Salon calls Scientology Dianetics “stranger than fiction”

Academics often called “cult apologists” have come to the rescue and defended both Tom Cruise and Scientology in the press lately.

J. Gordon Melton and David G. Bromley were both quoted in a recent article run within the Chicago Sun-Times.

Bromley is an old friend of Scientology and has been officially recommended by the controversial church as a “religious resource.”

The so-called “new Cult Awareness Network” reportedly run by Scientology also once recommended both Bromley and Melton for “factual information on new religions,” in the wake of a California cult (“Heaven’s Gate“) mass suicide in 1997.

David Bromley’s frequent writing partner Anson Shupe made a bundle working for Scientology lawyers. He helped Scientology knock off its perceived nemesis the “old Cult Awareness Network” enabling a Scientologist attorney to eventually buy its name and files through a bankruptcy proceeding.

The files of Scientology’s former foe were later handed over to J. Gordon Melton.

Melton and Bromley can almost always be counted on to defend virtually any group called a “cult” no matter how heinous or harmful.

Bromley told the Chicago Sun-Times, “Cult is a four-letter word for a religion you don’t like.”

It seems Time Magazine must have got it wrong when it called Scientology the “Cult of Greed,” despite the fact that a subsequent libel suit filed against the publication by the purported “cult” sputtered to a dismissal without ever going to trial.

Mr. Melton has raked in quite a nest egg working for groups like the Children of God and the International Church of Christ. He was paid by J.Z. Knight (known as Ramtha) to write a book, not to mention his all expenses paid trip to Japan courtesy of the infamous cult known as “Aum Supreme Truth.”

Melton arrived in Japan in 1995 and promptly pronounced that Aum was the victim of “persecution,” despite the fact that the cult had gassed the Tokyo Subway system sending thousands of Japanese to hospitals and killing twelve.

Melton told the Chicago Sun-Times that “new religions,” his supposedly politically correct euphemism to describe “cults,” put people off because of their “newness.”

However, it appears that what puts people off most about Tom Cruise’s behavior and his strange Scientology banter is the bizarre nature of it all.

Today the London Free Press asked, “Has Cruise Cracked?”

Meanwhile Salon Magazine published a critique of Scientology and its founder titled “Stranger than Fiction.”

How convenient is the timing that these two alleged academics Melton and Bromley are now helping out Scientology’s “poster boy” Tom Cruise.

But the news media should know that such specious scholars cannot be counted upon for any meaningful objectivity, they are politically if not literally invested in their positions.

Benjamin Zablocki, a professor of sociology at Rutgers University put it succinctly when he said, “The sociology of religion can no longer avoid the unpleasant ethical question of how to deal with the large sums of money being pumped into the field by the religious groups being studied…This is an issue that is slowly but surely building toward a public scandal.”

Stephen Kent, a professor of sociology at the University of Alberta in Canada concluded, “Scholars who compromise objectivity or academic integrity threaten to diminish the reputation of social science.”

Rich religious groups like Scientology can easily afford to pump cash into the pockets of quite a few professors and assorted academics. Perhaps the press should scrutinize more carefully the likes of sources such as David G. Bromley and J. Gordon Melton.


It looks like Madonna and her spiritual mentors at the Kabbalah Centre (KC) can breathe a sigh of relief thanks to movie star Tom Cruise sucking up the oxygen in the news lately.

A scathing series about her supposedly Jewish mystical group run by Radar Magazine and an investigative report on ABC’s 20/20 went largely unnoticed by the tabloids and mainstream press because the “biggest movie star in the world” has been having his own little media meltdown.

As Tom Cruise stumbles and fumbles from one interview and/or public appearance to another with his new galpal Katie Holmes in tow no one seemed to notice the reports about that other “Hollywood cult.”

Nevertheless, it is the controversial KC that has arguably become the number one “new religion” within the entertainment industry, drawing in popular celebrities such as the Hiltons, Donna Karan, Britney Spears and Ashton Kutcher, while stars within the Church of Scientology become less liked, relevant and/or struggle with weight problems.

Hawking everything from its staple “Kabbalah Water” ($2.65 per one-liter bottle) to the hot selling “red string” amulet ($26.00) and more recently its very own “Kabbalah Energy Drink” (a carbonated combination of its holy water and caffeine), the controversial KC seemed poised to bump Scientology off its perch in Hollywood.

Well maybe not just yet.

Tom Cruise, Scientology’s remaining big star has managed to bring his faith back into the media limelight, though the actor’s co-religionists may not feel their getting the kind of attention they like.

Meanwhile, Radar has revealed that the family who controls the KC (Mr. and Mrs. Philip Berg and their sons Michael and Yehuda) just might be better at garnering stars and accumulating assets than the late L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology.

Reportedly the supposed “Kabbalists” have built a spiritual empire with assets of approximately $60 million, a total disclosed through the paperwork of just a few Berg-controlled nonprofit entities. Much of this accumulated wealth has been developed since 1996, the magical year that Madonna began to grace the KC’s mystical minions.

The former “Material Girl” alone has reportedly personally contributed at least $18 million to various Kabbalah Centre linked coffers.

All this has enabled Papa, Mama and the baby Bergs to live life large, which includes pricey customized mini-mansions in Beverly Hills, paid for by the tax-exempted charity they control.

It seems like the once tough Madonna has become a soft touch when it comes to her spiritual mentors and may be little more than their stooge, pouring her time and money into such things as children’s books that benefit the Berg-controlled charity called “Spirituality for Kids” (SFK).

Radar reports that SFK actually only had about 150 participants in Los Angeles during 2003, despite the fact that this specious spiritual endeavor spent $813,092 on program services: $440,332 of it on salaries and wages, and a “scandalously low” $1,985 through a scholarship fund.

SFK apparently is better at flipping LA real estate for a profit than helping children.

The nonprofit organization, which touts Madonna as its international chairperson, reportedly loaned out about $1.5 million in private mortgages to a company controlled by Berg devotees.

How does making a fast buck on real estate help kids to become more spiritual?

Never mind.

Madonna seems to be so “brainwashed” she doesn’t appear to care. Instead of showing up where needy kids might be the aging pop icon was recently seen at a public signing for her latest children’s book in Bergdorf’s Manhattan store, a venue the Berg’s probably felt could potentially provide them with more rich patrons. The store also sells KC products.

And what about the “wisdom” the Bergs dole out to their awed disciples?

Well, Radar reported that it’s often written by paid professional ghostwriters possibly recruited through ads on the Web site “Craig’s List,” while some was allegedly plagiarized.

Can ghostwriters and/or purported plagiarism provide religious revelation? Madonna seems to think so. When asked about Radar’s revelations she said, “I have an incredible leader [Philip Berg] who is very wise. The last thing you’d accuse him of is charlatism…don’t listen to the messenger, hear the message.”

Radar also pulled back the Berg’s corporate shells and uncovered a labyrinth of intertwined entities controlled by the family and its friends, which raises serious questions about KC tax-exempt nonprofit status.

And why does the KC maintain branches in such unlikely places as Bogotá, Cali, and Medellín, Colombia, which are known more for drug trafficking and money laundering rather than Jewish mysticism?

Madonna looks more like a dupe than a diva these days.

As the middle-aged singer approaches fifty and her career opportunities turn more to clothing ads and perfume instead of new music, perhaps the spiritual bromides and trinkets offered by the Bergs make her feel better.

But won’t that feeling turn to humiliation as the public exposure of the KC begins to set in?

So far the diva turned diehard “cult member” seems unfazed by the growing controversy surrounding the KC. “They’re not worldly-wise, they’ve been naive about marketing themselves,” she is quoted to say in ContactMusic.com.

Does Madonna think spirituality is about “marketing”? Perhaps she does given her penchant for selling herself. And she may believe that the Bergs should sell themselves in much the same way.

But Madonna’s “Lucky Star” appears to have fallen as many of her disillusioned fans fade away. It seems they liked her sex book better than the “Kabbalah” branded stories she now sells for kids.


Actor Tom Cruise is becoming increasingly known for his commitment to Scientology rather than his latest film. And an article faith for Scientologists is a belief in aliens from outer space.

No, this is not a joke.

Scientology teaches its devotees that much of the human condition can be attributed to an “incident” that began in outer space and ended on planet earth.

Sound like Steven Spielberg’s new movie called “War of the Worlds“?

Well, this isn’t a movie script, but rather a religious sacrament amongst Scientologists.

This great truth is revealed to church members when they reach the rank of OT-3 (Operating Thetan Level 3).

Tom Cruise is an OT-6.

Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard is responsible for the origination of this sacred text.

Hubbard revealed that 75 million years ago an alien galactic ruler resolved an overpopulation problem by sending his excess subjects to earth on spaceships.

Billions of aliens thus came here, but they were paralyzed and stacked around the base of volcanoes.

Then H-bombs were lowered and detonated within the volcanoes, hence the exploding mountaintops often seen in Scientology promotions, a cryptic allusion to their once well kept secret that now is widely known through the Internet.

But these billions of alien souls called “thetans” still remain on earth clustered in groups. And Tom Cruise, along with other Scientologists, believes that every earthling is full of them.

These Body Thetans or BTs are also supposedly problematic little pests, which should be dealt with.

Think of Scientology as the ultimate “BT buster.”

Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Jenna Elfman all have paid copious amounts of cash to clear themselves and bust those potentially debilitating BTs.

Cruise and Elfman have both reached OT-6, but long-time Scientologist Travolta is an OT-7, though this doesn’t seem to have done his career much good lately.

Sound like some internal/personal “War of the Worlds” these stars have undertaken?

Who says life can’t be like a movie?

L. Ron Hubbard was a Sci-fi writer before becoming a revered religious prophet, though some say he was more like a “cult leader.”

But Hubbard’s story telling bombed as the colossal movie flop “Battlefield Earth” demonstrated starring John Travolta. The author arguably did better creating religious myths. When Hubbard died in 1986 his financial residue was reportedly valued at more than $600 million dollars.

H.G. Welles, the author of “War of the Worlds” certainly knew how to write good Science Fiction, so maybe Tom Cruise will do better than John Travolta with his latest movie project.

But wouldn’t it be great and create much more of a buzz if during the former Top Gun’s round of promotional interviews he held forth regarding the great truth taught by Scientology about aliens from outer space? After all it relates rather nicely to the theme of his latest film and allegedly explains much of humanity’s problems.

Wait a minute; forget about such a humanitarian effort.

Tom Cruise can’t do that because of another seemingly holy Scientology sacrament. And that is you have to pay for religious revelation in his church, and there is quite a price list of suggested donations. Those who haven’t paid their way to OT-3 may never learn of the carefully guarded secret about spaceships from other worlds.

Well, that is before the proliferation of the Internet.

Now you can just point and click here.