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Arts and Entertainment

Why Scientology Helped Tom Cruise Fight His Ex-Wives

Tom Cruise arrives for the "Jack Reacher" premiere at the Odeon Leicester Square (Featureflash /
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Tom Cruise wasn't always a high-profile Scientologist, and Scientology didn't take a shine to him right away.

Cruise was raised Catholic, and his spirituality was important enough to him that he considered entering the priesthood. He decided to go to Hollywood instead where he met Mimi Rogers, who introduced him to Scientology at age 23. Cruise started auditing, but it took a couple of years before church leader David Miscavige realized what a golden opportunity he had as Cruise's star rose with roles in "Risky Business" and "Top Gun." Miscavige wanted to make Scientology mainstream and Cruise—over all the other celebrities in the church—seemed life the perfect spokesman to do it.


Book cover via the New York Post
The fascinating relationship between Cruise and Scientology is explored in a book coming out this week by New Yorker writer Lawrence Wright called "Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood & The Prison of Belief." The New York Post has a preview of some of the interesting parts.

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The key moment in the relationship between Scientology and Cruise came in 1989. Cruise had become obsessed with a young actress named Nicole Kidman, but he needed help to make a clean break with Rogers. Marty Rathbun, a former higher-up in the church, helped Cruise get rid of her by explaining their split like it was a spiritual mission: "I told her this was the right thing to do for Tom. Because he was going to do lots of good for Scientology."

That marked the beginning of Cruise's rise in the church and also the beginning of the church's very intimate involvement in Cruise's love life. We had heard about Cruise's over-the-top antics with Katie Holmes later on, and apparently it was no different with Kidman:

So Miscavige began turning the grounds of the LA Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre into a movie set where they could act out their love scenes. Miscavige had lower-tier Scientologists — most of whom averaged $50 a week in pay — tend to a private bungalow for Kidman and Cruise. A rose garden was planted, and when that wasn’t enough — the two of them daydreamed about romping through a field lush with wildflowers — Miscavige got to work on that, too, ordering its cultivation in the California desert. He was furious when that failed.

When Cruise wanted to divorce Kidman, he had an "army of Scientologists" at his disposal who convinced their adopted children that Kidman was a sociopath.By that time Cruise was a big deal in Scientology, and Miscavige did everything he could to boost Cruise's ego and protect him. Miscavige told Cruise that he was among a select group of "big beings" destined to meet up with L. Ron Hubbard on a planet called "Target Two." At one point, a chef who cooked a meal that gave Cruise food poisoning was banished to "Happy Valley," which Scientologists say is a rehab center. Critical ex-members say it is a center that metes out emotional and physical abuse. Miscavige even tried to help Cruise find a new girlfriend. Jennifer Garner, Lindsay Lohan and Scarlett Johansson were considered. Nazanin Boniadi failed her "audition" before Holmes got the "part."

While Boniadi were together in their failed, bizarre romance, Cruise explained over dinner where he stood in the church: “You don’t get it. It goes like this. First, there’s LRH"—referring to Hubbard—"Then, there’s COB"—meaning Chairman of the Board Miscavige—"Then there’s me."

UPDATE: The Church of Scientology e-mailed us with a comment responding to the allegations in Wright's book:

Mr. Wright's book is so ludicrous it belongs in a supermarket tabloid. The claims are nothing more than a stale rehash of allegations disproven long ago. It is ludicrous and absurd to suggest our Church inserts itself into the romantic or matrimonial affairs of its parishioners. Neither Mr. Miscavige nor anyone in the Church had any involvement in the divorce of Mr. Cruise and Ms. Kidman. To suggest otherwise is nothing more than tabloid innuendo.

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