition actresses to be his future spouse, all under the guise of “casting” for a Mission: Impossible movie. Which, let’s face it, is the plot of an adult entertainment flick.
According to Pulitzer winner Lawrence Wright, the auditionees included Scarlett Johansen, Lindsay Lohan, and Jessica Alba.
Apparently, one of the forerunners, British-Iranian actress Nazanin Boniadi (who was ostensibly interviewed as part of a 2009 FBI investigation into Scientology and human trafficking) was gifted a non-disclosure agreement. An act which is Cruise-speak for, “let’s take it to the next level, baby”. Full frontal legal.
13. Cruise Wanted His Daughter To Join Sea Org
Following all these auditions, and romantic nights of signing contracts, Cruise eventually settled on Katie Holmes and became tragically afflicted with an inability to cease jumping on sofas. Their marriage lasted six years, with part of the impetus for the split apparently being Tom Cruise’s desire to sign their daughter Suri up to Sea Org.
Oh, you don’t know about Sea Org? The branch of Scientology where initiates as young as 10 years old sign a billion-year contract of allegiance, where teenagers are forced to clear up sewerage on the church’s floating “cathedral”, where members often experience extreme malnutrition and are forced to undergo abortions?
A lot of parents have odd aspirations for their children – amazingly some parents even want their kids to be lawyers – but Cruise was privy to the poor conditions of those in Sea Org and still looked at his then 6-year-old daughter and apparently thought, “Yep, you look like you’d do well in the gulag!”
12. It’s Difficult To Escape From Tom Cruise
It’s no secret that once people are inside the organization, the Church of Scientology makes it very difficult for people to leave. Katie Holmes, noticing how her life had become something of an Orwellian nightmare, decided the time had come to escape. Escape – not leave. People who break away from Scientology never describe it as leaving, it’s always an escape. Katie Holmes had to go to some extreme measures to ensure her own liberation.
Tom Cruise had church “handlers” accompanying Holmes everywhere, reporting back to Cruise and the church. Her every move was being watched, even interview questions in the Dark Knight press junket were answered for her. As a result, she had to hatch a covert scheme, having friends orchestrate multiple untraceable phone switches, renting a New York apartment under the guise of avoiding the paparazzi, having her lawyer father fire all the Scientology staff around her before she was finally able to file for divorce.
11. His Bromance With Miscavige Is A Little Creepy
David Miscavige is a name that should probably send a little shiver down your soul, like when you step on dog poop in your bare feet. Self-proclaimed head of the Church of Scientology since 1986, he was responsible for a lot of the organization’s modern development and dictatorial policy enforcement. He also appears to have misplaced his wife down the back of the sofa, or something.
While Tom Cruise seems to regard his relationship with Miscavige as a genuine friendship, Miscavige appears to have taken the same approach as an online groomer might.
According to the organization’s former head of security, Gary Moorhead, Cruise and Miscavige would communicate in their own special Scientology language. They would also take soujourns to Vegas to gamble and smoke cigars. All fine and dandy, you might think, until you find out that Miscavige told Moorhead he hated cigars and just smoked them for Tom. Miscavige also engaged Cruise in contests where they would attempt to out-macho one another, even down to their accents. Add to this the fact that Miscavige secretly recorded Cruise’s audit sessions “for his own entertainment”, and things start to get a bit dark.
10. He Takes Recruiting Friends Very Seriously
While the Church of Scientology benefits from huge numbers of ordinary people kicking in a significant portion of their earnings, they seem to covet celebrities in particular. So when Tom Cruise wants to recruit some fellow stars, he’s basically given carte blanche to lure them in like a hooker lighting a landing strip on her nether regions.
For example, Tom Cruise had developed a friendship with British soccer star David Beckham and his family. Now, any normal person would just talk about the virtues of their way of life, but not Tom. He had Sea Org lackeys laser-level a field at Gold Base (Scientology’s LA headquarters) to create the perfect soccer pitch, and even learn to put patterns in the grass to give the appearance that it had been well-groomed. It’s unclear whether he showed up at the Beckham’s house displaying other foliage he’d had groomed for them, but needless to say the family declined his advances.
9. Tom Is Psychiatry’s Mortal Enemy
Now then, it’s all very well and charming to make jokes about disappearing wives and billion year slave labor contracts, but psychiatry is serious business. Tom Cruise believes that the Church of Scientology is the leading “authority on the mind”, and has taken a variety of bizarre and irresponsible steps to discredit the psychiatric profession.
When Cruise was filming War of the Worlds, he overheard Steven Spielberg praising a psychiatrist who had helped a family member. So Cruise sent a Scientology group to picket said psychiatrist’s office. He also publicly criticized Brooke Shields for her book which details her use of antidepressants.
See, Scientology (and ergo Tom Cruise) states that psychiatric conditions can be treated with just vitamins and spiritual healing, and that psychologists are “antisocial enemies of the people”. In an interview with Matt Lauer in 2005, Cruise went on a paranoid rant, denigrating psychiatry as a pseudoscience, claiming that there is “no such thing as a chemical imbalance”. You know, the kind of stuff that might stop impressionable people from getting the help they need.
8. The Church Treats Him Like An Angry Toddler
The Church of Scientology is so enamored with Cruise, that the overriding policy seems to be: what Tom wants, Tom gets. Essentially his place is to frolic around one of the ships, having his every whim taken care of, because you wouldn’t want to upset the Messiah when he hasn’t had his nappy nap.
If he wants his Honda motorcycle given a custom paintjob, it gets taken care of by a Sea Org member who gets paid less than $1 an hour to do it. He wants giant, vintage banners to hang from his aircraft hanger – another Sea Org slave labor job. According to ex- security staff, and former members of Sea Org, Cruise had gifts of limousines and audio equipment lavished upon him.
There was even the time that David Miscavige topped his previous quota of creepy when he heard that Cruise had a fantasy of running through a field of wildflowers with Nicole Kidman. He had the field constructed in a patch of desert to bring the fantasy to life…presumably while watching the pair and massaging his nipples.
7. He Wants To Be Close By For The Second Coming
Like any popular religious doctrine, Scientology has proclaimed that one day its founder will return. In fact, he was only supposed to get a 21-year break, and it’s been more than 30 since his death, so we can assume L. Ron is a bit of a mythological slacker.
When he does return, he has a magnificent palatial Villa at the Gold Base ship to rule from, and Tom Cruise wants to be there at his right hand when he does. So, David Miscavige has gifted Cruise a villa mere yards away from the one that will house the erstwhile founder. Incidentally, Cruise’s villa is right next door to Miscavige’s…you know, so David can pop ’round for a little sugar, or to see if Tom needs a handyman…
6. He Thinks He Can’t Publicly Practice The Religion That He Publicly Practices
Everybody knows that Tom Cruise is a Scientologist. The sky’s blue, grass is green, Tom Cruise believes that he is an immortal extraterrestrial being trapped inside a human meat suit. These are facts as we all know them, and we’re cool with it. Tom Cruise, however, doesn’t seem to be aware of this.
In a recent interview, former Paramount Vice-Chairman John Goldwyn described how Tom Cruise went off on a tirade, saying, “It’s because of people like you that I have to ride in a bulletproof car, and can’t practice my faith openly”.
Firstly, if this freak show we’re seeing isn’t Tom Cruise practicing his faith openly, then what kind of weird shit does he get up to behind closed doors that we’re stopping him from doing in the open? Secondly, no one will shoot at Tom for his beliefs… If anything, we’ll shoot at him for War of the Worlds.
5. Moving To Florida In Exchange For Superpowers
Clearwater, Fla., aside from providing Hulk Hogan with places to film sex tapes, is one of the great centers of the Scientology movement. You can throw a stone and it’ll hit a Scientologist – go ahead, try it. For Tom Cruise it’s also, apparently, the final destination on your journey to develop amazing superpowers.
Cruise bought a penthouse duplex in the town, a 20,000 sq ft property worth approximately $3 million. Even though his new home boasts the kind of luxuries one expects a cult to lavish upon a member it wishes to pacify, he’s not just there to enjoy his room-sized flight simulator (yep).
According to journalist Tony Ortega (who has been stalked by the church with some tenacity), Cruise thinks he’ll get better spiritual counselling in Clearwater, “which he thinks will make him a more powerful person and get him closer to being part of a super race”.
4. He Thinks Scientology Cured His Dyslexia
No one here is suggesting for a second that Tom Cruise didn’t have dyslexia, or that in order to overcome it he didn’t have to work his tiny ass off. Kudos to him, that problem’s a nightmare.
However, he should probably take the credit for facing that particular challenge, rather than rolling over and announcing that Scientology rid him of his dyslexia.
In 2003, he claimed that simply by reading L. Ron Hubbard’s book, The Basic Study Manual, his dyslexia was cured. This kind of announcement understandably annoyed a lot of bona fide dyslexia support groups, because giving false hope of miracle books to people who are really struggling is something that only a psychopath would do.
3. He Gleefully Participated In A Cruise On A Slave Ship
There’s a lot of weird and disturbing stuff in this list, but this is certainly up there with the things that will make you wrench every Cruise movie you have off your shelf, and kill them with fire.
For his 42nd birthday, Tom Cruise took a celebratory trip on the church’s luxury Cruise liner, the Freewinds. A sort of Cruise cruise, if you will. It’d be cringeworthy enough if the worst thing that happened on this vessel was Tom getting up on stage and dancing while a loop of his movies played endlessly on giant screens behind him (you can watch the video of this on YouTube, by the way). No, while Cruise was frolicking, human rights violations were going on below deck.
According to a variety of former members, the vessel had teenaged Sea Org initiates working 48-hour-straight sleepless shifts in the engine room, others were starved and passed out, while some were forced to handle sewage in the bilge. You see, the Freewinds might act as a pleasure vessel for celebrities like Cruise, but it’s also widely known as sort of prison to punish Sea Org initiates for such imagined crimes as a minor failing to sexually satisfy her older husband.
2. He’s Persona Non Grata In Paris
Tom Cruise is essentially the defacto spokesface for the Church of Scientology, which means occasionally he has to be seen to rub shoulders, shake hands, exchange bodily fluids with politicians who could further the church’s cause.
Although he denies Scientology came up, Tim Cruise flew out to France to have meetings with then French Prime President Nicolas Sarkozy, somewhat suspiciously at a time when Scientology itself was on high-profile trial for various fraud-related crimes. France has a quite embattled relationship with Scientology – it doesn’t officially recognize the church as a religion, and various members – including L. Ron Hubbard himself – have been convicted of fraud charges and inciting suicide.
As a result of his affiliation with Scientology and his attempts to influence French politicians on the matter, the municipal government of Paris declared that Tom Cruise would no longer be welcomed into the city. They even described him as a “militant for this organization”.
1. He Can Never Leave
Although Tom Cruise has vehemently courted the Church of Scientology in full awareness of his actions, there is something slightly sad about all this. For all intents and purposes, he can’t leave the organization.
He is so deeply ingrained into the church’s identity, and Scientology so intertwined with his personality, that there’s a sort of mutually assured destruction aspect involved.
In early 2017, Leah Remini in an interview with Bill Maher stated that, “Tom Cruise has the power to end Scientology if he wanted to”. Which is true. As we’ve established, Tom Cruise is Scientology, and as such if he woke up one day and announced that it was all a stupid fiction, it could very well mean the end of Scientology. However, this would also mean the dismantling of everything he knows, the lifestyle he has cultivated, and you better believe that the Church itself wouldn’t let their Golden Boy go without taking him down with them. L. Ron Hubbard’s grandson, Jamie DeWolf, described him as the ultimate member to defect, but that it was unlikely. He said, “To admit that you were wrong it’d be a huge blowout. To admit you’d been hoaxed – that’d be very hard to accept.”
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