By Haley Van Horn/Aug. 26, 2021 1:21 pm EDT
Scientology was once known for its array of celebrity church members. According to US Weekly, Tom Cruise’s marriages to actresses Nicole Kidman and Katie Holmes ended because of his loyalty to the religious organization. John Travolta, Elizabeth Moss, and Kirstie Alley also rank amongst the church’s loyal celebrity following.
Though Scientology thrives on its celebrity members, the controversial religion has followers across the globe. David Bromley, a professor of religious studies, thinks the appeal comes from both the coveted celebrity membership and how unique it is overall. “It’s part therapy, part religion, part UFO group,” Bromley told CNN. “It’s a mix of things that’s unlike any other religious group out there.”
For a while, Scientology seemed untouchable. That was until a combination of scandals began to take the religion down. Celebrity member Danny Masterson went on trial for rape and during his hearing, dark secrets centered around Scientology were revealed, per the Los Angeles Times.
Even before these serious accusations against Masterson came to light, former member Leah Remini worked to take down the church with her series on A&E, “Scientology: The Aftermath” which gave the church even more bad press (via The Hollywood Reporter). The church was so bothered by her activism against them that they released an official statement, saying, “She needs to move on with her life instead of pathetically exploiting her former religion, her former friends and other celebrities for money and attention to appear relevant again” (per Scientology News).
Celebrities are revealing Scientology secrets
Leah Remini and other celebrity ex-members of the church have changed the way the public perceives the religious organization. Per US Weekly, Remini and fellow actress Laura Prepon have very publicly left the church and revealed secrets that the organization hoped to keep hidden.
Prepon, who was an active member of the church for several years, recently announced that motherhood changed her view of Scientology. She told People, “I’m no longer practicing Scientology. I’ve always been very open-minded, even since I was a child. I was raised Catholic and Jewish. I’ve prayed in churches, meditated in temples. I’ve studied Chinese meridian theory. I haven’t practiced Scientology in close to five years and it’s no longer part of my life.”
A source told US Weekly, “These are tough times for the church. Years ago, it [was] almost unheard of for a Hollywood star to openly walk away. But the tidal wave of backlash generated by the likes of Leah and other whistleblowers has changed that.”
Between celebrities leaving the church, Remini’s revealing television series, and the trial of Danny Masterson, Scientology is not in a good place. Whistleblowers like Remini and Prepon may have altered Scientology’s future success.
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