The New Yorker has published a devastating expose on the Church of Scientology, written by staff writer Lawrence Wright.
The article was exhaustively researched, and includes full statements and documents from both sides. It also runs more than 30 pages, so it will take you a couple of hours to read.
The article is free online, thankfully, so even non-subscribers can read it here, when you find the time.
In the meantime, we’ll share some highlights.
Wright’s article centres around the story of one of Scientology’s most famous “defectors” (former members who have quit the Church), a Hollywood screenwriter named Paul Haggis.
Haggis was a member of the Church, which he now calls a “cult,” for 34 years. He ascended through Scientology’s various spiritual “levels,” eventually rising “all the way to the top.” Two years ago, he quit in disgust, after writing a scathing public letter of resignation.
Lawrence Wright’s article reveals that the Church of Scientology has been under investigation by the FBI for “human trafficking” (essentially, slavery) for the past two years. The FBI is focusing on a Scientology “camp” in Southern California, in which an elite group of Scientologists known as the “Sea Org” toil for $50 a week.
The article describes in detail how Scientology targets and uses celebrities to raise money, recruit adherents, and spread its “technology” (teachings). And, in Scientology’s defence, it also explains why some of these celebrities swear by its teachings as a way to improve their lives.
In 1950, Hubbard had published a self-help book called 'Dianetics,' which immediately became a best-seller.
'He offered his findings to the American Psychiatric Association and the American Medical Association but was spurned; he subsequently portrayed psychiatry and psychology as demonic competitors.'
For decades, the resident acting coach there was Milton Katselas, and he taught hundreds of future stars, including Ted Danson, Michelle Pfeiffer, and George Clooney.'
Katselas was paid a 10% commission by the church on any money donated to Scientology by these celebrities.
Paul Haggis, the screenwriter, estimates that he spent $100,000 on the courses required to progress through Scientology's levels, and $300,000 on other Scientology initiatives. Other former Scientologists say the courses can now cost half-a-million dollars
Scientologists are often forced to 'disconnect' from their families, in order to avoid being suppressed.
The church denies this and says anyone who says otherwise is a liar.
L. Ron Hubbard died in 1986, at the age of 74. Two weeks later, Scientology's new leader appeared...
20 years later, when Scientologist Tom Cruise married Katie Holmes in Italy, David Miscavige was his best man.
One Scientologist who says Miscavige assaulted him, Jeff Hawkins, explained to Wright why he didn't call the cops...
Sea Org volunteers say they painted Tom Cruise's motorcycles for him, customised a Ford Explorer for him, and renovated an aeroplane hangar for him
Scientology's top leaders often disappear, usually after running afoul of Miscavige. Recently, Miscavige's wife made some decisions Miscavige didn't like. She has since disappeared.
Paul Haggis eventually quit the church after doing an online investigation into it (basically, he read the articles and and watched the videos that Scientologists aren't supposed to read and watch). Haggis's daughters are gay, and the last straw for him was when the church refused to issue a statement saying it was fine with homosexuality
The reason the church refused to issue this statement, perhaps, is that early versions of L. Ron Hubbard's books described homosexuality as a perversion. The books no longer say this. Church spokesman Tommy Davis says this is because they have now been returned to their original state.
Those are just some of the amazing things you'll learn about Scientology and Tom Cruise in Lawrence Wright's New Yorker article...
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