Why celebrities are drawn to Scientology
There’s a reason Tom Cruise and other stars fall under the church’s spell
It's been called a cult and accused of bleeding its members dry so why are so many of the rich and famous still fiercely loyal to the Church of Scientology?
Tom Cruise's recent divorce drama has brought the controversial organization under fire more than ever, especially after reports high-ranking members had Katie Holmes followed in the wake of her divorce filing last week.
Holmes reportedly fled the marriage over fears Cruise was planning to send their six-year-old daughter Suri off to a Scientology training camp known for its harsh labour conditions and for separating children from their parents.
While more disturbing details about the California-based church are likely to come out as the battle for six-year-old Suri gets underway (Holmes is seeking sole custody while Cruise has yet to respond to the filing,) the question remains, why Scientology in the first place?
Cruise may be the most famous face of the church, but he's joined by a long list of other star members including John Travolta and Kelly Preston, Lisa and Priscilla Presley, Kirstie Alley, Jenna Elfman, Elisabeth Moss, Jason Lee and Juliette Lewis just to name a few.
What makes such accomplished artists decide to attend a church founded by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard on a premise of extraterrestrial existence and "auditing" practices that force members to relive traumas from past lives?
For starters, actors are notoriously thought to be insecure people (deep down under all that bravado and wealth), if not from early on then most certainly after they've been endlessly scrutinized by casting directors, agents and the media. Many forged their way to stardom after overcoming difficult childhoods or seemingly insurmountable obstacles, perhaps expecting once they achieved fame and fortune, they would finally be happy and at peace. The case can certainly be made for Cruise's: outrunning a life of poverty, an abusive father who he once called a "merchant of chaos," and painful memories of school where he long struggled with dyslexia.
While it's common to see stars turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with the void fame didn't fill, it's possible that others, like Cruise, may see a saviour in Scientology and its promise of ultimate freedom from past pain and suffering. Some may also be attracted to the exclusivity of the church, its fees for spiritual teachings unaffordable for many average Joes.
Celebrities' vulnerability and wealth have ultimately made them perfect recruits for a church said to only share certain sacred lessons after members have contributed significant amounts of money.
While it's easy to see how Cruise got caught up in Scientology, one would hope the threat of losing his family will be the ultimate wakeup call, because any pain he's trying to deal with inside the secretive walls of the church will be nothing compared to the pain of losing a child.