Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Before Tom Cruise, the Church of Scientology targeted up-and-coming stars, promising A-list roles and business connections in exchange for their services.But back in the ’80’s, Tom Cruise was one of the biggest superstars in the world and didn’t need the church.
Bringing Cruise in required elaborate scheming that included building a tennis court and paying a full-time staffer to counsel him, according to the book Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion
by Janet Reitman.
Here are some claims from the book about how the church lured Cruise in:
-Cruise first joined the church through his first wife, actress Mimi Rogers. Her dad was one of the most powerful Scientologists.
-Although Cruise was initially sceptical about the religion, leader David Miscavige was determined to land him, saying “this guy is so famous, he could change the face of Scientology forever.”
-They gave Cruise the special treatment, according to Reitman. Before inviting him to a secret compound, they repainted the buildings, landscaped gardens and cleaned every building. Workers were instructed not to talk to or look at the star.
-Miscavige took Cruise out to lunch on a ship founder L. Ron Hubbard had built, rode dirt bikes with him and took him to watch movies in the bases’ screening room.
-Finding out that Cruise, the action hero, was afraid of guns, Miscavige took him to target practice until he was comfortable. “Cruise was so grateful, he later sent Miscavige an automated clay-pigeon launcher,” Reitman writes. Miscavige had the whole shooting range redone for the next visit.
-Before long, Cruise began flying back and forth to the base by helicopter on the weekends. He was allowed to “audit,” or read the thoughts of, a younger boy on the base.
-While Scientologists usually only provided rice and beans for dinner, they pulled out all the stops for cruise. “There was more food in that kitchen than I had seen all year,” a former Scientologist told Reitman. “Sandwiches, snacks, drinks, three types of entrees, rice, vegetables, fruit. And this was just snack food.”
-When Cruise fell in love with his co-star Nicole Kidman and brought her to base, staffers renovated a VIP condo for Cruise and filled the entire place with balloons. They also spent $200,000 building a tennis court so the couple could pursue their hobby.
-The church then sought out upstanding members to serve as Cruise’s housekeeper, cook and nanny, a service they’d perform for free. They were instructed to keep daily reports on his life. Details would include any conversations you heard, anything they watched or who they talked to, Reitman says.
-Seven years after he started studying the religion, leaders promised Cruise they’d share the deepest secrets of Scientology, such as the prophet Xenu. “He freaked out and was like “what the f— is this science fiction s—?…and took a step back.”
-For a time after this, Cruise removed himself from the Church, spending two years in London working on the film “Eyes Wide Shut” and only sending Miscavige Christmas and birthday gifts.
-By 1999, a desperate Miscavige sent charismatic Marty Rathbun, now an anti-Scientology blogger, to “retrieve” Cruise. He was successful and convinced Cruise to continue training. After a couple of years, he had become a full-on zealot.
-Cruise began promoting Scientology in earnest, saying that Hubbard’s methods had cured his dyslexia. He fired his publicist and replaced her with someone from the Church of Scientology.
-By 2004, his allegiance was complete. “Scientology was ‘the s— man,’ Cruise told Rolling Stone’s Neil Strauss in the summer of 2004. ‘Some people, well, if they don’t like Scientology, well, then f— you. Really, f— you. Period.”
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