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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. Hunter

    As a former Scientologist, I can attest to a lot of what this woman is saying. One of L. Ron Hubbard's directives is that "Scientology is senior to life", meaning it's more important than your current life in this body at this time because you have had many bodies, many lifetimes. While I do believe we have many lifetimes, to say that Scientology is more important always struck me as being a very scary and dangerous frame of mind. They treat these celebrities like gold and treat all us regular folks like slaves. It's no wonder someone like TC or travolta happily participates in it! They aren't required to give up everything to be a Scientologist. Also, some 30 years after leaving the "church", I STILL get calls from them trying to get me to come back. I think I effectively stopped them when I said, "Yeah, but L. Ron Hubbard was a fraud!". Haven't heard a word since. LOL

    July 11, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  2. hannah007

    How can anyone be drawn into Scientiology in the days of internet use, you really have to be naive and an imbecile to believe even for a minute that this organization has anything to do with religion.

    July 11, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Closet Atheist

      Scientology makes just as much sense as any other mainstream religion.

      Great quote: "When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours." – Stephen F Roberts

      July 11, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • ME II

      @hannah007,
      The same can be said for Christianity.

      @Closet Atheist,
      Why don't you believe in closets? ; )

      July 11, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • sam stone

      how is the internet a threat to the absurdity of scientology but not to the absurdity of other religious beliefs?

      July 11, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  3. Rita

    "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." Sounds like a cult to me.

    July 11, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • greennnnnn

      I don't understand why one couldn't just "walk away". What are they gonna do – kill ya? These people are like the WEIRDEST. It just creeps me out. And, of course, they recruit top celebrities. Where else would they get all their money? Common people cannot join because you have to pay so much every time you raise a level. This is nothing but a scam and a cult. Creepy...............

      July 11, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  4. AverageJoe76

    .......and God said to Abraham, "Kill your son, and prove your faith to me. For I am the Lord, and I am quite bored with the normal rituals you pathetic human germs have conjured thus far to praise me. I need more blood. So.... due to my sadistic nature, I would ask a man that has waited almost a century to have a child, to kill it in my name, and prove his faith. You're not going to have a problem with this, right?"

    July 11, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      No of course not...after all someone wrote it in a book, so it must be OK

      July 11, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  5. Don

    I lump Scientology and Mormonism together as total BS religions.

    July 11, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Closet Atheist

      That's funny.... because I too lump Scientology and Mormonism together as total BS. I just like to add Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, etc, etc, etc into the same bucket.

      "I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours." – Stephen F Roberts

      Sorry to repost quote a few times...think it is pretty relevent in this thread....

      July 11, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Me

      @Don....that is because you are a brainless idiot!!! What you didn't learn how to read?? With so much information at your finger tips you still make this ridiculous ignorant statement!!! LOL And I am not a member of either religion but I do know a ton about Mormons since I live in Utah.

      July 11, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  6. dcollens

    Followers of Scientology and Mormonism, in particular, baffle me. These two religions were created by leaders who's doctrines are based either on outright lies or what seems an unstable mental state. Listen to the podcast about the history of L. Ron Hubbard on skeptiod dot com and it's confounding. And Joseph Smith, oh my goodness, the roots and original writings of him are so bizaare they sound like something out of a B alien movie. Easy enough to find info about that with a google search.

    July 11, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      And did you hear the one about the zombie desert tradesman demi-god who performed ichthian miracles?

      July 11, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • ME II

      So, they lack the advantage of the 'veil of time' that obscures other religions inadequacies?

      July 11, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • hell bent

      You shouldn't chastize a religious belief if you do not understand it. However, I do believe that there are more than just Scientology and Mormonism that are baffeling to me (anyway). So basically what I am saying is that "Faith is in the eye of the beholder."

      July 11, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • ME II

      @hell bent,
      "You shouldn't chastize a religious belief if you do not understand it"
      I don't know. Doesn't that create the rhetorical refuge of "If you disagree with my religion, then you don't understand my religion."

      July 11, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  7. Marie

    A "religion" that caters to celebrities by building them their own house of worship. 'Nuff said....

    July 11, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  8. pastafaria

    Like nearly everyone else here, I think that Scientology is total BS. However, the existence of even the slightest evidence that there could have been life on other planets at one time makes Scientology more credible than any of the world's major religions.

    July 11, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • ME II

      lol. Interesting point. kudos.

      July 11, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Kris

      ""However, the existence of even the slightest evidence that there could have been life on other planets at one time makes Scientology more credible than any of the world's major religions.""

      But there is ABSOLUTELY NO evidence.... however slight.. to confirm existence of life on other planets..

      so that my friend.. makes you look a bit stupid.

      July 11, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      Kris
      there is life on other planets. Mars for example...when we dropped a lander there, it had micro-organism life with it. some species have survived.

      July 11, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • John

      no evidence? That is a matter of perspective. As a species we are incredibly young compared to how long the universe has been in existence. Given this fact it is no surprise that we have yet to find other life in the universe since we have basically not even explored 1% of it yet. However, the odds that life exists on other planets is incredibly likely, almost certain. There about a billion billion(yes, a billion times a billion) other planets out there so the odds that Earth is the only planet sustaining life is pretty close to 0

      July 11, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • OOO

      Kris,
      I wouldn't say stupid. We are 1 galaxy in billions. And in our galaxy, we have looked at a handfull of planets in a soup of billions upon billions. There is almost certainly life somewhere else in this universe.

      July 11, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • pastafaria

      @Kris My post referred to evidence supporting the POSSIBILITY of life on other planets at some point in the past, not evidence confirming its existence. Let me guess, your favorite topic in high school science was the old testament.

      July 11, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Sunflower

      I don't need "evidence", just the scientific probability alone is overwhelming......

      July 11, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  9. Sunflower

    To bad he didn't find a way to be a better HUSBAND!!! Didn't help him much in that department... Not to mention his career and reputation is sinking fast with his associatio to the batch of fruit cakes.... I used to like him... Now I just laugh at him.. Poor guy got sucked in and drank the cool aid. He's being used and doesn't even realize it... Thank God Katie had the good sense to get her precious daughter out and away from that freakazoid cult.

    July 11, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • marragor

      Amen to that

      July 11, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Closet Atheist

      Come on.... Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder was f'n EPIC!!!!

      July 11, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  10. Reality

    Only for the new members of this blog:

    And the con games continue. E-meters? Were they delivered by angels? They were not? How shocking!!!

    Some other religion cons and some victims of said cons:

    Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney)

    "Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

    Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As does BO and his family)(i.e. Christians)

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

    July 11, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • LinSea

      Yes, only for the 'new members of this blog' because you keep posting the same things over and over and over and over....

      How about instead of mocking and insulting others' beliefs, why don't you explain what YOU believe and how it has helped you to be a happier person?

      July 11, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Reality

      Happiness is knowledge.

      July 11, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • Reality

      From the studies of Armstrong, Rushdie, Hirsi Ali, Richardson and Bayhaqi----–

      The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:

      ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

      Are you ready?

      Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

      The First Five of the 77 Branches:

      "1. Belief in Allah"

      aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your self-cleansing neurons.

      "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

      Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

      "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

      A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

      "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

      Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

      Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

      Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

      "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings
      be upon him) alone."

      Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

      Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

      Unfortunately, there are not many Muslim commentators/readers on this blog so the "two-minute" cure is not getting to those who need it. If you have a Muslim friend, send him a copy and help save the world.

      Analogous steps are available at your request for deprogramming the myths of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Paganism..

      July 11, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
  11. MeIsAwesome

    These guys are such BS artists. How many people have to come out and straight up say, 'yes, this is a fraud, we target individuals with social authority in order to pull the wool over your eyes'. They want you to think their cult might have a hint of truth in it because someone you respect gives it a thumbs up. This is belief based on the authority you give others rather than appealing to your sense of reason. Because they have no scientific evidence to back up any of the wacky Xenurific ideas about the universe.

    July 11, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  12. GV

    Major religion. Major. Really?

    July 11, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • thewarpedpen

      No kidding. I'm sorry, but any church that is brazen enough to have "celebrity centres" can be put in the BS pile, in my book.

      July 11, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  13. terry

    That's all we need – more ZOMBIES !!

    July 11, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      No really...mine is the one true zombie

      July 11, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  14. Pt8685

    I don't know much about Scientology, and I don't much care aout Tm Cruise and his personal life. But I am concerned that CNNs Belief Blog has become a forum for trashing certain religions and calling all religious belief into question.

    If you scan the stories on this site, they mostly cover the controversies about faith. They rarely tell positive stories of faith, which are far more abundant than controversies. The stories often highlight conflicts and intolerance perpetrated by a tiny minority of people who profess certain faiths without aknowledging the vast majority who live peacefully and faithfully every day.

    This blog also tends to oversimplify belief systems, often couching their philosophical positions in secular terms, instead of trying to explain the deep-rooted theological reasoning behind them. The articles usually take skeptical tone, or use language that makes the beliefs they are reporting on seem alien and odd – even when discussing mainstream faiths like Christianity, Islam, or Judiasm.

    But the worst aspect of this blog is the hatred, vitriol, and bigotry spouted in the comments. Most of the negativity comes from anti-religious and/or atheistic commenters. But even worse, many of the religious defenders will fire back with mean-spirited comments and name-calling.

    I wish CNN would get a grip on this forum before it looses all credibility and usefulness as a place to learn and exchange ideas about faith in our society.

    July 11, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • ???

      Thank you, thank you, thank you. Wonderful post. Couldn't have said it better myself. Thank you.

      July 11, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Sy2502

      I just love how religious people consider any expression of critical thinking applied to religion "vitriolic comment".

      July 11, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • hate on hater

      Shut up and kill yourself. You whiney semen gobbler.

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

      You must be new to the internet...

      July 11, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      What seems to be the problem Officer?

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

      Ever notice that many think that God always hates the the same ones they hate?

      July 11, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Scott Pilgrim

      You are exactly right. The only thing that goes on in the comment section of these articles are Atheists slinging the term "sky fairies" around like monkeys throwing feces, and then religous people fire things right back. It's depressing.

      July 11, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • mincman

      Please, educate yourself about Scientology before you call it a religion. It is not.

      July 11, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Er

      Please stop whining.

      July 11, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • OOO

      @Pt8685
      OK.. But lets disect your arguments..

      "They rarely tell positive stories of faith, which are far more abundant than controversies."
      I have never seen proof of faith (that's why it still called faith, otherwise it would be granted a new name, like fact). So nothing that is good has come from faith, by definition. All examples you could come up with could be done (and probably have been done) by someone secular or some secular group.

      "This blog also tends to oversimplify belief systems, often couching their philosophical positions in secular terms, instead of trying to explain the deep-rooted theological reasoning behind them. The articles usually take skeptical tone, or use language that makes the beliefs they are reporting on seem alien and odd – even when discussing mainstream faiths like Christianity, Islam, or Judiasm."
      No matter what, we just don't believe in talking snakes, virgins that give birth, parting of seas, etc.... Sorry.

      "Most of the negativity comes from anti-religious and/or atheistic commenters."
      There is a lot of negativity here. I would argue that the most hateful comments come from people whose beliefe systems are under attack via rational arguments.

      July 11, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Scott Pilgrim

      To OOO
      to counter-argue:
      "I have never seen proof of faith (that's why it still called faith, otherwise it would be granted a new name, like fact). So nothing that is good has come from faith, by definition. All examples you could come up with could be done (and probably have been done) by someone secular or some secular group."
      I think the original argument is that there are no positive stories about anyone regarding faith (i.e. that priest who advocated gay marriage a couple weeks ago, despire it disagreeing with Church's official stance). This is a positive story.
      "No matter what, we just don't believe in talking snakes, virgins that give birth, parting of seas, etc.... Sorry."
      Again, using a skeptical tone and talking down to people who do believe in religion does not make your view any less right. The mysteries of the universe have yet to be proven by anyone, so being disrespectful or skeptical on anyone's views is not fair to that group – Atheist of Christian.
      "There is a lot of negativity here. I would argue that the most hateful comments come from people whose beliefe systems are under attack via rational arguments."
      You can view it that way, but I'm calling it about fifty-fifty. And most anti-religious comments are not put in the form of a rational argument, they are typically made in the form of deragatory remarks about "sky fairies" or something of that nature.

      July 11, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Mastodonrocks

      "Before it loses credibility" Before? Hahahahaha!

      July 11, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • OOO

      Scott,
      Thanks for the reply.

      "I think the original argument is that there are no positive stories about anyone regarding faith (i.e. that priest who advocated gay marriage a couple weeks ago, despire it disagreeing with Church's official stance). This is a positive story."

      It is a positive story, I'll grant you that. But what does it have to do with faith? That priests views were in spite of his faith, which is anti-gay.

      "Again, using a skeptical tone and talking down to people who do believe in religion does not make your view any less right. The mysteries of the universe have yet to be proven by anyone, so being disrespectful or skeptical on anyone's views is not fair to that group – Atheist of Christian."

      Views and beliefs do not deserve respect. They must earn it, just like a scientific hypothesis must be tested before it is looked upon seriously. The fact is that the beliefs mentioned above can sometimes best be brought to light in the way I did to show the believer how outlandish it is. Kind of like a gentle slap in the face.

      July 11, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • ME II

      CNN is a news organization...
      "If it bleeds, it leads" I think is the old maxim.

      July 11, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Which God??

      Well.Pt8685, in the words of the immortal prophet, Tough shyte. They are all cults, and outlandish in their doctrines. Some problably follow the church of the ShamWow, or the church -of-what's- happening-now.Hmmm, I'll take the latter. 🙂

      July 11, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Tekpilot

      I think it is remarkable that so many atheists are drawn to the belief blog. As a Christian i would say the Spirit is calling them and they keep commiting the unpardonable sin, rejection of the Holy Spirit.

      July 11, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Portland tony

      This is a discussion forum. Wherefore most give opinions for and against popular religions and beliefs. Admittedly there are some that post just for fun and really have nothing to add to the conversation: They are called trolls or know nothing's!

      July 11, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • LinSea

      Very well said.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  15. Daniel

    I have to agree. The downfall of humanity will only occur because idiots believe in fairy tales. It has nothing to do with a god coming back or his son. It will be the ignorance of man and his addiction to his own ego...

    July 11, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  16. William

    Scientologists are not following a religion. They are simply kooks.

    July 11, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • OOO

      Soooo Whats the correct religion to follow?

      July 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • no god

      None.

      July 11, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • ME II

      Definition of RELIGION
      1
      a : the state of a religious
      b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
      2
      : a personal set or insti[.]tutionalized system of religious att[.]itudes, beliefs, and practices
      3
      archaic : scrupulous conformity : conscientiousness
      4
      : a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith
      (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/religion)

      Scientology appears to fit 2 of these.

      July 11, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  17. SoFunny

    Scientology is not a religion, it is a CULT. Sadly, there are those that do not see the light, or want to join something that is elistist, oh well, so sad.

    July 11, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Mike

      What's the difference between a religion and a cult?

      Don't Christians worship a man who claimed he was the son of the creator of the universe? How is that any different?

      July 11, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Scott Pilgrim

      Any religion you can leave without fear of repricussion is a pretty big factor that seperates them from a cult. But hey, I'm sure you can word it however to want to push your oh-so-superior belief.

      July 11, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • hate on hater

      Belief in a god who knocked up a random virgin to give birth to his son, which was actually himself, only to sacrifice himself because humans we inherently bad, to save humanity that the god created in the first place....sounds air tight. Way more believable cause it happened on earth 3000 years ago....riiight.

      July 11, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Scott Pilgrim

      @ hate on hater:
      I explained the difference between a cult and religion. Besides, what makes you think I'm Christian? Maybe I'm agnostic? Being a bigot doesn't make you convincing.

      July 11, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • hate on hater

      Truth is not bigotry. Your inability to handle the truth is your problem, not bigotry. Sorry pilgrim.

      July 11, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Illini Guy

      The difference between a religion and a cult is in secrecy. If the texts and ceremonies are open to public consumption and scrutiny, religion. If they are kept hidden and/or require $ to fully access, cult.

      July 11, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  18. DM

    I'm just glad Katie took the kid and got the h*ll out of dodge. Or Scientology as it were. 🙂 And I know I'm not the only person who finds Tom Cruise kind of creepy.

    July 11, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • William

      'Kind of' is an understatement.

      July 11, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • terry

      A very strange short little follow.

      July 11, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • terry

      I mean fellow.

      July 11, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Sunflower

      Sad to see someone so handsome and talented get sucked into the FREAK vortex and become "creepy"... Such a waste... Imagine watching him descend into the fruit bowl, being married to him....

      July 11, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  19. no god

    Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are just as stupid as scientology. All are based on fake, false stories that are soooo ridiculous its laughable how many adults actually believe any of it as truth. So for every rligitard that cry's foul about scientology, just remember your faith is based on stupid fairy tales too. That's the truth.

    July 11, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Such conviction!

      July 11, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • barb2012

      And we're so glad that there is one person we can trust to tell us the truth. Please expound all of your beliefs so we can ponder away.

      July 11, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • no god

      Such honesty. What makes your religion any more valid than scientology? Because it's older? Nope. The stories in your bible are just as ridiculous as scientologists stories. And just as fake.

      July 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • matt

      What if........?

      July 11, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Please tell us....

      So what is the truth? You seem to know everything so please tell us.

      July 11, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Scott Pilgrim

      You know you're being a bigot about it, right? Just making sure you know.

      July 11, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • hate on hater

      Truth hurts sometimes. Just because you don't like the truth doesn't mean it's bigotry.
      Religion requires blind faith and suspension of reason and logic.

      July 11, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • MBAKER

      YES EVERYONE IS STUPID EXCEPT FOR YOU

      July 11, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • LinSea

      Not agreeing with someone's belief's doesn't make you a bigot. Calling them "ridiculous" and "stupid fairy tales" and the believers names like "rligitard"[sic] seems like pretty good indicators that you hate them because of their beliefs, which does define a bigot.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  20. Lance

    "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."
    ----------
    So, rather than travel to a lonely crossroads in rural Mississippi to sell his soul to the devil, he sold it to L. Ron Hubbard instead? Makes sense.

    July 11, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Kareful-Kay

      F Ron Hubbard and F all of his clones.

      July 11, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • no god

      F all religion and F the sheep who follow it blindly.

      July 11, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • dez

      "...how Scientology could help them achieve their highest goals as artists."

      So is that TC's excuse for "Rock of Ages"?

      July 11, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
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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.