Scientology has become very adept over the years at dodging questions about how a belief regarding alien beings from outer space interlocks with its doctrines.

Witness what happened when a seemingly naïve and apparently uninformed university student reporter supposedly “Infiltrat[ed] Scientology.”

The article that reads more like a guided tour than an “infiltration” appeared in a campus newspaper The Strand in Toronto.

The student journalist reports “As for aliens, [the Scientology designated spokesperson] said he had no idea. There is, he said, no group consensus amongst Scientologists as to the existence or non-existence of aliens¦that there was no clear answer. It’s up to each member.”

Pretty clever.No tough questions for the couple known as 'TomKat'

It’s not until a Scientologist reaches “Operating Thetan Level 3” or “OT3” that he or she learns about Xenu the outer space ruler who sent billions of beings to earth millions of years ago to resolve an overpopulation problem.

If you are a Scientologist you typically must pay your way up to OT3 before this secret is revealed.

Many Scientologists may never learn about Xenu and the spiritual residue of aliens still around that continue to haunt the earth attaching to humans as “body thetans” or what Scientologists frequently call “BTs.” And one way Scientology can effectively dodge this pesky issue is to set reporters up with staffers who have not yet reached OT3.

In this way if the question of Sci-fi theology comes up, the staffer can honestly plead ignorance. This is a form of spin control often called “plausible denial.”

But if a Scientologist manages to reach OT3 it’s not “up to each member” whether Xenu ever existed or whether what is called “the incident” actually occurred and there is a very “clear answer.”

After all, Scientology’s founder L. Ron Hubbard wrote this “sacred text” and when was the last time you heard Tom Cruise or John Travolta say he was wrong?

OT3 is therefore what is called an “article of faith” and an important fundamental feature of Scientology and its theology.

Perhaps when journalists do an interview with a Scientologist they should first do some homework.

Scientology sued quiet a few people in an effort to keep OT3 and other teachings it considers “trade secrets” unavailable to the general public.

However, European Web sites beat Scientology in court making Hubbard’s teachings easy to learn for free.

Operation Clambake has the text of all eight of Hubbard’s OT levels up and accessible to anyone interested with Internet access.

Why not ask John Travolta questions that require some serious thinking?So what could a serious journalist do when asking Scientologists questions about their beliefs?

First, establish the OT level of the Scientologist they are talking to.

Ask, “Have you reached an OT level yet?”

Once it is established that the Scientologist is at least an OT3 ask about it, but word the question carefully and precisely.

For example a reporter might ask, “Since you have reached OT3 you are aware that Scientology teaches the human condition can in part be explained by an event that began in outer space and took place millions of years ago?”

Next question, “Scientology’s founder L. Ron Hubbard specifically wrote about aliens from what he considered a historical perspective and how such visitors from outer space have affected the earth and humanity, didn’t he? And you were taught this when you reached ‘Operating Thetan Level 3,’ isn’t that correct?”

If the Scientologist doesn’t respond or somehow becomes evasive the reporter can ask meaningful follow-up questions.

For example, “So you deny then that Mr. Hubbard ever wrote about such a historical incident taking place, which involved alien beings coming to earth in spaceships and that no such teaching has ever existed nor has it been taught within Scientology?”

Cruise and Travolta have both reportedly reached “OT7,” so they know all about Xenu, the spaceships and BTs.

Will anyone in the mainstream media ever ask these Hollywood stars such questions, or will most reporters just keep throwing softballs and/or accept any answer without meaningful follow-up?

So far Comedy Central’s South Park show lampooning Tom Cruise and Scientology has been the most recent and perhaps boldest effort to bring “out of the closet” Scientology’s carefully guarded secrets. But why is a comedy show seemingly the only mainstream media venue that explores these basic questions concerning the controversial church that has been called a “cult.”

What ever happened to serious journalism and serious journalists asking serious questions?

After all if Tom Cruise and other Hollywood Scientologists want to use their celebrity and media access to promote their religion, its related programs and projects and preach their beliefs, isn’t it fair to ask them a few meaningful questions about the substance of those beliefs?

Mel Gibson doesn’t have a problem discussing the crucifixion of Jesus so why should John Travolta have a problem talking about Xenu? When Gibson promoted his film “The Passion” he spoke quite frankly and openly about his faith and its beliefs.

Should the public then conclude that the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard within the Scientology OT levels is something Tom Cruise and his fellow Scientologists are somehow either ashamed and/or embarrassed about?


6 comments untill now

  1. ALL scientologists who have done the “Upper levels” including OT3
    have signed an agreement of confidentiality. They MUST NOT and CANNOT discuss the issues involved.
    The truth however is that Hubbard talks about aliens and “galactic civilizations” constantly in his over-the-counter standard Scientology books and tape recordings- he gets into great detail about the subject. It’s ludicrous.
    ALL (new) scientologists are lied to by their “more advanced” colleagues regarding this, and are led to believe that they can for the time being, avoid making a decision about the subject. This goes on until THEY TOO have been brainwashed, at which point they will treat the totality of L.R.Hubbard’s writing and opinions as absolute truth, NO ifs and buts. Any Scientologist saying otherwise is lying: He knows the truth- NO ONE may go up the “Bridge To Total Freedom” with any other opinions than those of the “Source”, Hubbard. The True Believer lies to himself too, but that is what being brainwashed is all about, and where the biggest betrayal takes form.

  2. Ken Yeung @ 2006-01-19 20:01

    Indeed. Were I an entertainment reporter in Hollywood (and not a copywriter in Indonesia) I would devote much time and energy to exposing the folly of Cruise and fellow celeb scientologists. And that South Park episode was great, although apparently it won’t be aired in the UK due fears Cruise will sue.

    Incidentally, Cruise has at times been questioned by the media about aliens:

    Reuters report on Cruise telling German magazine Bild he believes in Aliens:

    Tom Cruise: We’re not alone
    Wednesday, June 29, 2005; Posted: 10:55 a.m. EDT (14:55 GMT)
    BERLIN, Germany (Reuters) — Hollywood actor Tom Cruise not only battles creatures from outer space in his latest film “War of the Worlds”, he also believes aliens exist, he told a German newspaper on Wednesday.

    Asked in an interview with the tabloid daily Bild if he believed in aliens, Cruise said: “Yes, of course. Are you really so arrogant as to believe we are alone in this universe?

    “Millions of stars, and we’re supposed to be the only living creatures? No, there are many things out there, we just don’t know,” Cruise, 42, said in the interview published in German.

    More is raised here:

    If someone wants to really interview Cruise about space aliens they should ask him a few questions like these:

    Mr. Cruise, do you believe that 75 million years ago an evil galactic ruler named Xenu deposited trillions of paralyzed alien bodies on earth and then destroyed them with H-bombs?


    And here:

    Tom Cruise Denies Xenu
    June 24, 2005
    Xenu was a galactic overlord who, 75 million years ago, brought billions of people to Earth to execute them. Their souls stuck around, though, and continue to harm the living. This is the basis of Scientology. So why is Tom Cruise denying Xenu?

    The Washington Times reports:

    The Boston Phoenix said its reporter, Gary Sussman, asked Cruise at a press conference promoting the new movie “War of the Worlds” to talk about his religion in the context of the movie’s theme — an alien invasion of Earth from outer space. The paper said Cruise “snapped” in response to the question.

    “What paper are you from?” said Cruise.

    Neither this nor any other report I’ve seen has provided the full account. I saw the exchange on television and the reporter asked about whether the theme of the movie resonated with Cruise’s religion. Cruise asked why that might be the case and the reporter responded with a reference to how Scientology includes beliefs about aliens visiting Earth in the distant past.

    Cruise’s response here was something like “That’s not true.”

    I’m pretty sure that Cruise is far enough along in his Scientology training to have been made aware of Xenu and all the nutty alien stuff, so why would he not be honest about Scientology’s beliefs?

    Oh, right, because he doesn’t want people to realize that he believes all that nutty alien stuff. I guess I can’t blame him.

  3. chuckbeatty77 @ 2006-01-19 21:54

    Dear Rick,

    Thanks very much for all you do.

    I was in Scientology for 28 years, 27 as a lifetime staffer, and I really appreciate all you have done over the years.

    I apologized once, to you, last year, and again, I thank you very much for just pointing out the obvious.

    I will be working the rest of my life doing whatever I can to help undo the disgraceful practices that harm so many people’s lives.

    You do excellent work, thankyou for persisting and doing what you do.

    Best, Chuck Beatty
    412-260-1170 (Pittsburgh)

  4. moontaco @ 2006-01-21 23:40

    Rick, I’m glad to see you and others making suggestions about questions journalists could ask Scientologist celebrities. But truly, as far as I’m concerned, the Xenu story is the least of my concerns about Scientology.

    Sure, it’s a good hook–a convenient way of mocking an organization that has perpetrated many abuses. And if that’s going to make people start to realize that Scientology isn’t simply an offbeat alternative religion, I have no objection. But I’d really like to see journalists asking about the things that bother me about the Church of Scientology, including harassment of critics (many of whom are former members), poor treatment and living conditions of Sea Org members and their children, the RPF, and past horrors like Operation Snow White and the death of Lisa McPherson. I think you should do a follow-up piece suggesting questions journalists might ask that are on the abuses. I don’t know if the celebrities who are asked such questions would have anything more to say than the typical dismissals (accusing those who allege abuses of being anti-religious bigots), but asking about the abuses would put them out there so the general public is aware of them.

  5. moreinfo @ 2006-01-22 20:08

    On December 21, 2005, the final appeal went against Michael Sklar who wanted to deduct money paid for his daughter’s religious education from his taxes. His argument was that because Scientology could he should be able to do so also. In 2002, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals also ruled against him and a judge suggested that the proper course of action might be a suit against the IRS stopping them from giving Scientology the deductions which were denied by a Supreme Court ruling in 1989. Is anyone considering a lawsuit to force the IRS to revoke its action giving Scientology a religious tax exemtion?

  6. Yes the teachings of Scientology seem silly to the average person, with Xenu and aliens and spaceships and volcanoes with nukes etc. But attacking a cult by making fun of the absurdity of it’s teachings is the wrong way to go about it, in my opinion. ALL religious teachings are silly, preposterous, and downright comical the an enlightened educated person.

    You can make fun of Christianity for talking snakes and talking donkeys and the entire deluge story as well.

    About the only belief system that is free of absurdity is science, as all it’s “beliefs” are backed by reproducible evidence and independent verification.

    In any case, for the record I am an atheist and was once a Jehovah’s Witness.