Scientology's Seduction of Tom Cruise, Role in Nicole Kidman Split Detailed
One day, Cruise flew his little red-and-white-striped Pitts Special biplane, designed for aerobatics, to Hemet, along with his Scientologist chief of staff, Michael Doven. Miscavige and Rathbun picked them up and drove them to Gold Base. Rathbun was in the back seat and recalls Cruise boasting to COB about his talks with the secretary.
"Bush may be an idiot," Miscavige observed, "but I wouldn't mind his being our Constantine," referring to the first Roman Emperor to convert to Christianity.
Cruise agreed. "If f--ing Arnold can be governor, I could be president."
Miscavige responded, "Well, absolutely, Tom."
(Cruise, through his lawyer, denies this exchange and says he has no political ambition.)(29)
Cruise turned his attention to the other Scientologists in the industry. Many had gone quiet following the negative publicity surrounding several high-profile exposés of the Church or had never openly admitted their affiliation with Scientology to begin with. Cruise called a meeting of other Scientology celebrities and urged them to become more outspoken. The popular singer Beck, who had grown up in the Church, subsequently began speaking openly about his faith. Erika Christensen, a rising young actress who was also a second-generation Scientologist, called Cruise her spiritual mentor.
By the mid-2000s, Cruise was considered the unofficial Ethics Officer of Hollywood. He was the embodiment of Hubbard's vision of a Church with temples dedicated to celebrity rather than God. Cruise's intensity and commitment, along with his spectacular ambition, matched Miscavige's own. It was as if Miscavige had rubbed a magic lantern and Cruise had appeared, a genie who could open any door. He was one of the few people Miscavige saw as a peer. Miscavige even wondered if there was some way to appoint Cruise the Church's Inspector General for Ethics -- Rathbun's job.(30)
"He'd say that Tom Cruise was the only person in Scientology, other than himself, that he would trust to run the Church," one former Sea Org member recalled. Rathbun observed: "Miscavige convinced Cruise that he and Tom were two of only a handful of truly 'big beings' on the planet. He instructed Cruise that LRH was relying upon them to unite with the few others of their ilk on earth to make it onto 'Target Two' -- some unspecified galactic locale where they would meet up with Hubbard in the afterlife."(31)
Lawrence Wright is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of six books, including The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, which won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize.
Excerpted from Going Clear by Lawrence Wright. Copyright (c) 2013by Lawrence Wright. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
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29th footnote: Interview with Mark “Marty” Rathbun.
30th footnote: Morton, Tom Cruise, p. 337.
31st footnote: Reitman, Inside Scientology, p. 290.
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