Back in the mid-1950s, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard had a novel idea: What would happen if he could convince movie stars of the day to convert to his fledgling religion? With this in mind, he sent the following internal memo to his staff: “There are many to whom America and the world listens. On the backs of these are carried most of the enthusiasms on which the society runs. It is obvious what would happen to America if we helped its leaders to help others. Project Celebrity is part of that program.”
—from "The TomKat Split- Is Hollywood Getting a Divorce from Scientology?" by Leah McLaren via www.theglobeandmail.com
Most Hollywood gossip is a matter of deflection— the reality of any celebrity scandal is likely to be obscured from the public for decades.
Tom-Krap is no exception, but McLaren's story from the Globe and Mail takes a revealing look at the Scientology empire and how it was built on celebrity insecurity-- brick by brick.
I read these stories with nostalgia, because I was unwitting sex bait in many of the burgeoning cults circulating Los Angeles in the 1970s: Scientology, EST, the Hare Krishna's, Actualization, even Synanon. I casually met and bedded quite a few people who passed through Scientology's funhouse. They attracted actors and struggling Hollywood poets like a Venus Flytrap on Viagra.
Why? Because the theatrical world of movie-making is an illusion-based industry.
If one's company engine is based on making a beautiful lie real— and staking it all on a fiction, then your troops will be a precarious bunch of hothouse flowers. Scientology digs actors because they inhabit the most insecure, self-doubting, profession in the world
I say this with humilty, because I, too, belong to the world of make-believe.
I joined none of them, the then-sidewalk-vending cult competitors. But it was impossible to be a sexually-active young person living in Hollywood or frequenting the SoCal beaches, without getting waylaid at their parties, garage sales, free food parades... even gas stations (yes, Synanon owned gas stations where I filled up my Chevy).
Back then, Ron Hubbard's biggest problem wasn't being raked by the mainstream media— it was competing with Werner Erhard. You couldn't walk down the street in Venice or on Vine, without three people coming up to ask you if you wanted to take a "quiz," share a joint while taking a personal inventory, or hook up at some killer party that night that had an underground grotto and a wall-size tropical aquarium.
I was just a teenage girl. Not a beauty or a celebrity, but freckled and slender— an instant pass to the goofball-religion social set. I was immune to their "faith," for some reason. But I was curious and horny, I had lots of free time on my hands— and I'd never seen an underground pool grotto.
I said yes to all kinds of things, for one night. I was more interested in smoking real opium than the metaphorical stuff--- but jeez, the Cult Dingdongs had both. On the surface, there was a lot of talk about cleaning out your system from drug and sex problems. But there was so much drugs and sex that it seemed to be a recruiting tool. Do a bunch of blow, then go on a "cleanse." Where's your next audition? Welcome to L.A.
I had a fuck buddy named Trey one summer, one of their drug dealers— he serviced all the goofballs. He was so good in bed, but in the space of two months he went from maintaining a healthy skepticism to parroting their platitudes. I remember one night lying in a round waterbed in Newport Beach, thinking, "Ugh, I can't believe he's naked talking like this." His sense of humor disappeared in a tropical fishie-pie mist, and god knows his cunnilingus technique probably died along with it.
Scientology started recruiting on the street, Sunset Boulevard hustlers— now they're cordoned off from the regular public. I have no idea how you get an invite to smoke their opium anymore, but I get the feeling we're about to read all about it in the National Enquirer. Funny that both Scientology and the Vatican are trembling in their cloisters. As Trey used to say, "What a fucking racket."