Tom Cruise Was Supposed to Save Scientology, But Will He Bring About Its Downfall?

July 18, 2012

The Church of Scientology has awarded just 80 people their coveted Freedom Medal, which recognizes “exemplary courage and determination…for bringinggreater freedom to mankind.” But only one person in the Church’s 60-year existence has ever won their Freedom Medal of Valor award: Tom Cruise, the Church’s Golden Boy, who was recruited in the eighties and groomed to be Scientology’s best advertisement. And so it proves ironic that the religion, which has historically been so adept at squashing bad press through lawsuits and intimidation, now finds itself under an onslaught of negative scrutiny — and it’s largely thanks to Cruise. Once the Church’s most treasured member, he may now prove to be its greatest liability.

Tom Cruise joined Scientology under the tutelage of his then-wife, actress Mimi Rogers, herself raised in the Church. (Rogers is rumored to have left the Churchafter her divorce from Cruise.) Then, in his mid-twenties, Cruise was enjoying the most successful period of his career, as he transitioned from teen heartthrob to Serious Dramatic Actor with roles in The Color of Money andRain Man. According to Janet Reitman’s acclaimed book Inside Scientology, Cruise initially attended the Church’s auditing sessions (the process through which Church members push through their layers of emotional baggage and become “clear”) quietly and secretly, under his birth name Thomas Mapother. As he warmed to the procedures, he was turned over to the Church’s Celebrity Center and eventually formed a deep bond with David Miscavige, the Church’s controversial leader who took over following the 1986 death of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard. Miscavige, according to Reitman, told staff members that Cruise’s recruitment could “change the face of Scientology forever.” The actor was escorted out to the Church’s secret desert oasis in Gilman Springs, California, a place where he could immerse himself in the Church away from prying eyes.

Read the rest at Vulture

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