Katie Holmes 'Biggest Nightmare' in Scientology History, Say Experts
Using L. Ron Hubbard's "attack, don't defend" strategy, Holmes even fired Tom Cruise's older daughter weeks before filing for divorce; opposite tack from Nicole Kidman.
Because of Rathbun’s former status in Scientology, he says he is the go-to guy for people leaving the church. He told THR he got information about how Holmes has been spied on and reported on by Scientologists from people who defected as recently as three months ago. His well-read, no-holds-barred blog also contains detailed comments by many of them, a number of whom state their names.
"Church members are required to report on one another, especially if they see any infractions to the way the church believes you should lead your life," says Rathbun. "Tom’s personal staff including his sisters are much more afraid of Miscavige than they are of Tom. They’ve reported every detail of Tom’s life to Miscavige for 15 years. Katie was always being watched. So is Tom."
But even if Scientology is in a more precarious state than it was 10 years ago, these former members do not expect the church to necessarily abandon its trademark moves when it comes to trying to crush what it sees as the opposition. Nor does the church necessarily realize how the 24-hour news cycle and breaking-news gossip sites like TMZ have made some of its practices more transparent, ex-members say.
"Scientology is going to do to Katie what they always do in these situations," says Headley, who wrote 2009's Blown for Good: Behind the Iron Curtain of Scientology. "They’re going to put a thousand private investigators on her tail and dig through her garbage and talk to her staff even though they don’t have any real dirt on her."
Adds Headley: "Scientologists don’t know the world has changed. Miscavige lives in a bubble. They are still using Hubbard’s playbook for strategy that was written in the 1950s and doesn’t work too well in the age of the Internet."
On the allegations that Holmes has been being followed by the organization, Soter wrote: "There is no truth whatsoever to the reports that the Church of Scientology has sent anyone to follow Katie Holmes. The cars and individuals widely reported in the media as looking suspicious were not sent by the Church.
"We understand that the media has now confirmed that the 'suspicious' men outside of Katie Holmes’ residence were actually working for Katie Holmes (see, e.g. latest Inside Edition report)," he wrote. "Yet, one of the people that you interviewed confidently reported on his blog that the Church had hired security guards to follow Katie Holmes and that the Church and its attorneys were engaged in artful lying. I would consider any re-publication of alleged information from these sources to be made in reckless disregard of the truth."
Rathbun, Rinder, De La Carriere, Scobee and Headley told THR they are still sometimes confronted, threatened or followed by people sent by the church years after having left Scientology. All of them, as well as other ex-Scientologists who did not want to go on the record, say they have been disconnected from family members.
Says Rinder: "What Katie is doing is going to drive a wedge in a door that Scientology was trying to keep closed. She is going to stir up a media frenzy, and a lot of people are going to find out what a lot of us have known for years."
Scobee says that the impending divorce -- Cruise’s third -- will be an embarrassment to Scientology. "The church is supposed to be about people improving their lives," she says. "It’s supposed to help people with their marriages, not get divorced three times."
De La Carriere says Holmes may be legitimately scared for her daughter because she claims Scientology deliberately turned the two adopted children of Cruise and Kidman against Kidman during and after the divorce.
One anti-Scientology activist who has worked with church members after they left the organization recalls that Kidman called him during her divorce from Cruise. "Nicole reached out to us because there was really no one else to go to," the source says. "It was very different back then, and she didn’t have anyone to go to for help and answers."
Rathbun says Cruise was a "total gentleman" during his divorce from Kidman, and they split everything 50-50, including custody of their adopted daughter Isabella and son Connor.
But Rathbun says that then the organization, including all the staff members who work in Cruise’s Los Angeles home, began to quietly turn the kids against Kidman.