Scientology: 10 million strong

waroftheworldsWe’ve commented before on the caustic treatment that Scientology true believer Tom Cruise has received from media outlets. The Los Angeles Times, which has been reporting on Scientology for decades, ran a lengthy business pages look inside the Church of Scientology’s Gilman Hot Springs resort on Sunday. The package included 30 photos of the compound and focused on business and spiritual relationship of Tom Cruise and current church head David Miscavige, although the article also provides a bit of information about the religious beliefs of Scientologists:

Scientologists learn Hubbard’s secret theory of human suffering, which he traces to a galactic battle waged 75 million years ago by an evil tyrant named Xenu.

According to court documents made public by The Times in the 1980s, Hubbard espoused the belief that Xenu captured the souls, or thetans, of enemies and electronically implanted false concepts in them to keep them confused about his dirty work. The goal of these advanced courses is to become aware of the trauma and free of its effects.

One of the difficulties of covering the Church is the group’s reticence to open up to accusations from ex-members or the prying public. Both Cruise and Miscavige declined interviews. So the article is driven by the testimony of ex-members who are then contradicted by church officials. After one ex-member says she was forced to spend all night planting a field of wildflowers for Cruise and his new love Kidman to romp through, a spokesman denounces the charge as a fabrication from apostates.

Well, there you go. The Times reporters break through a bit of this frustrating pattern of shocking accusations and pat denials when they use outside verification, as they did following the series of claims that Cruise spent much time at the Gilman Springs center where he was doted on by Miscavige:

Cruise has made no extended visits to the complex since the early 1990s and has done 95% of his religious training elsewhere, Rinder said. Miscavige, he said, spends only a fraction of his time there and divides the rest of his time among offices in Los Angeles, Clearwater and Britain. He also stays aboard the Freewinds, Scientology’s 440-foot ship based in Curacao in the Caribbean, Rinder said.

However, voter registration records list the Gilman Hot Springs complex as Miscavige’s residence since the early 1990s and as recently as the 2004 general election. Rinder said the church leader simply had not updated his registration. Miscavige’s wife, father, stepmother and siblings also have resided at the complex, according to voting records and interviews.


I have a few friends who are former Scientologists. They were heavy into it while they were working in Hollywood in the 1960s and 1970s but when they left the church, they decided it was best to leave the region, ending up in Colorado where I met them. I also am acquainted with a few current Scientologists — in Hollywood, of course. And I guess what I’m trying to say is that claims like this are interesting:

More than any other celebrity, Cruise has helped fuel the growth of the church, which claims a worldwide membership of 10 million and in the last two years has opened major centers in South Africa, Russia, Britain and Venezuela. Cruise joined Miscavige last year for the opening of a church in Madrid.

It is completely true that Scientologists claim a worldwide membership of 10 million. It’s also true that, well, they don’t have much support for the claim. In the same manner the reporters checked out the voter records, they should have provided the reader with context or trusted religious data. Mormons claim a worldwide membership of about 12 million, to put the number in context. Even understanding that religious adherence data is not terribly reliable, perhaps another source would have been helpful.

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  • Heminator

    Uh oh, Mollie. Questioning obvious lies by CoS? Welcome to your status as a “Suppressive Person.” Change your phone number and move to Wyoming immediately.

  • Michael D. Harmon

    Um, doesn’t everybody know by now that Scientology is the result of a bet in the 1960s between science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard and his editor at the old Astounding sf magazine, John W. Campbell Jr., as to whether Hubbard could create a religion out of whole cloth and persuade people to accept it? I was a subscriber at the time and I distinctly recall the editorial columns in which each of them laid out their sides. As I recall, the bet was for $100.

  • Not Really Stephen A.

    “Uh, oh” is right. You are going to get SO SUED! These people are the religious mafia when it comes to their “secrets.”

    My personal theory – which would require some heavy and perhaps undercover reporting I’m not willing to do – is that Cruise achieved the highest OT Level this past year, and he was told by church leaders that he is this Age’s prophet. That would explain his antics and aggressive defense of Scientology. I hope someone finds out what really happened.

  • Avram

    Years ago, I heard old-time science fiction fan John Boardman tell a story about this. He says he saw John Campbell Jr at an SF convention — this must have been the the ’50s or ’60s — chatting in the con suite, and somebody asked Campbell “Hey, you used to support Hubbard, gave him a lot of space in your magazine, but now you criticize him and his movement. What gives?” To which Campbell replied “It’s been ten years and the bastard still hasn’t given me my cut!”

  • Molly

    “I hope someone finds out what really happened. ”

    He divorced Nicole Kidman and his box office is tanking. Next question? :)

  • David Barrington

    Scientology and Tom Cruise have been directly responsible for bringing public awareness up to highest ever levels and making knowlege public that the media previously hid — all resulting in so much pressure placed on the the FDA Advisory Committee that it was forced (despite its hand-in-glove relationship with the pharmaceuticals) to recommend Black Box Warnings be placed on Prozac (causing birth defects, suicide and murders) and other psych drugs. You want truth? Can you handle it? Are you up to facts? Find out what is really behind a $1.6 TRILLION a year industrial complex and the attacks on Scientology.
    David M Barrington,

  • chars

    Scientology is amusingly easy to make fun of, is a funny example. Butit is serious for those who get involved. It sounds rather frightening.

  • ali

    Hey chars, thanks for that. that was funny! scientology is pretty serious stuff. i wish we knew more about it.

  • Lermanet

    Bashing psychiatry is only one part of the $cientology credo. It’s down with psychiatry and up with their own ‘alternative programs.’ And it is political. Write your congressman! When a celebrity $cientologist drops the name of a program, this is the other side of putting down the bad guys, to promote themselves. For example, the purification is part of the ritual for members on the way to removing ‘body thetans’ (400,000 approx cost to get there) (body thetans are the spirits of dead space aliens)

    But the purification they undertake (with dangerous, massive doses of vitamins and long sauna stays) is what they are trying to promote secularly through wining and dining political figures. You want your tax bucks going to these programs? Pay close attention for name changes to these programs, and don’t believe them when they say the program has nothing to do with $cientology. Purifying the body comes before purifying the mind of body thetans! Any of the stuff they sell secular is based on their journey on the ‘bridge to space aliens’

    And the symptoms are Tom Cruise, etc. bashing psychiatry. Oh, just come and take a course to find out it’s not true? Make sure to search Google for $cientology/hypnosis first.

  • Greg Churilov

    Lerma lies. (The man has a whole Scientology-bashing website – so don’t confuse him for an unbiased source.)

    The Purification Rundown – taken by drug-addicts to overcome addiction, taken by NYC Firefighters to overcome breathing problems from 9.11 relief work, and taken by average folk to improve their health – has NOTHING to do with aliens, little green men or the Chupacabras.

    In terms of psychiatry-bashing, we mainly oppose the over-medication of America’s children. Not every kid in the world is hyperactive, and not every teen is crazy. Many neurologists, nurses, doctos and politicians agree with us that the Big Pharma companies are out of control, and that the FDA has sold out to them and is just pimping their pills. The work done by the Citizen’s Commission on Human Rights is vital to protect the human rights of our children.

    Get the facts.

    Some unbiased, non-Scientology sites on this:

    Greg Churilov