Journalism: Scientology - L. Ron Hubbard's Brainchild

The impulse to believe the absurd when presented with the unknowable is called religion. Whether this is wise or unwise is the domain of doctrine. Once you understand someone's doctrine, you understand their rationale for believing the absurd. At that point, it may no longer seem absurd. You can get to both sides of this conondrum from here.

Re: Journalism: Scientology - L. Ron Hubbard's Brainchild

Postby admin » Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:10 am

The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power: How the Growing Dianetics Empire Squeezes Millions From Believers Worldwide
by Richard Behar
Time Magazine
May 6, 1991 page 50.
Special Report (cover story)
Copyright © 1991 Time Magazine


Ruined lives. Lost fortunes. Federal crimes. Scientology poses as a religion but really is a ruthless global scam -- and aiming for the mainstream

By all appearances, Noah Lottick of Kingston, Pa., had been a normal, happy 24-year-old who was looking for his place in the sun. On the day last June when his parents drove to New York City to obtain his body, they were nearly catatonic with grief.

This young Russian-studies scholar had jumped from a 10th-floor window of the Milford Plaza Hotel and bounced off the hood of a stretch limousine. When the police arrived, his fingers were still clutching $171 in cash, virtually the only money he hadn't turned over to the Church of Scientology, the self-help "philosophy" group he had discovered just seven months earlier.


His death inspired his father Edward, a physician, to start his own investigation of the church. "We thought Scientology was something like Dale Carnegie," Lottick says. "I now believe it's a school for psychopaths." Their so-called therapies are manipulations. They take the best and the brightest people and destroy them." The Lotticks want to sue the church for contributing to their son's death, but the prospect has them frightened. For nearly 40 years, the big business of Scientology has shielded itself exquisitely behind the First Amendment as well as a battery of high-priced criminal lawyers and shady private detectives.

The Church of Scientology, started by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard to "clear" people of unhappiness, portrays itself as a religion. In reality the church is a hugely profitable global racket that survives by intimidating members and critics in a Mafia-like manner. At times during the past decade, prosecutions against Scientology seemed to be curbing its menace. Eleven top Scientologists, including Hubbard's wife, were sent to prison in the early 1980s for infiltrating, burglarizing and wiretapping more than 100 private and government agencies in attempts to block their investigations. In recent years hundreds of longtime Scientology adherents -- many charging that they were mentally of physically abused -- have quit the church and criticized it at their own risk. Some have sued the church and won; others have settled for amounts in excess of $500,000. In various cases judges have labeled the church "schizophrenic and paranoid" and "corrupt, sinister and dangerous."

Yet the outrage and litigation have failed to squelch Scientology. The group, which boasts 700 centers in 65 countries, threatens to become more insidious and pervasive than ever. Scientology is trying to go mainstream, a strategy that has sparked a renewed law- enforcement campaign against the church. Many of the group's followers have been accused of committing financial scams, while the church is busy attracting the unwary through a wide array of front groups in such businesses as publishing, consulting, health care and even remedial education.

In Hollywood, Scientology has assembled a star-studded roster of followers by aggressively recruiting and regally pampering them at the church's "Celebrity Centers," a chain of clubhouses that offer expensive counseling and career guidance. Adherents include screen idols Tom Cruise and John Travolta, actresses Kirstie Alley, Mimi Rogers, and Anne Archer, Palm Springs mayor and performer Sonny Bono, jazzman Chick Corea and even Nancy Cartwright, the voice of cartoon star Bart Simpson. Rank-and-file members, however, are dealt a less glamorous Scientology.

According to the Cult Awareness Network, whose 23 chapters monitor more than 200 "mind control" cults, no group prompts more telephone pleas for help than does Scientology. Says Cynthia Kisser, the network's Chicago-based executive director: "Scientology is quite likely the most ruthless, the most classically terroristic, the most litigious and the most lucrative cult the country has ever seen. No cult extracts more money from its members." [Note: since publication of this article, the Cult Awareness Network has been taken over by Scientology. Do not contact them!] Agrees Vicki Aznaran, who was one of Scientology's six key leaders until she bolted from the church in 1987: "This is a criminal organization, day in and day out. It makes Jim and Tammy [Bakker] look like kindergarten." To explore Scientology's reach, TIME conducted more than 150 interviews and reviewed hundreds of court records and internal Scientology documents. Church officials refused to be interviewed. The investigation paints a picture of a depraved yet thriving enterprise. Most cults fail to outlast their founder, but Scientology has prospered since Hubbard's death in 1986. In a court filing, one of the cult's many entities -- the Church of Spiritual Technology -- listed $503 million in income just for 1987. High-level defectors say the parent organization has squirreled away an estimated $400 million in bank accounts in Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Cyprus. Scientology probably has about 50,000 active members, far fewer than the 8 million the group claims. But in one sense, that inflated figure rings true: millions of people have been affected in one way or another by Hubbard's bizarre creation.


Scientology is now run by David Miscavige, 31, a high school dropout and second-generation church member. Defectors describe him as cunning, ruthless and so paranoid about perceived enemies that he kept plastic wrap over his glass of water. His obsession is to obtain credibility for Scientology in the 1990s. Among other tactics, the group:

Retains public relation powerhouse Hill and Knowlton to help shed the church's fringe-group image.

Joined such household names as Sony and Pepsi as a main sponsor of Ted Turner's Goodwill Games.

Buys massive quantities of its own books from retail stores to propel the titles onto best-seller lists.

Runs full-page ads in such publications as Newsweek and Business Week that call Scientology a "philosophy," along with a plethora of TV ads touting the group's books.

Recruits wealthy and respectable professionals through a web of consulting groups that typically hide their ties to Scientology.

The founder of this enterprise was part storyteller, part flimflam man. Born In Nebraska in 1911, Hubbard served in the Navy during World War II and soon afterward complained to the Veterans Administration about his "suicidal inclinations" and his "seriously affected" mind. Nevertheless, Hubbard was a moderately successful writer of pulp science fiction. Years later, church brochures described him falsely as an "extensively decorated" World War II hero who was crippled and blinded in action, twice pronounced dead and miraculously cured through Scientology. Hubbard's "doctorate" from "Sequoia University" was a fake mall-order degree. In a I984 case in which the church sued a Hubbard biographical researcher, a California judge concluded that its founder was "a pathological liar."

Hubbard wrote one of Scientology's sacred texts, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, in 1950. In it he introduced a crude psychotherapeutic technique he called "auditing." He also created a simplified lie detector (called an "E-meter") that was designed to measure electrical changes In the skin while subjects discussed intimate details of their past. Hubbard argued that unhappiness sprang from mental aberrations (or "engrams") caused by early traumas. Counseling sessions with the E-meter, he claimed, could knock out the engrams, cure blindness and even improve a person's intelligence and appearance.

Hubbard kept adding steps, each more costly, for his followers to climb. In the 1960s the guru decreed that humans are made of clusters of spirits (or "thetans") who were banished to earth some 75 million years ago by a cruel galactic ruler named Xenu. Naturally, those thetans had to be audited.

An Internal Revenue Service ruling in 1967 stripped Scientology's mother church of its tax-exempt status. A federal court ruled in 1971 that Hubbard's medical claims were bogus and that E-meter auditing could no longer be called a scientific treatment. Hubbard responded by going fully religious, seeking First Amendment protection for Scientology's strange rites. His counselors started sporting clerical collars. Chapels were built, franchises became "missions," fees became "fixed donations," and Hubbard's comic-book cosmology became "sacred scriptures.'

During the early 1970s, the IRS conducted its own auditing sessions and proved that Hubbard was skimming millions of dollars from the church, laundering the money through dummy corporations in Panama and stashing it in Swiss bank accounts. Moreover, church members stole IRS documents, filed false tax returns and harassed the agency's employees. By late 1985, with high-level defectors accusing Hubbard of having stolen as much as S200 million from the church, the IRS was seeking an indictment of Hubbard for tax fraud. Scientology members "worked day and night" shredding documents the IRS sought, according to defector Aznaran, who took part in the scheme. Hubbard, who had been in hiding for five years, died before the criminal case could be prosecuted.

Today the church invents costly new services with all the zeal of its founder. Scientology doctrine warns that even adherents who are "cleared" of engrams face grave spiritual dangers unless they are pushed to higher and more expensive levels. According to the church's latest price list, recruits -- "raw meat," as Hubbard called them -- take auditing sessions that cost as much as $1,000 an hour, or $12,500 for a 12 1/2-hour "intensive."

Psychiatrists say these sessions can produce a drugged-like, mind-controlled euphoria that keeps customers coming back for more. To pay their fees, newcomers can earn commissions by recruiting new mem- bers, become auditors themselves (Miscavige did so at age 12), or join the church staff and receive free counseling in exchange for what their written contracts describe as a "billion years" of labor. "Make sure that lots of bodies move through the shop," implored Hubbard in one of his bulletins to officials. "Make money. Make more money. Make others produce so as to make money . . . However you get them in or why, just do it."


Harriet Baker learned the hard way about Scientology's business of selling religion. When Baker, 73, lost her husband to cancer, a Scientologist turned up at her Los Angeles home peddling a $1,300 auditing package to cure her grief. Some $15,000 later, the Scientologists discovered that her house was debt free. They arranged a $45,000 mortgage, which they pressured her to tap for more auditing until Baker's children helped their mother snap out of her daze. Last June, Baker demanded a $27,000 refund for unused services, prompting two cult members to show up at her door unannounced with an E-meter to interrogate her. Baker never got the money and, financially strapped, was forced to sell her house in September.

Before Noah Lottick killed himself, he had paid more than $5,000 for church counseling. His behavior had also become strange. He once remarked to his parents that his Scientology mentors could actually read minds. When his father suffered a major heart attack, Noah insisted that it was purely psychosomatic. Five days before he jumped, Noah burst into his parents' home and demanded to know why they were spreading "false rumors" about him -- a delusion that finally prompted his father to call a psychiatrist.

It was too late. "From Noah's friends at Dianetics" read the card that accompanied a bouquet of flowers at Lottick's funeral. Yet no Scientology staff members bothered to show up. A week earlier, local church officials had given Lottick's parents a red-carpet tour of their center. A cult leader told Noah's parents that their son had been at the church just hours before he disappeared -- but the church denied this story as soon as the body was identified. True to form, the cult even haggled with the Lotticks over $3,000 their son had paid for services he never used, insisting that Noah had intended it as a "donation."

The church has invented hundreds of goods and services for which members are urged to give "donations." Are you having trouble "moving swiftly up the Bridge" -- that is, advancing up the stepladder of enlightenment? Then you can have your case reviewed for a mere $1,250 "donation." Want to know "why a thetan hangs on to the physical universe?" Try 52 of Hubbard's tape-recorded speeches from 1952, titled "Ron's Philadelphia Doctorate Course Lectures," for $2,525. Next: nine other series of the same sort. For the collector, gold-and-leather-bound editions of 22 of Hubbard's books (and bookends) on subjects ranging from Scientology ethics to radiation can be had for just $1,900.

To gain influence and lure richer, more sophisticated followers, Scientology has lately resorted to a wide array of front groups and financial scams. Among them:

CONSULTING. Sterling Management Systems, formed in 1983, has been ranked in recent years by Inc. magazine as one of America's fastest-growing private companies (estimated 1988 revenues: $20 million). Sterling regularly mails a free newsletter to more than 300,000 health-care professionals, mostly dentists, promising to increase their incomes dramatically. The firm offers seminars and courses that typically cost $10,000. But Sterling's true aim is to hook customers for Scientology. "The church has a rotten product, so they package it as something else," says Peter Georgiades, a Pittsburgh attorney who represents Sterling victims. "It's a kind of bait and switch." Sterling's founder, dentist Gregory Hughes is now under investigation by California's Board of Dental Examiners for incompetence. Nine lawsuits are pending against him for malpractice (seven others have been settled), mostly for orthodontic work on children.

Many dentists who have unwittingly been drawn into the cult are filing or threatening lawsuits as well. Dentist Robert Geary of Medina, Ohio, who entered a Sterling seminar in 1988, endured "the most extreme high-pressure sales tactics I have ever faced." Sterling officials told Geary, 45, that their firm was not linked to Scientology, he says. but Geary claims they eventually convinced him that he and his wife Dorothy had personal problems that required auditing. Over five months, the Gearys say, they spent $130,000 for services, plus $50,000 for "gold-embossed, investment-grade" books signed by Hubbard. Geary contends that Scientologists not only called his bank to increase his credit card limit but also forged his signature on a $20,000 loan application. "It was insane," he recalls. "I couldn't even get an accounting from them of what I was paying for." At one point, the Gearys claim, Scientologists held Dorothy hostage for two weeks in a mountain cabin, after which she was hospitalized for a nervous breakdown.


Last October, Sterling broke some bad news to another dentist, Glover Rowe of Gadsden, Ala., and his wife Dee. Tests showed that unless they signed up for auditing Glover's practice would fail, and Dee would someday abuse their child. The next month the Rowes flew to Glendale, Calif., where they shuttled daily from a local hotel to a Dianetics center. "We thought they were brilliant people because they seemed to know so much about us," recalls Dee. "Then we realized our hotel room must have been bugged." After bolting from the center, $23,000 poorer, the Rowes say, they were chased repeatedly by Scientologists on foot and in cars. Dentists aren't the only once at risk. Scientology also makes pitches to chiropractors, podiatrists and veterinarians.

PUBLIC INFLUENCE. One front, the Way to Happiness Foundation, has distributed to children in thousands of the nation's public schools more than 3.5 million copies of a booklet Hubbard wrote on morality. The church calls the scheme "the largest dissemination project in Scientology history." Applied Scholastics is the name of still another front, which is attempting to install a Hubbard tutorial program in public schools, primarily those populated by minorities. The group also plans a 1,000 acre campus, where it will train educators to teach various Hubbard methods. The disingenuously named Citizens Commission on Human Rights is a Scientology group at war with psychiatry, its primary competitor. The commission typically issues reports aimed at discrediting particular psychiatrists and the field in general. The CCHR is also behind an all-out war against Eli Lilly, the maker of Prozac, the nation's top-selling anti-depression drug. Despite scant evidence, the group's members -- who call themselves "psychbusters" -- claim that Prozac drives people to murder or suicide. Through mass mailings, appearances on talk shows and heavy lobbying, CCHR has hurt drug sales and helped spark dozens of lawsuits against Lilly.

Another Scientology linked group, the Concerned Businessmen's Association of America, holds antidrug contests and awards $5,000 grants to schools as a way to recruit students and curry favor with education officials. West Virginia Senator John D. Rockefeller IV unwittingly commended the CBAA in 1987 on the Senate floor. Last August author Alex Haley was the keynote speaker at its annual awards banquet in Los Angeles. Says Haley: "I didn't know much about that group going in. I'm a Methodist." Ignorance about Scientology can be embarrassing: two months ago, Illinois Governor Jim Edgar, noting that Scientology's founder "has solved the aberrations of the human mind," proclaimed March 13 "L. Ron Hubbard Day." He rescinded the proclamation in late March, once he learned who Hubbard really was.

HEALTH CARE. HealthMed, a chain of clinics run by Scientologists, promotes a grueling and excessive system of saunas, exercise and vitamins designed by Hubbard to purify the body. Experts denounce the regime as quackery and potentially harmful, yet HealthMed solicits unions and public agencies for contracts. The chain is plugged heavily in a new book, Diet for a Poisoned Planet, by journalist David Steinman, who concludes that scores of common foods (among them: peanuts, bluefish, peaches and cottage cheese) are dangerous.

Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop labeled the book "trash," and the Food and Drug Administration issued a paper in October that claims Steinman distorts his facts. "HealthMed is a gateway to Scientology, and Steinman's book is a sorting mechanism," says physician William Jarvis, who is head of the National Council Against Health Fraud. Steinman, who describes Hubbard favorably as a "researcher," denies any ties to the church and contends, "HealthMed has no affiliation that I know of with Scientology."

DRUG TREATMENT. Hubbard's purification treatments are the mainstay of Narconon, a Scientology-run chain of 33 alcohol and drug rehabilitation centers -- some in prisons under the name "Criminon" -- in 12 countries. Narconon, a classic vehicle for drawing addicts into the cult, now plans to open what it calls the world's largest treatment center, a 1,400-bed facility on an Indian reservation near Newkirk, Okla. (pop. 2,400. At a 1989 ceremony in Newkirk, the Association for Better Living and Education presented Narconon a check for $200,000 and a study praising its work. The association turned out to be part of Scientology itself. Today the town is battling to keep out the cult, which has fought back through such tactics as sending private detectives to snoop on the mayor and the local newspaper publisher.

FINANCIAL SCAMS. Three Florida Scientologists, including Ronald Bernstein, a big contributor to the church's international "war chest," pleaded guilty in March to using their rare-coin dealership as a money laundry. Other notorious activities by Scientologists include making the shady Vancouver stock exchange even shadier (see box) and plotting to plant operatives in the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and Export-Import Bank of the U.S. The alleged purpose of this scheme: to gain inside information on which countries are going to be denied credit so that Scientology-linked traders can make illicit profits by taking "short" positions in those countries' currencies.

In the stock market the practice of "shorting" involves borrowing shares of publicly traded companies in the hope that the price will go down before the stocks must be bought on the market and returned to the lender. The Feshbach brothers of Palo Alto, Calif. -- Kurt, Joseph and Matthew - have become the leading short sellers in the U.S., with more than $500 million under management. The Feshbachs command a staff of about 60 employees and claim to have earned better returns than the Dow Jones industrial average for most of the 1980s. And, they say, they owe it all to the teachings of Scientology, whose "war chest" has received more than $1 million from the family.

The Feshbachs also embrace the church's tactics; the brothers are the terrors of the stock exchanges. In congressional hearings in 1989, the heads of several companies claimed that Feshbach operatives have spread false information to government agencies and posed in various guises -- such as a Securities and Exchange Commission official -- in an effort to discredit their companies and drive the stocks down. Michael Russell, who ran a chain of business journals, testified that a Feshbach employee called his bankers and interfered with his loans. Sometimes the Feshbachs send private detectives to dig up dirt on firms, which is then shared with business reporters, brokers and fund managers.

The Feshbachs, who wear jackets bearing the slogan "stock busters," insist they run a clean shop. But as part of a current probe into possible insider stock trading, federal officials are reportedly investigating whether the Feshbachs received confidential information from FDA employees. The brothers seem aligned with Scientology's war on psychiatry and medicine: many of their targets are health and bio- technology firms. ""Legitimate short selling performs a public service by deflating hyped stocks," says Robert Flaherty, the editor of Equities magazine and a harsh critic of the brothers. "But the Feshbachs have damaged scores of good start-ups."

Occasionally a Scientologist's business antics land him in jail. Last August a former devotee named Steven Fishman began serving a five-year prison term in Florida. His crime: stealing blank stock-confirmation slips from his employer, a major brokerage house, to use as proof that he owned stock entitling him to join dozens of successful class-action lawsuits. Fishman made roughly $1 million this way from 1983 to 1988 and spent as much as 30% of the loot on Scientology books and tapes.

Scientology denies any tie to the Fishman scam, a claim strongly disputed by both Fishman and his longtime psychiatrist, Uwe Geertz, a prominent Florida hypnotist. Both men claim that when arrested, Fishman was ordered by the church to kill Geertz and then do an "EOC," or end of cycle, which is church jargon for suicide.

BOOK PUBLISHING. Scientology mischief-making has even moved to the book industry. Since 1985 at least a dozen Hubbard books, printed by a church company, have made best-seller lists. They range from a 5,000-page sci-fi decology (Black Genesis, The Enemy Within, An Alien Affair) to the 40-year-old Dianetics. In 1988 the trade publication Publishers Weekly awarded the dead author a plaque commemorating the appearance of Dianetics on its best-seller list for 100 consecutive weeks.

Critics pan most of Hubbard's books as unreadable, while defectors claim that church insiders are sometimes the real authors. Even so, Scientology has sent out armies of its followers to buy the group's books at such major chains as B. Dalton's and Waldenbooks to sustain the illusion of a best-selling author. A former Dalton's manager says that some books arrived in his store with the chain's price stickers already on them, suggesting that copies are being recycled. Scientology claims that sales of Hubbard books now top 90 million worldwide. The scheme, set up to gain converts and credibility, is coupled with a radio and TV advertising campaign virtually un- paralleled in the book industry.

Scientology devotes vast resources to squelching its critics. Since 1986 Hubbard and his church have been the subject of four unfriendly books, all released by small yet courageous publishers. In each case, the writers have been badgered and heavily sued. One of Hubbard's policies was that all perceived enemies are "fair game" and subject to being "tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed." Those who criticize the church journalists, doctors, lawyers and even judges often find themselves engulfed in litigation, stalked by private eyes, framed for fictional crimes, beaten up or threatened with death. Psychologist Margaret Singer, 69, an outspoken Scientology critic and professor at the University of California, Berkeley, now travels regularly under an assumed name to avoid harassment.

After the Los Angeles Times published a negative series on the church last summer, Scientologists spent an estimated $1 million to plaster the reporters' names on hundreds of billboards and bus placards across the city. Above their names were quotations taken out of context to portray the church in a positive light.

The church's most fearsome advocates are its lawyers. Hubbard warned his followers in writing to "beware of attorneys who tell you not to sue . . . the purpose of the suit is to harass and discourage rather than to win." Result: Scientology has brought hundreds of suits against its perceived enemies and today pays an estimated $20 million annually to more than 100 lawyers.

One legal goal of Scientology is to bankrupt the opposition or bury it under paper. The church has 71 active lawsuits against the IRS alone. One of them, Miscavige vs. IRS, has required the U.S. to produce an index of 52,000 pages of documents. Boston attorney Michael Flynn, who helped Scientology victims from 1979 to 1987, personally endured 14 frivolous lawsuits, all of them dismissed. Another lawyer, Joseph Yanny, believes the church "has so subverted justice and the judicial system that it should be barred from seeking equity in any court." He should know: Yanny represented the cult until 1987, when, he says, he was asked to help church officials steal medical records to blackmail an opposing attorney (who was allegedly beaten up instead). Since Yanny quit representing the church, he has been the target of death threats, burglaries, lawsuits and other harassment.

Scientology's critics contend that the U.S. needs to crack down on the church in a major, organized way. "I want to know, Where is our government?" demands Toby Plevin, a Los Angeles attorney who handles victims. "It shouldn't be left to private litigators, because God knows most of us are afraid to get involved." But law-enforcement agents are also wary. "Every investigator is very cautious, walking on eggshells when it comes to the church," says a Florida police detective who has tracked the cult since 1988. "It will take a federal effort with lots of money and manpower."

So far the agency giving Scientology the most grief is the IRS, whose officials have implied that Hubbard's successors may be looting the church's coffers. Since 1988, when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the revocation of the cult's tax-exempt status, a massive IRS probe of church centers across the country has been under way. An IRS agent, Marcus Owens, has estimated that thousands of IRS employees have been involved. Another agent, in an internal IRS memorandum, spoke hopefully of the "ultimate disintegration" of the church. A small but helpful beacon shone last June when a federal appeals court ruled that two cassette tapes featuring conversations between church officials and their lawyers are evidence of a plan to commit "future frauds" against the IRS.

The IRS and FBI have been debriefing Scientology defectors for the past three years, in part to gain evidence for a major racketeering case that appears to have stalled last summer. Federal agents complain that the Justice Department is unwilling to spend the money needed to endure a drawn-out war with Scientology or to fend off the cult's notorious jihads against individual agents. "In my opinion the church has one of the most effective intelligence operations in the U.S., rivaling even that of the FBI," says Ted Gunderson, a former head of the FBI's Los Angeles office.

Foreign governments have been moving even more vigorously against the organization. In Canada the church and nine of its members will be tried in June on charges of stealing government documents (many of them retrieved in an enormous police raid of the church's Toronto headquarters). Scientology proposed to give $1 million to the needy if the case was dropped, but Canada spurned the offer. Since 1986 authorities in France, Spain and Italy have raided more than 50 Scientology centers. Pending charges against more than 100 of its overseas church members include fraud, extortion, capital flight, coercion, illegally practicing medicine and taking advantage of mentally incapacitated people. In Germany last month, leading politicians accused the cult of trying to infiltrate a major party as well as launching an immense recruitment drive in the east.

Sometimes even the church's biggest zealots can use a little protection. Screen star Travolta, 37, has long served as an unofficial Scientology spokesman, even though he told a magazine in 1983 that he was opposed to the church's management. High-level defectors claim that Travolta has long feared that if he defected, details of his sexual life would be made public. "He felt pretty intimidated about this getting out and told me so," recalls William Franks, the church's former chairman of the board. "There were no outright threats made, but it was implicit. If you leave, they immediately start digging up everything." Franks was driven out in 1981 after attempting to reform the church.

The church's former head of security, Richard Aznaran, recalls Scientology ringleader Miscavige repeatedly joking to staffers about Travolta's allegedly promiscuous homosexual behavior. At this point any threat to expose Travolta seems superfluous: last May a male porn star collected $100,000 from a tabloid for an account of his alleged two-year liaison with the celebrity. Travolta refuses to comment, and in December his lawyer dismissed questions about the subject as "bizarre." Two weeks later, Travolta announced that he was getting married to actress Kelly Preston, a fellow Scientologist.

Shortly after Hubbard's death the church retained Trout & Ries, a respected, Connecticut-based firm of marketing consultants, to help boost its public image. "We were brutally honest," says Jack Trout. "We advised them to clean up their act, stop with the controversy and even to stop being a church. They didn't want to hear that." Instead, Scientology hired one of the country's largest p.r. outfits, Hill and Knowlton, whose executives refuse to discuss the lucrative relationship. "Hill and Knowlton must feel that these guys are not totally off the wall," says Trout. "Unless it's just for the money." One of Scientology's main strategies is to keep advancing the tired argument that the church is being "persecuted" by antireligionists. It is supported in that position by the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Council of Churches. But in the end, money is what Scientology is all about. As long as the organization's opponents and victims are successfully squelched, Scientology's managers and lawyers will keep pocketing millions of dollars by helping it achieve its ends.


Mining Money in Vancouver

[Sidebar; page 54]

One source of funds for the Los Angeles-based church is the notorious, self-regulated stock exchange in Vancouver, British Columbia, often called the scam capital of the world. The exchange's 2,300 penny-stock listings account for $4 billion in annual trading. Local journalists and insiders claim the vast majority range from total washouts to outright frauds.

Two Scientologists who operate there are Kenneth Gerbino and Michael Baybak, 20-year church veterans from Beverly Hills who are major donors to the cult. Gerbino, 45, is a money manager, marketmaker and publisher of a national financial newsletter. He has boasted in Scientology journals that he owes all his stock-picking success to L. Ron Hubbard. That's not saying much: Gerbino's newsletter picks since 1985 have cumulatively returned 24%, while the Dow Jones industrial average has more than doubled. Nevertheless Gerbino's short-term gains can be stupendous. A survey last October found Gerbino to be the only manager who made money in the third quarter of 1990, thanks to gold and other resource stocks. For the first quarter of 1991, Gerbino was dead last. Baybak, 49, who runs a public relations company staffed with Scientologists, apparently has no ethics problem with engineering a hostile takeover of a firm he is hired to promote.

Neither man agreed to be interviewed for this story, yet both threatened legal action through attorneys. "What these guys do is take over companies, hype the stock, sell their shares, and then there's nothing left," says John Campbell, a former securities lawyer who was a director of mining company Athena Gold until Baybak and Gerbino took it over.

The pattern has become familiar. The pair promoted a mining venture called Skylark Resources, whose stock traded at nearly $4 a share in 1987. The outfit soon crashed, and the stock is around 2 cents. NETI Technologies, a software company, was trumpeted in the press as "the next Xerox" and in 1984 rose to a market value of $120 million with Baybak's help. The company, which later collapsed, was delisted two months ago by the Vancouver exchange.

Baybak appeared in 1989 at the helm of Wall Street Ventures, a start-up that announced it owned 35 tons of rare Middle Eastern postage stamps -- worth $100 million -- and was buying the world's largest collection of southern Arabian stamps (worth $350 million). Steven C. Rockefeller Jr. of the oil family and former hockey star Denis Potvin joined the company in top posts, but both say they quit when they realized the stamps were virtually worthless. "The stamps were created by sand-dune nations to exploit collectors," says Michael Laurence, editor of Linn's Stamp News, America's largest stamp journal. After the stock topped $6, it began a steady descent, with Baybak unloading his shares along the way. Today it trades at 18 cents.

Athena Gold, the current object of Baybak's and Gerbino's attentions, was founded by entrepreneur William Jordan. He turned to an established Vancouver broker in 1987 to help finance the company, a 4,500-acre mining property near Reno. The broker promised to raise more than $3 million and soon brought Baybak and Gerbino into the deal. Jordan never got most of the money, but the cult members ended up with a good deal of cheap stock and options. Next they elected directors who were friendly to them and set in motion a series of complex maneuvers to block Jordan from voting stock he controlled and to run him out of the company. "I've been an honest policeman all my life and I've seen the worst kinds of crimes, and this ranks high," says former Athena shareholder Thomas Clark, a 20-year veteran of Reno's police force who has teamed up with Jordan to try to get the gold mine back. "They stole this man's property."

With Baybak as chairman, the two Scientologists and their staffs are promoting Athena, not always accurately. A letter to shareholders with the 1990 annual report claims Placer Dome, one of America's largest gold-mining firms, has committed at least $25.5 million to develop the mine. That's news to Placer Dome. "There is no pre-commitment," says Placer executive Cole McFarland. "We're not going to spend that money unless survey results justify the expenditure."

Baybak's firm represented Western Resource Technologies, a Houston oil-and-gas company, but got the boot in October. Laughs Steven McGuire, president of Western Resource: "His is a p.r. firm in need of a p.r. firm." But McGuire cannot laugh too freely. Baybak and other Scientologists, including the estate of L. Ron Hubbard, still control huge blocks of his company's stock.

[ Caption: ATHENA GOLD'S WILLIAM JORDAN. Cult members got cheap stock, then ran him out of the company ]


[The following part was only in the international version of TIME]

Pushing Beyond the U.S.: Scientology makes its presence felt in Europe and Canada
by Richard Behar

In the 1960s and '70s, L. Ron Hubbard used to periodically fill a converted ferry ship with adoring acolytes and sail off to spread the word. One by one, countries -- Britain, Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Venezuela -- closed their ports, usually because of a public outcry. At one point, a court in Australia revoked the church's status as a religion; at another, a French court convicted Hubbard of fraud in absentia.

Today Hubbard's minions continue to wreak global havoc, costing governments considerable effort and money to try to stop them. In Italy a two-year trial of 76 Scientologists, among them the former leader of the church's Italian operations, is nearing completion in Milan. Two weeks ago, prosecutor Pietro Forno requested jail terms for all the defendants who are accused of extortion, cheating "mentally incapacitated" people and evading as much as $50 million in taxes. "All of the trial's victims went to Scientology in search of a cure or a better life," said Forno, "But the Scientologists were amateur psychiatrists who practiced psychological terrorism". For some victims, he added, "the intervention of the Scientologists was devastating."

The Milan case was triggered by parents complaining to officials that Scientology had a financial stranglehold on their children, who had joined the church or entered Narconon, its drug rehabilitation unit. In 1986 Treasury and paramilitary police conducted raids in 20 cities across Italy shutting down 27 Scientology centers and seizing 100,000 documents. To defend itself in the trial, the cult has retained some of Italy's most famous lawyers.

In Canada, Scientology is using a legal team that includes Clayton Ruby, one of the country's foremost civil rights lawyers, to defend itself and nine of its members who are to stand trial in June in Toronto. The charges: stealing documents concerning Scientology from the Ministry of the Attorney General, the Canadian Mental Health Association, two police forces and other institutions. The case stems from a 1983 surprise raid of the church's Toronto headquarters by more than 100 policemen, who had arrived in three chartered buses; some 2 million pages of documents were seized over a two-day period. Ruby, whose legal maneuvers delayed the case for years, is trying to get it dismissed because of "unreasonable delay."

Spain's Justice Ministry has twice denied Scientology status as a religion, but that has not slowed the church' s expansion. In 1989 the Ministry of Health issued a report calling the sect "totalitarian" and "pure and simple charlatanism." The year before, the authorities had raided 26 church centers, with the result that 11 Scientologists stand accused of falsification of records, coercion and capital flight. "The real god of this organization is money," said Madrid examining magistrate Jose Maria Vasquez Honrnbia, before referring the case to a higher court because it was too complex for his jurisdiction. Eugene Ingram, a private investigator working for Scientology claims he helped get Honrubia removed from the case for leaking nonpublic documents to the press.

In France it took a death to spur the government into action: 16 Scientologists were indicted last year for fraud and "complicity in the practice of illegal medicine" following the suicide of an industrial designer in Lyon. In the victim's house investigators found medication allegeally provided to him by the church without doctor's prescription. Among those charged in the case is the president of Scientology's French operations and the head of the Paris-based Celebrity Centre, which caters to famous members.

Outside the U.S., Scientology appears to be most active in Germany where the attorney general of the state of Bavaria has branded the cult "distinctly totalitarian" and aimed at "the economic exploitation of customers who are in bondage to it." In 1984 nearly 100 police raided the church in Munich. At the time, city officials were reportedly collaborating with U.S. tax inspectors and trying to prove that the cult was actually a profitmaking business. More recently, Hamburg state authorities moved to rescind Scientology's tax reduced status, while members of parliament are seeking criminal proceedings. In another domain, church linked management consulting firms have infiltrated small and middle sized companies throughout Germany, according to an expose published this month in the newsmagazine DER SPIEGEL; the consultants, who typically hide their ties to Scientology, indoctrinate employees by using Hubbard's methods. A German anticult organization estimates that Scientology has at least 60 fronts or splinter groups operating in the country. German politics appears as well to attract Hubbard's zealots. In March the Free Democrats, partners in Chancellor Helmut Kohl' s ruling coalition in Bonn, accused Scientology of trying to infiltrate their Hamburg branch. Meanwhile the main opposition party, the Social Democrats, has been warning its members in the formerly com- munist eastern part of the country against exploitation by the church. Even federal officials are being used by the church: one Scientology front group sent copies of a Hubbard written pamphlet on moral values to members of the Bundestag. The Office of Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher unwittingly endorsed the Scientologists' message: "Indeed, the world would be a more beautiful place if the principles formulated in the pamphlet, a life characterized by reason and responsibility, would find wider attention."

[end of Internationl Edition-only section]


The Scientologists and Me

[Sidebar, page 57]

Strange things seem to happen to people who write about Scientology. Journalist Paulette Cooper wrote a critical book on the cult in 1971. This led to a Scientology plot (called Operation Freak-Out) whose goal, according to church documents, was "to get P.C. incarcerated in a mental institution or jail." It almost worked: by impersonating Cooper, Scientologists got her indicted in 1973 for threatening to bomb the church. Cooper, who also endured 19 lawsuits by the church, was finally exonerated in 1977 after FBI raids on the church offices in Los Angeles and Washington uncovered documents from the bomb scheme. No Scientologists were ever tried in the matter.

For the TIME story, at least 10 attorneys and six private detectives were unleashed by Scientology and its followers in an effort to threaten, harass and discredit me. Last Oct. 12, not long after I began this assignment, I planned to lunch with Eugene Ingram, the church's leading private eye and a former cop. Ingram, who was tossed off the Los Angeles police force In 1981 for alleged ties to prostitutes and drug dealers, had told me that he might be able to arrange a meeting with church boss David Miscavige. Just hours before the lunch, the church's "national trial counsel," Earle Cooley, called to inform me that I would be eating alone.


Alone, perhaps, but not forgotten. By day's end, I later learned, a copy of my personal credit report -- with detailed information about my bank accounts, home mortgage, credit-card payments, home address and Social Security number -- had been illegally retrieved from a national credit bureau called Trans Union. The sham company that received it, "Educational Funding Services" of Los Angeles, gave as its address a mail drop a few blocks from Scientology's headquarters. The owner of the mail drop is a private eye named Fred Wolfson, who admits that an Ingram associate retained him to retrieve credit reports on several individuals. Wolfson says he was told that Scientology's attorneys "had judgments against these people and were trying to collect on them." He says now, "These are vicious people. These are vipers." Ingram, through a lawyer, denies any involvement in the scam.

During the past five months, private investigators have been contacting acquaintances of mine, ranging from neighbors to a former colleague, to inquire about subjects such as my health (like my credit rating, it's excellent) and whether I've ever had trouble with the IRS (unlike Scientology, I haven't). One neighbor was greeted at dawn outside my Manhattan apartment building by two men who wanted to know whether I lived there. I finally called Cooley to demand that Scientology stop the nonsense. He promised to look into it.

After that, however, an attorney subpoenaed me, while another falsely suggested that I might own shares in a company I was reporting about that had been taken over by Scientologists (he also threatened to contact the Securities and Exchange Commission). A close friend in Los Angeles received a disturbing telephone call from a Scientology staff member seeking data about me -- an indication that the cult may have illegally obtained my personal phone records. Two detectives contacted me, posing as a friend and a relative of a so-called cult victim, to elicit negative statements from me about Scientology. Some of my conversations with them were taped, transcribed and presented by the church in affidavits to TIME's lawyers as "proof" of my bias against Scientology.

Among the comments I made to one of the detectives, who represented himself as "Harry Baxter," a friend of the victim's family, was that "the church trains people to lie." Baxter and his colleagues are hardly in a position to dispute that observation. His real name is Barry Silvers, and he is a former investigator for the Justice Department's Organized Crime Strike Force. (RB)

[Photograph, page 51]
The Lotticks lost their son
[photograph of the couple standing beside the grave of their son.]

[Photograph, page 53]
Harriet Baker, 73, lost her house
[photograph of Harriet Baker on front of her old home.]

[Chart, page 52-53]
The Bridge to enlightenment
[shows costs of various "courses" ranging from a free Personality Test to more than $1,000 an hour for "finding and releasing" "body thetans" (BTs).]
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Re: Journalism: Scientology - L. Ron Hubbard's Brainchild

Postby admin » Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:17 am

This Man Made $500 Million Disappear, and These People Would Like to Know Where It Went
by Kim Masters
October, 2001


An incredibly strange and complex tale involving Scientology, EarthLink, Hollywood and this man, Reed Slatkin.

-- You know, there's a policy in Scientology talking about motivation. I'm just going to read it into the record. It's very short. It talks about money motivation. And it says here, "People in business that are motivated only by money are wobbly people. The primary cause of failure is money motivation. The scale of motivation from the highest to the lowest is duty. Below that, money, and it's indicated lowest." So you know, these people have got to know that I consider this to be my duty to be taking care of them. - Reed Slatkin, from the transcript of his interview with federal investigators, January 2000 --

John Poitras was not looking to get rich when he handed $15 million to his friend Reed Slatkin to invest for him last year. Poitras was already rich - but perhaps he wouldn't have minded getting just a bit richer. A brash fifty-seven-year-old retired venture capitalist who limps because of a bad back, Poitras lived in Silicon Valley but often visited Santa Barbara because his girlfriend, a professional pilot, lived there. And for some time, Poitras had been working his way into local society. He bought property. He joined the yacht club. And he became interested in an elite if irreverent arts group called Sings Like Hell, which brought singers and songwriters such as Tracy Chapman, Randy Newman, and Tom Rush perform for music lovers at Santa Barbara's six-hundred-seat Lobero Theatre. Poitras puts up $5000 to become a Sings like Hell Patron.

The Sings Like Hell klatch included some prominent and very rich few friends. Reed Slatkin and his wife, Mary Jo, appeared to be particularly fine people to meet. A founder of EarthLink, Slatkin was a member of the new-establishment aristocracy who lived with his wife and two sons in a richly landscaped, hacienda-style home in the exclusive Hope Ranch area of Santa Barbara. With a fortune of more than $100 million, Slatkin had a private jet on twenty -four hour call. He owned houses and other property in California, Oregon, and New Mexico. He took great pride in his collection of traditional American Art. And he seemed to take an affable interest in Poitras.

Soon after becoming a Sings Like Hell patron, Poitras hosted a festive dinner at the Wine Cask with the Slatkin and another music-loving couple, Hale and Anne Milgrim. The bearded Hale was the former head of Capitol Records and renowned Deadhead. That night, he bought expensive wine for the table. "Sings Like Hell is going to be a big money hole," Poitras told Slatkin jovially. "I think of this as venture capital for the soul."

Poitras knew that Slatkin invested money for many of his friends. And while Slatkin didn't solicit anything from Poitras, he wasn't modest about his skills. Last year, as tech stocks were flaming out, the two met at a benefit for the Santa Barbara Bowl. "Centimillionaires are going to be wiped out, but I made 14 per-cent last quarter," Slatkin boasted. And Poitras was impressed.

A few months later, Poitras sold four acres of expensive Silicon Valley Property for nearly $25 million as a prelude to buying himself a house in Hope Ranch. Slatkin, now not only a friend but also a prospective neighbor, had visited Poitras' home and knew that he was sitting on a pile of cash. He told Poitras about sophisticated computer models that he used for day-trading. Poitras was intrigued and agreed to join a new fund that Slatkin was creating to dabble in investments.

"I didn't need more money," Poitras says. "I did the partnership with Reed to be connected to Santa Barbara , to meet people and have some fun." He did a little homework and found that Slatkin "checked out impeccably". On December 28, 2000 he put up $5 million toward the new investment fund. In February, he gave Slatkin another $10 million to invest in specialized cash instruments that could be liquidated on very short notice. Slatkin was supposed to get him significantly higher return than the rates typically paid by money-market funds. Poitras planned to use some of the money to buy a house near Slatkin's.

As it happens, Poitras was one of the last pigeons to be plucked in an alleged Ponzi scheme that attorneys are now calling one of the biggest investment frauds in American history - a fifteen year operation involving as many as 850 investors. A preliminary filing in a California bankruptcy court this summer says that Slatkin owes more than $575 million and appears to have assets of less than $45 million. Although the amount said to be owed is probably inflated by dubious investment records, the final tally is still expected to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

The dimensions of the scheme began to emerge at the end of April, when investors learned that their money was all but gone. in early May, Slatkin was forced to seek refuge in bankruptcy court. The horror was compounded when investors realized that the Securities and Exchange Commission has been suspicious of Slatkin since at least 1997; federal lawyers had even interrogated him and his bookkeeper at length more than a year before the investors finally ran him to ground. Month after month, the government did nothing while Slatkin sucked in tens of millions of additional dollars from those who now have little hope of recovering more than a fraction of their money.

-- You know, we've had no complaints from any investor. I don't know, if you have, you've got me fooled. I mean, maybe that's where this all started, I don't know. But I have, you know, a lot of very happy people and people I've been a stable point for, and I've kept their money really safe. -- Reed Slatkin, first SEC interview. --

LAST NOVEMBER, not long before Poitras turned over his first $5 million, Slatkin flew to New Jersey to meet with one of his long-term investors, the seriously ill Sidney Azeez. Other investors say the sixty-eight-year-old Azeez regarded Slatkin as a son. Together with his actual son, Michael (who was also a longtime investor), Azeez handed over another $10 million before he died a few weeks later.

Slatkin was actively luring in new investors last winter at the same time that his attorneys were repeatedly promising federal regulators that he was getting out of the business altogether. All told, from late last year through the first few months of 2001, Slatkin raised as much as $50 million from friends in the form of loans and investments.

Soon after giving *his* money to Slatkin, however, Poitras had become anxious. "I didn't feel comfortable at all," he says. "I thought about it and thought about it." He decided to get his $10 million back and invest it in a more plain-vanilla account. When Slatkin started stalling, Poitras called a lawyer. Slatkin seemed so rich and successful that it hardly seemed likely that anything was seriously amiss, the lawyer said. "He said, 'You must be a pimple on this guy's butt. He just doesn't have time for you,'" Poitras recalls.

Over the next four weeks, Poitras sent four letters asking for his money with interest. He started leaving unpleasant messages on Slatkin's machine. "You're not going to win," he said in one. "I'm smarter than you are. I'm tougher than you are. My lawyers are better than yours."

Poitras wasn't the only one getting upset. Slatkin told financial manager Stuart Stedman, who had invested $18.4 million on behalf of a wealthy Texas family, that the funds were frozen because of some sort of far-reaching money-laundering investigation. By this point, another investor -- a screenwriter who wishes to remain anonymous -- also was becoming alarmed. He wanted to retrieve his money to pay a tax bill, but when he talked to Slatkin's bookkeeper, Jean Janu, he was shocked to hear that his money was in a Swiss account and, for the time being, inaccessible. Janu said she didn't know when the situation might change.

Early in April, the screenwriter drove up to the Santa Barbara suburb where Slatkin maintained his office in a drab house that he'd occupied before he became seriously rich. "When I saw it before, it was buzzing with activity," the writer says. "There were four of five Young Turks, and it just looked so real." But now he found "one secretary who was manning the phones like a deer in headlights... I knew by then I was pretty much had."

Meanwhile, Poitras had sent a letter to Slatkin with the heading "GAME OVER". The FBI would be picking up documents from him that day, Poitras warned. "Reed, this is as serious as it can get," he wrote. "If we do not get all the funds due me ... by noon on Wednesday, we cannot stop the train."

THE TRAIN FINALLY HIT SLATKIN in late April. His attorneys held a meeting of the many "friends" who had entrusted their money to him and announced that Slatkin was preparing to file for bankruptcy protection. The room was packed with frightened investors, and dozens of others were connected by phone. Some were still wealthy; others were looking at utter devastation. "A bunch of lawyers were arguing," remembers an investor who was there, " and this woman from "Florida blurted out, 'What am I going to do about my mother? I have no money!' There was a moment's pause. And then the lawyers ran over her like a dove in the road."

No one at the meeting was sure where anyone else stood. Some had taken more money out of Slatkin's accounts than they had put in, but no one knew who was on that list and whether any of the creditors had colluded in the alleged scheme. "It was one of the worst days of my life," says one of the biggest losers. "Everybody was suspicious of everybody else."

Several days later, some of the major investors met in Santa Barbara to organize a creditors' committee. Among those headed to the meeting were George Kriste, the six-foot-eight-inch chief executive of broadcast company called New Century Media, and Gregory Abbott, an early EarthLink backer who had bolstered the company by helping to bring in billionaire George Soros as an investor. Abbott and Kriste had tens of millions on the line and decided to stop at Slatkin's house. They stood at the gate before the long, sloping driveway and rang the bell. Suddenly, a red Mercedes sedan peeled off the road and a paunchy man with wavy white hair emerged. "Who are you?" Kriste asked, expecting that this was another disappointed investor.

The stranger in sweatpants identified himself as Ron Rakow, Slatkin's neighbor and friend. "What do you mean, who am I?" Rakow demanded. "Who are you?" You're menacing Reed?" Kriste and Abbott were trespassing, he continued. "Reed's doing his best," he said. "I got hurt like everybody else. We're all hurt. We're all in this together."

The two men left without seeing Slatkin.

In the meantime, Poitras wasn't nearly satisfied with the sluggish pace of the government investigation. So he and his attorney, Richard Conn, alerted the Los Angeles Times to the unfolding story. Days after the newspaper weighed in this May, the SEC finally swung into action. The FBI and the IRS weren't far behind. When they raided Slatkin's house in Hope Ranch, sources familiar with the case say, they found a couple of passports and some silver bullion.

The search was just the beginning. In late June, the FBI also raided Ron Rakow's house. Rakow turned out to be more than just Slatkin's concerned neighbor. A onetime manager of the Grateful Dead, Rakow was a Scientologist and sometime art dealer who had gone to federal prison for mail fraud in connection with a cosmetics scam in 1985. According to someone close to him, Slatkin told associates that he had driven Rakow to prison in 1987, weeping all the way.

After the FBI and the IRS finally raided Slatkin's office and then his home, a federal grand jury was impaneled. And a court-appointed bankruptcy trustee began sifting through cartons of documents -- many apparently fake -- in search of the loot. But for the investors, it was far too late. They were left to ponder a couple of shattering questions: Who was Reed Slatkin -- a man who has seemed to be a genial nerd in a baseball cap -- and where in the world were the missing millions?

FOR MOST OF THE LAST TWENTY YEARS, Slatkin, now fifty-two, was a personable if somewhat eccentric private investor who didn't appear to have the slightest need to trouble himself with other people's money. Some of his investors say they were charmed because Slatkin was so unassuming. "His brilliance is how ordinary he is," says a movie producer who lost money. "He asks you, 'Hey, how're your kids? God, your son is good-looking. Family life is the greatest.' The market goes down and you call him and he goes, 'We're on the sideline.' And you get off the phone and you say 'He's good news.'"

"He was so regular," remembers another wealthy investor who joined the "friends" account last year. "He wore sensible shoes and battered chinos and old shirts and baseball hats which he would change for luck. Kind of an adorable guy."

"A bad hairpiece," adds his wife. But the husband says Slatkin dazzled prospective investors with his knowledge of the market and his web of contacts. He was brisk and, above all, reassuring.

But what really gave Slatkin his credibility, what was far more attractive than mere manner, was his position as a titan of the tech revolution. That association had seemingly come to Slatkin as a gift from his friend and fellow Scientologist Kevin O'Donnell.

In 1994, O'Donnell invited Slatkin to meet a young man named Sky Dayton, who had been a schoolmate of O'Donnell's son. Then just twenty-two years old, Dayton had graduated at age sixteen from the Delphinian School, a Scientology-affiliated boarding school in Oregon. Slatkin and O'Donnell listened as Dayton explained his idea for a company that would make the Internet more accessible. After hearing what Dayton had to say, Slatkin glanced at O'Donnell and made a funny face. Dayton's idea sounded crazy.

But O'Donnell persisted. "He's a friend," he said significantly. So O'Donnell and Slatkin agreed to put up $100,000 together in exchange for a 40% share of the new company. And the business became Earthlink, now a billion dollar business and the third-largest Internet service provider in the country.

By his own account, Slatkin's investments had already made him a millionaire many times over. But Earthlink bumped him to a whole new level. Slatkin had dabbled in venture capital before but had never made any money - or so he later told the SEC.

"You know, $50,000 here, $25,000, just lose, lose, lose," he said.

He wasn't consistent on this point: Elsewhere in the same interview with regulators, he said he'd made millions in the eighties investing in two businesses.) But Earthlink would shock him.

"It created a very nice windfall," Slatkin said. "It has allowed me to be very charitable to my church and other groups."

SEC ATTORNEY: Can you please describe for the record your education after high school?

SLATKIN: Okay, I'm going to explain what I would call my secular education first, and then I will explain to you scientology and religious education second ... I don't know if you guys have heard much about Scientology ... [but] it's an area of reverence for myself."

In January 2000, nearly a year and a half before Slatkin was forced into bankruptcy proceedings - lawyers from the SEC questioned him in two lengthy depositions. The only subject that Slatkin seemed eager to discuss was his love for Scientology. Asked a simple introductory question about his education, Slatkin embarked on a lengthy riff that continued for more than 20 transcribed pages. He knew Scientology was "controversial" and that the SEC lawyers "may have heard bad things" about it, he said, but Scientology was "the basis of almost everything I've done in my life." At one point, he whipped out a book called "What is Scientology Doing In The World?" "There's much bigger books I could have brought," he confided, "but I didn't bring them."

Slatkin then offered a crash course in Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's theology, explaining that negative ideas and experiences are stored in the "reactive mind". Slipping into Scientology-speak, he talked about treacherous encoded negative experiences. "Over a lifetime - and we'll get into what we call lifetimes momentarily - these experiences can reactivate a person," he explained.

In his religion, he continued, the aim is to ascend the "bridge" of spiritual awareness, which is accomplished by purging those negative experiences. He talked about "field auditors" who learn how to "clear" people using a device called an E-meter that helps ferret out the bad experiences.

Controversy has long surrounded Scientology. In the early eighties, Hubbard's wife was among a group that went to prison for breaking into and bugging federal offices. In 1991, Time published a series of articles describing the church as a "cult of greed and power," a "depraved yet thriving enterprise," a "hugely profitable global racket that survives by intimidating members and critics in a Mafia-like manner." The church sued for libel but lost on summary judgment. Though the decision was upheld on appeal, the church is still fighting. A decade after the article appeared, its petition for Supreme Court review is pending.

Slatkin's avowal of lifelong devotion to Scientology came as a surprise to a number of his investors when they learned of it after his bankruptcy. Several say Slatkin had downplayed his affiliation with the church. "He said, 'I just audited a few courses to keep myself alert'," one says. "He said, 'I want nothing to do with the church.'" The wealthy couple say they had once asked mutual friends if Slatkin was involved with Scientology. "I know two people who asked him, and he said he wasn't, " the husband says. "He said to one, 'Of course not. I'm Jewish.' He said to another, 'My wife had an interest in it.'"

Through spokesperson Aron Mason, the Church of Scientology says Slatkin was a parishioner but never an official of any kind. He also belonged to a "religious fellowship" of Scientologists in the business world called the World Institute of Scientology Enterprises, or WISE, Mason continues. But he adds, "Mr. Slatkin could not live up to WISE's ethical standards, and he ended his membership [in] 1998." He declined to elaborate.

Slatkin didn't mention any such thing during his deposition.

But he enthusiastically referred to Scientology's curative effects: The church's followers believe it can eradicate a whole range of ills, from drug addiction to broken bones. "The literature speaks of... people who say they no longer have arthritis from doing this," Slatkin told SEC lawyers. "Their headaches are gone. They get along with their husbands and wives." In his own case, Slatkin said, the process had helped him face the sudden loss of his father. With Scientology's help, he went from great grief to "feeling fine about it."

Milton Slatkin, Reed's father, was the son of a tough Russian-Jewish immigrant who founded a successful construction business in the Detroit area. A family friend says that Milt, one of five children, was "the weak one," overshadowed by a charismatic brother. Milt failed when he tried to strike out on his own in the building business, that friend says. With the
father's help, however, Milt's family lived well. They resided in an affluent and insular suburb. Reed was sent to the exclusive Cranbrook School.

One April day in 1964, the friend continues, Milt confided over lunch that he was profoundly unhappy and hinted that there was strain in the marriage. Two days later, Milt shut himself in the family garage with the engine running. Reed was fourteen years old.

Reed's uncle, Phil Spickler, who lived in England and studied with L. Ron Hubbard, was helpful in guiding Reed and his mother through their grief. Six months later, Reed had an accident in shop class and nearly severed his finger. He wore a cast for weeks, but the doctor said the finger would be rigid and useless for the rest of his life. Then his uncle visited again, and within a couple of days, Spickler had effected a miraculous cure. "It was a big moment for me," Slatkin told the SEC lawyers.

As it happens, Spickler's daughter--Reed's cousin--would become known to filmgoers as Mimi Rogers, the actress (and Scientologist) who at one time was married to the church's biggest star, Tom Cruise. Cruise apparently became involved with Scientology during his marriage to Rogers (although neither seems to have participated in any of Slatkin's investments.) Through a spokeswoman, Rogers says she has not spoken to Slatkin in more than twenty years.

In an odd twist, former Scientologists say that Rogers' father became disaffected with the church in the early eighties. But after his encounter with his uncle, Slatkin told the government years later, he went on to dedicate himself to the church for life.

As a teenager, Slatkin spent summers in England and Scotland, taking classes from L. Ron Hubbard. When he attended the University of Michigan in the late sixties, Slatkin pushed Scientology on campus. A classmate who was active in the Scientology organization at Ann Arbor remembers him as a "very charismatic, very dynamic guy--warm, but with sort of a distance to him." This friend was surprised when Slatkin joined a fraternity, which seemed at odds with the tone of Scientology. "Everybody around him recognized that he had some special ability," she says. "He would have made a great politician."

Slatkin chose to go to graduate school in Berkeley in 1971 because of a strong Scientology presence in the area. But he decided to give up his graduate studies and devote himself to the church full time. He moved to Los Angeles and took courses at the church from 9:00 AM until 10:00 PM daily (with no weekends off), and by late 1975, he said, he had completed the highest courses offered in Los Angeles. (In Scientology parlance, this would make him a high-level "operating thetan.")

The former church member and college friend remembers that Slatkin seemed to have a gift for "regging"--Scientology-speak for the extremely important process of "registering," or soliciting donations. Critics say the church "regges" its members ruthlessly and relentlessly for a broad array of projects. Slatkin's college friend remembers talking to a fellow Scientologist who said that Slatkin "could reg the birds out of the trees."

Slatkin married in the mid-seventies, and he and his wife, Mary Jo, devoted themselves to working full-time for the church until 1984. While they received what he called "honoraria," they never made more than $45,000 a year. By 1983, they had two sons, and Slatkin was ready to start making money. He handed over a "meager amount," borrowed from his mother, to fellow Scientologist Robert Duggan.

Slatkin told investigators that Duggan was a wealthy investor who quickly quintupled Slatkin's original investment. He gave Slatkin a three-year apprenticeship in market strategy and finance. Around this time, Slatkin said, he started developing a computer program to help guide his investments. With the help of this software, which he dubbed "the Base Plate," Slatkin said he became "a self-employed professional investor."

By 1985, Slatkin said, he had earned about $1.5 million. When another three years had passed, he estimated, his personal fortune had grown to $25 million, primarily through stock trading. Through sheer luck, he claimed, he managed to pull his money out of the market before the Black Monday crash in October 1987. That day, he dived back into the market and set himself up to make a killing.

Slatkin wasn't the only beneficiary of his good fortune. By this time, he had started investing for a group that he called his "friends." At first, he said, most came to him through Scientology. He told the SEC that he kept dutiful records, regularly sending out statements about his activities. He protected his grateful friends from the 1987 stock-market crash, and they prospered along with him afterwards, he said.

That year, he told investigators, he decided to put all the friends' money into an account at an institution in Zurich, NAA Financial. Exactly why he made this choice was not clear. He told the federal lawyers that he had met a man named Roland de Lamoussaye at a party, and that de Lamoussaye had recommended NAA. Though Slatkin said he had deposited hundreds of millions of dollars, including money of his own, into a couple of NAA accounts, he couldn't tell the government lawyers whether NAA was a bank or a brokerage or some other type of institution. But he said he had checked out NAA with other Swiss banks and paid several visits himself. His principal contact at NAA was a man named Michel Axiall. "It's just been so many years now that I've dealt with the. It's just so efficient, and [there's] reliability and a feeling of safety," Slatkin said.

Slatkin told investigators he'd opened the NAA account because "it was very important to have very clear records of monies that didn't belong to me." He also hired a bookkeeper, Jean Janu, who worked out of offices in New Mexico, to ensure that record-keeping was "done at the highest possible standard." At the same time, however, he was vague when pressed on exactly how the operation worked. For example, the SEC asked if any of his friends had wired money from their own brokerage accounts to Slatkin's NAA account. "I don't know the answer to that," Slatkin replied.

If a friend wanted to liquidate his account, the attorney continued, would Slatkin ever keep stock that he had bought with that friend's money and repay the friend from other funds? "You're thinking of things that I haven't even thought of," Slatkin said. "That's good..... I'll have to think about that one."

Asked to explain an outgoing wire for $5 million to Beverly Hills Escrow with the notation "L. L. Dayton," Slatkin said he'd need to look up the transaction. "I can know this, I can know," he said. Then the SEC attorneys asked if Sky Dayton, Earthlink's chairman, had invested with him.

"No," Slatkin replied.

"Would there be money going to Mr. Dayton from the friend's account?" the attorney asked.

"Well, we have some - how to describe this?" Slatkin replied.

The SEC had a document showing that $5 million from Dayton had been wired into, and then out of, the so-called friends' account in June 1999. "You can go ahead and try to explain," one of the government lawyers prompted.

"No. I'm not sure where I'm headed here," Slatkin said.

The SEC then asked about Kevin O'Donnell, who had first introduced Slatkin to Dayton. "Why would there be money coming out of the friends' account to Mr. O'Donnell?" the attorney asked.

"Again, I want to get the detail of that for you, okay?" Slatkin said. "There's an answer." He elaborated a little. "We're business partners," he said. "But when I get any money from anybody... I put it in the friends' account to make sure that it stays segregated, for bookkeeping purposes.... And, like, I know the companies that this money went to. I'm just going to try and get you the detail on that, so I could tell you where it went to, so you could trace it."

In fact, Dayton is listed as a creditor in the Slatkin bankruptcy, though it is unclear - and a spokesperson for Dayton refuses to disclose - how much money is on the line. O'Donnell is also on the list, as are Earthlink's chief executive, Charles, "Garry" Betty, and others at the company.

In the early going, Slatkin served as a financial and management advisor to Earthlink. He remained a member of the board and audit committee until he resigned on April 26. EarthLink stresses that today there is no connection between the company and Slatkin.

In the beginning there was "not very much" in the NAA account, Slatkin told the government lawyers -- something between $7 million and $8 million. But then Slatkin produced a statement, purportedly from NAA, showing that as of March 31, 1999, the amount had grown to more than $217 million.

Hearing about this arrangement, an SEC attorney brought up what seemed like a sensible idea. "If we can confirm with the account in Switzerland that the funds exist," he said, " things like that help."

At that, Slatkin's lawyer, Gerald Boltz, interceded. Boltz had been the SEC's regional administrator from 1972 through 1979, and undoubtedly his prestige was not lost on the lawyers interrogating his client. "Mr. Slatkin has told me that there is no doubt about that," he protested. "And I think he's a person of substantial means. He stands behind this."

"I mean, my own net worth... adds up to in excess of $100 million, and there's other assets out there, too," Slatkin said. "And I would never let these people lose their money."

Slatkin said he'd obliged his investors only through a sense of duty, as prescribed by L. Ron Hubbard. Slatkin showed the SEC lawyers a "duty scale" bearing Hubbard's autograph. "There he is, L. Ron Hubbard," he said. "Like him or not, he's my man."

And so Slatkin had agreed to be of service. "These people called me and said, 'I'm going to go on full-time [Scientology] training down in Clearwater. Can you help me?' ... This gal came to me, she said, 'I want to open up a Scientology church in Kenya. Would you give me a hand?' I go, 'Absolutely. Let me help you out here.' And that's sort of what happened.... I felt like I was really helping, you know, really helping a lot. But I tell you, it's gotten big."

Slatkin insisted that he never asked for referrals. And clearly he didn't need to. When the wealthy couple was introduced to him after having heard great things about him, the wife remembers, "We basically felt it was a gift. We were privileged."

Someone who has been acquainted with Slatkin for many years says he was capable of great generosity, especially to those who worked for him. "he has to be a hero," the acquaintance says. "His image is everything to him."
What mattered to Slatkin was "being a very important person, being a benefactor, a guru-type."

Apparently Slatkin was a hero to his many "friends," and they showered him with gratitude. Slatkin insisted that he was never paid for his services, though some of his correspondence suggests he received a fee or commission. The SEC asked about such references, since Slatkin was not a registered investment adviser and therefore would have been breaking the law to accept compensation. "It doesn't look too good, does it?" he replied. Slatkin said he could only guess why his friends might have used such language. "That's their parlance," he said. "It's not from me. You know I didn't say any of those words."

The wealthy couple says Slatkin never asked to be paid. "He said, 'I'm very rich. If I'm successful for you, all I ask is that you make a donation to the charity of your choice.'" the husband remembers. The screenwriter, a far smaller investor, says Slatkin did request compensation. "He said, 'If I do well, I would expect 10 percent,'" that investor says. He told Slatkin to pay himself whatever he thought appropriate. But he adds, "I never did see anything deducted from my statements over about two or three years."

The wealthy couple say they were warned by their financial managers to steer clear of Slatkin, but he seemed to be doing so well -- for them and for many of their high-powered friends -- that they pressed ahead. "he wasn't going to old folks' homes and ripping people off for their social security," the husband says. "This guy was capable of taking almost anyone."

By the time the SEC questioned him last year, Slatkin said he had already decided to quit investing for his friends. He had stopped accepting money by October, 1999, he said, and he had already "liquidated accounts to the tune of over $27 million." It wasn't easy, he added, but "over the next sixty or ninety days we will have this as virtually a fait accompli."

But he said he was struggling with a sense that he was betraying those who counted on him. He said he literally wept over some letters importuning him to keep going. "I've been somewhat nervous about telling my Scientology friends that I was going to stop doing this," he said. "These people who are..., working to help the church or working to get themselves [up] this bridge I talked to you about.... And when they find out I'm not doing this anymore, some of these letters are extremely angry at me."

After giving his deposition in early 2000, Slatkin continued to promise repeatedly that he was liquidating his accounts. But he would not consent to let the SEC contact NAA to verify the existence of the funds. Slatkin's counsel, Gerald Boltz, repeatedly assured the government that the accounting firm Ernst & Young was in contact with NAA and that Michel Axiall and other NAA officials were furnishing the needed documents. Court filings show a letter on NAA letterhead to Slatkin's lawyer, dated February 2000, bearing Axiall's signature.

As time dragged on, Boltz repeatedly put off the date on which the Ernst & Young report would be ready. It would be complete by June 1, 2000, he said. The he said it would be finished at the end of August. Then by September 15. Meanwhile, he supplied all sorts of detail about the funds that were being held by NAA. In October -- just about the time that Slatkin was wooing Poitras -- he offered documents showing that the liquidation was virtually complete. In theory, that meant about $230 million had been returned to Slatkin's friends.

But more than a year after taking Slatkin's deposition, the SEC was still waiting for the Ernst & Young report. In April 2001, Slatkin's attorney finally delivered the shocking news: The documents from NAA might not be authentic. The accounts that were supposed to contain millions might not actually exist. As for the Ernst & Young report, the firm said it would not produce one because Slatkin's lawyer had invoked attorney-client privilege.

Boltz says now that all the representations that his law firm made to the SEC appeared to have been fully documented by Slatkin. "We believed that we had received accurate information," he says. "We furnished the SEC only what we were given." When it became clear that the Slatkin matter was turning into a criminal investigation, Boltz's firm withdrew from the case.

To the horror of investors, the SEC revealed in May that NAA did not exist and apparently never had existed. Michel Axiall did not exist. Roland de Lamoussaye, who had supposedly recommended NAA, did not exist. Documents purporting to prove that most investors had been repaid turned out to be phony.

By then, the nonexistence of NAA did not come as a surprise to Stuart Stedman. He told fellow investors that, once alerted to the possible fraud, he found it "extrordinarily easy" to investigate Slatkin's story. On a Friday morning this spring, he had a consultant send some documents, which Slatkin had forwarded and which bore the NAA letterhead, to Switzerland for verification. The following Tuesday, the consultant called and said that NAA's office in Zurich was nonexistent. The next day, he checked further with Swiss attorneys. Within twenty-four hours, they had verified what Stedman had already been told: The NAA documents were bogus. Anyone who wanted to check Slatkin's story, Stedman concluded, could have done so "in a day or two at most."

Throughout the SEC's long correspondence, Slatkin had continued to collect huge sums from investors like Poitras. It now appears that Slatkin raised tens of millions of dollars in the months before filing for bankruptcy on May 1, 2001. Poitras counted up the times that Slatkin put the SEC off after the deposition was taken in January 2000. "Thirty-two excuse letters and phone calls," he says. "It's just mind-boggling."

Kelly Bowers, the assistant regional director of enforcement in the SEC's Los Angeles office, says Slatkin's story had been difficult for the agency to verify "because of the Swiss angle and the information that we had available to us."

The game would have been over, says Poitras' lawyer, Richard Conn, if anyone had "called five of his friends and asked ... whether they had liquidated their accounts."

Not all the money was impossible to trace. After receiving the $10 million from Poitras, Slatkin promptly sent out nearly $7 million to investors - to which ones has yet to be revealed. He also paid a clutch of personal bills, including membership fees at two country clubs. Now the country-club memberships - along with his house and everything else he owns - are being sold off by the bankruptcy trustee so that creditors can recover at least some small percentage of the money that has been lost. The trustee's report shows that in the three months before his bankruptcy, Slatkin paid out more than $26 million to various parties, including $3 million that went to his family members.

R. Todd Neilson is a former FBI man, a grandfather, a Mormon from Utah, a friend of Senator Orrin Hatch. As bankruptcy trustee, Neilson is supposed to find the money. He has dealt with high-profile rip-offs before, notably in the case of Bruce McNall, the former owner of the Los Angeles Kings hockey team who went to prison for bank fraud. His manner is one of studied calm. "I'm generally very conciliatory," he says, "I can always get mean later."

At the moment, he is trying to soothe angry investors who are pushing him to go faster and harder - to circle the globe in search of their money. Neilson says he won't be rushed. "I want to gather the cattle and count them before I start sending cowboys into the brush," he says.

Neilson says he's dealing with "a deep level of concern on the part of the non-Scientologists" about the role of the church. His preliminary findings show that Slatkin donated more than $200,000 to various Scientology causes in the year before his bankruptcy. But so far, he says, he sees no evidence of substantial sums going into the church's coffers. "There will be a reckoning, and we'll find out what happened here," Neilson says. "Right now all we have are allegations flying in from fifty different quarters."

Whether the trail eventually leads to the church, as some investigators suspect, is far from clear, but a knowledgeable source close to the bankruptcy investigation says one investigator told Neilson that he and other Scientology-affiliated investors were likely to withdraw from the creditors group should Neilson attempt to recover money from the church. Neilson is being circumspect about his plans. For strategic reasons, it's in Neilson's interest to try to keep the peace among his flock.

The Church of Scientology says it knows nothing about the money. "The 'missing' funds did not go the the church," said spokesman Aron Mason in a written response to questions. "So why would we be concerned about this? (We aren't.) Moreover, were this to become an issue, I can tell you that the church does not instruct or govern its members as regards their personal financial interests or how they protect their rights."

Perhaps Neilson will have an easier time pursuing what he calls substantial evidence that large sums flowed to Ron Rakow, the former Grateful Dead manager who served time for fraud. The earlier scheme, known as the Culture Farms matter, involved twenty-seven thousand investors and $80 million. According to Christopher Redmond, the Kansas City-based attorney who served as the bankruptcy trustee in that case, Rakow was one of the first of the con men to settle civil proceedings, a feat he accomplished by providing extensive information about the inner workings of the scam. (As it happens, another Culture Farms figure, Christopher Mancuso - who served nine months in prison for his role - is as on the list of Slatkin's creditors.)

Redmond says Slatkin was questioned in the Culture Farms case and that he was part of a group of "ancillary players who assisted knowingly or not," in the scam. Interestingly, Redmond also says expensive artwork was used as part of "a sophisticated money-laundering process" in which money was stowed in the Antilles, the Caymans, Liechtenstein, France, the Isle of Man - and Switzerland. Normally, such information is of great interest to Neilson. (The Culture Farms bankruptcy proceeding, which has been unwinding for about fifteen years, has still not been concluded.)

More recently, Rakow is said to have traveled in Peru and Switzerland in the months before the Slatkin scandal broke. A Slatkin insider says Rakow was paid handsomely to consult with Slatkin on art. Now Neilson says he has questions for Rakow about art that disappeared from Slatkin's home after he filed for bankruptcy. And Neilson's preliminary report shows that Rakow's girlfriend, Denise Del Bianco, received a $1.1 million loan from Slatkin before he went under.

In the end, investors who entrusted their money to Reed Slatkin will probably end up with pennies on the dollar. "My view is that we will not find any pot of gold at the end of the rainbow in Switzerland or any other municipality," Neilson says.

In late July, Slatkin made a mandatory appearance with Neilson before a meeting of his creditors in a hotel ballroom. It was the first time most had seen him in months. Looking pale and puffy, he pleaded the Fifth Amendment and declined to answer any questions. He made only a brief statement, saying, "I'm not hiding," before his attorneys escorted him out of the room.

Many of those present groaned at Slatkin's words. What may ultimately harm Slatkin the most is the fact that he succeeded in extracting money from so many high-powered investors - including many who still have the money and resources to pursue this case with vigor. "We are relentless," says George Kristie, one of Slatkin's biggest investors. "We are not going to take our teeth off his cuff. This is the end for him."

Kristie and the others will have to be patient. Neilson is moving slowly to track the funds, and officials aren't releasing details of the criminal investigation. Attorneys associated with the case insist that Slatkin depends, in part, on his cooperation with federal authorities. As of the end of July, Neilson said that Slatkin hadn't gotten good marks.

Meanwhile, Poitras is left to wrestle with the magnitude of his loss. "You have nightmares about it all night," he says. "You wake up thinking, I hope it's not real." Poitras says he has given up a happy retirement to pursue his new job. "Now I have to work full-time to put Slatkin in jail," he says.

Poitras has ruefully concluded that when he joined Sings Like Hell, he inadvertently bought himself "a $15 million concert series." To help erase the memory, he insisted on being airbrushed out of a photograph in a Sings Like Hell brochure that showed him standing, wearing a broad grin, with Reed and Mary Jo Slatkin. Thanks to computer magic, the organization managed to insert the image of another couple. Everyone in the picture is still wearing a big smile.
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Re: Journalism: Scientology - L. Ron Hubbard's Brainchild

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Mimi Rogers
by Wikipedia


Rogers at the premiere for Earth in April 2009
Born Miriam Spickler
(1956-01-27) January 27, 1956 (age 57)
Coral Gables, Florida, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1981–present
Spouse(s) James Rogers (1976–1980; divorced)
Tom Cruise (1987–1990; divorced)
Christopher Ciaffa (2003–present; 2 children)
Children Lucy Ciaffa
Charles Ciaffa

Miriam "Mimi" Rogers (née Spickler; born January 27, 1956) is an American film and television actress, producer and competitive poker player. Her notable film roles include Gung Ho (1986), Someone to Watch Over Me (1987), and Desperate Hours (1990). She garnered the greatest acclaim of her career for her role in the religious drama, The Rapture (1991), with critic Robin Wood applauding that she "gave one of the greatest performances in the history of the Hollywood cinema."[1] Rogers has since appeared in Reflections on a Crime (1994), The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996), Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997), Lost in Space (1998), Ginger Snaps (2000), The Door in the Floor (2004), and For a Good Time, Call... (2012). Her extensive work in television includes Paper Dolls (1984), Weapons of Mass Distraction (1997), The Loop (2006–2007), and recurring roles on The X-Files (1998–1999) and Two and a Half Men (2011–present).

Early life

Rogers was born Miriam Spickler at General Hospital in Coral Gables, Florida. Her father is Philip C. Spickler, a civil engineer[2][3] and Jewish Holocaust survivor.[4] Her mother, Teri Berwick, was Episcopalian[5] and a former dance and drama major.[2]

The family lived in Virginia, Arizona, Michigan and England before settling in Los Angeles. She attended accelerated schools and graduated from high school at age 14. In place of college, she formulated her own program of study and also got involved in community theater and writing.[2] Rogers later worked in a hospital for incapacitated patients outside Palo Alto, California and for six years she was a part-time social worker, involved in substance-abuse counseling.[2]

At the beginning of their acting careers, Rogers lived with Kirstie Alley.[6]



After her first marriage break-up, Rogers moved to Los Angeles to embark on an acting career. She studied acting with Milton Katselas for nine months and then sought an agent.[7] She screen tested for the lead role in Body Heat that eventually went to Kathleen Turner.[8] Her earlier roles included television appearances in Hill Street Blues (1981) as a love interest for officer Andy Renko (Charles Haid), and in Magnum, P.I. (1982). Between 1983 and 1984, she worked extensively in television as a series regular on The Rousters and as supermodel Blair Harper-Fenton in Paper Dolls. In 1986 she starred alongside Michael Keaton in Ron Howard's comedy, Gung Ho.

In 1986 Rogers auditioned for the female lead in Fatal Attraction that went to Glenn Close.[8] However, Rogers got her breakthrough role when she was cast opposite Tom Berenger in Ridley Scott's Someone to Watch Over Me (1987). Rogers played Claire Gregory, a socialite that is protected after she witnesses a murder. In 1989 Rogers starred alongside Denzel Washington in the critically acclaimed mystery film The Mighty Quinn. A year later she appeared alongside Mickey Rourke and Anthony Hopkins in the remake, Desperate Hours. In 1991 Rogers starred as the protagonist in The Rapture about a woman who converts from a swinger to a born-again Christian after learning that a true Rapture is upon the world. Rogers received an Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead nomination for her role in the film.[9] Slant Magazine praised her "spectacular performance, which seems in part inspired by the physical splendors and feral glances of Bette Davis or Barbara Stanwyck."[10]

In 1993 Rogers posed nude for the March 1993 edition of Playboy magazine, and also appeared on that issue's cover.[11] Rogers later explained "Playboy had been after me for years, and finally I agreed to pose when they gave me complete approval over the shoot. It was done in a tasteful way, and since I knew that I wanted to have children soon, I thought it might be nice to have a permanent record of my body in its prime."[12]

Rogers at the 1989 Academy AwardsIn 1994 Rogers starred as a woman on death row in the prison thriller Reflections on a Crime and received the Best Actress prize for the film at the Seattle International Film Festival.[13]New York Magazine praised Rogers' "typically terrific performance" in the film.[14]

Rogers later joined an ensemble cast in the critically acclaimed comedy-drama Trees Lounge (1996). She also had a supporting role alongside Barbra Streisand and Lauren Bacall in The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996). Her next film was the beginning of what would become a major franchise, when she appeared as Mrs. Kensington in the cult classic, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997). In 1997 Rogers was nominated for the Satellite Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television for her role in the HBO film, Weapons of Mass Distraction.

In 1998 she appeared alongside Gary Oldman and William Hurt in the $80 million science fiction film, Lost in Space. A year later she co-produced and co-starred alongside Kirsten Dunst in the Showtime Holocaust drama, The Devil's Arithmetic. Together with her fellow producers, Rogers received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Children's Special. Between 1998 and 1999 Rogers also had a recurring role on The X-Files playing Diana Fowley for seven episodes. In 2000 she starred in the critically acclaimed Canadian horror film, Ginger Snaps. She was also a series regular on the short-lived ABC series, The Geena Davis Show (2000–2001).

Rogers later made television appearances in Dawson's Creek (2003) as the mother of Jen Lindley (Michelle Williams) and in Las Vegas (2003). She also appears in the comedy sequel Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (2003). In 2004 she starred alongside Jeff Bridges and Kim Basinger in the drama, The Door in the Floor. Between 2006 and 2007, Rogers was a series regular on the Fox comedy, The Loop playing Meryl, a company vice-president and cougar.

In 2010 Rogers made a guest appearance on King of the Hill and also served as a producer on the bid-budget action thriller, Unstoppable.[15] In 2010 she also performed at the Geffen Playhouse in the play, Love, Loss, and What I Wore.[16] In 2011 she was cast in the recurring role of Robin Schmidt, a primatologist and Ashton Kutcher's mother on Two and a Half Men.[17] Rogers will resume the role in the season 10 premiere episode.[18] In 2012 she also made a guest appearance on The Client List. Her recent film projects include For a Good Time, Call... (2012) and, alongside Meryl Streep, in Hope Springs (2012). In March 2012 she was cast alongside Chad Michael Murray in the ABC drama pilot, Scruples where she plays Harriet, a "powerful and vindictive magazine editor".[19]


Having played poker as a teenager, Rogers took up competitive poker in 2003 and finished in the money in her first major tournament at the World Poker Tour's 240 player Shooting Stars' main event No-Limit Texas hold 'em tournament in San Jose, California, on March 4, 2004. She also is on the board of directors of the World Poker Tour.

Rogers is one of the "famous faces"[20] due to being a regular player on the online poker website Hollywood Poker which is run in conjunction with Ongame Network. In July 2006, she finished in the money (33rd place) at the $1000 Ladies' No-Limit Hold 'em World Series of Poker event, winning $5,132.

She is now one of the celebrities playing on Hollywood Poker participating in promotional events.[21]

Personal life

She has been married three times. She married Jim Rogers in 1977, adopting his surname. They divorced in 1980.

In the early to mid-1980s, Rogers dated Tom Selleck, Christopher Reeve and Bobby Shriver.[22]

On May 9, 1987, Rogers married actor Tom Cruise; she was 31 and he was 24. They separated in 1989; their divorce was finalized in February 1990.[23] In an interview with Playboy in 1993, Rogers discussed her split from Cruise and likened her ex-husband to a "monk" when discussing intimacy issues.[12] Rogers later retracted the comments and claimed she was misinterpreted.[24][12]

In 1990, Rogers began living with Chris Ciaffa. They have a daughter, Lucy Julia Ciaffa (born November 20, 1995), and a son, Charles Ciaffa (born July 30, 2001).[25] The couple eventually married in 2003.

Rogers has made campaign contributions to the Democratic Party.[26][27]


Rogers' father became interested in Dianetics in 1952[28] and would later become a prominent Mission Holder with the Church of Scientology and friend of founder, L Ron Hubbard.[12] Rogers also reportedly became a highly trained auditor with the church. Prior to her acting career, she opened a "field auditing" practice, the Enhancement Center with her first husband, Jim Rogers.[29] She was also an auditor for Sonny Bono[30] and Tom Cruise was also a client before being directed towards a Celebrity Centre.[29] In an interview given to the Los Angeles Times in 1991, Rogers spoke about Scientology; "that philosophy was simply part of my upbringing. And, I think it was an excellent system of belief to grow up with because Scientology offers an extremely pragmatic method for taking spiritual concerns and breaking them down into everyday applications."[5]

It appears that Mimi Rogers has left the Church of Scientology- she had been described in recent media reports as a "former" member of the church.[31][22][12][32] Cruise biographer, Andrew Morton, alleged that Mimi's father had been declared a Suppressive Person after leaving the church in the early 1980s during a cull of Mission Holders.[33] Spickler has since become part of the Free Zone movement.[34] A 2012 article in Vanity Fair alleged that Mimi held an unfavorable view of the church's controversial leader, David Miscavige.[35] In the book, "Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief" published in 2013, author Lawrence Wright alleged that Miscavige had pushed Rogers from her marriage with Tom Cruise so the latter could pursue Nicole Kidman.[36]


Year Film Role Notes

1981 Hill Street Blues Sandra Pauley 2 episodes; "Jungle Madness", "Rites of Spring"
1981 Quincy, M.E. Corrina Girard 2 episodes; "Slow Boat to Madness Part 1", "Slow Boat to Madness Part 2"
1982 Magnum, P.I. Margo Perina 1 episode; "Italian Ice"
1982 Divorce Wars: A Love Story Belinda Wittiker TV movie
1982 Hear No Evil Meg TV movie
1983 Hart to Hart Robin Wall 1 episode; "Hartstruck"
1983 Blue Skies Again Liz
1983–1984 The Rousters Ellen Slade 13 episodes
1984 Paper Dolls Blair Fenton-Harper 13 episodes
1985 Embassy Nancy Russell TV movie
1986 Gung Ho Audrey
1987 Disneyland Charlotte 1 episode; "You Ruined My Life"
1987 Street Smart Alison Parker
1987 Someone to Watch Over Me Claire Gregory
1989 The Mighty Quinn Hadley Elgin
1989 Hider in the House Julie Dreyer TV movie
1990 Dimenticare Palermo Carrie
1990 Desperate Hours Nora Cornell
1991 Fourth Story Valerie McCoughlin TV movie
1991 The Doors Magazine Photographer
1991 Wedlock Tracy Rigg TV movie
1991 The Rapture Sharon Nomination – Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead
1991–1992 Dream On Julia Montana 3 episodes
1992 White Sands Molly Dolezal Cameo
1992 Tales from the Crypt Helen 1 episode; "Beauty Rest"
1992 Dark Horse Dr. Susan Hadley
1992 Ladykiller Michael Madison TV movie
1992 The Larry Sanders Show Mimi Rogers 2 episodes; "The Flirt Episode", "You're Having My Baby"
1992 Shooting Elizabeth Elizabeth Pigeon
1993 Bloodlines: Murder in the Family Melody Woodman TV movie
1993 A Kiss to Die For Ali Broussard TV movie
1994 Monkey Trouble Amy
1994 Killer Fiona
1994 Reflections on a Crime Regina Seattle International Film Festival Award for Best Actress
1995 The Beast Martha Short
1995 Far from Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog Katherine McCormick
1995 Full Body Massage Nina TV movie
1996 Partners Melissa 1 episode; "Your Baby-sitter?"
1996 In the Blink of an Eye Sonia Jacobs TV movie
1996 Trees Lounge Patty
1996 The Mirror Has Two Faces Claire
1997 Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery Mrs. Kensington
1997 Weapons of Mass Distraction Ariel Powers TV movie
Nomination – Satellite Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
1997 The Christmas List Melody Parris
1997 Tricks Jackie TV movie
1998 Host Karen Messenger TV movie
1998 Lost in Space Dr. Maureen Robinson
1998–1999 The X-Files Agent Diana Fowley 7 episodes
1999 The Devil's Arithmetic Leonore Stern Producer
Nomination – Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Children's Special
1999 Little White Lies' Ellie
1999 Seven Girlfriends Julian
1999–2000 It's Like, You Know... Deidre Swayze 2 episodes; "Heat", "Hollywood Shuffle"
2000 Common Ground McPherson TV movie
2000 Ginger Snaps Pamela
2000 The Upgrade The Yuppie Short
2000 Cruel Intentions 2 Tiffany Merteuil
2000–2001 The Geena Davis Show Hillary 22 episodes
2002 Charms for the Easy Life Sophia TV movie
2002 What's New, Scooby-Doo? Maura Ravenmane 1 episode; "She Sees Sea Monsters by the Sea Shore"
2003 Dawson's Creek Helen Lindley 1 episode; "Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road"
2003 Cave In Pat Bogen TV movie
2003 Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd Mrs. Dunne
2003 Las Vegas Sandra Adlman 1 episode; "Luck Be a Lady"
2004 Hope & Faith Annie Hannigan 1 episode; "Madam President"
2004 The Gunman Eve Richards
2004 Seeing Other People Elise
2004 The Door in the Floor Evelyn Vaughn
2005 Dancing in Twilight April
2005 Stone Cold Rita Fiore TV movie
2005 Selling Innocence Abby Sampson TV movie
2006 The Stranger Game Joanna Otis TV movie
2006 Penny Dreadful Orianna Volkes
2006 Big Nothing Mrs. Smalls
2006–2007 The Loop Meryl 17 episodes
2008 Storm Cell April Saunders TV movie
2008 My Boys Maggie/Mike's date 2 episodes; "John, Cougar, Newman Camp", "Jack and Bobby"
2009 Frozen Kiss Gayle
2009 Falling Up Meredith TV movie
2010 Order of Chaos Mrs. Craig TV movie
2010 Sins of the Mother Lois TV movie
2010 King of the Hill Katie 1 episode; "Bill Gathers Moss"
2010 Neighbors from Hell Lorelai Killbride 1 episode; "Country Club Hell"
2010 Abandoned Victoria Markham
2011 Lucky Ms. Brand
2011 Balls to the Wall Mrs. Matthews
2011 CollegeHumor Originals Bionic Woman "Superhero Auditions: Callbacks", "Superhero Auditions: Bionic Woman"
2011–present Two and a Half Men Robin Schmidt Recurring role
3 episodes; "One False Move, Zimbabwe!", "Slowly and in a Circular Fashion", "I Changed My Mind About the Milk"
2012 For a Good Time, Call... Adele
2012 The Client List Valerie Dawson 1 episode; "The Rub of Sugarland"
2012 Hope Springs Carol
2012 Scruples Harriet Toppington Pilot drama based on Scruples
2012 Mall Filming


1. Wood, Robin (2003). Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan – and Beyond. Columbia University Press. Prolgue xxxvii
2. Tuber, Keith."Mimi Rogers is Ready to Take Center Stage", [interview], Orange Coast. August 1990. p/78.
3. Mimi Rogers: From Sexy Sidekick In 'Austin Powers' To One Hot Mama In 'Two And A Half Men' Huffington Post. 7 December 2011
4. Celebrity Jews J Weekly. 12 December 2003
5. Her Salvation? : Mimi Rogers has taken a chance with a role in a movie about faith and sin. The question: Will 'The Rapture' redeem a career bedeviled by typecasting? Los Angeles Times. 6 October 1991. p/2
6. Kirstie Allie : Snapshot People Magazine. Retrieved on 9 August 2012
7. Her Salvation? : Mimi Rogers has taken a chance with a role in a movie about faith and sin. The question: Will 'The Rapture' redeem a career bedeviled by typecasting? Los Angeles Times. 6 October 1991. p/3
8. Tuber, Keith."Mimi Rogers is Ready to Take Center Stage", [interview], Orange Coast. August 1990. p/77.
9. The Rapture New York Times. Retrieved on 8 August 2012
10. The Rapture Slant Magazine. 9 November 2004
11. Women Who Have Posed for Playboy
12. 'I never meant to embarrass Tom' Daily Telegraph. 29 June 2001
13. Aussie Films Awarded Top Honors At Festival Seattle Times. 13 June 1994
14. Museums, Societies, Etc. New York Magazine. 10 April 1995. p/86
15. A chat with Mimi Rogers Bullz Eye. 14 February 2011
16. 'Love, Loss, and What I Wore' at Geffen Playhouse has plenty of drama backstage too Los Angeles Times. 13 November 2010
17. Mimi Rogers to Mother Ashton Kutcher on Men Vulture. 11 November 2011
18. 'Two and a Half Men' Season 10 pics: Michael Bolton and 'True Blood's' Brit Morgan drink with Walden Zap2it. 22 August 2012
19. Mimi Rogers Joins Cast of ABC Drama Pilot SCRUPLES TV Broadway World. 18 March 2012
20. "Mimi Rogers Biography". Retrieved July 19, 2007.
21. ... mi-rogers/
22. Tom Cruise and Mimi Rogers: Marriage Impossible Entertainment Weekly. 11 May 2001
23. Neumaier, Joe (10 August 2004). "Cruise Unshaken by His Role As Hit Man – Actor Says Killer Won't Sink His Good-Guy Image". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. p. 1E.
24. Tom Cruise The Sunday Times Magazine. Retrieved on 9 August 2012
25. "Poker Mimi Rogers at mimi rogers full body massage photos, desperate hours and mimi rogers and full body". Retrieved 2012-07-24.
26. Mimi Rogers (celebrity political donations) NewsMeat. Retrieved on 9 August 2012
27. California Is Top Source of Federal Political Funds Los Angeles Times. 19 January 1999
28. 1/5 Getting started in Dianetics – "It was almost like a family!" – Miracles Youtube. 4 October 2010
29. Reitman, Janet (2011). Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p/272-273
30. Solo Bono Vanity Fair. February 1998
31. Have Any Celebs Ever Actually Left Scientology? E! Online. 29 July 2009
32. When Once-Big Stars Get Tiny Roles Village Voice. 14 August 2012
33. Exclusive: ‘Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography’ MSNBC. 15 January 2008
34. From Stanford With Love Freezone. Retrieved on 8 August 2012
35. What Katie Didn't Know. Orth, Maureen. Vanity Fair. October 2012
36. ... ypJR7dWK/1
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Re: Journalism: Scientology - L. Ron Hubbard's Brainchild

Postby admin » Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:22 am

Part 1 of 2

Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography
by Andrew Morton
Excerpt from Chapter 6 of "Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography"

As anxious as a teenager on his first date, David Miscavige, the young leader of Scientology, impatiently paced around the immaculately arranged cabana as he waited for his guest on a Saturday night in the late summer of 1989. While no expense or effort had been spared to impress his visitor, by the agreed arrival time of eight o’clock there was still no sign of Tom Cruise. Watches were nervously checked, and as minutes turned into hours, cult minions made frantic phone calls. David Miscavige was not a man who liked to be kept waiting.
But wait he did, becoming more and more furious as his carefully laid plans came to naught. By the time Tom, who had recently finished filming "Born on the Fourth of July", arrived at the Gold Base Scientology fortress, it was long past eleven o’clock, and the actor, tired by the journey from Beverly Hills, went straight to bed.

He had missed a greeting as elaborate as it was incongruous. In the heart of the desert scrub, he was to have been taken to a swimming pool next to a $565,000 life-size replica of a three-masted schooner. In the tropically themed cabana, complete with parrots and other exotic birds, Miscavige and other senior Scientologists would have formed a welcoming committee. Doubtless, as he was being shown the nautical artifacts, he was to have been told about the history of the landlocked ship, the Star of California, which had been built on the express instructions of cult founder L. Ron Hubbard. Even though he served with an utter lack of distinction in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Hubbard liked to think of himself as a military hero, dressing his most fanatical followers, known as the Sea Org, in the regalia and uniforms of a seafaring militia. This fraternal paramilitary organization was zealously dedicated to advancing their faith, signing “billion-year” contracts — pledging themselves to work for Scientology for the next billion years during future reincarnations — as a sign of their utter devotion. In their eyes they were fallen gods, immortal beings or “thetans,” who had lived for millions of years and would be reincarnated for billions of years to come. From their desert lair, a place so secret that new Sea Org recruits were brought there blindfolded so that they could not divulge the location to outsiders, they pursued their mission of world domination and the extermination of their enemies. As Hubbard once wrote, “All men shall be my slaves. All women shall succumb to my charms. All mankind shall grovel at my feet and not know why.” In preparation for the day when they could put the words of the man known as “Source” into practice, they read The Art of War by the Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu and On War by the Prussian general Karl von Clausewitz. No one and nothing from the inferior “wog world” — the term for nonbelievers — could be allowed to get in their way. Certainly not in this existence. Indeed, the outside world was an unwelcome distraction.

Believers were banned from watching TV, listening to the radio, reading newspapers, using computers, making telephone calls, or receiving other communications from outsiders, including their families. Security staff even opened their Christmas presents to make sure they did not contain anything that would deflect them from the cause. (Nowadays newspapers are sold and TV played in the staff dining room.)
Most public Scientologists had never even heard of Gold Base, let alone visited the onetime holiday resort just outside Hemet, California.

The organization deliberately disguised its true purpose, listing the five-hundred-acre compound in the local telephone directory as the “Scottish Highlands Quietude Club.” It was a sign of Tom Cruise’s importance that he was invited to this inner sanctum.

Significantly, the invitation was extended only to Tom, even though his wife had been a Scientologist for most of her life. The reason had less to do with the fact that they now seemed to be leading separate lives than with Mimi’s own position inside the cult. When her father, Phil, left the faith during the cull of mission holders in the early 1980s, he was deemed an enemy, or, in Scientology-speak, a “suppressive person.” Worse, he joined those, dubbed “squirrels” by Hubbard, who offered Scientology-style services at cut prices.

Anyone associated with Mimi’s father was supposed to “disconnect” — sever all relations — with him if they wanted to stay inside Scientology. In short, Mimi was expected to choose between her father and the cult, a dilemma that has confronted thousands of Scientologists over the years, leading to hundreds of family breakups. “Tom was a big star, she was a nothing and tainted by association with her father,” says a former Scientologist who helped plan that first visit. “David Miscavige wasn’t bothered about Mimi. In any case, in his eyes, her father had done all these terrible things to Scientology.”

To emphasize how little value the Scientology leadership placed on Mimi, her husband was accompanied by his assistant, Andrea Morse, daughter of actor Robert Morse. Tom paid for her to take numerous Scientology courses, Andrea in turn recruiting her mother, Carole, and sister Hilary to the faith. It was the beginning of a carefully considered strategy that would ultimately see the actor surrounded by Scientologists both at home and in his office, Odin Productions, which in time came to be operated on strict Scientology principles, where crispness, clarity, and military efficiency are the watchwords. Both sides were keen that Tom’s first visit to the base be discreet and secret. In the darkness, as Tom was driven by the armed uniformed guards past the chain-link fence topped with razor wire, he could have been forgiven for thinking he was entering a military base rather than a friendly club where Scottish chaps danced around in kilts.

That impression would have been reinforced by the infrared cameras and arc lights and, if he had known about them, the concealed microphones and sensors that could spot a rabbit hopping thirty feet from the six-foot-high fence. It was a place that exuded paranoia.

Cameras noted the license plates of passing cars; there were secret plans to rig the perimeter with homemade explosives in case of attack; and high above the property was a man-made eyrie where eagle-eyed guards with high-powered rifles fitted with telescopic sights scanned the sunbaked California scrub for possible intruders.

In fact, his host for the weekend, David Miscavige, had been known to race out into the barren landscape, armed with an Uzi submachine gun, to hunt down possible enemies. He certainly had many weapons to choose from, amassing a personal collection of more than sixty guns. Besides an Israeli assault rifle, a 12-gauge double-barrel shotgun given to him by Hubbard, he had a Dirty Harry Magnum .44 and a Walther PPK of the type used by James Bond. Nor was he afraid to use them.

Early one morning he noticed that a no parking sign had been put up opposite his office. Ordering his butler to bring his shotgun, he spent a few minutes blasting the errant sign to bits. “He felt powerful with guns,” recalls an aide. “It was his way of intimidating people.” In the desk of his well-appointed office, the leader of the church had a .38 handgun. No one knew if it was loaded or if he was only joking when he said they needed to be well armed for when the “radioactive mutants come over the hill.”

That night, it wasn’t the mutants who were in his sights, but Scientology’s inspector general, Greg Wilhere — effectively Miscavige’s right-hand man — who had been assigned to ferry the Hollywood actor from Los Angeles to the secret retreat. Smooth, urbane, and unflappable, Wilhere was Tom’s “handler,” the senior figure assigned to deflect any outside hostility toward Scientology and ensure that Tom remained enthusiastic about his new faith. He was the perfect choice to groom Cruise: friendly, sincere, and intelligent, even grudgingly admired by those who had become disaffected with Scientology. Wilhere needed every ounce of his legendary charm to calm his furious leader. Though he was only five feet, five inches tall, Miscavige was known to have a giant temper, lashing out at subordinates whom he deemed to have crossed him. Wilhere managed to soothe him by explaining that Tom had been delayed for several hours because of movie business. Miscavige’s frustration was perhaps understandable.

At the time his organization was on the ropes, facing a massive IRS investigation into its tax affairs. Not only was the cult spending $1.5 million a month on legal fees, but thousands of ordinary Scientologists were being audited by the tax man. “Things were very grim in 1990, and I don’t think a lot of Scientologists knew that,” Miscavige later admitted. “We kept it to ourselves. It was terrible.”

As far as the beleaguered Scientology leadership was concerned, Cruise was the cavalry riding to their rescue. It had taken years of careful planning to tease Tom through the gates of Gold. During his first years inside the cult, he was termed a “preclear,” someone not deemed to be free of his problems and difficulties. (In fact, it was not until 1989 that Tom and his cousin William Mapother were listed in a Scientology magazine as completing “basic training.”) While the process of auditing bore some similarities to the Catholic rite of Confession, it was neither free nor anonymous. Tom sat facing his auditor while holding an E meter, the crude lie detector that supposedly detected the truth or otherwise of responses. Under polite but relentless questioning, he was encouraged to reveal his most intimate secrets, every admission jotted down in a supposedly confidential folder stamped with his given name: Thomas Mapother. Following a pattern set by Hubbard himself, auditors would ask Tom, among other things, if he had ever raped someone, practiced homosexuality or cannibalism, been unfaithful, watched pornography, or killed or crippled animals for pleasure.

Although auditing was reportedly designed to clear problems, Hubbard’s estranged son, Ronald De Wolf, who audited many early converts, took a more cynical view, seeing the process as a way of controlling and potentially blackmailing Scientologists, especially celebrities. In an interview with Playboy magazine, he observed: “Auditing would address a guy’s entire sex life. It was an incredible preoccupation .... You have complete control of someone if you have every detail of his sex life and fantasy life on record. In Scientology the focus is on sex. Sex, sex, sex. The first thing we wanted to know about someone we were auditing was his sexual deviations. All you’ve got to do is find a person’s kinks, whatever they might be. Their dreams and their fantasies. Then you can fit a ring through their noses and take them anywhere. You promise to fulfill their fantasies or you threaten to expose them ... very simple.” After the interview appeared, the then president of Scientology declined to respond to De Wolf’s observations, noting that his credibility was “just out the bottom.” Nonetheless, although the pre-clear file was supposedly confidential, several auditors could have access to the folders and, it is claimed, senior staff members were known to discuss their contents. Former celebrity Scientologist Karen Pressley, who lived at Gold for years, was present one evening when John Travolta’s auditor John Silcott openly discussed the actor’s sexuality. “It made my head spin,” she recalls, “and made me realize that the idea of confidentiality was a chimera.” As another Scientology executive admitted bluntly, “These files come in handy if they want to blackmail you.”

Ostensibly, Tom had been invited to Gold Base to make sure that his initial auditing, which took place at Sherman Oaks, had been performed correctly. While the questions can be sexually lurid, the auditing process itself is highly technical, Hubbard creating an entire language to describe the procedure. As well as monitoring his auditing progress, Gold Base asked him to give their propaganda film studio, known as Golden Era Productions, the professional once-over.

Tom’s first weekend stay was organized with the precision of a military operation, the planning akin to a visit by royalty. In the weeks before his arrival, the base was a hive of activity as the five hundred or so Sea Org disciples painted, pruned, primped, and cleaned the gardens and buildings so that it was in pristine condition for his arrival.

Not that they were ever aware who the visitor was to be. While his assistant was assigned to staff quarters, Tom was housed in a plush guest bungalow with a Scientology chef and butler, Sinar Parman, who had once worked for L. Ron Hubbard, at his disposal around the clock.

To underline the importance of the visit, Sea Org members were ordered to stay indoors or, if that was impossible, to keep away from certain parts of the compound where Tom might be present. If they happened into his line of sight, they were instructed to avert their gaze and under no circumstances speak to him. Those who did come into contact were ordered to address him as “sir” rather than “Mr. Cruise.”

Disobedience would be punished. “The whole base was on eggshells,” recalls one Sea Org member. The scene was set to impress and awe possibly the most important recruit in Scientology history.
During Tom’s tour of the compound, it was evident that this was not a place for children. Like nuns and monks, Sea Org fanatics were not allowed to have children; if a woman got pregnant, she faced the heartbreaking choice between her beliefs and her unborn child. For the true believer, abortion was an article of faith. If the woman decided to have the child, she had to leave Sea Org and serve the sect in a lesser capacity. Former Sea Org follower Karen Pressley remembers that she was often approached by fellow Scientologists asking to borrow money to pay for an abortion so that they could stay in Sea Org. “I had a real problem because I don’t believe in abortion,” she recalls. Scientology officials reject as “simply false” the assertion that Sea Org women are encouraged, as a matter of policy, to have abortions.

As Tom viewed the film production areas, the editing bays, the music studio, and the film studio, known as the Castle, uniformed Sea Org operatives with walkie-talkies relayed his regal progress. In the film studio, handpicked Sea Org operatives rigorously rehearsed the “spontaneous” scenes they were scheduled to shoot. As far as Sea Org film workers were concerned, the tour had an unhappy outcome. Tom commented that when he made a Hollywood movie, he worked flat out until it was finished. At Gold, film technicians were given time off during filming for Scientology study. As a result of his offhand comment, schedules were changed and Sea Org film operatives were forced to work around the clock until films were completed. For the next two years, according to at least one former Sea Org member, the film unit never had a day off.

The difference, of course, was that Tom Cruise was paid millions of dollars while Sea Org workers earned a mere thirty-five dollars a week. In fact, one Sea Org associate paid an even higher price. When she complained about the new edict, she was sent to Scientology “prison,” known as the Rehabilitation Project Force. There, in a former ranch in Happy Valley, eleven miles away in the Soboba Indian reservation, inmates were guarded twenty-four hours a day and forced, among other demeaning punishments, to run around a pole under the blazing sun. While Scientology describes the RPF as a voluntary rehabilitation program offering a second chance for Sea Org members who have strayed from the sect’s codes, those who refuse to accept their punishment are “declared,” effectively thrown into the outer darkness. For a true believer it means either accepting their punishment — however unjust or arbitrary — or leaving behind friends and family, not to mention relinquishing the dream of eternal life.

People who have been through RPF say it is akin to brainwashing with hard labor. Critics accuse the sect of human rights abuses, comparing the Scientology punishment camps to Stalinist gulags. “One hardly has to point out that the RPF and RPF’s RPF [a more extreme punishment regime] are brainwashing programs,” notes Professor Stephen Kent of the University of Alberta. “Forced confessions, physical fatigue, and intense indoctrination combined with humiliation and fear are the hallmarks of these camps.”

Tom, of course, did not realize that his offhand remarks would have such Draconian repercussions. After showing him around the studio, Miscavige took him on a tour of the estate, Tom riding pillion on his motorbike. Later, they went skeet shooting on a range set up behind Bonnie View, the mansion built by Scientologists for the anticipated return to Earth of the deceased L. Ron Hubbard after his galactic wanderings. Although he had appeared in several military movies, Tom was nervous around guns, and Miscavige, an enthusiastic member of the National Rifle Association, showed him the correct way to handle his weapon. Tom was so impressed that, as a thank-you present, he sent his new friend an automatic clay pigeon launcher to replace the manual pull contraption they used that weekend. Although Tom probably never realized it, his gift meant more work for hapless inmates of the sect’s prison. More than two dozen of them worked day and night for three days installing the new launcher and then landscaping the shooting range for Tom’s next visit.

As far as Tom was concerned, the visit was an enormous success — and it showed, Tom impressing those Scientologists he met with his energy and enthusiasm. “He was like a walking lightbulb,” recalls Jesse Prince, former Scientology deputy inspector general. “He was so bright and enthusiastic, a playful kind of guy. It was like the kid with no friends who had suddenly found a load of people who were now his friends. During this time he was doing lower courses, so it was a honeymoon period. Great fun.”

Slideshow: Tom Cruise’s risky business Not only did the visit reinforce Tom’s new faith, it introduced him to the man who would have a profound influence on his future life. When David Miscavige finally shook hands with Tom Cruise, he had him at “Hello,” the chemistry between the two immediate and apparent.

From the start they were like brothers, constantly trying to outdo each other. As controlling, competitive, and macho as he was, Cruise had met his match — and more — in the Scientology leader. Their burgeoning friendship came as no surprise to those who had watched the rapid rise and rise of Miscavige. “It was easy to see why they got along so well,” says a former Scientology executive who was present during that first weekend. “They are both driven, demanding, focused perfectionists — let’s call it the Short Man Syndrome.” Significantly, it was Miscavige, two years older if two inches shorter, who was the dominating force in their friendship, his ferocious will, aggressive ambition, and willingness to live on the edge proving more than a match for Cruise’s own alpha male behavior. As Shelly Britt, who worked for the sect leader for fifteen years, recalls, “David would dominate Tom Cruise without him even knowing about it.”

Much as Tom talked about his own hardscrabble beginnings, they paled when compared with that of the Scientology leader. Born in a Philadelphia suburb to a Polish father, Ron Miscavige, who earned his living playing trumpet, and an Italian mother, Loretta, he had a twin sister and another brother and sister. Short, slightly built, severely asthmatic, and extremely allergic, he was relentlessly bullied at school for his Polish heritage and his lack of height. Young David was so determined to play sports that on one occasion his father filled his pockets with two-pound metal plates so that he could meet the sixty-pound weight minimum and play as a defensive back for the Pennypacker Patriots football team.

If school was a daily ordeal, his home life wasn’t much better; family and friends recalled that his father was an intimidating and ill-tempered man. When Ron discovered Scientology, it stopped his unpleasant behavior to the point where his confused wife felt that he didn’t love her anymore because he had become a changed person. Ron’s religious conversion was complete when David recovered from a severe asthma attack while undergoing Scientology counseling. “From that moment I knew this is it,” David said later. “I have the answer.”

By age twelve, David Miscavige was auditing other Scientologists, becoming the 4,867th Scientologist to reach a state of “clear.” He dropped out of high school on the day of his sixteenth birthday, citing the “appalling” drug use of his contemporaries as well as the realization that he wanted to dedicate his life to Scientology. David joined the Sea Org elite in Clearwater, Florida, where he worked as a “commodore’s messenger,” essentially a gofer for Hubbard. He is remembered from that time as charismatic but ferociously competitive and ambitious — “the jerk who wanted to impress.”

Soon the keen and confident teenager was deployed to the secret base at Gold, where he worked alongside Hubbard and others making promotional movies. In 1979, while Tom Cruise was still in school, Miscavige was made “action chief” inside the Commodore’s Messenger Organization, sending out teams, or “missions,” to improve management at Scientology centers. It was a high-pressure, high-stress job at a time when the top echelon of Scientology, including Hubbard’s wife, was in jail and Hubbard himself was on the run.

As Tom was making his way in movies, Miscavige was asserting his authority inside the rapidly disintegrating sect. In 1981, after two heated confrontations, he forced Hubbard’s wife, Mary Sue, to resign. Although he maintains that they are now friends, she has a different view. “He was a tyrant,” she told her son-in-law, Guy White. That same year, when he was twenty-one, he married his first and only girlfriend, Shelley Barnett, who had been a commodore’s messenger since she was twelve. A year later he oversaw the rout of mission holders, including Mimi’s father, Phil Spickler, which led to a bitter schism, akin to the original theological divide between Protestants and Catholics.

When his mother-in-law, Flo Barnett, joined a breakaway Scientology group, it caused a vicious family rift that never healed. She committed suicide in 1985, shooting herself three times with a rifle. David Miscavige has always stoutly denied any involvement whatsoever in her death.

During the institutional carnage, Hubbard put the rising young man in charge of his considerable fortune, Miscavige now managing his literary, personal, and business affairs. Most important, he became one of a handful of Scientologists who maintained lines of communication with the fugitive leader, who was hiding at a ranch in California. Fellow Scientologists knew not to ask questions when a black van with darkened windows arrived at the Gold Base in the dead of night and Miscavige, armed with an Uzi submachine gun, loaded paperwork and boxes of cash for the leader. Then he and Scientology executive Pat Broecker, who lived with Hubbard, drove off into the inky blackness, taking circuitous routes in case they were being followed by the FBI or other government agencies. On one occasion they snapped under the strain, heading to Las Vegas and spending a couple of nights gambling. They later explained that they had gone into hiding for fear of being followed.

The stress was palpable, Miscavige having a morbid fear of ending up in jail and being sexually abused, possibly raped, by fellow inmates. Miscavige’s dread of jail was matched only by his bewildered attempts to placate the manic demands of Hubbard. Living under this kind of tension brought on terrible asthma attacks. Onetime colleague Jesse Prince, who audited Miscavige, recalls cradling the distraught young man in his arms. “Sometimes he would get so upset that his eyes were bulging and he couldn’t breathe,” Prince said. “He wouldn’t take medication or inhalers, so I would have to calm him down and then he would sleep for days after an attack.”

Aides claimed that Miscavige kept an oxygen cylinder under his bed in his quarters at Gold to help him cope in case of emergency. Far from curing him, it seemed that Scientology, or rather L. Ron Hubbard, was exacerbating Miscavige’s medical condition. That and smoking three packs of Camel cigarettes a day.

The continual pandering to the insane whims of Hubbard — for example, any whiff of perfume, particularly rose, drove him into a towering rage — profoundly affected Miscavige. There were times when Jesse Prince, who introduced him to the music of Jimi Hendrix, took him to a bar to help drown his sorrows. “Dealing closely with LRH was a traumatic experience,” he recalls. “It changed Miscavige from a likable human being, a sports fan, into the monster he has become. We used to clown and trick each other. He loved to make people laugh, but now it is unimaginable that that was his personality.” The feelings are now mutual, with Scientology dismissing Prince as a “criminal” after he left the organization.

Once he grabbed power after Hubbard’s death in 1986, the twenty-six-year-old Miscavige was in charge of a billion-dollar operation where his word was law and his rule absolute, the young man king of all he surveyed. He lived like one, too, enjoying an “utterly” luxurious lifestyle. While his disciples were paid $35 a week, Miscavige was impeccably dressed in $250 handmade Egyptian cotton shirts with his own emblem, custom-made leather shoes, and the finest Italian wool suits. Neiman Marcus and Hermès in Beverly Hills were regular haunts for him and his wife, Shelley.

On one occasion she bought him a ten-thousand-dollar suit from the South Korean tailor Mr. Lim on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills — the equivalent to six years’ pay for Sea Org disciples. In contrast to his followers’ shared, spartan quarters, the sect leader had a number of lavishly decorated apartments around the country that were carefully and expensively refurbished in the style of a gentlemen’s club. He enjoyed the services of butlers and maids whose tasks included walking his dogs, Chelsea and Cheslea.

Just as he lived like a king, Miscavige ruled like an absolute monarch. His watchwords were loyalty and control, the new leader followed everywhere by an entourage who slavishly tape-recorded his every utterance, translating his words into a stream of orders, directives, and commands. To ensure that his decrees were carried out to the letter, he created his own Praetorian guard, recruited exclusively from the Religious Technology Center within the Sea Org, whom he dubbed his “SEALs,” after the highly trained navy SEALs who have a formidable reputation for performing the impossible. They were given better uniforms, housing, and food — but at a price.

Those “SEALs” were expected to focus night and day on Miscavige’s cause — to the exclusion of all else in their lives. He loved Hollywood movies where the leader, usually an American President, enjoyed the absolute loyalty of his staff, especially when he was surrounded by a phalanx of bodyguards. Miscavige was routinely accompanied by six bodyguards, even when he was on vacation on board private yachts. If he went swimming, three would dive in with him. Miscavige controlled every aspect of policy: From film sound to building design, nothing escaped his focus on perfection. The diminutive leader was most particular about the surroundings for his speeches, ensuring that the backdrop was blue to match his eyes and the dais was in proportion to his stature. Former Scientologist Karen Pressley worked closely with Miscavige on numerous design projects and watched as he even chose fabrics for new Sea Org uniforms. She recalls: “Men who are obsessed with fabrics tend to be feminine in nature. I can tell you right now there is nothing gay about this guy. He was controlling, dominating, and obsessive. You felt like you were living under a dictatorship.”

While he liked to model his behavior on his political hero, Simón Bolívar, the South American independence leader, Miscavige ruled by fear, gaining a reputation for verbally demeaning subordinates and even hitting them, publicly slapping — never punching — those whom he felt had offended him. Some he spat on, a sign of contempt and disdain initially encouraged by Hubbard. In sworn declarations in several lawsuits, he has been accused of striking subordinates. (When asked about such claims, a representative of Scientology denied them.) Guy White, Hubbard’s son-in-law, came in for this treatment one evening, when Miscavige and others accused him of committing “crimes.” Miscavige ripped the lanyards from his uniform, spat on him, and slapped his face. After what Scientology charmingly calls a “gang bang” audit, where he faced hostile, quick-fire questioning from his accusers, he was consigned to the sect’s prison gulag, the Rehabilitation Project Force. Any hint of criticism of the leader, known as Black PR, was deemed a crime. Miscavige scrutinized even the facial expressions of Sea Org followers, who would be punished for looking hostile or bored. In his book 1984, about mind control in a future society, George Orwell had a term for that offense — “facecrime.” That, however, was a work of fiction.
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Re: Journalism: Scientology - L. Ron Hubbard's Brainchild

Postby admin » Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:23 am

Part 2 of 2

Understandably, many lived in fear of the man they dubbed Napoleon — even his own family. Karen Pressley, who lived in the same quarters as Miscavige’s parents, recalls, “One day his father looked me in the eye and said, ‘I’m afraid of my own son.’ It freaked me out. He was scared of him because he was so powerful and controlling.” Others are more measured, appreciating Miscavige’s energy, focus, and charisma while acknowledging his inappropriate aggression. His assistant Shelly Britt saw him as a Jekyll and Hyde character, the nicest or the meanest boss in the world. “If you are on his good side you are on top of the world, on his bad side you couldn’t get much lower.” Another close aide, Marty Rathbun, averred that in all the years he had known Miscavige he had never been aware that he had hit anyone. “That’s not his temperament,” he told the St. Petersburg Times.

For Tom Cruise, the first meeting with Miscavige in August 1989 was the beginning of an enduring friendship, the Scientology leader becoming a boon companion and adviser, continually challenging, controlling, and competing with the Hollywood star. If Tom had made a lifelong friend thanks to his faith, his next film was about to change his life. For the previous three years Tom had nursed this movie baby, wanting to make a film about stock-car racing.

High on adrenaline and the thrill of speed after doing laps at 190 miles an hour around the famous Daytona International Speedway, he yelled, “I’m going to make a movie about this.” Once Paul Newman had introduced him to the sport during the filming of The Color of Money, Tom had taken it up with his customary enthusiasm. He raced Nissans for Newman’s team, his expertise such that, as far as racing driver Bob Bondurant was concerned, he had the ability to turn pro. Based on his experience, the actor wrote a crude outline of a story and hired veteran screenwriter Douglas Day Stewart to polish the plot of what became Days of Thunder. It centered on a cocky driver, Cole Trickle, played by Tom, who tries to outgun a rival, the two men ending up badly injured in the hospital. Inevitably, Trickle falls for the glamorous brain surgeon who helps heal him, and ultimately learns humility, conquering his demons sufficiently to go on and win the big race.

Known in early discussions as Top Car, the hope was to do for NASCAR racing what Top Gun had done for the navy flying school in San Diego. Once the project was officially in development, Cruise brought in Top Gun scriptwriter Warren Skaaren, who, after writing several drafts, quit in exasperation at Cruise’s demands. Undeterred, Tom wooed writer Robert Towne by taking him to the racetrack at Watkins Glen, New York. As they soaked up the atmosphere, Towne told the actor: “I get it, Cruise. This is fantastic.” With director Tony Scott and producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer on board, the scene was set to make another summer blockbuster. It wasn’t quite so simple. While Paramount gave the green light for filming to start in November 1989, they didn’t have a completed script, an agreed title, a leading lady, or even a character that a leading lady could play. In October, when Cruise was invited to a private screening of the Australian thriller Dead Calm, which had been making waves for the performances of Billy Zane and Nicole Kidman, he went with a particular sense of urgency. Watching the film with scriptwriter Robert Towne, Tom was as entranced by Nicole’s on-screen authority as by her long, elegant legs and translucent skin. He left the screening suitably impressed, instructing minions to bring her to Los Angeles for a screen test.

That she was in Japan promoting Dead Calm was no obstacle. Nicole was flown to Hollywood to meet Cruise, the producers, and the director, arriving at the Paramount studios jet-lagged and professionally curious, but not expecting much. “I thought, ‘Oh yeah, right,’ ” she said later. “I’d been to America before. You go in, you audition, you don’t get the job.” As insurance, she decided to use the trip as an excuse to visit friends and see her sister, Antonia, in England. When she walked into the conference room to meet Tom and his colleagues, however, the chemistry between them was unmistakable. “The moment I laid eyes on him, I thought he was just the sexiest man I had ever seen in my life,” she later told Rolling Stone. “He took my breath away. I don’t know what it was. Chemical reaction? Hard to define. Hard to resist.”

At the time, the girl who was nicknamed “Stalky” by her school friends thought she was unlikely to win a part where, at five feet, eleven inches, she was four inches taller than the leading man. She read a couple of pages of script, though not from the movie in question, and left, ready to enjoy herself in California. So she was surprised when producer Jerry Bruckheimer called the next day to tell her they wanted her to play Tom’s love interest. There was a caveat: Her character, like much of the film, had yet to be fully conceived. In the end, the twenty-two-year-old rather improbably played a brilliant brain surgeon, Dr. Claire Lewicki.

What was not in doubt was the attraction the leading man felt toward his new leading lady. “My first reaction to meeting Nic was pure lust,” he later recalled. “It was totally physical.” At first sight, it was a curious coupling, the tall, ginger-haired, willowy Australian so different from his voluptuous dark-haired wife. While physically different, however, both women had reputations as being aloof, ambitious, and coolly unattainable — perfect foils for a man who liked the challenge of an endless romantic chase.

Tom was soon smitten, the couple sharing a sense of humor as well as the thrill of living on the edge. As with David Miscavige, the Hollywood star seemed to have met his match in the slim shape of a young woman who cited strong, determined actresses like Vanessa Redgrave, Jane Fonda, and Katharine Hepburn as her inspiration. Nicole also sensed his unhappiness, his need for a closer connection than his current relationship. A few weeks later, in late November, scriptwriter Robert Towne had dinner with the couple at Toscana in Brentwood. He immediately recognized their rapport and realized that Tom’s two-year marriage to Mimi was surely over.

Certainly Tom was true to form, disposing of his first marriage with the matter-of-fact alacrity with which he had ended previous love affairs. In the late fall he moved out of their home in Brentwood and went to stay with his friend — and best man — Emilio Estevez for a few days. Then he and Mimi went to the Scientology base in Hemet for what the sect calls “chaplain counseling.” Ostensibly, this was to discuss and attempt to resolve their differences by discussing them with a Scientology counselor. Once everything is out in the open, Scientologists argue, there is no reason to split up. In some circumstances this procedure is successful, but in this instance there was a hidden agenda. The Scientology leadership felt such hostility toward Mimi’s father that Mimi was stained by association. “They no longer wanted her on the team,” says a former Scientologist who was involved in the charade. “The impetus was to help Tom Cruise, and within twenty-four hours they had agreed to split up.”

The Hollywood actor was even given the services of a senior Scientology trustee, Lyman Spurlock, director of client affairs, to help sort out the intricate financial fallout. “He was lost, he didn’t know what his rights were or understand what Mimi should get,” recalls former senior Scientologist Jesse Prince. “They made it as painless as possible for him.” Mimi’s final settlement was a reported $10 million — with a clause enforcing confidentiality on both sides. Word was that Mimi made it clear that if the Scientology leadership used its black propaganda to try to discredit her, she would open her own Pandora’s box of secrets about the cult.

While Tom was dealing with his domestic matters in a typically businesslike manner, Nicole was saying her farewells to her family in Sydney, Australia. She did not, however, say a final good-bye to her longtime boyfriend, fellow actor Marcus Graham, the former star of Australia’s top soap E-Street. Although he was one of the first she told about her new part, she gave no hint of a flirtation with her new leading man. In fact, when she landed in Los Angeles, she called him with the news that legendary New York agent Sam Cohen, whose clients included Woody Allen and Meryl Streep, had flown out west to sign her to a contract. Although he was in something of a career slump, Graham had no reason to believe that their romance — they were living together before she left for America — was over. They planned a holiday in the Pacific, and while she was filming Days of Thunder, he racked up over thirteen hundred dollars in phone bills chatting to his erstwhile lover.

It was a forlorn waste. Within days of starting her new life in America, Nicole was spending every moment, both professionally and romantically, with Tom. She was smitten. “I was consumed by it, willingly,” she said later. At the end of November the couple was not only filming together in Charlotte, North Carolina, but quietly flying to the Scientology Gold Base, arriving by helicopter in the compound. They had their own VIP bungalow in a remote part of the five-hundred-acre compound, with Sea Org disciples under strict orders to stay away from the area, as well as the services of Sinar Parman as butler and chef. Parman, who had worked for L. Ron Hubbard, and when the couple did emerge, they spent time with David Miscavige, his wife, Shelley, and Tom’s handler, Greg Wilhere.

Slideshow: Nicole Kidman's rocky road Whatever they did, Wilhere was either with them or watching over them, making sure everything was perfect. “It was clear that they were very much in love, very tactile and all over each other,” recalls one former Scientologist who was privy to what was then a closely guarded secret. “Within a matter of days of Tom splitting with Mimi, he and Nicole were coming to Gold. Senior Scientologists helped facilitate this.” In fact, Greg Wilhere played such a pivotal role in smoothing the path of romance that Tom named a character in Days of Thunder after him. When the name of a “Dr. Wilhere” is mentioned, it was an in-joke between the lovebirds and their Scientology friends.

On December 9, 1989, with filming for Days of Thunder in full swing, Tom’s lawyers quietly filed a suit for his legal separation from Mimi, the actor citing “irreconcilable differences.” Yet Tom continued to play the happily married husband in a series of interviews to promote Born on the Fourth of July, released just before Christmas. As high-performance cars burned rubber and fuel around North Carolina’s Charlotte Motor Speedway, Cruise spoke affectionately about his wife to selected journalists. “The most important thing for me is I want Mimi to be happy,” writer Richard Corliss quoted him as saying during a flattering Time magazine cover profile entitled “Tom Terrific”: “I’m just happier now than I’ve ever been in my life,” Tom said, Corliss noting how he and Mimi had visited the Brazilian rain forest as part of their work on the board of Earth Communications Office, an entertainment-industry organization, subsequently infiltrated by Scientologists, that promotes environmental causes.

During another chat with writer Trip Gabriel for Rolling Stone, which, because of Tom’s friendship with owner Jann Wenner was effectively his house journal, he stonewalled questions about rumors of marital troubles. As for Us magazine, he told them: “I just really enjoy our marriage.” It helped cement the fiction of marital bliss when Mimi visited the Days of Thunder set during his publicity jag. Looking back, Richard Corliss sees Cruise’s dissembling as part of his character and par for the course in Hollywood. “His marriage to Mimi Rogers was a fiction he wanted to maintain — at least until the magazine profiles attending the release of Born on the Fourth of July were published. I wasn’t astonished by his insistence that he was sticking with Mimi when he had decided he wasn’t. That dodge is a movie star tradition as old as Hollywood.”

Tom’s faith not only helped ease his separation from Mimi Rogers, it also helped him keep a straight face as he related his story of domestic harmony. The art of lying forms an integral part of sacred Scientology scriptures, and one of the entry-level courses, on communications, teaches effective techniques for “outflowing false data.” Cruise proved himself a nimble and able student, receiving favorable coverage in December for his on- and off-screen personae and winning a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his role in Born on the Fourth of July. “Tom Cruise’s portrayal of Ron Kovic is proof positive that he is one of the most versatile actors working in Hollywood today,” wrote movie critic Edward Gross.

As the flattering profiles of Tom hit the newsstands, his divorce lawyer flew out from Los Angeles to Daytona Beach, Florida, where filming was now taking place, on January 12 so that the actor could sign his divorce papers. A day earlier, Tom had quietly met with Mimi at the Charlotte Hilton University Place Hotel. Some observers believe it was a last-ditch attempt by the actress to save her marriage. More realistically, it was to finalize their official statement and outstanding financial matters. In fact, in keeping with the speed of the split, the divorce papers were filed four days later, the couple releasing a brief statement the next day. “While there have been positive aspects to our marriage, there were some issues which could not be resolved even after working on them for a period of time.”

In an interview in Playboy three years later, Ms. Rogers mischievously elaborated on those mysterious “issues.” Scorned for a younger woman, Mimi got her revenge by kicking her former husband, whom People magazine had named the “sexiest man on earth,” in the cojones. “Tom was seriously thinking of becoming a monk,” she told interviewer Michael Angeli. “At least for that period of time, it looked as though marriage wouldn’t fit into his overall spiritual need. And he thought he had to be celibate to maintain the purity of his instrument. Therefore it became obvious that we had to split.” As for her own instrument: “Oh, my instrument needed tuning,” she said. While her comments would help float a flotilla of sexual gossip about her former husband, she admitted afterward that she was just having fun with the clearly besotted interviewer.

Perhaps more accurately, their fiercely demanding work schedules, Tom’s stated desire to start a family, the influence of his new faith — and, of course, the sexual chemistry between Tom and a younger woman — all contributed to the breakdown of their brief union. Tom later told Talk magazine, “Before Nicole I was dissatisfied, wanting something more. It was just two people who weren’t meant to work and it wasn’t what I wanted for my life. I think you just go on different paths. But it wasn’t Mimi’s fault .. . it’s just the way it is.”

He spent little time reflecting on what went wrong with his first marriage, instead, as was his romantic pattern, racing headlong into a new relationship. Ironically, he was behaving in much the same way as his father, who, weeks after his divorce, had married Joan Lebendiger following a whirlwind courtship. Tom, at least, was more discreet. Just five days after formally announcing his divorce, he faced banks of photographers when he accepted a Golden Globe for Best Actor for his performance in Born on the Fourth of July. He did have a woman by his side as he walked down the red carpet — but it was his mother, Mary Lee. Otherwise, he was spending all his free time with the new woman in his life, his rented white BMW and Harley- Davidson motorcycle spotted outside the rented Daytona Beach bungalow of his Australian costar when the production moved to Florida. The love match between Nicole and Tom was not the only subject of crew chatter on the set of Days of Thunder. Actress Donna Wilson dated producer Don Simpson during the early weeks of filming, then ditched him for director Tony Scott, whom she subsequently married.

Shortly after Tom’s divorce was finalized on February 4, 1990, Nicole told her mother, Janelle, who taken leave from her job as a nursing instructor to visit her daughter and give Tom the once-over, that when work on Days of Thunder was completed, she planned to move into Tom’s newly purchased $4 million home at Pacific Palisades in California. By all accounts her mother was not surprised, her daughter having pursued previous love affairs with hotheaded abandon. Like Tom, Nicole had Irish blood coursing through her veins, the Kidman family immigrating to Australia from Ireland as free settlers in 1839. Born in 1967 in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Australian parents, Nicole was raised a Catholic, attending Mass every week. Yet she was willful and strong-minded, dropping out of school at the age of sixteen to pursue an acting career. “I was a nightmare to my parents,” she later told Movieline magazine. Rebellious and impetuous, the unconventional seventeen-year-old flew to Amsterdam with her thirty-seven-year-old boyfriend for a vacation. When that relationship foundered, she lived on and off for three years with another older man, fellow actor Tom Burlinson, leaving him after turning down his offer of marriage.

The next man in her life, actor Marcus Graham, never really had a chance once the world’s sexiest man arrived on the scene. While he pined for her in Sydney, Tom was wooing Nicole, sending her love notes and flowers, usually red roses, almost daily. Marcus realized what was going on only when he watched Nicole walk along the red carpet with Tom — and Nic’s mother, Janelle, and Mary Lee — at the Academy Awards in Hollywood in March 1990. It was their first public appearance as a couple, Tom missing out for the Best Actor award to Daniel Day-Lewis for his performance in My Left Foot. Tom was gracious in defeat. “It was exciting, just getting nominated. That acknowledgment from my peers.”

The evening was glamorous relief from the expensive growing pains associated with his latest movie baby. Bad weather, an unfinished script, technical problems, and a ballooning budget — escalating from $40 to $70 million, including a handsome $7 million fee for Cruise — made Days of Thunder a seat-of-the-pants production. Working with an incomplete script meant that Cruise and other actors were being fed new pages of dialogue every day, the leading man reading lines off the dashboard of his 180-mile-per-hour stock car. Disaster was not long in coming: After Tom was involved in a high-speed crash as he squinted at his script, writer Robert Towne dictated dialogue to him through his headset.

Yet the financial tempests threatening to overwhelm Days of Thunder did little to dampen the party atmosphere on set. According to Don Simpson’s biographer Charles Fleming, there was a steady stream of hookers and drugs to keep everyone happy. Girls who came to parties were regularly rewarded with Donna Karan dresses, which producer Don Simpson kept in his hotel suite. During the day Simpson sent out his two assistants to local beaches, asking girls if they wanted to go to a bash for Tom Cruise. On one occasion a local club, the Palace, was closed for a crew party where rapper Tone Loc performed. The booze and cocaine, according to Fleming, were in plentiful supply. If the day-to-day filming wasn’t hair-raising enough, during his time in Florida, Tom quietly embarked on a new risky business: skydiving. He made dozens of jumps under the supervision of local expert Bob Hallett, who pronounced him “a natural.” Nicole was delighted to accept his invitation to join him, realizing a childhood ambition that had been thwarted by her concerned parents. Here was further confirmation, if any was needed, that Nicole was a partner after Tom’s own heart, a woman with a “ferocious” work ethic on set and a fearless daredevil when off duty. After she leapt from the plane, an instructor by her side, her boyfriend swooped in and planted a kiss on her mouth, and then flew away and pulled his ripcord. “Not as good as sex — but almost” was her exhilarated response to the experience. That Easter he performed the same maneuver when he took his mother, Mary Lee, for her first jump.

He was there, too, when his friend David Miscavige, accompanied by an instructor, went skydiving during a visit to the film set. The Scientology leader was so excited by his adventure that, when he returned to Gold Base, he proudly showed a video of himself jumping with Cruise. Not everyone inside Scientology was impressed with their leader’s seeming obsession with the Hollywood actor. His father, Ron, was “very upset” when he went skydiving, fearing that he could have an accident. “As head of Scientology he felt that he had a responsibility to his parishioners,” recalls Karen Pressley. “But David loves to live on the edge, he enjoys thrills and danger.”

Whatever his father’s misgivings, the off-screen escapades continued, the two friends racing cars against each other, running red lights, and, according to a former Scientologist, on one occasion narrowly missing a high-speed collision. “They were two guys trying to impress and compete with one another,” says an ex-Scientologist who watched them together. But their friendship went beyond macho postures, with Tom endlessly calling his friend for advice and counsel. During the filming of Days of Thunder, for example, he was reading the script for the movie Edward Scissorhands, a typically gothic Tim Burton film about a sensitive but misunderstood loner. Unsure about whether to accept the role, he asked Miscavige and others for their opinion. The Scientology leader felt he should reject the part as “too effeminate.” Tom did say no, arguing that he wanted a happy ending for the movie rather than the bleak one that Burton intended. Instead, Johnny Depp took the role, going on to carve a niche playing quirky outsiders.
While Miscavige might not have had any training judging scripts, he did have expertise in the technical side of moviemaking, closely monitoring the faith’s propaganda films for picture and sound quality. Not only did he have an expensive, state-of-the-art sound system in his apartment to check the sound quality of Golden Era products, Scientology engineers had also developed an in-house system called Clearsound. As a budding film star, Tom had been concerned about his weight. Now that he was an established Hollywood heartthrob, he fretted that his voice was just a tad too high pitched. He discussed his concerns with his Scientology mentor before filming started on Days of Thunder. Miscavige suggested that he listen to the difference a Clearsound system might make.

Although the system was not used for Days of Thunder, writer Rod Lurie later claimed that Miscavige lobbied producer Don Simpson about it during his visit to the movie set. Simpson, a onetime Scientologist who accused the organization of being “a con” after spending more than $25,000 on counseling, apparently told Miscavige to “f*** off” when he broached the subject and had him removed from the set. The cult leader subsequently denied any such altercation, although he did confirm that he had earlier discussed sound systems with Tom. The issue of using the Scientology sound system would resurface on future Tom Cruise projects.

With or without Clearsound, Days of Thunder — and its leading man — was given a tempestuous reception from the critics when it was released at the end of June 1989. “He is Cute and he’s Great at Something,” wrote David Denby in New York magazine. “But he’s also Cocky and he Shows Off. He is Reckless, Callow, Stupid. He is Out for Himself and he Goes Too Far. He must Mature. . . . There is a Crisis. He is Alone, Confused. Crestfallen. He seeks a Father Figure.” What was dubbed a “minor film with major pretensions” by Boxoffice struggled to break even. At the final reckoning, Tom’s first venture in orchestrating a big-budget film squeaked into the black, making just $89 million in ticket sales against costs of more than $70 million. After years of back-to-back filming, Tom needed a break, he and Nicole spending a couple of weeks scuba diving in the Bahamas when the movie wrapped. That summer the couple organized their new home in Pacific Palisades while undertaking intensive Scientology courses at their own VIP bungalow on the Gold compound. It was not all study, the couple enjoying the freedom to be themselves away from prying eyes and long lenses. For her birthday in June, for example, a flatbed truck arrived at the base carrying a brand-new Mercedes as a gift from Tom. “They were like teenagers running round the base having fun,” recalls one ex-member.

While Tom was now taking advanced Academy-level Scientology courses, Nicole was gently being introduced to Hubbard’s writings and basic Scientology tenets. Ironically, she shared one common denominator with Tom’s former wife — a troublesome father. Just as Mimi Rogers was seen as a Potential Trouble Source because of the cult’s animosity toward Phil Spickler, so technically Nicole had to be treated with grave suspicion. Not only was she a practicing Catholic, but her father, Dr. Antony Kidman, was a clinical psychologist. By definition, he was deemed an enemy of Scientology, a member of a profession responsible for all the ills on Earth, including the Holocaust in Germany and Stalin’s purges in Russia.

The destruction of Dr. Kidman’s profession was Scientology’s stated aim. For Nicole to be truly adopted and accepted by the sect, she should “disconnect” from her father — that is, never communicate with him again. It posed a genuine problem for the Scientology hierarchy. As Jesse Prince recalls, “It definitely counted against Nicole, having a psychologist as a father. She was always considered a Potential Trouble Source inside Scientology. But the leadership figured they could handle it. It was a balancing act. They had Tom in their pocket, so they thought they would worry about Nicole later.”

Not for the first time, it seemed that celebrity Scientologists lived by different rules than regular members, following Scientology Lite rather than the hard-core faith. And Tom Cruise was a law unto himself. As far as the Scientology leadership was concerned, nothing was too much trouble to keep him happy. So when the secrecy surrounding Tom’s membership in Scientology was exposed that summer in an article written by Janet Charlton in the Star tabloid in July 1990, the cult leadership went into overdrive, both to soothe the irritation of their most prized member and to find the source of the story. They used the notorious private investigator Eugene Ingrams, a former Los Angeles cop who was fired for misconduct after allegedly running a brothel, to find the culprit.

During his four-month investigation, journalist Charlton was harassed and people impersonated her, trying to get copies of her phone bill. Eventually, after a series of subterfuges, Nan Herst Bowers — longtime Scientologist, sometime Hollywood publicist, and friend of Janet Charlton — was fingered as the perpetrator. When she faced a Scientology court, she pled not guilty to eight media-related charges, including “engaging in malicious rumor mongering” and “giving anti-Scientology data to the press.” She was found guilty and formally listed as a “Suppressive Person Declare,” the equivalent to being excommunicated.

The ruling meant that she was not allowed to have any further contact with anyone inside Scientology, including her husband, her three sons, Brad, Todd, and Ryan, and her grandchild. Her family subsequently sent her letters of “Disconnect,” which confirmed their refusal to have any contact with her. Within a week, Nan had gone from being a happily married mother and grandmother to being entirely cut off from her friends and family. Sixteen years have passed since the trial, and she has never seen her husband, sons, or her eight grandchildren since. “I was made a scapegoat for the story after Tom Cruise complained. As far as I am concerned, Scientology broke up my family,” she says. “They kept my sons and their children from me. We were a nice close-knit Jewish family before this. I have not been able to lead a full life as a mother and grandmother because of this incident.” In August 1990, a month after the investigation was launched to find who had outed Tom, hundreds of Sea Org disciples faced the wrath of their leader after the actor’s VIP bungalow at Gold Base was badly damaged in a mudslide caused by heavy rains. It was an act of God, but as Scientologists don’t believe in God, David Miscavige blamed the Sea Org for not having proper flood procedures in place. He placed hundreds of Sea Org disciples in a severe ethics condition of “Confusion” as punishment, with gangs of Scientologists working around the clock to repair the damage. “Quite a few people left as a result because they thought he was crazy,” recalls Shelly Britt.

At the time, Tom was probably unaware of the severe punishment meted out to fellow Scientologists, just as Nicole would not have been enlightened about Scientology’s unbending hostility toward men like her father. As Sea Org disciples worked day and night to restore Tom and Nicole’s luxury quarters to its previous pristine condition, the couple flew by private jet to Sydney to meet her father and other family members. Vainly, Nicole tried to dampen the inevitable speculation about wedding bells. “All that talk about us being engaged is just nonsense,” she told one Australian magazine. “I’d like to get married one day but I think it would be very foolish to do so at this stage of my life.”

A month later they announced their betrothal, Tom buying her a diamond engagement ring costing a reported $260,000. His proposal was in keeping with the way he had wooed the Australian actress, Tom leaving a note on the pillow in her bedroom that said: “My darling Nicole, I chased you and chased you until you finally caught me. Now will you marry me?”

Almost immediately Tom’s assistant Andrea Morse and sister Lee Anne DeVette were dispatched to locate a suitable wedding location, eventually finding and renting a $2 million, six-bedroom timber house with spectacular views over the Rockies in the town of Telluride, a former Colorado mining town turned winter playground for the stars. On Christmas Eve 1990, with the house filled with flowers, including a willow arbor laced with white lilies and red roses, Nicole, wearing a 1930s antique brocaded gown she bought in Amsterdam, joined Tom for a simple Scientology wedding service. His auditor, Ray Mithoff, officiated; Nicole’s sister, Antonia, was maid of honor; Dustin Hoffman was best man; and guests included David and Shelley Miscavige, Gelda Mithoff, Greg Wilhere, and Nicole’s friend, actress Deborra-Lee Furness. The event was choreographed and orchestrated by Miscavige, who arranged for two Scientology chefs and other Sea Org disciples to cater and care for the newlyweds and their guests. While the wedding planning had been cloak and dagger, Tom and Nicole were keen to let the world into their little secret, the actress calling a radio station in Sydney two days after her wedding to say that she was now married and “blissfully happy.”

A few weeks later, the imperious über-agent Mike Ovitz, head of Creative Artists Agency, and Tom’s agent, Paula Wagner, hosted a celebration dinner in honor of Tom and Nicole. Alongside the movers and shakers of Hollywood at the DC3 restaurant in Santa Monica were the upper echelons of Scientology. Here was Mike Ovitz, then the most powerful man in Hollywood, rubbing shoulders with the most powerful man in Scientology, David Miscavige. Sandwiched between this collision of entertainment and religion sat Tom Cruise. It was a symbol of sorts.
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Re: Journalism: Scientology - L. Ron Hubbard's Brainchild

Postby admin » Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:24 am

Tom Cruise and Scientology: While Big Names Like Tom Cruise and John Travolta Prescribe to Scientology, It's Just One of the Modalities of Transformation Available ... And Certainly Note the Most Rapid!
by James Arthur Ray
July 6, 2005

Anytime a well-known name gets involved with a spiritual approach, whether it is Madonna and Kabbalah (Qabalah), John Travolta and Tom Cruise with Scientology, or any other "name," it creates buzz. But buzz alone doesn't guarantee that something is the most effective approach.

Scientology contends that there are unresolved issues in your unconscious mind termed "engrams." These engrams are created typically during times of high stress or even inherited from a past life. Unresolved emotional issues must be resolved according to Ron Hubbard's (the founder of Scientology) philosophy by releasing all charge from them. Sound familiar?

This is obviously not a new, and certainly not a unique, concept. All esoteric traditions as well as indigenous shamanism contend that these negative issues outside of your conscious awareness must be released for you to step into your full capability and power. In fact, many esoteric and mystery schools suggest that a minimum of 51% of these issues must be resolved for you to actualize your full potential.

The difficulty with Scientology (with which I've had experience) is that, in my opinion, it's too similar to traditional psychotherapy. Now don't get me wrong... traditional psychotherapy works (unless you're speaking of a medicated approach), but again, in my experience it is not the most efficient. In other words, it takes large amounts of time, personal agony and money.

The agonizing process I'm speaking of is the practice of reliving the issues over and over again until they are drained of their emotional charge. Again this works, but from personal experience, it's not fun, comfortable or exciting to say the least. And it takes an inordinate amount of time and money! I remember leaving my Scientology auditing sessions being totally exhausted! (As well as much lighter in my wallet with many more multiples of sessions to go.)

My studies and experiences have taken me through about every change modality that exists, and I can say with confidence that they all work. That being said, there are some that are more elegant and rapid than others.
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Re: Journalism: Scientology - L. Ron Hubbard's Brainchild

Postby admin » Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:26 am

Tom's Scientology Secrets Exposed!
by Greg Sinclair
Woman's Day
Mon 25 Apr 1994, p12-15


A former cult security guard blows apart the star's squeaky clean image with claims of shocking abuse

HOLLYWOOD megastar Tom Cruise has been sensationally named in a multi-million dollar lawsuit in the United States alleging receipt of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of illicit perks from the controversial Scientology religious cult.

The 32-year-old Oscar winner is alleged to have turned a blind eye to the use of slave labour to build him a gym, an apartment and other gifts from the Scientologists.

Hollywood insiders say he is fuming at being named in the legal action because it totally exposes his close links to the bizarre organisation.

He is particularly angry about references to his "special relationship" with the charismatic leader of the Scientologists, David Miscavige, a mysterious godlike figure who is said to rule the Scientologists the way David Koresh ruled Waco and the Branch Davidians.

The Scientologists' desert base where Tom spends much of his time is, according to the sworn declaration, armed to the teeth with assault rifles, automatic weapons, shotguns and even explosives - all on standby to be used in case authorities one day attempt a similar operation to Waco.

And by all accounts, Tom Cruise could well be inside that compound at the time.

In a sworn declaration - filed in a law suit brought by the church in the United States against a former member and his psychiatrist - the Scientologists' former head of security, Andre Tabayoyon, 47, says that the cash used to supply Tom with all his luxuries was spent illicitly because it came from the Scientologists' charitable funds. He claims that:

• Tom ignored the dozens of inmates on the other side of the base who were living in appalling conditions, earning a maximum of $30 a week as slave labour.
• Tom was involved in supplying new movie releases for viewing in the group's $150,000-plus cinema.
• Tom was given a personal chef whenever he visited the Scientologists' armed camp at Gilman Hot Springs, near Hemet, California.
• He spent many hours with David Miscavige in a bizarre building shaped like a clipper ship that was built in the middle of the desert.
• Tom had a $150,000 gym specially built for him at the desert base and banned anyone outside of his small circle of friends from speaking to him.
• Tom was given a luxurious apartment on the base, plus two motorcycles, a brown 1992 Mercedes convertible worth almost $100,000 and a large motor home - all stored in a garage once exclusively used by the Scientologists' renowned and feared leader L. Ron Hubbard before his death in 1986.
• Tom was given a specially appointed Scientologist chef to do all the cooking at his 1990 marriage to gorgeous Nicole Kidman.
• Scientologists held many people against their will in the same complex. These people were used for slave labour - to renovate Tom's apartment when it was damaged in a mudslide.
• Tom has virtually exclusive use of a sauna, spa bath and Olympic-sized swimming pool on the "ship". A $200,000 tennis court was also built for the exclusive use of Tom and a handful of other celebrity members.
• Tens of thousands of dollars were wasted after Miscavige objected to the colour of an addition to Tom's luxurious apartment and it had to be torn down and rebuilt.
• Tom had a special concrete walkway built across the desert soil to his apartment because he did not want to get his feet dirty.
• Tens of thousands of dollars were wasted when Scientology boss Miscavige had an entire meadow planted with flowers so that Tom and Nicole could "romp there". However, when he saw it completed, he decided it was awful and had it ploughed up.
• Tom even agreed to put into writing his innermost sexual feelings, and made one confession that would stun his millions of fans, leaving himself open to blackmail.
• Tom took part in weird, screaming interrogation sessions of other Scientology members.

All former security chief Tabayoyon's claims are in a 60-page declaration which was filed in the US District Court in Los Angeles, on March 9.

Tabayoyon - who was a Scientologist until less than a year ago - has been retained by lawyers representing former Scientologist Steven Fishman and his psychiatrist, Uwe Geertz, who are being sued by the Scientologists in an action claiming Fishman and Geertz defamed them in an article published in Time magazine in 1991.

Tabayoyon claims his life has been threatened when he was followed near his home in Arizona soon after his decision to defy the Scientologists' notorious code of silence and speak openly about Miscavige and the cult's number one member Tom Cruise. Lawyers representing the defendants also claim they have been the subject of intimidation.

Tough ex-marine and Vietnam veteran Tabayoyon admits that the Scientologists' scare tactics have him worried. He was a member of the shadowy organisation for 21 years.

He witnessed dozens of abuses of charitable funds at the Gold base, near Hemet, California. And he claims that the base is surrounded by armed guards day and night to prevent people getting in and out of the compound.

Tabayoyon says he also witnessed a number of Scientologists go crazy and commit suicide following exposure to the cult's controversial brainwashing techniques.

The tough ex-Marine claims he was personally ordered to use Scientologists' techniques to force a man to attempt suicide. He also insists that Tom's "special friend" Miscavige - who walks around the base in a captain's uniform - personally beat up a man who tried to escape from the base.

"Miscavige and Tom have developed a special relationship. One is a world dominant celebrity. The other is a young domineering cult leader who seeks to 'clear' the world and to rule it according to Scientology beliefs and practices," adds Tabayoyon.

He claims that the mysterious Miscavige - a high school dropout - was responsible for many multi-million dollar illegal international currency transfers of Scientologist charitable funds.

"He rules Scientology like David Koresh ruled Waco and the Branch Davidians," says Tabayoyon.

He alleges that the Scientologists are so fearful of the same sort of raids that sparked the massacre at Waco that they installed razor barriers, electronic monitors, concealed microphones and ground sensors on the perimeter of the base. There are also hidden video cameras watching every movement inside and outside the base. Tabayoyon claims that Church funds were used to buy HK 91 assault rifles capable of firing 300-500 rounds of ammunition a minute, .45 calibre pistols, .380 automatic weapons and 12-gauge shotguns. He also alleges that church funds paid for the purchase of large quantities of gunpowder for the "construction of various types of explosive device to be used in the defence of the base".

Tabayoyon claims that Tom's fellow star John Travolta went into a deep depression after being put through a psychotic break by a weird Scientology "interrogation system" designed to help members understand the cult more clearly.

Tabayoyon - as head of security at the base - has even admitted "kidnapping" two members who tried to run away from the harsh regime inside the base.

The sworn declaration describes in vivid detail the two very different lifestyles inside the Gold base camp.

On one side were the celebrities such as Tom, John Travolta and Priscilla Presley, while just a few hundred metres away, a brutal regime of terror was being inflicted on dozens of ordinary Scientology members who were held in punishment camp because they had upset the cult's hierarchy.

Tabayoyon alleges that Tom's pal David Miscavige and other senior Scientologists, as well as the celebrity and other stars, used a specially constructed cinema on the base to view first-run movies which were passed to Miscavige through those celebrity members' close links with Hollywood.

Miscavige "befriended Tom", according to the sworn declaration, in the late 1980s and the two men spent a lot of time together on the base. "Often they would hang out alone in space designated for L. Ron Hubbard on the Clipper Ship," explained Tabayoyon.

Miscavige even had a $150,000 gym specially built for Tom at the desert base and banned anyone outside his small circle of friends from speaking to him or using the facilities. "One time one of the gardeners spoke to him and this caused a major flap because no-one was allowed to talk to Tom Cruise," claims Tabayoyon.

He says that Tom is known by his initials whenever he visits the base camp. The ex-security chief also says he personally helped construct a luxurious apartment on the same base for the "personal and exclusive use of Tom Cruise".

"This was done on the orders of David Miscavige," says Tabayoyon. "Other apartment cottages were built for John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Edgar Winters, Priscilla Presley and other Scientology celebrities."

The ordinary members kept virtually prisoners on the other side of the camp were referred to as the Rehabilitation Project Force, which Tabayoyon describes as "the Scientology gulag or concentration camp".

He claims in his sworn declaration that RPF members were used to help build Tom's apartment and repair it after a mudslide.

"Tom Cruise was benefiting from the use of what is essentially prison slave labour being worked almost around the clock," added Tabayoyon.

He also alleges that Tom was given a specially appointed Scientologist chef to do all his cooking at his 1990 marriage to Nicole Kidman.

"A staffer called Sinar Parman was taken along to do the personal cooking for Tom Cruise and Miscavige at the expense of Scientology, not for the profit of religious organisations," stated Tabayoyon.

He says in his sworn declaration that Tom also has virtually exclusive use of a sauna, spa bath and huge swimming pool on the "ship".

"I saw Tom Cruise use an exercise room which was off limits to at least 98 per cent of the staff. Tom Cruise had unrestricted access to the ship which has a sauna, spa bath and an Olympic sized swimming pool."

Other Scientologists on the camp even referred to the gym specially built by Miscavige for his friend Tom as the Miscavige/Cruise gym.

Built in 1989, it cost about $150,000 and much of the construction work was once again performed by the slave labour prisoners kept on the other side of the camp.

"It is one of the most incredible gyms imaginable and is for the exclusive use of Tom Cruise, David Miscavige and other specially and specifically approved by him. It also has an incredible shower area."

According to Tabayoyon's testimony, millions of dollars in Church funds were used illicitly so that Tom's stays at the base "were enjoyable". "Tom Cruise received special meal services, special room services, and a girl by the name of Jennie Matsamura was assigned to take care of him and his renovated cottage," said Tabayoyon.

He recalled how, on a number of occasions, construction work done for Tom had to be torn down because the colouring did not meet with his or Miscavige's approval.

"Once we had to pour a concrete walkway so that Tom Cruise would not have to walk on the desert soil. Before the concrete dried, it rained. The concrete was spoiled. Miscavige went into a fury over that."

On another occasion, recalled Tabayoyon, "tens of thousands of dollars" were spent on making a meadow look picturesque by planting thousands of flowers so that Tom and his new wife Nicole could romp there.

"However Miscavige inspected it and didn't like it. So the whole meadow was ploughed up, destroyed, reploughed and sown with plain grass," added Tabayoyon.

He claims that Tom Cruise took part in a bizarre "life orientation course" called "OT III" - based on the controversial beliefs of Hubbard, who claimed that aliens invaded Earth thousands of years ago and were responsible for the current state of man.

A specially appointed "auditor" interviewed Tom to see if he could pass the OT III test. It is a weird routine, as Tabayoyon explained.

The ultimate goal of auditing is to return the person to the state they were in 75 million years before the aliens invaded. Tabayoyon claims that for Tom to have passed the OT III test he would have had to act out "psychosis ... and general madness".

Tabayoyon also alleges that the Scientologist leaders have a special file on the megastar which is kept under tight security at the base.

"It contains supposedly confidential information derived during auditing sessions. However, the contents of such folders have been culled and used against people," says Tabayoyon, who believes the secret files are used to "exert control and influence over people such as Tom Cruise or John Travolta should they ever attempt to leave the Scientology organisation".

One former Scientology member said that the sort of information Tom revealed during his "audit" would blow apart his squeaky clean image.

The insider, who claims to have seen the star's file, said: "There are things in there that would shock his fans and they clearly imply he has some severe personality problems."

Tabayoyon's sworn declaration alleges that all the millions of dollars spent by Miscavige and his cronies on the luxuries provided for Tom and other celebrity members was used illegally because the cash all came from fundraising on behalf of the so-called church - and that is against US law.

Story: Greg Sinclair
[photos] From above left: Scientology celebrity headquarters in Hollywood; Tom Cruise; the "ship" in the desert.
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Re: Journalism: Scientology - L. Ron Hubbard's Brainchild

Postby admin » Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:27 am

Scientology Leader Can't Handle the Heat on Xenu, Storms Out on Martin Bashir
by Foster Kamer
October 25, 2009

ABC's Nightline ran a special on Scientology this weekend. It was typically strange and disconcerting, but nothing necessarily new. Except: What could provoke their spokesman to storm off the set of an interview? We get to learn. Paging Lord Xenu.

Martin Bashir was grilling Scientology spokesthing Tommy Davis regarding Xenu, the intergalactic god who did or did not come to Earth 75 million years ago to bury his people in volcanos. Bashir asks Davis a very simple question: Do you guys believe in this crazy shit? Is Xenu and his people-pod volcano plot part of your religion? Etc. Watch what Davis does, starting at about 2:45 for context, but 3:40 if you just want to see him freak out and stomp off.

Why would Davis stomp off? Bashir wasn't asking him to explain Xenu, or justify Xenu, or even to provide context around Xenu. All he was asking was: Do you guys believe in an intergalactic God named Xenu? Is this part of your religion?

How is that an unfair line of inquiry? That's like feigning indignation at a line of inquiry asking whether or not Jews have horns. How can you? Of course we don't, you moron! But if we do, well, it's not a silly question, is it? Is it?!?
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Re: Journalism: Scientology - L. Ron Hubbard's Brainchild

Postby admin » Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:31 am

Tommy Davis: Scientology's New Angry, Unstable Pitchman
by John Cook
October 27, 2009


Tommy Davis, the latest chief spokesman and outraged-interview-cutter-offer for the Church of Scientology, is a callow Hollywood brat, Tom Cruise hanger-on, and "drug revert" who thinks "L. Ron Hubbard is the coolest guy ever."

Scientology has a long history of spastic, sweaty spokespersons with creepy laughs who eventually crack under the pressure and leave the organization. There was Robert Vaughn Young, who publicly renounced the church in 1989 after decades in its leadership. He was followed by Mike Rinder, an unhinged Australian bulldog who decided to stop lying for church leader David Miscavige last year and spoke out publicly about the cult's bizarre and arbitrary cruelty in June.

The latest inheritor of Young and Rinder's mantle as the unsettling public face of scientology is Tommy Davis, the head of the cult's Celebrity Centre in Los Angeles. Davis lived up to the role last week by walking out on ABC News's Martin Bashir during a Nightline interview after Bashir asked him about Xenu, the intergalactic warlord that Hubbard believed is responsible for saddling us all with a bunch of crazy body thetans.

So who is this guy, and how long before he cracks up and turns against the church like all the rest?

He's a Hollywood scion.

Davis, 37, is the son of actress Anne Archer and Jeffrey Davis, a real estate investor. According to Rolling Stone's Janet Reitman, Davis "freely admits to being a Hollywood rich kid. He dresses in Italian suits, drives a BMW and is addicted to his Blackberry. 'I have enough money to never work a day in my life,' he says."

He's Tom Cruise's BFF.

According to the Daily Beast's Kim Masters, Davis spent nearly a decade as Cruise's "personal, full-time, assigned Scientology handler." Claire Headley, a former Scientologist who left the cult five years ago, tells Masters: "'He filtered everything, reported on what [Cruise] was doing to [Church of Scientology leader] David Miscavige.' Officially, Davis was assigned to the church's president's office in the Celebrity Centre, she continues, but he was essentially with Cruise full-time from the late 1990s until 2005." Davis worked intimately with Miscavige on the deeply strange Tom Cruise tribute video that was leaked to Gawker last year.

He goes for stunts.

When the BBC's John Sweeney decided to make a documentary about Scientology two years ago for Panorama, Davis and his then-colleague Rinder decided to make a "counter-documentary," and succeeded in goading Sweeney into an angry outburst that they caught on camera and distributed widely in order to discredit him. Davis harangued Sweeney mercilessly in the middle of Scientology's graphic "Psychiatry: Industry of Death" exhibit, and Sweeney later said of his enraged response: "I felt they were trying to control my mind." In the course of the same documentary, Davis walked out of an interview after Sweeney called Scientology a "sinister cult." After walking out on Bashir last week, Davis reportedly showed up unannounced at ABC News headquarters less than an hour before Nightline's airtime and demanded that the piece be spiked. He was rebuffed.

He probably doesn't know what he's talking about.

While Davis has said in the past that he is "familiar with" the "confidential scriptures" of Scientology that tell the story of Xenu --

PART FIVE: Scientology Official Addresses Works of L. Ron Hubbard
by Nathan Baca
News Channel 3
March 12, 2009 01:56 PM MST

Church of Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis: "I'm not interested in somebody else's version of my religion or somebody else's idea of what my religion is."

Our second half of our one-on-one interview with one of Scientology's leaders continues in Hollywood.

We confront spokesman Tommy Davis with the confidential works of L. Ron Hubbard and ask why there are threats of death by pneumonia for those who read it.

Nathan Baca: Somebody from the Village Voice apparently said the Church of Scientology is about "ridding the body of space alien parasites." And your reaction then and now is what exactly to that claim?

Tommy Davis: You know, here's the thing. There are outrageous claims out there on the internet about what Scientologists believe. These are claims that are forwarded by anti-Scientologists. The best and easiest and most transparent way in which people learn about it is through L. Ron Hubbard's books and lectures.

NB (pulling out 650 page book of "Technical Notes of Operating Thetans"): Looking at Mr. Hubbard's own works, what seems to be in a sense curious is at least, according to L. Ron Hubbard's own words, and I quote, "the head of the galactic confederation. Seventy-six planets around larger stars visible from here..."

TD: I can stop you. I know what you're talking about. I'm familiar with the material. I think what you're getting at is the confidential scriptures of the Church.

NB: But this is about the fundamentals of-- is this not about the fundamentals of your belief, though? This goes into the sense of the soul.

TD: Right. For you to talk to me, you as somebody who is not a Scientologist to talk to me about what my beliefs are or to ask me to explain any core religious belief, that's an offensive concept. Nobody should ever be asked to do that.

NB: And is that the reasoning for the cease and desist letter for just about everybody who has published these works, the esoteric works. From Sunshine Press to Google, I believe, has also been given a cease and desist letter from Moxon & Kobrin (law firm). That's the reasoning behind it, correct?

TD: Absolutely, I'm not interested in somebody else's version of my religion or somebody else's idea of what my religion is, or something that somebody stole from the Church that is legitimately Church materials and is trying to show it to me for the only intent of knowingly violating my religious beliefs and knowingly violating how it is I see fit to practice my religion.

NB: But arguably isn't the reason why they are potentially-- wouldn't want to read it is because the book itself says that if you read it out of order, in effect "free wheeling," according to one of the pages, physical harm will come of you. I believe it mentions pneumonia. There is an actual fear, a physical fear, arguably. There is a physical cause and effect, saying that if you read this, before you're ready for it, physical harm will come of you. I've read, though, arguably not understood much of OT's 3 through 6. According to this, as I read it, I should have had some kill switch and I should have died of pneumonia. Why am I not dead yet?

TD: I...I... (laughs then pauses) Here we're going to the basic fundamental point that I'm trying to make. OK. What you're doing right now and what it is you're saying to me is an intent to ridicule religious beliefs. That's really what we're talking about. And you're just forwarding an agenda of hate.

he's also told CNN's John Roberts that talk of "space parasites" is "unrecognizable to me." Discussions of Xenu are strictly verboten among Scientologists who haven't yet reached, and paid for, the OT-III—or Operating Thetan, level three—step on the cult's "bridge to total freedom," during which Xenu's exploits are revealed. Members are told that if they hear about Xenu before their minds are properly prepared, it will make them retarded, insane, or even kill them. Masters speculates that Davis' dumbfounded reaction to Bashir's question may have been genuine:

Headley suspects Tommy Davis has never participated in upper-level training in which the story of Xenu would have actually been revealed. She thinks that may be why he walked out of the Nightline interview when asked about it. "In Scientology, no one can talk about it, whether you've done it or not," she says. "If you talk about it when you're not up to that level, you can be banned from ever doing it."

Davis wouldn't tell her whether he'd reached OT-III, but according to a partial database of Scientology course completions gleaned from announcements in church publications, he hasn't.

He's a "drug revert" and all around troublemaker.

Masters says Davis has a reputation for mischief. He was a "happy-go-lucky" teen who was caught smoking pot, which makes him in church parlance a "drug revert" and should have barred him from serving in the cult's leadership. Davis denies being a revert. But he has, according to Masters, gotten into more recent trouble with his superiors. After the BBC flap, Masters says, he briefly "blew" from the Sea Org and went AWOL, an infraction that earned him a stint cleaning toilets in the church's Clearwater, Fla., international headquarters—though Masters doesn't use the term, it certainly sounds like Davis was shunted off to the "Rehabilitation Project Force," the church's punitive gulag for staff members who fall out of line. Davis' former friend, ex-Scientologist Jason Beghe, told the Village Voice last year that he could see from the look on Davis' face during a CNN interview that he'd been RFP'd.

He probably won't last long.

Davis hasn't been doing a great job. The Nightline interview was another in a string of embarrassments for the church, and Paul Haggis' high-profile defection over the weekend—announced in an open letter to Davis—is likely not sitting well with Miscavige. Davis' job is to "handle" anyone who would do harm to the church's reputation, and his tenure thus far has been marked by a string of pile-ups—angry confrontations; Haggis' defection; John Travolta's acknowledgment that, contrary to church dogma, autism is real; the St. Petersburg Times' devastating series detailing the revelations of high-profile defectors about Miscavige's violent and insane regime. He also has personal relationships with people who've left the church—he worked with Rinder, and was close friends with Beghe—and has left the reservation before. How much abuse and lying can he take before he follows them out the door?
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Re: Journalism: Scientology - L. Ron Hubbard's Brainchild

Postby admin » Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:34 am

The BBC man, the Scientologist - and the YouTube rant: Panorama reporter's outburst at Hollywood star's son is captured on video
by David Smith
The Observer
Sunday 13 May 2007

A Journalist at Panorama, the BBC's flagship current affairs series, has been reprimanded for losing his temper and screaming with rage during the making of an investigation into the Church of Scientology.

John Sweeney has apologised for the outburst against a scientologist which was filmed and then put on the video-sharing website YouTube, prompting criticism of the corporation. The BBC held an internal inquiry but said Sweeney had not breached any guidelines.

The incident is one of the first examples of 'video ambushing', where organisations being investigated turn the camera on the film makers. The Church of Scientology, whose members include the Hollywood stars Tom Cruise and John Travolta, shadowed the Panorama team in America with its own camera crew. It has made a 'counter documentary', attacking Sweeney's methods, and distributed 100,000 DVDs to MPs, civil servants, religious groups, media organisations and business leaders.

Panorama has responded by posting a YouTube clip of its own in which leading scientologist Tom Davis, a friend of Cruise and son of the film actress Anne Archer, also a scientologist, is seen losing his temper at Sweeney's use of the words 'sinister cult' and storming away mid-interview with the reporter in hot pursuit. In a separate clash Archer, an Oscar nominee for her role as Michael Douglas's wife in Fatal Attraction, is understood to have snapped when Sweeney asked if she could have been brainwashed. The Church has withdrawn consent for the BBC to use the footage and Panorama is being hastily re-edited for broadcast tomorrow, but will still include the Sweeney outburst.

Journalists in all media are facing greater scrutiny than ever from bloggers and independent film makers armed for a video ambush. Michael Moore, an award winner for documentaries including Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11, is himself the subject of a website, Moorewatch, a book, Michael Moore Is A Big Fat Stupid White Man, and a forthcoming film, Manufacturing Dissent, which examines his methods. Dan Rather, the veteran US news anchorman, was forced to retire after blogs showed that a CBS report questioning President Bush's National Guard service had been based on forged documents, and Reuters sacked a photographer exposed by bloggers as having doctored a picture.

Sweeney lost his temper while visiting the Church of Scientology's exhibition, 'Psychiatry: Industry of Death', which uses graphic images to attack psychiatry. Sweeney said that, having dogged him for six days, Davis accused him of giving an easy ride to one of his interviewees, a critic of Scientology, even though he had not heard the full interview. It was then that Sweeney, his face contorted with anger and his finger jabbing, began yelling at the top of his voice: 'You were not there at the beginning of the interview! You were not there! You did not hear or record all the interview!'

The response of YouTube users has been damning. One said yesterday: 'I for one feel confident and glad that I am paying good money for this psycho to remain on television! Is this really what English TV has degraded itself to?' Another wrote: 'Surely this is a joke right? How can a mentally unbalanced man like this be a BBC reporter? This kinda makes you wonder if he is not dreaming up what he reports or if TV actually reports truth! Man I'm done with the BBC.'

Sweeney, a former Observer journalist, admits he went too far. 'I am hugely embarrassed,' he said. 'I look like an exploding tomato and shout like a jet engine and every time I see it it makes me cringe. The moment it happened I said sorry. I let the side down and the BBC down and I am ashamed. But I felt I was being brainwashed and if people see the full clip I think they will have more sympathy with me'

The journalist has been disciplined after an internal investigation. 'I've been arse-kicked but I haven't been fired,' he added. 'I feel mortified. There is no one on this planet more irritated then me. Fool, Sweeney, fool. It was like an animal reaction to a series of images and pressures. I felt they were trying to control my mind. I can't wait to get back to Zimbabwe: hiding in the backs of cars from Robert Mugabe's goons is a damn sight easier.'

It is not the first time the Church of Scientology has been accused of riling opponents by 'bull baiting', a technique in which members are taught to remain calm even under extreme provocation. Mike Rinder, a spokesman for the Church, said: 'I guess you could say we John Sweeneyed John Sweeney. The licence fee payers in Britain are entitled to see what goes on behind the scenes. It's about time documentary makers are held accountable.'

Sweeney has won awards for investigating miscarriages of justice against mothers of cot death victims and has reported on human rights abuses in Chechnya, Kosovo and Algeria. He has said that 'one recipe for investigative journalism is to find the largest crocodile in the pond and give it a poke in the eye with a sharp stick and see what happens next'. This time, the crocodile bit back.

A spokeswoman for the Church of Scientology said: 'The BBC Broadcast Codes are a sensible set of guidelines that, if followed, would result in a fair and accurate report with every piece. We documented 154 violations of these guidelines by Sweeney and his team and have presented those, with evidence, to BBC executives.'

But Sandy Smith, editor of Panorama, responded: 'The head of current affairs, George Entwistle, has viewed all footage complained of and, with the exception of the point when Sweeney shouts, he found nothing that stood outside BBC guidelines.'

A BBC spokeswoman added: 'When viewers watch the programme on Monday they will see the full story and the background to this particular incident. While John Sweeney's behaviour at one point in the filming is clearly inappropriate, he has apologised. The BBC is, however, happy that taken as a whole the filming was carried out properly and fairly.'
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