Scientology's 'Top Gun'Janet Reitman wrote a 13,000-word article for the February 23rd  issue of Rolling Stone magazine titled “Inside Scientology.” It may well be the most comprehensive and meticulous journalistic work about the controversial church written since 1991, when Rich Behar completed the cover story “Scientology: The Cult of Greed” for Time Magazine.

Though not as tough as the Time piece Reitman’s effort may pack enough punch, according to Fox News entertainment reporter Roger Friendman, to “drive a permanent wedge between Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner.”

However, there isn’t anything really that new in Rolling Stone. Essentially it’s a rehash of Scientology’s turbulent history and the often-troubled life of its founder L. Ron Hubbard.

Included are some compelling personal stories of kids that have suffered through and left Scientology, rejecting their family religion.

An obligatory paean if of course is included regarding Hubbard’s absurd “space opera” about an “evil galactic warlord named Xenu,” which Scientologists accept as religious truth.

Somewhat amusing was Mike Rinder, Scientology’s “Number Two,” getting red faced and going into a “tirade” over Reitman’s questions concerning the unusual belief. “I’m not explaining it to you, and I could not explain it to you…you don’t have a hope of understanding it,” he said. 

The comedy show South Park apparently did understand “Xenu,” as a joke.

Rolling Stone did clarify that though Scientology “claims 10 million members” and has holdings valued “in the billions of dollars” it may actually only have “a core practicing membership…between 100,000 and 200,000.”

Nothing new here, but worth including. Some “journalists” never bother to qualify the claims of Scientology.

In fact according to one set of figures Reitman cited “Scientology is shrinking.”

Scientology's 'volunteer ministers'Maybe that’s why Tom Cruise is always frantically proselytizing and Scientology’s “volunteer ministers” keep showing up at disasters around the world in those bright yellow jackets?

Rolling Stone did the requisite debunking of L. Ron Hubbard’s grandiose official biography. Scientology’s “genius” flunked out of college and was no war hero. He also wasn’t a very loyal friend to his benefactor Whiteside Parsons. After moving in with the wealthy scientist and “helping him with a variety of black-magic and sex rituals” as his “apprentice” Hubbard took up with the man’s mistress, who later became one of his wives.

Perhaps the most interesting facts reported by Reitman were about Scientology’s savior’s death.

According to a coroner’s report Rolling Stone cited Hubbard expired “in a state of decrepitude: unshaven, with long, thinning whitish-red hair and unkempt fingernails and toenails.” And within his “system was the anti-anxiety drug hydroxyzine (Vistaril).”

Sounds a bit like the last days of strange reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes. Now what would Tom Cruise say about that?

Scientology’s “Top Gun” criticized Brooke Shields for psychiatric drug use, would he criticize the savior of Scientology for the same supposed “sin”?

Hubbard didn’t like homosexuals, which may explain why some Scientologists are purportedly “trapped in the closet.” And if they ever “come out” he advised that “such people should be taken from the society as rapidly as possible” because “no social order will survive which does not remove these people from its midst” quoted Rolling Stone.

The founder of Scientology would be an anachronism in today’s Hollywood given the Oscar nominations for a “gay cowboy movie” and another film based upon the work of the effete author Truman Capote.

Don’t expect Tom Cruise or John Travolta to hand out an Oscar to somone associated with one of those two films.

The only really startling thing about Janet Reitman’s piece for Rolling Stone is how commonplace Scientology revelations have now become.

Once it was daring for a reporter to expose the dark side of the controversial church, now it’s expected and everyone seems to know about “Xenu.”

Another interesting development is that Scientology doesn’t sue like it used to. South Park literally dared the formerly litigious church, but it demurred. And it probably won’t sue Rolling Stone either.

It seems that Scientology has learned that suing its critics only affords them more attention, engenders bad press and further criticism.

Maybe the cebrity handlers at the church could help Tom Cruise calm down, isn’t there a course they can sell him for that?


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