Scientology and celebrities

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A Scientology building on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California.

Recruiting Scientologist celebrities and getting them to endorse Scientology to the public at large has always been very important to the Church of Scientology. Scientology has had a written program governing celebrity recruitment since at least 1955, when L. Ron Hubbard created "Project Celebrity", offering rewards to Scientologists who recruited targeted celebrities.[1][2] Early interested parties included former silent-screen star Gloria Swanson and jazz pianist Dave Brubeck.[2][3] 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.[4][5][6]

Coordinated effort[edit]

The Church of Scientology operates special Celebrity Centres. Scientology policy governs the 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." (Scientology Flag Order 2310) 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 onto Scientology services as a result of celebrity involvement.[1][7]

As founder L. Ron Hubbard put it:

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 (Flag Order 3323, 9 May 1973)[8]

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.[9]

Notable Scientologists[edit]

The Church of Scientology has a long history of seeking out artists, musicians, writers and actors, and states that Scientology can help them in their lives and careers.[10] Among the most well-known celebrity Scientologists are Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Juliette Lewis, Isaac Hayes, Kirstie Alley, Catherine Bell, Nancy Cartwright, Beck, Doug E. Fresh, Kelly Preston, Elisabeth Moss, Erika Christensen, Jason Lee, Edgar Winter, Giovanni Ribisi, Laura Prepon, Jenna Elfman, Anne Archer, Thomas Kindley, Chick Corea and Julia Migenes The Marine King.The January 14, 2008, issue of The New Yorker magazine included a feature by Dana Goodyear, "Château Scientology," on the topic of Scientology and Hollywood celebrities.[11]

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.[12] 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.[12]

For a more detailed list of current and former Scientologists, see the List of Scientologists page.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Sappell, Joel; Welkos, Robert W. (1990-06-25). "The Courting of Celebrities". Los Angeles Times. p. A18:5. Retrieved 2006-06-06. 
  2. ^ a b Shaw, William (2008-02-14). "What do Tom Cruise and John Travolta know about Scientology that we don't?". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
  3. ^ Cusack, Carole M. "Celebrity, the Popular Media, and Scientology: Making Familiar the Unfamiliar"
  4. ^ Lewis, James R. (2009). Scientology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. pp. 394–395. ISBN 978-0-19-533149-3. 
  5. ^ Baker, Russ (April 1997). "Clash of Titans". George. 
  6. ^ L. Ron Hubbard. "HCO Policy Letter 23 May 1976R: Celebrities". Scientology Celebrities & Human Rights. Church of Scientology International. 
  7. ^ Scientology and Celebrities - Premiere Magazine
  8. ^ Farrow, Boyd (2006-08-01). "The A-listers' belief system". The New Statesman. Retrieved 2006-08-24. 
  9. ^ http://www.beliefnet.com/story/169/story_16925_1.html
  10. ^ "Artists Find Inspiration, Education at Church of Scientology & Celebrity Centre Nashville." The Tennessee Tribune, Jan 20-Jan 26, 2011. Vol. 22, Iss. 3, pg. 14A
  11. ^ Goodyear, Dana (2008-01-14). "Château Scientology". Letter from California. The New Yorker. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  12. ^ a b Bugliosi, Vincent; Curt Gentry (2001). Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders. W. W. Norton & Company. pp. 144, 200–202, 225, 300–301, 316, 318, 608, 610–611. ISBN 0-393-32223-8. 

External links[edit]