For many functional members of society, Scientology is not a reputable religion, but rather the makings of science fiction gold. In fact, it would be of little surprise to know that the creator, L. Ron Hubbard, actually made a living writing science fiction novels until he decided to release the infamous Dianetics and place it in the Religion and Spirituality section of Barnes & Noble instead.
The New Yorker has raised some interesting questions about the religion with its latest article, Paul Haggis Vs. the Church of Scientology, which details the struggles between the screenwriter/director and the Church after Haggis demanded they withdraw their decision to back Proposition 8—a law that would’ve prevented famed member John Travolta from acting on his dream of marrying a man in the state of California. Haggis’ willingness to challenge Scientology is certainly ballsy. Over the years, the Church has developed a reputation for being, quite frankly, scary in dealing with their detractors and no one of his celebrity stature has publicly excommunicated themselves after having such a close and lengthy involvement. Calling bullshit on a religion that has grown into a major source of power is both commendable and monumental.
Haggis sent his letter of resignation to Tommy Davis, the official spokesperson for Scientology, as well as some influential members such as Davis’ mother, Anne Archer, and Sky Daton, the founder of Earthlink, in hopes that they would support his decision to leave, but clearly that didn’t happen. Among other things, Haggis discusses his introduction to the religion and gives us a rare glimpse into what goes on behind closed doors as a celebrity member. Spoiler: John Travolta once performed a Scientology healing spell on Marlon Brando at a dinner party after the actor hurt his leg, which Brando claimed to have actually worked. This is not to be confused with the other kind of “healing spells” Travolta performs only on select male members of the Church.
Whether you believe Scientology to be a cult or a life saver, its story is still a fascinating one. Read The New Yorker piece preferably alone in the dark and make sure no one (Tom Cruise) is watching you.