Where’s The Line Between A Religion And A Cult? Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  Jul 10 2012 @ 11:20am

The Dish has been debating the question recently, in the context of the Mormon Church. But another controversial and relatively new church, the Scientologists, are back in the news this month because of the sudden divorce of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes and the anticipation that Holmes will spill secrets about the Super Adventure Club. So this is a bummer:

No one from either Tom Cruise's team or Katie Holmes' camp was talking on the record Monday after the couple announced they had reached what has to be one of the quickest celebrity divorce negotiations in history.

But not before the Hollywood press trotted out some chilling quotes:

"Katie ambushed Tom Cruise and in so doing outwitted some of the most controlling people on Earth," says Karen De La Carriere, who was once one of the most powerful executives in Scientology and was married to Heber Jentzsch, Scientology's longtime president who mysteriously hasn't been seen in years. De La Carriere shocked the church by leaving in 2010 and telling secrets in anti-Miscavige blogs – including her claim that she was kept for six months against her will at the secretive church base camp near Hemet, Calif.


Even Jenna Miscavige Hill, [Church chairman] David Miscavige's niece, who left the church in 2005, issued a statement [last] Tuesday in support of Holmes and any concern she has over her daughter's involvement in the church. "My experience in growing up in Scientology is that it is both mentally and at times physically abusive," Jenna said. "I was allowed to see my parents only once a week at best — sometimes not for years. We got a lousy education from unqualified teachers, forced labor, long hours, forced confessions, being held in rooms, not to mention the mental anguish of trying to figure out all of the conflicting information they force upon you as a young child."

The Beast currently has a story of what one woman went through as a child and how she escaped. In other Scientology news, Paul Thomas Anderson's upcoming film The Master, inspired by L. Ron Hubbard, is already chaffing the Church. Watch the trailer above. Update from a reader: "Suri's exposure to Scientology was obviously a factor in the Tomkat divorce":

According to a source, Cruise will have visitation rights, but Holmes will have "the lead role in choosing how Suri will be educated. TMZ reports that the settlement's custody specifications include "restrictions on what Tom and Katie can discuss with Suri on the subject of religion, including Scientology" but that "the restrictions are eased the older Suri gets."