Scientology and Celebrities

going clear

Recruiting Scientologist celebrities and getting them to endorse Scientology to the public at large has always been very important to the Church of Scientology. According to founder L. Ron Hubbard: ‘Celebrities are very Special people and have a very distinct line of dissemination. They have comm[unication] lines that others do not have and many medias [sic] to get their dissemination through.’

Scientology has had a written program governing celebrity recruitment since at least 1955, when Hubbard created ‘Project Celebrity,’ offering rewards to Scientologists who recruited targeted celebrities. Early interested parties included former silent-screen star Gloria Swanson and jazz pianist Dave Brubeck. A Scientology policy letter of 1976 states that ‘rehabilitation of celebrities who are just beyond or just approaching their prime’ enables the ‘rapid dissemination’ of Scientology.

The Church of Scientology operates special Celebrity Centres (the main one in Los Angeles and others in Paris, Nashville, and elsewhere), stating that ‘one of the major purposes of the Celebrity Centre and its staff is to expand the number of celebrities in Scientology.’ Another order describes Celebrity Centre’s Public Clearing Division and its goal, ‘broad public into Scientology from celebrity dissemination’; this division has departments for planning celebrity events and routing the general public to Scientology services as a result of celebrity involvement.

Hugh B. Urban, professor of religious studies in the Department of Comparative Studies at Ohio State University said about Scientology’s appeal to celebrities in an interview for Beliefnet.com: ‘But then I think the reason that celebrities would be interested is because it’s a religion that fits pretty well with a celebrity kind of personality. It’s very individualistic. It celebrates your individual identity as ultimately divine. It claims to give you ultimate power over your own mind, self, destiny, so I think it fits well with an actor personality. And then the wealth question: These aren’t people who need more wealth, but what they do need, or often want at least, is some kind of spiritual validation for their wealth and lifestyle, and Scientology is a religion that says it’s OK to be wealthy, it’s OK to be famous, in fact, that’s a sign of your spiritual development. So it kind of is a spiritual validation for that kind of lifestyle.’

The Church has long opened its door to artists, musicians, writers and actors to get a spiritual look at their lives and careers, and state that Scientology can help them be more successful in their lives. Among the most well-known celebrity Scientologists are Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Juliette Lewis, Kirstie Alley, Leah Remini, Beck, Kelly Preston, Elisabeth Moss, Jason Lee, Giovanni Ribisi, Jenna Elfman, Anne Archer, and Chick Corea. According to prosecuting attorney Vincent Bugliosi in his 1974 book ‘Helter Skelter,’ American serial murderer Charles Manson had been an avid Scientologist in the mid-1950s, claiming for years to be proud of his Theta Clear status. Bugliosi referenced Manson’s interest in Scientology several times during his trial as a basis for some of Manson’s psychologies about human culture and behavior.

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