The poorer and famous Hollywood Scientologists
John H. Richardson – Catch a Rising Star
Premiere, September 1993
Scientology’s membership boasts some of Hollywood’s top talent, despite one of the most sinister reputations of any modern religion.
“The evidence portrays L. Ron Hubbard as … virtually a pathological liar when it comes to his history, background, and achievements. The writings and documents in evidence … reflect his egoism, greed, avarice, lust for power, vindictiveness, and aggressiveness against persons perceived by him to be disloyal or hostile.”
– Paul G. Breckenridge, Jr., Judge of the
Superior Court of Los Angeles, June 20, 1984
AFTER HIS WEDDING TO NICOLE KIDMAN, TOM CRUISE was the guest of honor at a dinner party given by the powerful Creative Artists Agency at the trendy DC3 Restaurant, overlooking the Santa Monica Airport. Cruise sat at a table with CAA kingpin Michael Ovitz, often called the most powerful man in Hollywood. Right next to them sat David Miscavige, often called the most powerful man in the Church of Scientology, the self-help religion that promises “auditing” will “clear” its followers of the fears and traumas blocking them from total success–at a typical cost of $300 to $400 an hour. Nearby were two
full tables of Scientologists. According to one of the guests, the Scientologists around Cruise were “like they always are–very direct, very attentive, very protective–hovering over Tom. And shaking a lot of hands.”
Across town, a former Scientologist named Nan Herst Bowers was agonizing over a letter she’d recently received from her 23-year-old son, Todd. “Dear Mom,” he wrote, “I am sending you this letter to let you know that I have to disconnect from you … I can’t see you, the babies, or Jim until this is all over and handled.”
A Hollywood publicist, Bowers had been a Scientologist for twenty years, had been married to a Scientologist, and had raised three sons in the organization. Although she had been drifting away for years, she was still officially a member when an article appeared in the Star about Cruise’s involvement with Scientology. Almost immediately, the tabloid began getting strange calls. The callers “started harassing me to find out who my source was,” says Janet Charlton, the reporter who broke the story. “People in the Tarrytown, New York office, the reporter who worked with me, the front office all got fake calls, trying to find out my source, to get a phone number.” When that didn’t work, Charlton says, she got a startling call from the phone company. “They told me there were people calling from different places, from New York and the West
Coast, trying to get copies of my phone bill, pretending to be me. Then someone called me pretending to be a lawyer from my own magazine.”
Shortly afterward, Bowers says, she also got a strange call–from a man claiming to work for the Star. “He said his name was Alan Goldman and he was with the GP Group, which had recently bought the Star and the National Enquirer. He said he had talked to Janet Charlton, and she said I was her source for the Tom Cruise story, and if it wasn’t true, she would be wired.”
Bowers insists she wasn’t a source for the Cruise story. But Charlton is a close friend. So, Bowers says, under pressure from “Goldman,” she finally made the statement that tore apart her family. “I lied for Janet,” says Bowers. “He said, ‘Did you get paid for it?’ and I named a figure I thought was right.”
It turned out that “Alan Goldman” was lying. In fact, as Scientology officials readily admit, the caller was a private detective working for Scientology attorneys. Three days later, Bowers says, a Scientology official named Philip Jepsen paid her a visit. “He comes with two people in uniforms–very intimidating–and he asks me about Tom Cruise,” Bowers recalls. “It became obvious he knew everything I had told ‘Goldman.’ He grilled me for two hours. At the end, he handed me a Declare.”
The charges listed in Bowers’s “Suppressive Person Declare”–essentially an order of excommunication–included “writing anti-Scientology letters to the press or giving anti-Scientology or anti-Scientologist data to the press” and “engaging in malicious rumour-mongering to destroy the authority or repute of higher officers or the leading names of Scientology.” The Declare meant that, in general, no one in Scientology should speak to her again, including members of her family. It was followed by “Disconnect” letters from her sons and ex-husband.
When Bowers tried to contact her sons, she got letters back from Jepsen. “Dear Nan, I just received a letter from Todd, enclosing a card you sent to him for Valentine’s Day,” Jepsen wrote. “In the card you suggest to him that you and Todd see each other without telling anyone. I think you realize that this would not help Todd in any way in his auditing, and he would at best have a withhold that would keep him constantly out of session and unable to make any gains. Todd has asked me to let you know that he is now engaged and that he is giving you a year’s warning in which to handle your situation so that you will not miss out on something you really want to be part of.” In other words, recant or miss your son’s wedding.
Scientology officials respond to Bowers’s charges by accusing her of being in league with the Cult Awareness Network, an anticult group whose members they call “thugs” and “kidnappers.” Scientology organizations and individuals have lodged more than 40 lawsuits against CAN, which counts among its members the wife of Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas and Patricia Ryan, whose father, Representative Leo J. Ryan, was killed by Jim Jones’s followers in Guyana. CAN officials say their only service is to provide information, and they adamantly deny Scientology’s charges that they are involved in kidnapping or any other illegal acts. Scientologists also say Bowers tried to get one of her sons “kidnapped” by deprogrammers. Bowers admits trying to get her son to talk to two “exit counselors”–who say they don’t use force and only talk to people who are willing to speak to them–but the son ran away before she could even bring them together.
For the rest of the story go here: http://www.bible.ca/scientology-poor-famous-members.htm