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July 11th, 2012
03:00 AM ET

Ex-Scientologist: Cruise was top church recruit

Montreal, Quebec (CNN) - For the secretive Church of Scientology, "there was no bigger recruit than Tom Cruise."

The top Hollywood actor's membership in the Church beginning in 1986 "was huge," says Karen Pressley - a former Commanding Officer of the Church's Celebrity Centre in Hollywood from 1987 to 1989.

"My job was to ensure that celebrities were recruited, that celebrities were well serviced within our organization, and also to open up new celebrity centers around the world," she told CNN.

The high-profile marriage split between Cruise and actress Katie Holmes, who was raised Catholic, has re-ignited media interest in Scientology's influence in Hollywood.

Related story: What is Scientology? 

A joint statement released Monday to announce their divorce settlement said, "We want to keep matters affecting our family private and express our respect for each other's commitment to each of our respective beliefs and support each other's roles as parents." It's not known if Holmes joined the Church of Scientology.

Cruise is just one of many celebrity members of the church, including John Travolta, Jenna Elfman and Kirstie Alley.

See photos of other Scientology celebs

But Cruise was among Scientology's biggest fish, says Pressley. "Is there a bigger name than Tom? We called him TC."

Church founder L. Ron Hubbard realized celebrities were key to his mission, according to the Scientology website.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

"The world is carried on the backs of a desperate few," Hubbard is quoted as saying on the site. By "the few," Hubbard was referring to leaders in the realm of art, politics, industry, and sports. To cater to these people specifically, the church formed a special branch of Church of Scientology called the Celebrity Centre International. With locations around the world, Hollywood's celebrity center was established in 1969.

Its aim: to provide celebrities "… with a practical technology for improving one's happiness and creativity," the website says.

The church opens the Celebrity Centres for public tours. The Hollywood center offers classes and even a Sunday brunch, according to the website.

According to Pressley, celebrities get special perks including private entrances and course rooms, along with access to a VIP lounge.

She says Hubbard targeted celebrities specifically to add credibility to the Church's beliefs and to encourage more people to join.

Pressley, who was a Scientologist for 16 years, described internal wish lists and strategies discussed among church leaders in the 1980s to recruit other celebrities - including Brad Pitt and Demi Moore. Those discussions about how to bring Moore and Pitt into the fold never bore fruit, Pressley said.

The church would work to win over celebrity recruits, Pressley said, by giving them individual attention and by explaining how Scientology could help them achieve their highest goals as artists.

In exchange for tailored treatment, Pressley says Scientology leaders expected celebrities to stay committed to the church's teachings and speak glowingly of its benefits.

Many of them do exactly that. Travolta's spouse, Kelly Preston, credited Scientology with helping the couple cope with the death of their son, Jett.  Alley said the Church helped her overcome a drug addiction.

As for Cruise, he has publicly touted the benefits of church teachings, famously debating NBC's Matt Lauer about the church's stand against psychiatric drugs. More recently, Cruise told Playboy magazine that Scientology offers him a "search for how I can do things better, whether it's being a better man or a better father or finding ways for myself to improve."

"Individuals have to decide what is true and real for them," Cruise said.

Watch Cruise talk about Scientology

Like many faiths, Scientology prides itself on providing couples with communication tools to succeed at marriage. "It works," the church website says. "Whether applied to marital or personal relationships, to one's family or career or simply one's personal peace of mind – Scientology changes conditions for the better."

But Pressley says, as Scientology's celebrity poster child divorces for a third time, it hurts the church and Cruise.

"What does that say about .. a senior level Scientologist like Tom - TC?" Pressley asks. "What does that say about his ability to succeed in relationships? I think it's a huge statement."

The church has only said the divorce is "a private family matter " between Holmes and Cruise and said it "will continue to respect their privacy."

In response to CNN's questions about the relationship between the Church and celebrities, Church spokeswoman Karin Pouw said in a statement, “The Church does not speak about the beliefs and practices of parishioners.”

“Scientology appeals to men and women in all walks of life, as do other major religions," the statement continued. "The perception that it uniquely appeals to those in the arts is a misperception conveyed by the media. There are as many reasons individuals turn to Scientology as there are parishioners, but generally Scientology offers answers to age-old questions, spiritual awareness and greater ability because it provides tools they can use in life.” (Read Pouw's entire statement below.)

In an earlier statement, Pouw commented about Pressley and other members speaking out against Scientology. "...the Church regrets that excommunicated self-serving apostates are sadly exploiting private family matters to further their hate-filled agendas against their former faith. Having left the Church many years ago, these sources have no current knowledge about the Church and their recollections are distorted by their animosity."

Pressley left the Church in 1998, after she "became so disillusioned by what I had earlier believed in, I couldn't live with myself and I no longer chose to allow the Church to control my life."

Splitting with Scientology, she says, is not an easy task - especially for high level officials.

"You don't have the freedom to make a choice like that just to walk out. You have to get permission," she says. "But in order to get permission you have to go through an intensive security check, interrogation procedure before you can be approved to leave."

Now that she's speaking out, Pressley says she's concerned about her safety.

"But," she says, "I can't remain silent about things that matter and I deal with it as it happens."

Editor's note: Below is the complete July 10 statement from Church of Scientology International spokeswoman Karin Pouw to CNN responding to questions surrounding its report about celebrities and the Church.

"The Church does not speak about the beliefs and practices of parishioners. I have never seen CNN ask the Roman Catholic Church to discuss an individual parishioner by name and it points out the insensitivity of your questions.

Scientology appeals to men and women in all walks of life, as do other major religions. The perception that it uniquely appeals to those in the arts is a misperception conveyed by the media. There are as many reasons individuals turn to Scientology as there are parishioners, but generally Scientology offers answers to age‐old questions, spiritual awareness and greater ability because it provides tools they can use in life.

The Scientology religion is enjoying a period of tremendous growth with new Churches opening throughout the world. Each has a Public Information Center providing hundreds of videos about the religion and our social and humanitarian programs in the fields of drug education and rehabilitation, education, criminal reform, morals and human rights. Anyone desiring correct information about the Church can find it at one of these churches or on our website, www.scientology,org."

Watch Anderson Cooper 360° weeknights 8pm ET. For the latest from AC360° click here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Celebrity • Scientology • TV-Anderson Cooper 360

soundoff (1,662 Responses)
  1. A dose of reality

    A few questions should help shed light on the relationship between religion and rational thought.
    The completely absurd theory that all 7,000,000,000 human beings are simultaneously being supervised 24 hours a day, every day of their lives by an immortal, invisible being for the purposes of reward or punishment in the “afterlife” comes from the field of:
    (a) Astronomy;
    (b) Medicine;
    (c) Economics; or
    (d) Christianity
    You are about 70% likely to believe the entire Universe began less than 10,000 years ago with only one man, one woman and a talking snake if you are a:
    (a) historian;
    (b) geologist;
    (c) NASA astronomer; or
    (d) Christian
    I have convinced myself that gay $ex is a choice and not genetic, but then have no explanation as to why only gay people have ho.mo$exual urges. I am
    (a) A gifted psychologist
    (b) A well respected geneticist
    (c) A highly educated sociologist
    (d) A Christian with the remarkable ability to ignore inconvenient facts.
    I honestly believe that, when I think silent thoughts like, “please god, help me pass my exam tomorrow,” some invisible being is reading my mind and will intervene and alter what would otherwise be the course of history in small ways to help me. I am
    (a) a delusional schizophrenic;
    (b) a naïve child, too young to know that that is silly
    (c) an ignorant farmer from Sudan who never had the benefit of even a fifth grade education; or
    (d) your average Christian
    Millions and millions of Catholics believe that bread and wine turns into the actual flesh and blood of a dead Jew from 2,000 years ago because:
    (a) there are obvious visible changes in the condiments after the Catholic priest does his hocus pocus;
    (b) tests have confirmed a divine presence in the bread and wine;
    (c) now and then their god shows up and confirms this story; or
    (d) their religious convictions tell them to blindly accept this completely fvcking absurd nonsense.
    I believe that an all powerful being, capable of creating the entire cosmos watches me have $ex to make sure I don't do anything "naughty". I am
    (a) A victim of child molestation
    (b) A r.ape victim trying to recover
    (c) A mental patient with paranoid delusions
    (d) A Christian
    The only discipline known to often cause people to kill others they have never met and/or to commit suicide in its furtherance is:
    (a) Architecture;
    (b) Philosophy;
    (c) Archeology; or
    (d) Religion
    What is it that most differentiates science and all other intellectual disciplines from religion:
    (a) Religion tells people not only what they should believe, but what they are morally obliged to believe on pain of divine retribution, whereas science, economics, medicine etc. has no “sacred cows” in terms of doctrine and go where the evidence leads them;
    (b) Religion can make a statement, such as “there is a composite god comprised of God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit”, and be totally immune from experimentation and challenge, whereas science can only make factual assertions when supported by considerable evidence;
    (c) Science and the scientific method is universal and consistent all over the World whereas religion is regional and a person’s religious conviction, no matter how deeply held, is clearly nothing more than an accident of birth; or
    (d) All of the above.
    If I am found wandering the streets flagellating myself, wading into a filth river, mutilating my child’s genitals or kneeling down in a church believing that a being is somehow reading my inner thoughts and prayers, I am likely driven by:
    (a) a deep psychiatric issue;
    (b) an irrational fear or phobia;
    (c) a severe mental degeneration caused by years of drug abuse; or
    (d) my religious belief.
    Who am I? I don’t pay any taxes. I never have. Any money my organization earns is tax free and my own salary is also tax free, at the federal, state and local level. Despite contributing nothing to society, but still enjoying all its benefits, I feel I have the right to tell others what to do. I am
    (a) A sleazy Wall Street banker
    (b) A mafia boss
    (c) A drug pusher; or
    (d) A Catholic Priest, Protestant Minister or Jewish Rabbi.
    What do the following authors all have in common – Jean Paul Sartre, Voltaire, Denis Diderot, Victor Hugo, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant, David Hume, René Descartes, Francis Bacon, John Milton, John Locke, and Blaise Pascal:
    (a) They are among the most gifted writers the World has known;
    (b) They concentrated on opposing dogma and opening the human mind and spirit to the wonders of free thought and intellectual freedom;
    (c) They were intimidated by the Catholic Church and put on the Church’s list of prohibited authors; or
    (d) All of the above.
    The AIDS epidemic will kill tens of millions in poor African and South American countries before we defeat it. Condoms are an effective way to curtail its spread. As the Pope still has significant influence over the less educated masses in these parts of the World, he has exercised this power by:
    (a) Using some of the Vatican’s incomprehensible wealth to educate these vulnerable people on health family planning and condom use;
    (b) Supporting government programs that distribute condoms to high risk groups;
    (c) Using its myriad of churches in these regions to distribute condoms; or
    (d) Scaring people into NOT using condoms, based upon his disdainful and aloof view that it is better that a person die than go against the Vatican’s position on contraceptive use.

    July 11, 2012 at 6:04 am |
    • nvvmeac

      So by "religion" you mean Catholicism? What about other faiths?

      July 11, 2012 at 6:21 am |
    • barb2012

      I've seen you so-called logic test before. It takes up a lot of space and is nonsense. Why don't you publish it in a book and see who would buy or even want it? When ignorance takes over logic and leaves the truth out, you have established only ridicule.

      July 11, 2012 at 6:44 am |
    • A dose of reality

      WOw, my questions are ignorance? Sounds like you are the ignorant one. Especially if YOU believe in Sky Fairies! Why don't you try answering a few of the questions with logic and facts instead of just dismissing them because they are beyond your comprehension?!?!?!

      July 11, 2012 at 7:00 am |
    • Rags

      Excellent! True and funny but too bad some are dissing you because of your belief.

      July 11, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • Guest

      God is beyond your comprehension, as He is with everyone, which is the sole reason you are asking all of these questions. YOU don't have the answers to them. We don't have the answers to all of your questions, because if we knew everything, we wouldn't need GOD! All you're doing, is looking for an argument or for someone to stroke you enormous ego!

      July 11, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • barb2012

      Why don't you stop taking up so much web space and write your essay for theologians and stop boring us with your ridiculous tests?

      July 11, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      barb2012
      "Why don't you stop taking up so much web space..."

      Is this really a problem?

      Why don't you refute any of the premises or contentions instead of just complaining?

      July 11, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • barb2012

      I am complaining because this nut is like a preacher, putting his test anywhere he can and it is SO long; taking up a lot of web space; irrelevant and egotistical. His lack of knowledge is apparent in matters of religion, politics, etc. It has nothing to do with Scientology, Tom Cruise or Katie Holmes. If I wanted to be preached to, I'd turn on the tv for the latest evangelist telling me how to live. I know, this will only inspire him to put this goofy test on every article in CNN.

      July 11, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • barb2012

      Frayed: Oh, I forgot. My 5 lines are really an equal comparison to 3 pages on my computer I have to scroll down, wondering if it will every end. Duh.

      July 11, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  2. blessedgeek

    "Scientology appeals to men and women in all walks of life, as do other major religions."

    Is Scientology a "major" religion???

    What do you do if you lived in a tiny town where two competing country music radio stations both tout
    "We are the most listened-to country music station."

    Perhaps, I could record myself singer a song onto Youtube and after getting 100 hits, I could brag "I am a major singing super star."

    July 11, 2012 at 6:01 am |
  3. vivee

    Scientologiy is a cult. I have had family members who were separated from their children so they ould "spread the word"
    WHAT WORD!!!! It's nothing but a cult. Now Jenna Elfman is a member???
    Her career has tanked and is now looking for something to jumpstart it?? Scientologists do not allow the "normies" to interact with their children...a big mistake, esp for Cruise. The scientologists need big names to keep cult alive due to the HUGE donations given to them by these rich people with nothing better to believe in..(GO KATIE HOLMES!!!)

    July 11, 2012 at 5:59 am |
    • fyi

      I think Jenna Elfman has been a Scientologist for a while...

      July 11, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • Martin

      Redundant. All religions are cults.

      July 11, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Guest

      DIFFERENCES between a religion and a cult.

      Religion-The Catholic Church has sources of authority other than the leader (the Pope), such as the Bible, Church Law, and writings by other Catholic authorities.

      Cult-The leader is the sole source of authority for the group

      Religion-A new member clearly knows what the organization is that he (she) is joining. Is warned in advance about what is expected, and what he (she) can and cannot do. Often has to wait for several months to a year before joining the Church to make sure that the obligations of being a Catholic are understood.

      Cult-A new member is deliberately deceived about the obligations of belonging to the group. Cult recruits often attend a cult activity, are lured into "staying for a while," and soon find that they have joined the cult for life, or as one group requires, members sign up for a "billion year contract...." is not warned in advance about what is expected, and what he (she) can and cannot do. Is often duped into joining a cult during the course of a weekend, which was supposed to be a fun weekend with some new friends, or it could even have been advertised as a weekend seminar to quit smoking or lose weight.

      Religion-A member of the Catholic Church retains freedom of politics, friends, family association, selection of spouse, and information access to television, radio, reading material, telephone, and mail.

      Cult-Cults restrict the access that members have to outside sources of information, and tell cult members that their families and former friends are "evil" or "sinners" because they don't belong to the cult.

      Religion-A member of the Catholic Church is told to remain in the Church, but is never physically forced to remain.

      Culg-Members of a religious cult are physically forced, if necessary, to remain in the group. Sometimes group members who try to leave are kidnapped and brought back to the group. Members the cult group in Jonestown Guyana who tried to resist the order from Jim Jones to commit suicide were gunned down by other cult members.

      Religion-Medical and dental care are available, encouraged, and permitted for members of the Catholic Church. History shows that the Catholic Church was the first one to build hospitals, and provided free medical care to those who could not afford it.

      Cult-Many cults discourage and sometimes forbid medical care.

      Religion-Training and education received in Catholic schools are usable later in life. History shows that the Catholic Church was the one building schools and universities when no-one else was during the so-called "Dark Ages."

      Cult-Cults do not necessarily train a person in anything that has any value in the greater society.

      Religion-In the Catholic Church, public records are kept. Members have access to their own records.

      Culg-Cult records, if they exist, are confidential, hidden from members, and not shared.

      Religion-A system of Church Law is provided within the Catholic Church. A Church member can also utilize legal and law enforcement agencies and other representatives of the civil law if needed.

      Cult-In cults, there is only the closed, internal system of justice, with no appeal or recourse to outside support.

      Religion-Families of Church members talk and deal directly with Catholic schools. Children may attend Catholic or non-Catholic schools.

      Cult-In cults, children, child rearing, and education are often under the absolute control of the cult leader.

      Religion-The Catholic Church respects the laws of the land. The Catholic Church negotiates a concordat with the government of every nation, in which the Church and the state agree upon any exemptions from the civil law that are available to Church members.

      Cult-Cults consider themselves above the law, and are a law unto themselves, and cult leaders are accountable to no one, not even their members.

      Religion-A Church member gets to keep his (her) money, property, gifts and inheritances. Pope Leo XIII wrote defending private property in his encyclical "Rerum Novarum," May 15, 1891.

      Cult-In many cults, members are expected to turn over to the cult all money and worldly possessions.

      Religion-Rational behavior is valued in the Catholic Church. Elsewhere we have proven that the Catholic Church has condemned those who discourage the use of reason and rational thinking.

      Cult-Cults discourage members from thinking independently, and their normal thought processes are stifled and broken.

      Religion-The right for members of the Catholic Church to make suggestions and offer criticism to Church leaders is protected by Church Law.

      Cult-The cult leader is always right, and the members who disagree, as well as all outsiders, are always wrong. Members who criticize the leader are ridiculed and often treated violently, or may simply be expelled from the group.

      Religion-Church members cannot be used for medical and psychological experiments without their informed consent.

      Cult-Cults essentially perform psychological experiments on their members through implementing so-called thought-reform processes without members' knowledge or consent.

      Religion-Reading, education, and knowledge are encouraged by the Catholic Church. It was the Catholic Church that preserved books and learning, and which founded the first universities, and which brings education wherever Catholic missionary effort goes.

      Cult-If cults do any education, it is only in their own teachings. Members come to know less and less about the outside world; contact with or information about life outside the cult is sometimes openly frowned upon, if not forbidden.

      Religion-The Catholic Church looks for new members among all races and classes of people. The Church does not concentrate their search for new members:
      among the lonely and the vulnerable.
      among the wealthy.

      Cult-Cults do not look for new members with equal effort among all races and classes of people. Cult concentrate their recruiting efforts among certain groups:
      Cults target the lonely and the vulnerable.
      Cults target rich individuals.

      Cult-In the Catholic Church, physical fitness is never discouraged. In some monastic orders, like the Dominicans, physical fitness exercises are mandatory. Cults rarely encourage fitness or good health, except perhaps for members who serve as security guards or thugs.

      Religion-Adequate and properly balanced nourishment is never discouraged by the Catholic Church. Catholic religious orders make balanced meals at regularly scheduled times mandatory for all members.

      Cult-Many cults encourage or require unhealthy and bizarre diets. Typically, because of intense work schedules, lack of funds, and other cult demands, cult members are not able to maintain healthy eating habits.

      Religion-In the Catholic Church, many methods of instruction and education are used, but brainwashing, or thought-reform, is not used.

      Cult-Cults influence members by means of a coordinated program of psychological and social influence techniques, or brainwashing.

      July 11, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  4. Please Grow Up

    While I was away on a business trip (1980), my wife became involved in Scientology. I tried to get her out of it. The "church" called at wierd hours in the night. They were strong. She went with them. Divorced. End of story.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:55 am |
  5. Mark Yelka

    Scientologists came to my door. Their objectives seemed to include:

    1. Telling me my life was broken in some way when, in fact, I was living a happy life.
    2. Selling to me their promotional material. No freebies from them.
    3. Establishing themselves as authorities over my life.

    We met a few times because I was curious about them. My conclusion: cult.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:40 am |
    • Mike

      This is what every Christian religion does:
      1) Tell you that you are broken.
      2) But we have the cure! The Jesus!

      July 11, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • midwstrngrl

      this is in essence every religion. this is the purpose of religion.

      July 11, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • Guest

      @Mike-Go and read the differences between a religion and a cult, above, and you will see, that you are VERY, VERY wrong! You're ignorance is astounding!

      July 11, 2012 at 11:17 am |
  6. alyarby

    Sounds like Nancy Pelosi speaking about the ACA. You have to join the religion to know what's in it. That's a RELIGION? Nah, I don't think so.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:38 am |
  7. mike

    really is the crap scientology any wierder than christianity or islam.... all religion is a bunch of crap that somebody makes up to control somebody else.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:38 am |
    • Gary

      Not sure what you're talking about? My God or church controls nothing in my life at all. I CHOOSE to be there. I can leave at any time.

      July 11, 2012 at 5:57 am |
    • barb2012

      Not all religions demand money to learn what is essential to live a better life.
      I have yet to hear anything spiritual about Scientology.
      It is no different than any other cult.
      Celebrities are not the brightest people on the earth and many are easy to recruit.

      July 11, 2012 at 6:19 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      @Gary

      "Not sure what you're talking about? My God or church controls nothing in my life at all. I CHOOSE to be there. I can leave at any time."

      Yes you can choose to leave, but at what cost? Your church also manipulates you in ways you probably aren't aware of. First it convinces you that you are somehow broken (a sinner) and conveniently offers the cure (follow Jesus' teachings and church doctrine). Once hooked you are nearly helpless to reject it as it threatens you with eternal torment for doing so. How is that any less controlling than Scientology?

      July 11, 2012 at 6:43 am |
    • nvvmeac

      "You don't get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion." – L. Ron Hubbard

      July 11, 2012 at 6:44 am |
    • CrazyTime

      all based on a book of fiction.

      July 11, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • passing through

      Have you ever heard of free will Mike???? When you go in to work every day, does your boss control you're every move?! Are there rules to follow? If you don't follow those rules, what will happen? Most likely, you'll lose your job. You seem to have a big problem with authority! What would happen if you told your boss to shove it, I'm not going to follow your rules? God gave us free will, to make our OWN choices. Nothing is forced upon us, unless we allow it! You obviously don't like being told what to do, or you wouldn't have a problem with religion in the first place!

      July 11, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Vance

      @Gary.. You choose to give up control...

      July 11, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  8. zooni

    The little space aliens are no so good at keeping marriages together. Maybe family and Scientology are not meant to be.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:38 am |
  9. Dr.Fritz

    Scientology is a for-profit cult. Google: Scientology, religious cloaking. Googling Xenu, and Scientology child abuse are also disturbing.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:36 am |
    • Martin

      Christianity is also a for-profit cult. Look at all those nice new churches...

      July 11, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  10. Milton

    "Approved to leave"? "Interrogated"? You have to get permission to leave? So this is more like the mafia or prison than a religion. I can't think of any religion more worthy than receiving the stinkeye of the american public. Check out the "Operation clambake" website if you want to hear the weirdness of this religion. This religion is weird even for a religion!

    July 11, 2012 at 5:35 am |
  11. Jules

    its really just a cult

    July 11, 2012 at 5:32 am |
  12. 666667

    Scientology is pretty nutty, but I think all religion is nutty and man made...other religions only have time on Scientology....symbolically drinking a dead guys blood and eating his flesh ...is that some sick zombie religion? of course not silly, it is Christianity.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:31 am |
    • fixer2010

      I think you are a little mixed up. Zombies actually eat the flesh of the living. When the living eat the flesh of the dead, it's called cannibalism. Just sayin.....and everybody refers to Jesus as a Zombie....why? I don't recall the stories of him eating anybody? I think that people just need to mind their own, and let people worship as they see fit.

      July 11, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • duh

      people refer to jesus as a zombie because he was supposedly resurrected after death.

      July 11, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • Church of Suicidal

      fixer – I think they probably are referring to the resurrection (walking dead) bit.

      July 11, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • jaman

      Zombies do not actually eat the flesh of the living as zombies are not real.

      July 11, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Well yes, ritualistic cannibalism of the undead is MUCH more attractive than a zombie cult. Where can I sign up? I'm feeling a little peckish....Is it lunchtime yet?

      July 11, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
  13. Gordon

    "But in order to get permission you have to go through an intensive security check, interrogation procedure before you can be approved to leave."

    Why not just do what islam does and sentence apostates to death?

    July 11, 2012 at 5:31 am |
  14. eric

    It's not a church, it's not even a religion. L. Ron Hubbard even siad he made the whole thing up as a joke. It's a cult of geeks hoping to board the mothership and we all see where that got the kids with the kool-aid, wasnt that also in super savvey california? I cant keep up with all the rediculous stuff that comes out of that cesspool

    July 11, 2012 at 5:30 am |
  15. Lasedog8

    This gives me another reason not to go see Cruise/Travolta movies...

    July 11, 2012 at 5:29 am |
    • barb2012

      Since Katie did not go the extra mile and expose Scientology, we must call on Tom. Katie has the power to disintegrate an entire church (cult). She didn't. Can you imagine if Tom left the COS? It would no longer exist. Is he that ignorant or stupid? I know he doesn't have much education, but does he have to shout it?

      July 11, 2012 at 6:33 am |
  16. Pete

    This is a CNN Home Page story? Please keep this junk in the Entertainment section, where it belongs, if it belongs anywhere.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:26 am |
    • Damien

      Well that is an option, but the thing the article is trying to speak about is how it exploits the entertainment industry to lure in your basic average person to their lifestyle. They want peoplke in the church 7 days a week and to slowly limit contact with those not in the church. It all seems like sunshine and roses on the surface, but once you scratch away the bright shiny coating its obsessive and disturbing.

      July 11, 2012 at 5:40 am |
  17. Rick1948

    A "Celebrity Center"? The government needs to start figuring out if this outfit qualifies as a tax exempt "church" at all.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:25 am |
    • barb2012

      Someone was paid a lot of money to qualify it as a bona fide religion/church.
      Notice COS wants celebrities in all walks of life; but does not want the Ph.D.s, M.D.s, etc. because I can't imagine they would join. Certainly no psychiatrist would, haha. Even those without higher education but educated themselves do not join. Bill Gates?

      Only those uneducated people with celebrity status; the same who also venture towards drugs and alcohol to make it through the day.

      July 11, 2012 at 6:52 am |
  18. Frank

    Let's at least keep the semantics accurate. It's not a "church".

    July 11, 2012 at 5:23 am |
    • Flatsguide

      It's a cult.

      July 11, 2012 at 5:44 am |
  19. FedUpwithLA

    "Church founder L. Ron Hubbard realized celebrities were key to his mission." Well, that's convenient. Plus their money, too.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:17 am |
    • Flatsguide

      Obama does the same thing with George Clooney in his cult.

      July 11, 2012 at 5:45 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      @Flatdguide,

      Off topic.
      Nice segue into bring politics into this discussion on religion. Just could not resist, could you.

      July 11, 2012 at 7:00 am |
  20. doctore0

    People should skip movies with Scientology actors... When you go to movies with these Scientology celebrities, you are supporting Scientology, and that is NOT GOOD.

    July 11, 2012 at 4:57 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.