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New York Observer: Rabbi Shmuley: When Scientology Tried to Recruit Steven Spielberg
The Week just voted Going Clear, the devastating account of Scientology by Pulitzer-Prize winner Lawrence Wright, the best non-fiction book of the year. I just finished it. It’s un-put-down-able.
A few striking things emerge from the book. The first is the near absence of the word God. So what do Scientologists worship? According to Wright it’s celebrity and fame, which is why Tom Cruise occupies such a central place in the faith. “[Cruise] was the embodiment of Hubbard’s vision of a church with temples dedicated to celebrity rather than God.”
According to Wright, Cruise, whose devotion to Scientology is legend, designed, in about 2005, the biggest “get” that Scientology could possibly aspire to, namely, to “draw the most powerful man in Hollywood into Scientology.” At the time Steven Spielberg was directing Cruise in War of the Worlds and Spielberg had apparently said to Paul Haggis, the Academy-Award winning writer of Million Dollar Baby, “I’ve met all these Scientologists and they seem like the nicest people.”
Haggis would later denounce his membership in Scientology as having been “in a cult for thirty-four years.”