Is Scientology responsible for making Tom Cruise into “someone who effectuates creative suicide” as Viacom President Sumner Redstone told the Wall Street Journal?

Tom Cruise 'suicide'?The billionaire media mogul explained ”His recent conduct has not been acceptable to Paramount.”

And then Redstone did the unthinkable, he effectively dumped the “world’s greatest movie star.”

Now the former “Top Gun” is hoping some “hedge fund” will back his production company and Hollywood is buzzing with questions.

How could a star so high fall so far and this quickly?

Wasn’t it just a couple years ago that Tom Cruise could do no wrong?

Could the often-secretive Church of Scientology be part of the answer?

A writer for the Huffington Post claims that “anti-Scientology religious bigotry” was somehow responsible for the star’s demise.

But was it “bigotry” over Scientology or a reaction to Cruise’s increasingly bizarre behavior linked to the church that led to his downfall?

It’s been a heady ride for Tom Cruise from “Risky Business” to “Mission Impossible.” But has the star risen to such a height that his demands and hubris overreached the limit. And was his judgement somehow impaired?

Cruise arguably became both vindictive and punitive.

His often quoted rant about Brooke Shields taking anti-depression medication and an apparent absence of humor regarding a hilarious South Park send-up paved the way for the public to perceive the once popular star quite differently.

Instead of the carefully crafted image his former publicist Pat Kingsley helped to construct and burnish over the years when she represented the actor, cracks began to show in his famous facade.

Here's Tommy!The smile that once made Cruise a romantic leading man, appeared more like the demented grin of Jack Nicholson playing a madman.

What happened?

As CultNews reported previously strange behavior could be a byproduct of Scientology. 

Sitcom star Jeanna Elfman also appeared to be getting stranger as she moved up the ladder of Scientology’s spiritual training levels. Both Elfman and Cruise had been working on “Operating Thetan Level 7″ (OT-7). Scientology has eight OT levels to ascend.

Rich stars like John Travolta (an OT-7), Cruise and Elfman have no problem paying for the expensive courses and “auditing” that enables them to reach this higher plateau within the organization that Time Magazine once called a “The Cult of Greed.”

But does continued Scientology training cause mental and/or emotional disturbances?

One example might be the case of Lisa McPherson, a dedicated long-term Scientologist that experienced a mental meltdown before dying under the care of Scientology.

Shortly before her untimely death at 36 the Scientologist who began taking courses at 23 told her spiritual caregivers in Clearwater, Florida “I am L. Ron Hubbard…I created time 3 billion years ago.”

A wrongful death suit filed by the young woman’s family ended after seven years of litigation when Scientology paid them off rather than go to trial.

Another claimed casualty of the controversial church was Lawrence Wollersheim, who said that Scientology’s influence drove him into a mental disorder and to the brink of suicide. 

Scientology eventually paid Wollersheim an $8.6 million dollar settlement.

Lisa McPherson 1959-1995What could this organization some have labeled a “Sci-fi cult” do to send its adherents into orbit?

According to the testimony of one former long-term member in a personal injury court case there are church drills and courses that “brainwash them.”

Tom Cruise “brainwashed”?

Perhaps ”brainwashing” explains how a super star at the top of his game plunged into “creative suicide” through a series of personal and public meltdowns. 

Pat Kingsley must be shaking her head pondering how her once cooperative client went through such a series of hapless blunders, which ultimately led to an end result that Viacom chief Redstone said “costs the company revenue.” 

According to Joe Keldani, a Scientologist trained by that organization’s elite “Guardians Office,” something strange happened at the highest levels of Scientology during his watch.

Keldani claimed that ”the first few hundred OT 8 got ill and had to be recalled for repair.”

Does Tom Cruise need to be recalled?

Sumner Redstone seems to think so, but he is not willing to pay the “repair” bill.

As reported by the Ellsworth American a purported “cult” called the “Gentle Wind Project” (GWP) has been “blown away” by Maine’s top law enforcer.

Steven RoweMaine’s motto is “Dirigo”, which means “I lead” and its Attorney General (AG) Steven Rowe has led the way for law enforcement, by shutting down GWP in his state.

Former 17-year GWP members and Maine residents Judy Garvey and Jim Bergin first led the way by exposing the organization through their Web site “Wind of Changes,” which shared information about the group founded by John D. Miller and his companion Mary E. “Moe” Miller.

GWP sells so-called “healing instruments” based upon designs that allegedly came from the “Spirit World” via telepathic impressions received by John Miller

GWP has been called a “cult.”

'healing card'Suggested donations for these “instruments,” which look more like plastic cards and hockey pucks than anything technological, range from $250 to $7,800.

Maine’s AG filed a lawsuit against GWP for both unlawful mismanagement of charitable funds and making deceptive health claims about its paraphernalia.

Rather than go forward and take their chances in court the Millers chose instead to settle, but the terms of that settlement were withering and will likely be devastating to GWP.

According to a published consent decree released this week by the AG, GWP has “agreed to pay civil penalties and costs and to an injunction that prohibits them from making certain health and research claims about the ‘healing instruments’ or from serving as fiduciaries or advisors for any other Maine nonprofit. The parties have also agreed that GWP will be dissolved, and its remaining assets distributed by the Attorney General as restitution to consumers who purchased a ‘healing instrument’ since 2003 and to a Maine charity whose charitable mission is to provide services to those with mental health disabilities.”

Rowe told the press that GWP “damaged the public’s trust and it should not be allowed to continue.”

John MillerThe Millers must pay civil penalties of $20,000 for violations of the state’s Unfair Trade Practices Act. And GWP’s directors agreed to pay the $30,000 cost of investigating the group and related attorney’s fees.

Included in the agreed upon liquidation of GWP’s assets is a building in Kittery, Maine assessed at $440,500, and another property in Durham, assessed at $879,500.

The Millers attempted to put their own spin on the settlement.

In a public statement Mary Miller claimed, “People around the globe” would continue to benefit from the “healing instruments” GWP sells.

Miller also claimed that GWP directors were “the victims of…classic cyber-smear campaigning.”

The “campaigning” she refers to was essentially the information posted through the Internet by Judy Garvey and Jim Bergin. The couple launched their Web site as an effort to inform the general public and also GWP’s “instrument keepers” about what they knew regarding the practices of the group and its leaders. That effort ultimately paved the way for further investigation, which led to the current shutdown.

Garvey/Bergin were sued by GWP in an apparent attempt to silence them, but the couple stood firm and fought the Millers through the courts in a battle that began in 2004.

Other Internet sites that provided information about “cults” were also either threatened with legal action or sued by GWP for posting information about the group.

Some settled quickly by deleting that information, while others stood firm.

The Ross Institute of New Jersey (RI), sponsor of CultNews, was threatened and then included in the Garvey/Bergin lawsuit after refusing to remove a single link to the Wind of Changes Web site and a brief remark posted at “Flaming Websites” in response to allegations made by the Millers.

RI was dismissed from the GWP litigation last year.

Responding to the settlement announced this week Judy Garvey told the press, “It shows that we were telling the truth,” reported Foster’s Sunday Citizen.

Garvey and Bergin’s lawyer Jerroll Crouter said, “Now we see the Gentle Wind Project has admitted that claims about the healing instruments are false. The damage to their reputation was caused by their own misrepresentations. We believe the defamation claims should be dismissed.”

Mary Miller seemingly is clinging to the idea that GWP will somehow continue its litigation against Garvey/Bergin.

However, the Miller’s lawyer Daniel Rosenthal of Verrill Dana seems to have other ideas. A motion has been filed by the Portland law firm to vacate the case as counsel, and a reliable source has told CultNews this was probably the result of the Millers not paying their legal bills.

Apparently Verrill Dana may become one of those standing in line for money dispersed by the AG through the liquidation of GWP assets.

Mary Miller boasted that GWP would continue, albeit outside the state of Maine, reported the Portland Press Herald.

“We have a very large group of volunteers all around the world,” she said.

Assistant Attorney General Carolyn Silsby lamented, “We would love to see Gentle Wind stop making their claims everywhere, but we can only enforce the laws of the state of Maine.”

puck anyone?Perhaps with Maine leading the way other state attorney generals will follow suit through similar actions across the United States, especially given the admissions the Millers have made in the consent decree, which is now a matter of public record.

According to the AG of Maine GWP distributed “more than $500,000 in so-called medical grants to patients who were asked to use and advocate for the instruments” reported Foster’s Sunday Citizen.

Robert Lang, a doctor in Connecticut and reportedly an associate professor at Yale University’s School of Nursing, touted GWP publicly and says that he hands out the Miller’s plastic paraphernalia to his patients.

“I thought they were doing a very honorable thing,” Lang told the press.

However, the AG’s investigation concluded otherwise and that there is no scientific evidence whatsoever to support GWP claims concerning its “healing instruments.”

GWP declared assets of $1.3 million in August 2004 and John Miller received a salary of $70,270. The supposed nonprofit charity seemed to have become something like a “cash cow” for the Millers, which they milked for their personal benefit.

GWP has become an example of how the “Information Age,” has changed the study of groups called “cults.”

So-called “cults” often rely upon the control of information, but the Internet has increasingly made that impossible.

GWP was once a relatively obscure group, but now information about the Millers and their “healing instruments” has become ubiquitous through the Internet.

Anyone with Internet access can now instantly learn why the Millers were shut down in Maine. And also read their tacit admissions of wrongdoing through the court’s consent decree and order, which they signed as part of their settlement agreement.

CultNews reported previously how the Gentle Wind blew it by suing Judy Garvey and Jim Bergin.

If the Millers had not initiated that litigation GWP might have gotten by unnoticed and not drawn the attention of law enforcement. But by filing a lawsuit against their former followers and others the Millers provided a platform for grievances against them and drew increasing media attention, which ultimately paved the way to GWP’s demise.

Phil Malone, director of the Clinical Program in Cyberlaw at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, provided help to Garvey and Bergin.

“One of our priorities is to work to protect free speech on the Internet, particularly speech that discusses matters of important public interest or seeks to expose questionable or fraudulent activities. Gentle Wind’s lawsuit was particularly troubling to us because it tried to use the legal system to stifle such speech,” Malone told the press.

In the end what the Miller’s accomplished unwittingly was not only their own undoing, but also an expansion of freedom of expression and information about “cults” tangentially through the Internet.

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Has Paris Hilton somehow hooked up with a Los Angeles “cult”? The hotel heiress reportedly booked a gospel choir to perform for a private funeral at “Los Angeles’ International Church of Christ” (ICC) reports Tonight and Independent on-line.

Paris HiltonThe International Church of Christ founded by Kip McKean is a splinter group that broke away from the mainline independent churches of Christ in the 1970s. Led by the notorious and charismatic McKean the consortium of churches rose to span the globe, with LA eventually becoming its headquarters.

Critics called the ICC a “cult” and it was banned by colleges across the US where it targeted students for recruitment. McKean himself was ultimately banned by his own followers in something like a “palace coup” and is essentially exiled in Portland, Oregon, apparently praying for a comeback.

But has the ICC hooked itself a Hilton?

The church boasted as many as 200,000 members at its peak by the end of the 1990s, but has fallen on hard times to perhaps no more than half that number today.

Could the hottie Hilton become the church’s celebrity spokesperson, something like Scientology’s “Top Gun” Tom Cruise?

Probably not.

According to the same report Paris has also bought a grave next to Marilyn Monroe in the prestigious Hollywood cemetery often chosen as a final venue for deceased stars.

However, it’s rumored that Hilton wants to bury a goat there.  

This all sounds like just another publicity stunt to launch her latest commercial venture. 

First the “reality TV” star dabbled in Madonna’s Kabbalah Centre favored by her parents and now it’s the ICC, or is it?

The 25-year-old celebrity curiosity will seemingly do anything for attention.

Paris Hilton calls herself as an “iconic blonde” comparable to Monroe.

But the only thing Hilton has in common with the genuine 20th Century icon is that they both became blondes. 

Meanwhile, Ms. Hilton has made the Guinness Book of World Records as the most overrated person in the world, not exactly the kind of star status she keeps grasping for.

J. Gordon Melton 1994J. Gordon Melton has made a substantial income over the years by selling himself as a “cult apologist.” His list of clients has included the notorious “Children of God” (COG) known for its fund raising through prostitution and child sexual abuse.

As CultNews previously reported Melton received $10,000.00 from a charity controlled by COG members, now known as “The Family.”

He has also defended the existence of “Ramtha” — the 35,000-year-old spirit from the “Lost Continent of Atlantis” allegedly channeled by Judy Z. Knight for her follower’s edification in Yelm, Washington.

Melton was hired by Knight to “research” her claims and concluded that she is “not a fraud.”

It seems that no matter how bad or ridiculous a purported “cult” may be Gordon Melton can come up with an apology, for the right price.

This same “researcher” also traveled to Japan after the cult Aum gassed subways in Tokyo and surmised quickly that the group “was a victim of excessive police pressure.” Aum reportedly paid for all of his travel expenses.

Now Mr. Melton offers up his apologies for Jehovah’s Witnesses.

In an article published by the Grand Rapids Press, largely skewed to the Witness point-of-view, the supposed ”religious scholar” and former UC Santa Barbara library worker claimed the controversial religious organization is “very benign.”

Melton apparently chose to ignore the many Witnesses that have died due to their religion’s rules regarding blood transfusion. And he likewise neglected mentioning the frequent court interventions ordered by judges around the world that have at times saved the lives of Witness children. Kids that needed blood who would have otherwise become a needless sacrifice made by Witness parents through medical neglect.

Melton also ignored the countless families that become estranged because of the undue influence exerted by Jehovah’s Witnesses and its leaders. A seemingly endless stream of child custody battles that trail in the wake of Witness divorces, when one spouse won’t follow another into conversion, prompted by the door-to-door proselytizers.

And then there is the Jehovah’s Witnesses sexual abuse scandal, a series of allegations concerning the church’s inadequate handling of reports regarding child molestation made by its members.

Never mind about all these very serious issues.

Mr. Melton says the Witnesses should be thanked for ”some of the basic rights we enjoy today [which] they won for us.” He means like the right to pester people at their homes repeatedly through unwanted visits with redundant prophecies of doom.

Mr. Melton is also reportedly fascinated with vampires.

Maybe there  is something about people dying over blood loss that makes Melton a fan of both Jehovah’s Witnesses and the mythical predators of the night?

Perhaps Gordon Melton sees himself as something like a familiar, the people who according to some stories guard the vampire’s lair during the day when they are confined to coffins. Protecting their “Master” while the sun shines, so that he can crawl out safely at night to prey upon humanity.

Dracula in his coffinIn much the same sense Melton the “scholar” can be seen as a protector providing cover for his ”cult” patrons that exploit others. He offers up apologies about how supposedly benevolent they are, thus shielding them from ”persecution” so that they can continue to recruit unsuspecting potential victims.

Sound a bit over the top?

Jim Jones was responsible for the cult mass murder-suicide of more than 900 people in Jonestown November 18, 1978. However, Mr. Melton said, “This wasn’t a cult. This was a respectable, mainline Christian group.”

Whether it’s Dracula or a murderous cult leader like Jim Jones, J. Gordon Melton apparently sees something ”respectable.”

“I don’t want to lynch any Jews¦I love them. I pray for them,” Mel Gibson once said somewhat cryptically while doing the rounds to promote his film “Passion of the Christ.”

Mel Gibson's arrest photoCritics said that Gibson’s “artistic” choices for that film often appeared “anti-Semitic” and at times could not be supported either historically and/or biblically. Nevertheless this blockbuster may have generated more wealth for Mel Gibson than his long film career as an actor, which now seems to be winding down. 

During one screening the director who won an Oscar for “Braveheart” was reportedly overheard describing those Jews who rejected Jesus as “either Satanic or the dupes of Satan.”

Mel Gibson has claimed repeatedly that he is not “anti-Semitic.”

Of course few bigots readily admit to their prejudice, at least not openly.

In his public apology Gibson says, “There is no excuse, nor should there be any tolerance, for anyone who thinks or expresses any kind of anti-Semitic remark. I want to apologize specifically to everyone in the Jewish community for the vitriolic and harmful words that I said to a law-enforcement officer the night I was arrested on a DUI charge.” 

However, during his drunken rage the director’s raw uncut persona may have come through as he ranted passionately about how “f—ing Jews” were responsible for everything from wars to his arrest in Malibu.

The California police officer that bore the brunt of Gibson’s insults was in fact Jewish. At least this time the once popular Hollywood star got something right, a Jew was taking him in.

Now comes the spin.

First a “mea culpa” rendered through a carefully scripted public apology.

“I am in the process of understanding where those vicious words came from during that drunken display,” the actor told the press and quickly entered rehab.

But will Gibson get off the hook by blaming booze for his bigotry?

It’s common knowledge a few drinks can cause people to let their real feelings slip out, lubricated loose with a little liquor. And for anyone that has studied the Gibson family history it’s not difficult to understand where “those vicious words came from.”

The former “Mad Max” seems to be a “chip off the old block.”

Hutton Gibson, the 87-year-old father of the famous actor/director, raised his family as so-called “traditional Catholics,” which is something of an oxymoron, given that the Gibsons don’t belong to the traditional Roman Catholic Church.

Instead, Mel built his own chapel in Malibu and bought another one for his dad in West Virginia.

Mel Gibson was raised by an anti-Semitic father that fed his son on a steady diet of conspiracy theories, Holocaust denial and ethnocentric dogma, which not only consigned the Jews to hell, but also the many Protestants that bought tickets to see his film “Passion.”

What's Mel's real 'Passion'?In an interview with the Herald Sun in Australia when asked specifically if Protestants are denied eternal salvation the star said, “There is no salvation for those outside the Church” (meaning his own version of Catholicism).

Gibson also apparently believes his spouse is damned.

“My wife is a¦Episcopalian¦She prays, she believes in God, she knows Jesus, she believes in that stuff¦she’s better than I am. But that is a pronouncement from the chair” reported MSNBC

So much for anyone that thought a belief in Jesus and “that stuff” along with a ticket to “Passion” might purchase redemption.

Meanwhile Gibson has garnered some interesting Hollywood apologists rallying to his support.

“Sometimes when you have a couple too many you’re stupid,” says Patrick Swayze. And the “Dirty Dancing” star should know given his reported battle with the bottle.

Two-time Oscar-winner Jodie Foster, who starred with Mel in “Maverick” during 1994 posed the question, “Is he an anti-Semite?” And then answered quickly, ”Absolutely not.”

Ironically, though Gibson may have played a gambler, but he probably wouldn’t bet on his co-star’s likelihood of entering heaven. After all, Foster has repeatedly been rumored to be a lesbian, which would easily put her on Mel’s hot for hell list.

Doe that sound a bit hateful?

What would Mel’s diehard ”Passion” fans say if their hero ran his mouth publicly about “f—ing” Protestants?

Perhaps they wouldn’t be willing to hear any excuses.

Not all Christian fundamentalists apparently want to forgive the director, despite his recent religious movie.

“Gibson’s latest rant was not an aberration influenced by booze. Other statements he’s made about other groups and individuals, while presumably sober, indicate a pattern,” says columnist Cal Thomas, once Rev. Jerry Falwell’s right hand man.

Amen?

Thomas stopped short of placing the director’s anti-Semitic slant in “Passion” as part of that perceived “pattern.” 

And isn’t it the height of irony that Jesus the star of Gibson’s film had a Jewish mother?

Wait a minute, wouldn’t that make Mary and her son ”f—ing Jews”?

Jesus warned that many would come in his name, but they wouldn’t always be nice.

Might that include Mel Gibson?

Has the Oscar-winning director deceived the faithful while making millions cynically marketing and merchandising Jesus?

It seems that Gibson was often good at keeping up appearances, but failed when it came to performing the precepts of tolerance and kindness he supposedly believed in.