While it is evident that there abound many religions in the world with very devout followers, some are so shrouded in secrecy that they can almost be called a cult. In spite of that, many others have chosen to go open with what they believe and practice. One of these religions is the one founded by L. Ron Hubbard, The Church of Scientology which has grown over the years in part due to Celebrity Scientologists who have credited it in many aspects with saving and giving them life.
Different churches practice different things and are founded on far different doctrines. One person has said that all religions are branches of one big tree while another added that one should never be angry with one’s neighbor because his religious views differ from your own; for all the branches of a tree to not lean the same way. And this one has eventually found its place and is even much more propagated by its celebrity members.
Before we delve into knowing these celebrities, let’s grab a bite into what Scientology is all about.
What is Scientology?
It is a system made up of religious practices and beliefs which is based on the seeking of self-knowledge and spiritual fulfillment through graded courses of study and training. It was founded by American science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard in 1955. He defined it according to the etymology of the root words as knowing about knowing, or the science of knowledge.
Since its inception, Scientology has raised contentions and controversies owing to its doctrines and practices. While some societies have classified it as an anti-constitutional sect, others have termed it a dangerous cult.
The teachings of the religion believe, among other things, that humans are immortal aliens (thetan) that are trapped in the world where they should not belong and that finding your true self is the key to unlocking limitless potential including things like slowness of aging. Scientologists believe in psychic trauma caused by the murder of their alien soul-ancestors and they have been mocked for this belief. Nevertheless, the religion continues to grow amidst the heavy criticisms it attracts partly due to its celebrity following.
Their drug rehabilitation program Narconon has been claimed by many a celebrity member as helping them kick their drug habits. Scientology is opposed to mainstream psychiatry and its drugs.
Now, let’s take a documentary of some of these celebrity members who have seemingly stuck with the religion despite the controversies that surround it, and do all they could to propagate it.
7 Celebrity Scientologists Who Openly Propagate the Religion
Some were born into the religion and can be termed lifelong members, like actress Erika Christensen who has gone as far as defending the religion in the media, musician Beck Hansen, actor and porn-stache enthusiast, Giovanni Ribisi who credited the religion for saving him from drug abuse.
There is also a group of celebrity Scientologists who are affiliated with the church by virtue of the fact that they took a few courses which they claimed helped them in the long run and which they also found interesting. Some of these celebrities are Jerry Seinfeld who claimed the communication course he took early in his stand up career got his act going, the Arrested Development actor, Jeffery Tambor took some classes too, although he has left, he said he has nothing against it.
However, there is a group of the devotees who can be well described as bitter-enders for holding on to their belief no matter the storms that have hit their boats. These are people like:
1. Tom Cruise
Tom is one of the most successful, powerful and famous American actors and filmmakers and he has a number of blockbuster movies to his credit. Besides his acting talent, he has become famous for many other reasons including his religion which he claims he owes his success to as well as credits for helping him overcome dyslexia which he was born with.
The foremost actor was introduced to Scientology in 1986 when he started dating actress Mimi Rogers who would become his first wife but became officially involved with the church in 1990. The duo was married in 1987 on Dianetics Day, May 9 and he has remained a committed member even though he is no longer married to Mimi and has towed the path of marriage three times; his last being with actress Katie Holmes.
Tom Cruise is one of the most vocal advocates and campaigners for the church and apart from promoting several programs designed to introduce people to the religion, the star has literally campaigned for Scientology to be formally recognized as a religion in Europe. He also openly expresses his love for Dianetics and is seen as the icon of the church.
Tom was awarded the Freedom Medal of Valor at a special gala in the U.K. in 2008. The award is given to Scientology’s most dedicated member.
Although he has a lot of reasons to turn his back on the religion one of which is his estranged relationship with his daughter, Suri, he just doesn’t seem capable of doing it. He is utterly dedicated to the cause.
2. John Travolta
Seasoned actor John is most famous for being your creepy uncle on the Oscars broadcast and has been in the showbiz since the 70’s. Besides his acting career, he is a good dancer and singer.
After he joined the entertainment industry, his first movie was The Devil’s Rain. His affiliation with the religion could be traced to the time when he was filming the movie in 1975. He joined the church after reading Dianetics even though he was born Catholic.
John Travolta experienced a downturn early in his career but was helped by someone to work his career out using an L. Ron Hubbard concept about how to organize work. Since then, the super actor has believed that every time his career experienced some big success, it must be because he is using some kind of Scientology related tactics.
Although there are rumors that the reason the actor still pitches his tent with the Church of Scientology is as a result of the blackmail theory. It is believed that if he left, the church would spill secrets about his sex life and his reputed preference for men. Anyway, after several lawsuits and accusations labeled on him by his self-declared gay partners, there isn’t much left to know.
What keeps him then? It is certainly not the blackmail theory. John is overly convinced that every single success he has had in the course of his career comes from Scientology, so regardless of any criticism the church has faced, he believes the positive things he has gotten from them far outweighs whatever negative there could be. Thus, he is not setting sail any time soon that’s if he ever will.
3. Danny Masterson
He was born on March 13, 1976, in Long Island, New York and is prominent for acting in
That 70s Show (1998-2006) and spinning music as DJ Mom Jeans. Danny is among those born into the religion and thus can be considered a lifelong Scientologist. Along with his siblings, actors Chris and Jordan, and half-sister Alanna, their parents, Carol and Peter Masterson and later, stepfather, Australian Scientologist and rugby player, Joe Reaiche raised them therein. In recent times, the actor is known more for his views on the church rather than his acting roles.
Together with his siblings, they are considered some of the tightest young people who are still in. The actor believes that Scientology is like a college of the mind and is counted on by the church for his support. In addition, they consider him a superhero for his unflinching support.
4. Marisol Nichols
Marisol is one of the celebrity Scientologists who gives credit to the religion for making them better people and she notes this as one of her biggest success therein.
She is known for her many roles on television but most especially for her recurring role on 24 in 2007. She was born on November 2, 1973, in Chicago and was introduced to the church by her chiropractor around 1997. She is married to cinematographer Taron Lexton whose mother, Mary Shuttleworth is a profound member. Mary founded the Scientology front group Youth For Human Rights.
5. Kelly Preston
Kelly is an actress known for many acting roles but mostly as the wife of John Travolta. The actress was born on October 13, 1962, in Honolulu. She was introduced to the religion in the late 1980’s by her acting coach, Milton Katselas and she has so invested in it. After she lost her first son Jett in 2009, many thought she would withdraw her membership, but as expected, the church of Scientology was at hand to make sure her family survived the loss. At the end of the day, Kelly felt that Scientology saved her and became even more committed.
She claimed that with Scientology, life is at her fingertips having found she can have or be whatever she wants. That’s good for her you would agree.
6. Doug E. Fresh
Barbadian-born American rapper, record producer, and beatboxer was introduced to the religion by his former girlfriend, a radio personality, Miss Jones. Doug was born on September 19, 1966, and is also known as the Human Beat Box for being able to reproduce drum machines and various special effects using only his mouth, lips, gums, throat, tongue and a microphone.
Among the celebrity Scientologists, Doug was the first rapper to publicly turn to the religion and in 2009, he confirmed his membership and said that the church is scientific, mathematical, as well as spiritual. To show his support of his religion, he performed before large audiences of its adherents during their Anniversary Gala in 2004 at the Scientology Celebrity Center. In addition, Doug also performed two tracks on the Scientology music album The Joy of Creating.
7. Kirstie Alley
Kirstie is an actress and spokesmodel known for her roles in sitcoms like Cheers, Sibling Rivalry, Drop-dead Gorgeous as well as the 1982 science fiction film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan where she played the role of Lieutenant JG Saavik.
She was born a Methodist on January 12, 1951, but became a member of the Church of Scientology in 1979 and has even attained the level of OT VII (Operating Thetan Level 7) in 2007, the same year she donated $5 million to the church. She gives credit to Scientology for helping her relinquish her dependency on drugs through their drug treatment program, Narconon.
Kirstie has become one of the best-known celebrity Scientologists and highly recommends the religion. She has claimed that without the religion, she would be dead. She publicly criticized fellow actress, Leah Remini who left the religion in 2013 after being a member for 36 years.
Is Will Smith a Scientologist?
A-list actor Will Smith has raised dust concerning his affiliation to Scientology but has denied that he is a member even after he funded a school that uses its teachings. The speculations were made rife with the release of his blockbuster movie, After Earth which critics claimed was one big “love letter” to Scientology.
Former Celebrity Scientologists
In as much as belief can be permanent, its flexibility cannot be denied and thus, can be changed at will. It is a good way to live if one changes his mind after finding out that what one has believed is wrong, no matter how long he has been a devotee.
Some celebrities who formerly beat their drums for Scientology revoked their membership and while some have come out openly about that, others have chosen to keep their mouth shut and quietly live their lives. Listed below are some of those celebrities.
He dated a devout Scientologist, actress Juliette Lewis and dabbled in the religion but thought it wasn’t for him after he broke up with her. His involvement with the movement, however, became a public knowledge when a former high-ranking church official, Amy Scobee, wrote about Brad Pitt’s experience with the religion in her 2010 book Scientology — Abuse at the Top. Therein, she contends that from 1991 to 1993, he completed two courses at the church’s Celebrity Center. Amy, however, added that Brad was high on the church president’s list of stars they felt could be recovered.
The My Name is Earl actor was a member of the church and even had a position on the Board of Advisors of the Church of Scientology’s Citizens Commision on Human Rights, which mostly attacks psychiatry as a ‘pseudo-science’. Lee has said in interviews that he had been studying Scientology since before he started acting in 1991 despite rumors that he joined the church after working with Tom Cruise on the set of Vanilla Sky. That was also around the time he divorced from his first wife, Carmen Llywelyn who he was married to from 1995 to 2001. Carmen blamed the religion for their split.
He, however, left the church in 2015 after he moved with his family to Denton and is no longer practicing Scientology.
The G.I. Jane actor openly left the religion which he said its purpose is to create a brainwashed, robotic version of one in 2008.
Other celebrity Scientologists who have folded their tents include Superman actor Christopher Reeve, film director and screenwriter Paul Haggis and Elvis Presley’s daughter, Lisa Marie who left the church in 2013 among others.