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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. Stopabortion

    Church founded by men???, no way, There is only one true Church, founded by Jesus himself:The Catholic Church.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      Also created by men

      July 11, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Trollman

      Science founded by men?

      July 11, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Huebert

      Who said it wasn't?

      July 11, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Trollman

      Thus you cannot attack religion.

      Science is run by MEN.

      July 11, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Religion is the #1 problem in this world by far

      Scientific principles arise from scientific evidence, not a 2,000 year old game of telephone originating from people who thought the Earth was the flat center of the universe.

      July 11, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Huebert

      Of course science is run by men, as is religion. You only sound like a jack a.ss when you say religion is run by anything else.

      July 11, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • tucsand

      To believe in the Resurrection of Jesus is being Christian, If there was a Jesus he was Jewish and only preached the word of God his father. He did not preach any particular religion.

      July 11, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  2. Duni

    See the thing is... I thought Scientology was just going to be a newer version of Christianity with a twist. Science & Christian Theology mixed together. The proof, through science, that God exists. << That I can get into.... but the second they mentioned an alien name xenu... I was out.
    If Holmes started out as a Christian (Catholic to be exact) and she was a little on the devout side, then her conversion to Scientology wouldn't have happened. she just put on a brave face for her husband and the man she thought was perfect for her.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • tucsand

      For me, show me an autographed bible 🙂

      July 11, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  3. Barry G.

    Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. And it performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people. Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth. It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.

    Revelation 13:11-17

    July 11, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Scott

      For years I have said credit/debit cards replaced cash and bar codes will replace C/D cards. Every one gets a bar code tattooed onto their palm and whenever they want to buy something or identify themselves, they just pass their palm over a scanner. No more cash, no more C/D cards and no more ID cards. Social security card, driver’s license, passport, Ralph’s club and health club ID all replaced by a small tattoo.

      July 11, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  4. Xdoc

    "You've continued a very thoughtful and respectful conversation. That's your free will right there. And I appreciate it."

    Thanks, but I think you missed my point. My point was that even though my free will was exercised by coming here and responding on my own... where was yours? If you stated he "pushed" you to do this. And remember, I come with the assumption that the Bible is true in literal terms and some times they do state not to take things literally. Only problem with that is it doesn't state which parts to exactly treat literally and which parts you should take metaphorically. Everything bad in the Bible, such as God ordering Abraham to kill his son to prove his faith, I could take literally and think, "what a jealous God, I'm not worshiping that, it'll be like honoring a jealous wife, eventually you'll get tired of it". Like the fig tree incident, you can take that incident 2 ways: 1: Jesus cursed or withered the tree to make a point about prayer, or 2: Jesus was upset that he didn't get food when he was hungry and out of spite, withered the tree. I could do the same to situations in Greek mythology, when Zeus had Hercules go mad and kill his wife and children, or when Paris was given the love of Helen by Aphrodite as a bribe to choose here as the most beautiful goddess. One thing though, the trojan war HAS been proven to have happened by the ruins found.

    "Still going strong for 2000 years and is translated into more than 2000 languages."

    Yea, proves people are very gullible. You also have to remember that the Bible has been collected and compiled over a long period of time. The Bible you read today is not the same Bible (i.e. list of Gospels) back in the Middle Ages, or back in the late Roman Empire. Those folks read very different compiled versions of the Gospels. There were many that were stricken out of the current Bible because things didn't "fit" well with the rest so they thought they were not "inspirations" of God. Hinduism has been around longer though, and I bet you don't believe a word of that religion, even though lots of people do. I wonder what you think of older religions still being practiced today?

    July 11, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  5. tucsand

    Both of Tom and Katie being celebrities is one thing but do we really need to hear about every gruesome detail about their divorce which should be private. I don't pick my religion because a celebrity is a member of it.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  6. Barry G.

    The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast. People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?”

    The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.

    Revelation 13:1-8

    July 11, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • sam stone

      Take your meds

      July 11, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Daniel

      I think he already has...

      July 11, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Huebert

      Then we need to raise the dose.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  7. Barry G.

    Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

    Revelation 12:7-9

    July 11, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Scott

      So the whole reason everyone is cursed with ORIGINAL SIN tm, is because god sent the devil to the earth. But god is going to burn us in hell for all eternity if we are seduced by the devil which he put here himself!

      July 11, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  8. no kidding

    the basic way to live and be a decent person shouldnt be rubber stamped by how a church tells you. dont knock those who belive in a higher power we will all know the truth one day , nothing wrong with trying to be a decent person till that day comes

    I dont mind if you dont believe, but I mind that you must put otehrs down because they want to believe, what harm does it cause you

    July 11, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      When stem cell research funding is blocked because of religious reasons, it hurts us all, when religious myth is taught in schools, it hurts us all. When a child dies because the parents prayed rather than go to a doctor,it hurts us all....would you like so more food for thought or have I made my point?

      July 11, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Trollman

      when an atheist forces atheism on everybody,it hurts us all.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • OOO

      also, you are confusing reasoned thinking with putting down. We debate the belief, not the person.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      Trolldoll
      When has atheism been forced on anyone? We will fight back when religion is forced on us (ie pledge of allegience change, the national motto being changed, creation taught in schools but atheism is not being forced on anyone you moron.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Trollman

      It is.You don't like so thus you force atheism upon the person.

      Don't lie.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      I'm not the one lying trolldoll...
      you said atheism is being forced...where when, what examples do you have. Site your reason for saying it or STFU.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Trollman

      such temper! Like a child!

      You try to force things which have been in this nation for hundreds of years because YOU don't like it.

      You atheists are cry babies I swear..

      July 11, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      Trolldoll
      I try to force things that have been for hundreds of years...like what, like the national motto being changed in the 1950's to the unconst i tutional "in god we trust" (which is a lie by the way), from the original E PLURIBUS UNEM (out of many one).
      Or changing the pledge again in the 1950's from its original and adding "under god'
      You mean those two examples where the was no religion, and then the reigious forced THEIR beliefs on others...you mean those things that have been around for "hundreds of years"..

      You haven't got a clue what you are talking about little one, I suggest you study up , your ignorance is astounding.

      July 11, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Religion is the #1 problem in this world by far

      It's not that we don't like it. It just doesn't make sense, that is all.

      July 11, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Jeff Williams

      """I mind that you must put otehrs down because they want to believe, what harm does it cause you"""

      The problem is that many governmental policies are dictated by peoples' beliefs in a mythology. One example – teaching of creationism and the sensitive nature of teaching evolution (the cornerstone of biology) in public schools.

      The harm this causes? A population of young people schooled without the basic knowledge needed to compete in the world of science. These kids will have a tough time understanding some things – which is probably the whole point. There is certainly harm in dumbing down your curriculum in order to appease believers.

      July 11, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Jeff Williams

      """when an atheist forces atheism on everybody,it hurts us all."""

      Hogwash. Atheists aren't forcing anything on you, except maybe to think. Is that your problem, maybe?

      July 11, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  9. Carm

    Scientology = cult. I can't believe how so many Hollywood celebrities are stupid enough to give their money to such a cult. (Travolta, Cruise, Kirsty (Crisco) Alley, "My name is Earl" guy. Idiots!

    July 11, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  10. MikeTheMan

    You have to be approved to leave? Huh? That sure sounds like a cult to me.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • JeffersonB

      Yeah, she asked permission to leave? You just leave.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  11. Roger Ogilvy Thornhill

    Apparently Cruise has all the answers for the rest of us on how to live our lives, but he is unable to stay in a marriage for more than a few years, even when married to a woman whom he made a fool of himself over just a few short years ago.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  12. Paul

    Alley credited the church for getting her off drugs but the cow still loves the FOOD DRUG

    July 11, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  13. no kidding

    and at the end of the day arent you glad youre allowed to openly debate religion. just saying well maybe not Scientolist

    different doesnt mean wrong, respect one another, but one thing we all agree is Scientology isnt on the up and up....

    July 11, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  14. Roger Ogilvy Thornhill

    Any "Church" you have to get permission and a security check to leave is not a religion - it's something darker and more sinister.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  15. don't hate the mentally ill

    as a current scientology member, i can tell you that we're all bat crazy. the screening process is rigorous to get in. a buddy of mine tried to join with me but he was red flagged when they found out there was no history of drugs or mental illness in his family. when i told them that i like to play with my own poo, i was a shoe-in.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  16. Trollman

    Atheists don't always use logic but when they do,they don't.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Religion is the #1 problem in this world by far

      Christians don't always talk to themselves, but when they do, they pretend that it's to "god".

      July 11, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      and what kind of logic is this?, circular, pretzel, ill...?

      July 11, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Trollman

      Atheists don't fart but when they do,they blame the "big bang".

      July 11, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Huebert

      Wow fart jokes. Shouldn't you be at summer camp kid?

      July 11, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Trollman

      Shouldn't you not be on religious articles trolling?

      July 11, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Huebert

      I see you still haven't learned about double negatives. I'm guessing sixth grade?

      July 11, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Trollman

      You just wanna troll the religious..no logic.

      You lied.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Huebert

      Do you read before you reply?

      July 11, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Daniel

      Trollman, with each and every post you are proving that non atheists are indeed irrational. Thanks for the help in proving that!

      July 11, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  17. ChesterL

    What do you mean you have to "get permission" to leave the church???? How bout "See ya!!! Peace Out!!!" and walk out the door!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 11, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • plucky

      Maybe the member gave them full access to their bank accounts???

      July 11, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Trollman

      Atheists don't fart but when they do,they usually blame the "big bang".

      July 11, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Chanie

      No disrespect to the "Church" of Scientology but when does a religion give their leades the right to dictate to people what they can or cannot do....unless they are a cult! Come on...not being able to just leave a church is absurb and those people who want to leave should just leave. Why does society keep giving these crazy leaders of these made-up churches these kinds of power...when they are just regular peole like the rest of the world!

      Slave and the Holocaust days are over and have been for a very long time – the "Church" of Scientology needs to preach the word of God, love, sharing and caring not "how to be afraid of the big bad leaders of this cult" ....ooops my bad....I meant so-called "RELIGION".

      to me....Scientology is a joke and don't get it twisted....I do respect ALL true Religions.....just not this one!

      July 11, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  18. Trollman

    Don't think atheism is a cult?

    Look it up.Many become violent if an atheist decides to decide atheism and turn to a religion.They usually mock the ex-atheist cult member.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • OOO

      mocking = cult ?????

      July 11, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Well, you named yourself appropriately

      Care to provide evidence of this "violence"?

      July 11, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Trollman

      reread what I posted..Its not that hard...

      July 11, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • OOO

      @ Troll

      ??

      July 11, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Trollman

      violent as in anger.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Hooray

      you ignorant fvktard

      July 11, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Trollman

      that means its true..

      July 11, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • Hooray

      go drown yourself

      July 11, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Trollman

      I know I know the truth is hard to accept.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Religion is the #1 problem in this world by far

      so mocking = violent?

      July 11, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Trollman

      Are you that stupid?!

      July 11, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Jack

      Trollman sure likes the sound of his own voice. Too bad no one else does.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • OOO

      How would you de-program an athiest cult member?

      July 11, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • Trollman

      I'm not speaking...I'm typing..genius..

      July 11, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      Trollchild
      The truth is only hard to accept when it is not the truth.
      Atheism is no cult, that is just ignorance on your part not undertsanding what atheism is nor what a cult is.
      I have never seen an atheist get angry when his beliefs are challenged, quite the opposite, they generally want to hear the other persons opinion.
      Anger is not violence. That is your ignorance again
      Go troll somewhere else little one

      July 11, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Apparently someone does not know the definition of Atheist or how to use a dictionary!! I'd like to know how a disbelief in a god equals cult. Typical lazy christard...only knows what has been preached from the pulpit. Get back to the sandbox little one, this is an adult blog!

      July 11, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Trollman

      atheists claim ALL religions are cults so I can claim atheism is a cult.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Michael

      Hey don't be sayin that atheists are violent....I'm an atheist!

      I hate it when people say stuff like that....makes me wanna go punch a cat.....

      July 11, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Trollman

      just like how atheists put labels on all religious people on the planet?

      Can't take the heat don't say it.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      You can make that claim but you're wrong and only making yourself look like a complete idiot!! Atheists don't have a higher power that they believe in or a set of doctrine that they follow. Cult is defined as a particular system of religious worship, especially with reference to its rites and ceremonies. That's not definitive of Atheism.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Trollman

      In atheism,you are a god of this world.Well of your own world that YOU control.

      So yes in atheism YOU are the higher power.

      Its a cult.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • JohnK

      Despite your (probably) born-again fantasies, the overwhelming majority of atheists and agnostics don't belong to organized groups – they just choose not to believe in fairy tales.

      All religions are cults, including Baptists, Catholics and Scientologists. The first two are just larger and have been around longer. The so-called "philosophy" of the Scientologists is a collection of psychobabble covered with a pseudo-scientific veneer.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Hooray

      Trollman licks c o c k cheese

      July 11, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  19. ChaCha

    I don't always invent a religion, but when I do, I prefer to make millions off of it.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Stay holy my friends

      July 11, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Shane

      hahaha! Thats great.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Bill,

      Nice one.

      L. Ron Hubbard, the most man in the world.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Stupid filter.... let's try again without the > or <

      L. Ron Hubbard the most _your suggestion here_ man in the world.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • *sigh*

      If you want to put something in tags and <display the tags>, you need to use html escape characters/

      July 11, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Sigh,

      thank you. It wasn't abundantly clear to me that this editor was html friendly.

      July 11, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • *sigh*

      Empty tags in the middle of a word will also help you get around this dumb fucking filter as well.

      July 11, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I like the Constitution

      July 11, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @sigh,

      and so it does. It took me a bit of experimenting (and there's no preview).

      Thank you!

      July 11, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  20. Shane

    Don't think Scientology is a cult? Lookup and do research on a few things such as: Operation Snow White – The biggest infiltration of the U.S. government to date; Lisa McPhearson; Noah Lottick; Scientology Auditors and brainwashing; Scientology's "Fair Game" policy or "Dead Agenting"; L. Ron Hubbard's criminal history (notice how it continues after he started Scientology). Do research into those topics and see what information you find, and then try and tell me that Scientology isn't a cult.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • ChaCha

      As a level 12 xenu, I can tell you that none of these things are true, and you will hear from our lawyers. Because, you know, thats what religions do when people speak poorly of them- they sue.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Annie

      Look up exscientologykids.com about the scientology sea org bunch. If you look online there are all kinds of 'how to leave scientology' sites.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
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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.