Paul Haggis vs. the Church of Scientology

On August 19, 2009, Tommy Davis, the chief spokesperson for the Church of Scientology International, obtained a letter from the movie director and screenwriter Paul Haggis. “For ten months now I have been writing to ask you to make a public statement denouncing the actions of the Church of Scientology of San Diego,” Haggis wrote. Before the 2008 elections, a workers member at Scientology’s San Diego church had signed its title to an internet petition supporting Proposition 8, which asserted that the State of California ought to sanction marriage solely “between a man and a woman.” The proposition handed. As Haggis noticed it, the San Diego church’s “public sponsorship of Proposition 8, which succeeded in taking away the civil rights of gay and lesbian citizens of California—rights that were granted them by the Supreme Court of our state—is a stain on the integrity of our organization and a stain on us personally. Our public association with that hate-filled legislation shames us.” Haggis wrote, “Silence is consent, Tommy. I refuse to consent.” He concluded, “I hereby resign my membership in the Church of Scientology.”

Haggis was outstanding in each Scientology and Hollywood, two communities that usually converge. Although he’s much less well-known than sure different Scientologists, reminiscent of Tom Cruise and John Travolta, he had been in the group for almost thirty-five years. Haggis wrote the screenplay for “Million Dollar Baby,” which gained the Oscar for Best Picture in 2004, and he wrote and directed “Crash,” which gained Best Picture the subsequent yr—the solely time in Academy historical past that that has occurred.

Davis, too, is a component of Hollywood society; his mom is Anne Archer, who starred in “Fatal Attraction” and “Patriot Games,” amongst different movies. Before turning into Scientology’s spokesperson, Davis was a senior vice-president of the church’s Celebrity Centre International community.

In earlier correspondence with Davis, Haggis had demanded that the church publicly resign Proposition 8. “I feel strongly about this for a number of reasons,” he wrote. “You and I both know there has been a hidden anti-gay sentiment in the church for a long time. I have been shocked on too many occasions to hear Scientologists make derogatory remarks about gay people, and then quote L.R.H. in their defense.” The initials stand for L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, whose in depth writings and lectures type the church’s scripture. Haggis associated a narrative about Katy, the youngest of three daughters from his first marriage, who misplaced the friendship of a fellow-Scientologist after revealing that she was homosexual. The pal started warning others, “Katy is ‘1.1.’ ” The quantity refers to a sliding Tone Scale of emotional states that Hubbard revealed in a 1951 e book, “The Science of Survival.” An individual labeled “1.1” was, Hubbard mentioned, “Covertly Hostile”—“the most dangerous and wicked level”—and he famous that folks on this state engaged in things like informal intercourse, sadism, and gay exercise. Hubbard’s Tone Scale, Haggis wrote, equated “homosexuality with being a pervert.” (Such remarks don’t seem in current editions of the e book.)

In his resignation letter, Haggis defined to Davis that, for the first time, he had explored outdoors views on Scientology. He had learn a current exposé in a Florida newspaper, the St. Petersburg Times, which reported, amongst different issues, that senior executives in the church had been subjecting different Scientologists to bodily violence. Haggis mentioned that he felt “dumbstruck and horrified,” including, “Tommy, if only a fraction of these accusations are true, we are talking about serious, indefensible human and civil-rights violations.”

Online, Haggis got here throughout an look that Davis had made on CNN, in May, 2008. The anchor John Roberts requested Davis about the church’s coverage of “disconnection,” through which members are inspired to separate themselves from buddies or members of the family who criticize Scientology. Davis responded, “There’s no such thing as disconnection as you’re characterizing it. And certainly we have to understand—”

“Well, what is disconnection?” Roberts interjected.

“Scientology is a new religion,” Davis continued. “The majority of Scientologists in the world, they’re first generation. So their family members aren’t going to be Scientologists. . . . So, certainly, someone who is a Scientologist is going to respect their family members’ beliefs—”

“Well, what is disconnection?” Roberts mentioned once more.

“—and we consider family to be a building block of any society, so anything that’s characterized as disconnection or this kind of thing, it’s just not true. There isn’t any such policy.”

In his resignation letter, Haggis mentioned, “We all know this policy exists. I didn’t have to search for verification—I didn’t have to look any further than my own home.” Haggis reminded Davis that, a couple of years earlier, his spouse had been ordered to disconnect from her mother and father “because of something absolutely trivial they supposedly did twenty-five years ago when they resigned from the church. . . . Although it caused her terrible personal pain, my wife broke off all contact with them.” Haggis continued, “To see you lie so easily, I am afraid I had to ask myself: what else are you lying about?”

Haggis forwarded his resignation to greater than twenty Scientologist buddies, together with Anne Archer, John Travolta, and Sky Dayton, the founder of EarthHyperlink. “I felt if I sent it to my friends they’d be as horrified as I was, and they’d ask questions as well,” he says. “That turned out to be largely not the case. They were horrified that I’d send a letter like that.”

Tommy Davis advised me, “People started calling me, saying, ‘What’s this letter Paul sent you?’ ” The resignation letter had not circulated extensively, but when it grew to become public it will possible trigger issues for the church. The St. Petersburg Times exposé had impressed a contemporary collection of hostile experiences on Scientology, which has lengthy been portrayed in the media as a cult. And, provided that some well-known Scientologist actors had been rumored to be closeted homosexuals, Haggis’s letter raised awkward questions on the church’s angle towards homosexuality. Most necessary, Haggis wasn’t an obscure dissident; he was a star, and the church, from its inception, has relied on celebrities to lend it status. In the previous, Haggis had defended the faith; in 1997, he wrote a letter of protest after a French court docket dominated {that a} Scientology official was culpable in the suicide of a person who fell into debt after paying for church programs. “If this decision carries it sets a terrible precedent, in which no priest or minister will ever feel comfortable offering help and advice to those whose souls are tortured,” Haggis wrote. To Haggis’s buddies, his resignation from the Church of Scientology felt like a really public act of betrayal. They had been stunned, indignant, and confused. “ ‘Destroy the letter, resign quietly’—that’s what they all wanted,” Haggis says.

Last March, I met Haggis in New York. He was in the enhancing part of his newest film, “The Next Three Days,” a thriller starring Russell Crowe, in an workplace in SoHo. He sat subsequent to a window with drawn shades, as his youthful sister Jo Francis, the movie’s editor, confirmed him a spherical of cuts. Haggis wore denims and a black T-shirt. He is bald, with a trim blond beard, pale-blue eyes, and a nostril that was damaged in a schoolyard combat. He all the time has a number of tasks going without delay, and there was a barely contained feeling of frenzy. He glanced repeatedly at his watch.

Haggis, who’s fifty-seven, was getting ready for 2 occasions later that week: a preview screening in New York and a visit to Haiti. He started doing charitable work in Haiti nicely earlier than the 2010 earthquake, and he has raised hundreds of thousands of {dollars} for that nation. He advised me that he was planning to purchase ten acres of land in Port-au-Prince for a brand new faculty, which he hoped to have open in the fall. (In truth, the faculty—the first to supply free secondary schooling to kids from the metropolis’s slums—opened in October.) In Hollywood, he’s famend for his capacity to solicit cash. The actor Ben Stiller, who has accompanied Haggis to Haiti, recollects that Haggis as soon as raised 4 and a half million {dollars} in two hours.

While watching the edits, Haggis fielded calls from a plastic surgeon who was planning to go on the journey, and from a priest in Haiti, Father Rick Frechette, whose group is the primary beneficiary of Haggis’s charity. “Father Rick is a lot like me—a cynical optimist,” Haggis advised me. He additionally mentioned of himself, “I’m a deeply broken person, and broken institutions fascinate me.”

Haggis’s producing associate, Michael Nozik, says, “Paul likes to be contrarian. If everyone is moving left, he’ll feel the need to move right.” The actor Josh Brolin, who appeared in Haggis’s movie “In the Valley of Elah” (2007), advised me that Haggis “does things in extremes.” Haggis is an outspoken promoter of social justice, in the method of Hollywood activists like Sean Penn and George Clooney. The actress Maria Bello describes him as self-deprecating and sarcastic, but additionally deeply compassionate. She recollects being with him in Haiti shortly after the earthquake; he was standing in the mattress of a pickup truck, “with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth and a big smile on his face, and absolutely no fear.” Though Haggis is enthusiastic about his work, he will be cool towards those that are closest to him. Lauren Haggis, the second daughter from his first marriage, mentioned that he by no means linked together with his kids. “He’s emotionally not there,” she says. “That’s funny, because his scripts are full of emotion.”

In the enhancing room, Haggis felt the want for a cigarette, so we walked outdoors. He is ashamed of this behavior, particularly provided that, in 2003, whereas directing “Crash,” he had a coronary heart assault. After Haggis had emergency surgical procedure, his physician advised him that it will be 4 or 5 months earlier than he may work once more: “It would be too much strain on your heart.” He replied, “Let me ask you how much stress you think I might be under as I’m sitting at home while another director is finishing my fucking film!” The physician relented, however demanded {that a} nurse be on the set to watch Haggis’s important indicators. Since then, Haggis has tried repeatedly to give up smoking. He had stopped earlier than taking pictures “The Next Three Days,” however Russell Crowe was smoking, and that did him in. “There’s always a good excuse,” he admitted. Before his coronary heart assault, he mentioned, “I thought I was invincible.” He added, “I still do.”

Haggis had not spoken publicly about his resignation from Scientology. As we stood in a chill wind on Sixth Avenue, he was clearly uncomfortable discussing it, however he’s a storyteller, and he ultimately launched right into a narrative.

Haggis wasn’t proud of his early years. “I was a bad kid,” he mentioned. “I didn’t kill anybody. Not that I didn’t try.” He was born in 1953, and grew up in London, Ontario, a producing city halfway between Toronto and Detroit. His father, Ted, had a development firm there, which specialised in pouring concrete. His mom, Mary, a Catholic, despatched Paul and his two youthful sisters, Kathy and Jo, to Mass on Sundays—till she noticed their priest driving an costly automobile. “God wants me to have a Cadillac,” the priest defined. Mary responded, “Then God doesn’t want us in your church anymore.”

Haggis determined at an early age to be a author, and he made his personal comedian books. But he was such a poor pupil that his mother and father despatched him to a strict boarding faculty, the place the college students had been assigned cadet drills. He most popular to take a seat in his room studying Ramparts, the radical journal from America—the place he longed to be. He dedicated repeated infractions, however he discovered to select locks in order that he may sneak into the prefect’s workplace and get rid of his demerits.

“We’ve got an early curtain, so you can skip reciting the Constitution between courses.”

After a yr of this, his mother and father transferred him to a progressive boys’ faculty in Bracebridge, Ontario, the place there was little or no system to subvert. Haggis grew his curly blond hair to his shoulders. He found a mentor in his artwork instructor, Max Allen, who was politically radical and homosexual. Flouting Ontario’s strict censorship legal guidelines, Allen opened a theatre in Toronto that confirmed banned movies; Haggis volunteered at the field workplace.

Haggis bought caught forging a verify, and he quickly left faculty. He was drifting, hanging out with hippies and drug sellers. Two buddies died from overdoses. “I had a gun pointed in my face a couple of times,” he recollects. He attended artwork faculty briefly, then give up; after taking some movie courses at a group faculty, he dropped out of that as nicely. He started working in development full time for his father. He additionally was the supervisor of a hundred-seat theatre that his father had created in an deserted church. On Saturday nights, he arrange a film display onstage, introducing himself and different movie buffs to the works of Bergman, Hitchcock, and the French New Wave. He was so affected by Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Blow-Up” that in 1974 he determined to maneuver to England, in an effort to develop into a vogue photographer, like the hero of the film. That lasted lower than a yr.

Back in London, Ontario, he fell in love with Diane Gettas, a nurse, they usually started sharing a one-bedroom condo. He was beginning to get his life collectively, however he was haunted by one thing that his grandfather had mentioned to him on his deathbed. “He was a janitor in a bowling alley,” Haggis advised me. “He had left England because of some scandal we don’t know about. He died when I was twelve or thirteen. He looked terrible. He turned to me and said, ‘I’ve wasted my life. Don’t waste yours.’ ”

One day in 1975, when he was twenty-two, Haggis was strolling to a document retailer. When he arrived at the nook of Dundas and Waterloo Streets, a younger man pressed a e book into his arms. “You have a mind,” the man mentioned. “This is the owner’s manual.” The man, whose title was Jim Logan, added, “Give me two dollars.” The e book was “Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health,” by L. Ron Hubbard, which was revealed in 1950. By the time Haggis started studying it, “Dianetics” had offered about two and a half million copies. Today, in keeping with the church, that determine has reached greater than twenty-one million.

Haggis opened the e book and noticed a web page stamped with the phrases “Church of Scientology.”

“Take me there,” Haggis mentioned to Logan.

Haggis had heard about Scientology a pair of months earlier, from a pal who had referred to as it a cult. The thought that he could be getting into a cult didn’t hassle him. In truth, he mentioned, “it drew my interest. I tend to run toward things I don’t understand.” When he arrived at the church’s headquarters, he recalled, “it didn’t look like a cult. Two guys in a small office above Woolworth’s.”

At the time, Haggis and Gettas had been having arguments; the Scientologists advised him that taking church programs would enhance the relationship. “It was pitched to me as applied philosophy,” Haggis says. He and Gettas took a course collectively and, shortly afterward, grew to become Hubbard Qualified Scientologists, one of the first ranges in what the church calls the Bridge to Total Freedom.

The Church of Scientology says that its objective is to remodel particular person lives and the world. “A civilization without insanity, without criminals and without war, where the able can prosper and honest beings can have rights, and where man is free to rise to greater heights, are the aims of Scientology,” Hubbard wrote. Scientology postulates that each particular person is a Thetan—an immortal religious being that lives via numerous lifetimes. Scientologists imagine that Hubbard found the basic truths of existence, they usually revere him as “the source” of the faith. Hubbard’s writings supply a “technology” of religious development and self-betterment that gives “the means to attain true spiritual freedom and immortality.” A church publication declares, “Scientology works 100 percent of the time when it is properly applied to a person who sincerely desires to improve his life.” Proof of this efficacy, the church says, will be measured by the accomplishments of its adherents. “As Scientologists in all walks of life will attest, they have enjoyed greater success in their relationships, family life, jobs and professions. They take an active, vital role in life and leading roles in their communities. And participation in Scientology brings to many a broader social consciousness, manifested through meaningful contribution to charitable and social reform activities.”

In 1955, a yr after the church’s founding, an affiliated publication urged Scientologists to domesticate celebrities: “It is obvious what would happen to Scientology if prime communicators benefitting from it would mention it.” At the finish of the sixties, the church established its first Celebrity Centre, in Hollywood. (There at the moment are satellites in Paris, Vienna, Düsseldorf, Munich, Florence, London, New York, Las Vegas, and Nashville.) Over the subsequent decade, Scientology grew to become a potent power in Hollywood. In many respects, Haggis was typical of the recruits from that period, no less than amongst these in the leisure enterprise. Many of them had been younger and had give up faculty in an effort to comply with their desires, however they had been additionally sensible and impressive. The actress Kirstie Alley, for instance, left the University of Kansas in 1970, throughout her sophomore yr, to get married. Scientology, she says, helped her lose her longing for cocaine. “Without Scientology, I would be dead,” she has mentioned.

In 1975, the yr that Haggis grew to become a Scientologist, John Travolta, a high-school dropout, was making his first film, “The Devil’s Rain,” in Durango, Mexico, when an actress on the set gave him a duplicate of “Dianetics.” “My career immediately took off,” he advised a church publication. “Scientology put me into the big time.” The testimonials of such celebrities have attracted many curious seekers. In Variety, Scientology has marketed programs promising to assist aspiring actors “make it in the industry.”

One of these actors, Josh Brolin, advised me that, in a “moment of real desperation,” he visited the Celebrity Centre and obtained “auditing”—religious counselling. He shortly determined that Scientology wasn’t for him. But he nonetheless wonders what the faith does for celebrities like Cruise and Travolta: “Each has a good head on his shoulders, they make great business decisions, they seem to have wonderful families. Is that because they were helped by Scientology?” This is the query that makes celebrities so essential to the faith. And, clearly, there should be one thing rewarding if such notable individuals lend their names to a perception system that’s extensively scorned.

Brolin says that he as soon as witnessed John Travolta working towards Scientology. Brolin was at a cocktail party in Los Angeles with Travolta and Marlon Brando. Brando arrived with a lower on his leg, and defined that he had injured himself whereas serving to a stranded motorist on the Pacific Coast Highway. He was in ache. Travolta provided to assist, saying that he had simply reached a brand new degree in Scientology. Travolta touched Brando’s leg and Brando closed his eyes. “I watched this process going on—it was very physical,” Brolin recollects. “I was thinking, This is really fucking bizarre! Then, after ten minutes, Brando opens his eyes and says, ‘That really helped. I actually feel different!’ ” (Travolta, via a lawyer, referred to as this account “pure fabrication.”)

Many Hollywood actors had been drawn into the church by a pal or by studying “Dianetics”; a stunning quantity of them, although, got here via the Beverly Hills Playhouse. For a long time, the resident appearing coach there was Milton Katselas, and he taught lots of of future stars, together with Ted Danson, Michelle Pfeiffer, and George Clooney. “Most of Hollywood went through that class,” Anne Archer advised me. In 1974, two years after her son Tommy Davis was born, she started learning with Katselas. She was a younger mom in a dissolving marriage, coming off a tv collection (“Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice”) that had been cancelled after one season. Katselas had a transformative impact. She recalled discussions “about life, people, and behavior,” and mentioned that Katselas “said some things in class that were really smart.” Some of the different college students advised her that Katselas was a Scientologist, so she started the Life Repair program at the Celebrity Centre. “I went two or three times a week, probably for a couple of weeks,” she mentioned. “I remember walking out of the building and walking down the street toward my car and I felt like my feet were not touching the ground. And I said to myself, ‘My God, this is the happiest I’ve ever been in my entire life. I’ve finally found something that works.’ ” She added, “Life didn’t seem so hard anymore. I was back in the driver’s seat.”

Jim Gordon, a veteran police officer in Los Angeles, and in addition an aspiring actor, spent ten years at the Playhouse, beginning in 1990. He advised me that Scientology “recruited a ton of kids out of that school.” Like Scientology, the Playhouse introduced a strict hierarchy of research; below Katselas’s tutelage, college students graduated from one degree to the subsequent. As Gordon superior inside the Playhouse, he started recognizing many college students from the roles they had been getting in Hollywood. “You see a lot of people you know from TV,” Gordon says. He started feeling the pull of the church. “When you started off, they weren’t really pushing it, but as you progressed through the Playhouse’s levels Scientology became more of a focus,” he advised me. After a couple of years, he joined. Like the programs at the Playhouse, Scientology provided actors a way that they may apply to each their lives and their careers.

Not lengthy after Gordon grew to become a Scientologist, he was requested to function an “ethics officer” at the Playhouse, monitoring the progress of different college students and counselling those that had been having bother. He was good at pinpointing college students who had been struggling. “It’s almost like picking out the wounded chicks,” he says. He generally urged a pupil to fulfill with the senior ethics officer at the Playhouse, a Scientologist who usually really helpful programs at the Celebrity Centre. “My job was to keep the students active and make sure they were not being suppressed,” Gordon says. In the rhetoric of Scientology, “suppressive persons”—or S.P.s—block a person’s religious progress. Implicitly, the message to the college students was that success awaited them if solely they may sweep away the impediments to stardom, together with S.P.s. Katselas obtained a ten-per-cent fee from the church on the cash contributed by his college students.

Katselas died in 2008, and Scientology not has a reference to the Beverly Hills Playhouse. Anne Archer advised me that the repute of Katselas’s class as, in Gordon’s phrases, a “Scientology clearinghouse” is overblown. “His classes averaged about fifty or sixty people, and there would be maybe seven to ten people in it who would be Scientologists,” she says. But the checklist of Scientologists who’ve studied at the Playhouse is lengthy—it consists of Jenna Elfman, Giovanni Ribisi, and Jason Lee—and the many protégés Katselas left behind helped cement the relationship between Hollywood and the church.

Haggis and I travelled collectively to L.A., the place he was presenting “The Next Three Days” to the studio. During the flight, I requested him how excessive he had gone in Scientology. “All the way to the top,” he mentioned. Since the early eighties, he had been an Operating Thetan VII, which was the highest degree out there when he grew to become affiliated with the church. (In 1988, a brand new degree, O.T. VIII, was launched to members; it required research at sea, and Haggis declined to pursue it.) He had made his ascent by shopping for “intensives”—bundled hours of auditing, at a reduction price. “It wasn’t so expensive back then,” he mentioned.

David S. Touretzky, a computer-science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, has carried out in depth analysis on Scientology. (He shouldn’t be a defector.) He estimates that the coursework alone now prices almost 300 thousand {dollars}, and, with the extra auditing and contributions anticipated of upper-level members, the cumulative value of the coursework could exceed half 1,000,000 {dollars}. (The church says that there aren’t any mounted charges, including, “Donations requested for ‘courses’ at Church of Scientology begin at $50 and could never possibly reach the amount suggested.”)

“Look, I’m for an orderly transfer of power, but all those who want me to resign immediately raise their shoe.”

I requested Haggis why he had aligned himself with a faith that so many have disparaged. “I identify with the underdog,” he mentioned. “I have a perverse pride in being a member of a group that people shun.” For Haggis, who likes to see himself as a person of the individuals, his affiliation with Scientology felt like a means of standing with the marginalized and the oppressed. The church itself usually hits this notice, making frequent statements in assist of human rights and spiritual freedom. Haggis’s expertise in Scientology, although, was hardly egalitarian: he accepted the privileges of the Celebrity Centre, which affords notables a personal entrance, a V.I.P. lounge, separate amenities for auditing, and different perks. Indeed, a lot of the enchantment of Scientology is the overt élitism that it promotes amongst its members, particularly celebrities. Haggis was struck by one other paradox: “Here I was in this very structured organization, but I always thought of myself as a freethinker and an iconoclast.”

During our conversations, we spoke about some occasions that had stained the repute of the church whereas he was a member. For instance, there was the demise of Lisa McPherson, a Scientologist who died after a psychological breakdown, in 1995. She had rear-ended a automobile in Clearwater, Florida—the place Scientology has its religious headquarters—after which stripped off her garments and wandered bare down the avenue. She was taken to a hospital, however, in the firm of a number of different Scientologists, she checked out, towards docs’ recommendation. (The church considers psychiatry an evil occupation.) McPherson spent the subsequent seventeen days being subjected to church cures, reminiscent of doses of nutritional vitamins and makes an attempt to feed her with a turkey baster. She grew to become comatose, and she or he died of a pulmonary embolism earlier than church members lastly introduced her to the hospital. The medical expert in the case, Joan Wood, initially dominated that the trigger of demise was undetermined, however she advised a reporter, “This is the most severe case of dehydration I’ve ever seen.” The State of Florida filed costs towards the church. In February, 2000, below withering questioning from specialists employed by the church, Wood declared that the demise was “accidental.” The costs had been dropped and Wood resigned.

Haggis mentioned that, at the time, he had chosen to not study the particulars of McPherson’s demise. “I had such a lack of curiosity when I was inside,” Haggis mentioned. “It’s stunning to me, because I’m such a curious person.” He mentioned that he had been “somewhere between uninterested in looking and afraid of looking.” His life was comfy, he preferred his circle of buddies, and he didn’t wish to upset the steadiness. It was additionally straightforward to dismiss individuals who give up the church. As he put it, “There’s always disgruntled folks who say all sorts of things.” He was now ashamed of this willed myopia, which, he famous, clashed with what he understood to be the ethic of Scientology: “Hubbard says that there is a relationship between knowledge, responsibility, and control, and as soon as you know something you have a responsibility to act. And, if you don’t, shame on you.”

Since resigning, Haggis had been questioning why it took him so lengthy to go away. In an e-mail trade, I famous that higher-level Scientologists are speculated to be free of neuroses and allergy symptoms, and immune to the widespread chilly. “Dianetics” additionally guarantees heightened powers of intelligence and notion. Haggis had advised me that he fell far brief of this aim. “Did you feel it was your fault?” I requested. Haggis responded that, as a result of the auditing happened over a quantity of years, it was straightforward to imagine that he would possibly really be smarter and wiser as a result of of it, simply as that could be true after years of remedy. “It is all so subjective, how is one supposed to know?” he wrote. “How does it feel to be smarter today than you were two months ago? . . . But yes, I always felt false.”

He famous {that a} Scientologist listening to this could really feel, with some justification, that he had misled his auditors about his progress. But, after lots of of hours of auditing periods, he mentioned, “I remember feeling I just wanted it over. I felt it wasn’t working, and figured that could be my fault, but did not want the hours of ‘repair auditing’ that they would tell me I needed to fix it. So I just went along, to my shame. I did what was easy . . . without asking them, or myself, any hard questions.”

When Haggis first turned to Scientology, he thought-about himself an atheist. Scientology appeared to him much less a faith than a set of helpful ideas for residing. He talked about the ARC Triangle; “ARC” stands for “Affinity, Reality, and Communication.” Affinity, on this formulation, means the emotional response that companions have towards one another; actuality is the space of widespread settlement. Together, these contribute to the move of communication. “The three parts together equal understanding,” Haggis mentioned. “If you’re having a disagreement with someone, your affinity drops quickly. Your mutual reality is shattered. Your communication becomes more halted. You begin to talk over each other. There’s less and less understanding. But all you need to do is to raise one part of the triangle and you increase the others as well. I still use that.”

Some points of Scientology baffled him. He hadn’t been in a position to get via “Dianetics”: “I read about thirty pages. I thought it was impenetrable.” But a lot of the coursework gave him a sense of accomplishment. He was quickly commuting from London, Ontario, to Toronto to take extra superior programs, and, in 1976, he travelled to Los Angeles for the first time. He checked in at the previous Chateau Élysée, on Franklin Avenue. Clark Gable and Katharine Hepburn had as soon as stayed there, however when Haggis arrived it was a run-down church retreat referred to as the Manor Hotel. (It has since been spectacularly renovated and changed into the flagship Celebrity Centre.) “I had a little apartment with a kitchen I could write in,” he recollects. “There was a feeling of camaraderie that was something I’d never experienced—all these atheists looking for something to believe in, and all these loners looking for a club to join.”

Recruits had a way of boundless risk. Mystical powers had been forecast; out-of-body experiences had been to be anticipated; basic secrets and techniques had been to be revealed. Hubbard had boasted that Scientology had raised some individuals’s I.Q. one level for each hour of auditing. “Our most spectacular feat was raising a boy from 83 I.Q. to 212,” he advised the Saturday Evening Post, in 1964.

At the Manor Hotel, Haggis went “Clear.” The idea comes from “Dianetics”; it’s the place you begin if you wish to ascend to the higher peaks of Scientology. An individual who turns into Clear is “adaptable to and able to change his environment,” Hubbard writes. “His ethical and moral standards are high, his ability to seek and experience pleasure is great. His personality is heightened and he is creative and constructive.” Someone who’s Clear is much less vulnerable to illness and is free of neuroses, compulsions, repressions, and psychosomatic sicknesses. “The dianetic Clear is to a current normal individual as the current normal is to the severely insane.”

Going Clear “was not life-changing,” Haggis says. “It wasn’t, like, ‘Oh, my God, I can fly!’ ” At each degree of development, he was inspired to write down a “success story” saying how efficient his coaching had been. He had learn many such tales by different Scientologists, they usually felt “overly effusive, done in part to convince yourself, but also slanted toward giving somebody upstairs approval for you to go on to the next level.”

In 1977, Haggis returned to Canada to proceed working for his father, who may see that his son was struggling. Ted Haggis requested him what he needed to do together with his life. Haggis mentioned that he needed to be a author. His father recollects, “I said, ‘Well, there are only two places to do that, New York and Los Angeles. Pick one, and I’ll keep you on the payroll for a year.’ Paul said, ‘I think I’ll go to L.A., because it’s warmer.’ ”

Soon after this dialog, Haggis and Diane Gettas bought married. Two months later, they loaded up his brown Camaro and drove to Los Angeles, the place he bought a job shifting furnishings. He and Diane lived in an condo along with her brother, Gregg, and three different individuals. In 1978, Diane gave delivery to their first baby, Alissa. Haggis was spending a lot of his money and time taking superior programs and being audited, which concerned the use of an electropsychometer, or E-Meter. The gadget, usually in contrast in the press to a polygraph, measures the bodily modifications in electrical resistance that happen when an individual solutions questions posed by an auditor. (“Thoughts have a small amount of mass,” the church contends in an announcement. “These are the changes measured.”) In 1952, Hubbard mentioned of the E-Meter, “It gives Man his first keen look into the heads and hearts of his fellows.” The Food and Drug Administration has compelled the church to declare that the instrument has no healing powers and is ineffective in diagnosing or treating illness.

During auditing, Haggis grasped a cylindrical electrode in every hand; when he first joined Scientology, the electrodes had been empty soup cans. An imperceptible electrical cost ran from the meter via his physique. The auditor requested systematic questions geared toward detecting sources of “spiritual distress.” Whenever Haggis gave a solution that prompted the E-Meter’s needle to leap, that topic grew to become an space of focus till the auditor was glad that Haggis was free of the emotional penalties of the troubling expertise.

Haggis discovered the E-Meter surprisingly responsive. It appeared to gauge the sorts of ideas he was having—whether or not they had been indignant or comfortable, or if he was hiding one thing. The auditor usually probed for what Scientologists name “earlier similars.” Haggis defined, “If you’re having a fight with your girlfriend, the auditor will ask, ‘Can you remember an earlier time when something like this happened?’ And if you do then he’ll ask, ‘What about a time before that? And a time before that?’ ” Often, the course of leads members to recall previous lives. The aim is to uncover and neutralize the emotional reminiscences which can be plaguing one’s habits.

Although Haggis by no means believed in reincarnation, he says, “I did experience gains. I would feel relief from arguments I’d had with my dad, things I’d done as a teen-ager that I didn’t feel good about. I think I did, in some ways, become a better person. I did develop more empathy for others.” Then once more, he admitted, “I tried to find ways to be a better husband, but I never really did. I was still the selfish bastard I always was.”

Haggis was shifting furnishings throughout the day and taking pictures for church yearbooks on the weekends. At night time, he wrote scripts on spec. He met Skip Press, one other younger author who was a Scientologist. Press had learn one of Haggis’s scripts—an episode of “Welcome Back, Kotter” that he was making an attempt to get to the present’s star, John Travolta. Haggis and Press began hanging out with different aspiring writers and administrators who had been concerned with Scientology. “We would meet at a restaurant across from the Celebrity Centre called Two Dollar Bill’s,” Press recollects. Chick Corea and different musicians related to the church performed there. Haggis and a pal from this circle ultimately bought a job writing for cartoons, together with “Scooby-Doo” and “Richie Rich.”

By now, Haggis had begun advancing via the higher ranges of Scientology. The church defines an Operating Thetan as “one who can handle things without having to use a body or physical means.” An editorial in a 1959 subject of the Scientology journal Ability notes that “neither Lord Buddha nor Jesus Christ were O.T.s, according to the evidence. They were just a shade above Clear.” According to a number of copies of church paperwork which have been leaked on-line, Hubbard’s handwritten directions for the first degree checklist 13 psychological workouts that attune practitioners to their relationship with others, reminiscent of “Note several large and several small male bodies until you have a cognition. Note it down.” In the second degree, Scientologists have interaction in workouts and visualizations that discover oppositional forces:

Laughter comes from the rear half and calm from the entrance half concurrently. Then they reverse. It offers one a sensation of complete disagreement. The trick is to conceive of each at the identical time. This tends to knock one out.

Haggis didn’t have a robust response to the materials, however then he wasn’t anticipating something too profound. Everyone knew that the huge revelations resided in degree O.T. III.

L. Ron Hubbard (heart), Scientology’s founder; Tom Cruise (left), its most outstanding movie star adherent; and David Miscavige, its present head. proper and left: PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP / Getty; heart: Chris Ware / Keystone Features / Getty

proper and left: PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP / Getty; heart: Chris Ware / Keystone Features / Getty

Hubbard referred to as this degree the Wall of Fire. He mentioned, “The material involved in this sector is so vicious, that it is carefully arranged to kill anyone if he discovers the exact truth of it. . . . I am very sure that I was the first one that ever did live through any attempt to attain that material.” The O.T. III candidate is predicted to free himself from being overwhelmed by the disembodied, emotionally wounded spirits which have been implanted inside his physique. Bruce Hines, a former high-level Scientology auditor who’s now a analysis physicist at the University of Colorado, defined to me, “Most of the upper levels are involved in exorcising these spirits.”

“The process of induction is so long and slow that you really do convince yourself of the truth of some of these things that don’t make sense,” Haggis advised me. Although he refused to specify the contents of O.T. supplies, on the floor that it offended Scientologists, he mentioned, “If they’d sprung this stuff on me when I first walked in the door, I just would have laughed and left right away.” But by the time Haggis approached the O.T. III materials he’d already been via a number of years of auditing. His spouse was deeply concerned in the church, as was his sister Kathy. Moreover, his first writing jobs had come via Scientology connections. He was now entrenched in the group. Success tales in the Scientology journal Advance! added an aura of actuality to the church’s claims. Haggis admits, “I was looking forward to enhanced abilities.” Moreover, he had invested loads of cash in the program. The incentive to imagine was excessive.

In the late seventies, the O.T. materials was nonetheless fairly secret. There was no Google, and Scientology’s confidential scriptures had not but circulated, not to mention been produced in court docket or parodied on “South Park.” “You were told that this information, if released, would cause serious damage to people,” Haggis advised me.

Carrying an empty, locked briefcase, Haggis went to the Advanced Organization constructing in Los Angeles, the place the materials was held. A supervisor then handed him a folder, which Haggis put in the briefcase. He entered a lecture room, the place he lastly bought to look at the secret doc—a pair of pages, in Hubbard’s daring scrawl. After a couple of minutes, he returned to the supervisor.

“I don’t understand,” Haggis mentioned.

“Do you know the words?” the supervisor requested.

“I know the words, I just don’t understand.”

“Go back and read it again,” the supervisor urged.

Haggis did so. In a second, he returned. “Is this a metaphor?” he requested the supervisor.

“No,” the supervisor responded. “It is what it is. Do the actions that are required.”

Maybe it’s an madness take a look at, Haggis thought—when you imagine it, you’re routinely kicked out. “I sat with that for a while,” he says. But when he learn it once more he determined, “This is madness.”

The many discrepancies between L. Ron Hubbard’s legend and his life have overshadowed the proven fact that he was a captivating man: an explorer, a best-selling writer, and the founder of one of the few new spiritual actions of the twentieth century to have survived into the twenty-first. There are a number of unauthorized Hubbard biographies—most notably, Russell Miller’s “Bare-Faced Messiah,” Jon Atack’s “A Piece of Blue Sky,” and Bent Corydon’s “L. Ron Hubbard: Messiah or Madman?” All depend on stolen supplies and the accounts of defectors, and the church claims that they current a false and fabricated image of Hubbard’s life. For years, the church has had a contract with a biographer, Dan Sherman, to chronicle the founder’s life, however there may be nonetheless no approved e book, and the church refused to let me discuss to Sherman. (“He’s busy,” Davis advised me.) The tug-of-war between Scientologists and anti-Scientologists over Hubbard’s legacy has created two swollen archetypes: the most necessary one who ever lived and the world’s biggest con man. Hubbard was actually grandiose, however to label him merely a fraud is to disregard the complexity of his character.

Hubbard was born in Tilden, Nebraska, in 1911. His father, a naval officer, was usually away, and Hubbard spent half of his childhood on his grandparents’ ranch, in Montana. When his father bought posted to Guam, in 1927, Hubbard made two journeys to see him. According to Hubbard, on the second journey he continued on to Asia, the place he visited the Buddhist lamaseries in the Western Hills of China, “watching monks meditate for weeks on end.”

In 1933, Hubbard married Margaret Grubb, whom he referred to as Polly; their first baby, Lafayette, was born the following yr. He visited Hollywood, and commenced getting work as a screenwriter, very a lot as Paul Haggis did some forty years later. Hubbard labored on serials for Columbia Pictures, together with one referred to as “The Secret of Treasure Island.” But a lot of his power was dedicated to publishing tales, usually below pseudonyms, in pulp magazines reminiscent of Astounding Science Fiction.

During the Second World War, Hubbard served in the U.S. Navy, and he later wrote that he was gravely injured in battle: “Blinded with injured optic nerves and lame with physical injuries to hip and back at the end of World War II, I faced an almost nonexistent future. I was abandoned by family and friends as a supposedly hopeless cripple.” While languishing in a army hospital in Oakland, California, he mentioned, he absolutely healed himself, utilizing strategies that grew to become the basis of Scientology. “I had no one to help me; what I had to know I had to find out,” he wrote in an essay titled “My Philosophy.” “And it’s quite a trick studying when you cannot see.” In some editions of Hubbard’s e book “The Fundamentals of Thought,” revealed in 1956, a notice on the writer says, “It is a matter of medical record that he has twice been pronounced dead.”

After the conflict, Hubbard’s marriage dissolved, and he moved to Pasadena, the place he grew to become the housemate of Jack Parsons, a rocket scientist who belonged to an occult society referred to as the Ordo Templi Orientis. An environment of hedonism pervaded the home; Parsons hosted gatherings involving “sex magick” rituals.

In a 1946 letter, Parsons described Hubbard: “He is a gentleman, red hair, green eyes, honest and intelligent.” Parsons then talked about his spouse’s sister, Betty Northrup, with whom he had been having an affair. “Although Betty and I are still friendly, she has transferred her sexual affections to Ron.” One day, Hubbard and Northrup ran off collectively. In the official Scientology literature, it’s claimed that Hubbard was assigned by naval intelligence to infiltrate Parsons’s occult group. “Hubbard broke up black magic in America,” the church mentioned in an announcement.

Hubbard and Northrup ended up in Los Angeles. He continued writing for the pulps, however he had bigger ambitions. He started codifying a system of self-betterment, and arrange an workplace close to the nook of La Brea and Sunset, the place he examined his strategies on the actors, administrators, and writers he encountered. He named his system Dianetics.

The e book “Dianetics” appeared in May, 1950, and spent twenty-eight weeks on the New York Times best-seller checklist. Written in a bluff, quirky type and overrun with footnotes that do little to substantiate its findings, “Dianetics” purports to establish the supply of self-destructive habits—the “reactive mind,” a sort of knowledge financial institution that’s stuffed with traumatic reminiscences referred to as “engrams,” and that’s the supply of nightmares, insecurities, irrational fears, and psychosomatic sicknesses. The object of Dianetics is to empty the engrams of their painful, damaging qualities and get rid of the reactive thoughts, leaving an individual “Clear.”

Dianetics, Hubbard mentioned, was a “precision science.” He provided his findings to the American Psychiatric Association and the American Medical Association however was spurned; he subsequently portrayed psychiatry and psychology as demonic rivals. He as soon as wrote that if psychiatrists “had the power to torture and kill everyone they would do so.”

Scientists dismissed Hubbard’s e book, however lots of of Dianetics teams sprang up throughout the U.S. and overseas. The Church of Scientology was formally based in Los Angeles in February, 1954, by a number of devoted followers of Hubbard’s work.

In 1966, Hubbard—who by then had met and married one other lady, Mary Sue Whipp—set sail with a handful of Scientologists. The church says that being at sea offered a “distraction-free environment,” permitting Hubbard “to continue his research into the upper levels of spiritual awareness.” Within a yr, he had acquired a number of oceangoing vessels. He staffed the ships with volunteers, many of them teen-agers, who referred to as themselves the Sea Organization. Hubbard and his followers cruised the Mediterranean trying to find loot he had saved in earlier lifetimes. (The church denies this.) The defector Janis Grady, a former Sea Org member, advised me, “I was on the bridge with him, sailing past Greek islands. There were crosses lining one island. He told me that under each cross is buried treasure.”

The Sea Org grew to become the church’s equal of a non secular order. The group now has six thousand members. They carry out duties reminiscent of counselling, sustaining the church’s huge property holdings, and publishing its official literature. Sea Org initiates—some of whom are kids—signal contracts for as much as a billion years of service. They get a small weekly stipend and obtain free auditing and coursework. Sea Org members can marry, however they need to agree to not elevate kids whereas in the group.

As Scientology grew, it was more and more attacked. In 1963, the Los Angeles Times referred to as it a “pseudo-scientific cult.” The church attracted dozens of lawsuits, largely from ex-parishioners. In 1980, Hubbard disappeared from public view. Although there have been rumors that he was lifeless, he was really driving round the Pacific Northwest in a motor residence. He returned to writing science fiction and produced a ten-volume work, “Mission Earth,” every quantity of which was a best-seller. In 1983, he settled quietly on a horse farm in Creston, California.

Around that point, Paul Haggis obtained a message from the church a few movie venture. Hubbard had written a remedy for a script titled “Influencing the Planet” and, apparently, meant to direct it. The movie was speculated to display the vary of Hubbard’s efforts to enhance civilization. With one other Scientologist, Haggis accomplished a script, which he referred to as “quite dreadful.” Hubbard despatched him notes on the draft, however no movie by that title was ever launched.

In 1985, with Hubbard in seclusion, the church confronted two of its most tough court docket challenges. In Los Angeles, a former Sea Org member, Lawrence Wollersheim, sought twenty-five million {dollars} for “infliction of emotional injury.” He claimed that he had been stored for eighteen hours a day in the maintain of a ship docked in Long Beach, and disadvantaged of satisfactory sleep and meals.

That October, the litigants filed O.T. III supplies in court docket. Fifteen hundred Scientologists crowded into the courthouse, making an attempt to dam entry to the paperwork. The church, which considers it sacrilegious for the uninitiated to learn its confidential scriptures, bought a restraining order, however the Los Angeles Times obtained a duplicate of the materials and printed a abstract. Suddenly, the secrets and techniques that had surprised Paul Haggis in a locked room had been public information.

“A major cause of mankind’s problems began 75 million years ago,” the Times wrote, when the planet Earth, then referred to as Teegeeack, was half of a confederation of ninety planets below the management of a despotic ruler named Xenu. “Then, as now, the materials state, the chief problem was overpopulation.” Xenu determined “to take radical measures.” The paperwork defined that surplus beings had been transported to volcanoes on Earth. “The documents state that H-bombs far more powerful than any in existence today were dropped on these volcanoes, destroying the people but freeing their spirits—called thetans—which attached themselves to one another in clusters.” Those spirits had been “trapped in a compound of frozen alcohol and glycol,” then “implanted” with “the seed of aberrant behavior.” The Times account concluded, “When people die, these clusters attach to other humans and keep perpetuating themselves.”

The jury awarded Wollersheim thirty million {dollars}. (Eventually, an appellate court docket decreased the judgment to 2 and a half million.) The secret O.T. III paperwork remained sealed, however the Times’ report had already circulated extensively, and the church was met with derision throughout the world.

“As long as I’ve got my legs shaved, I might as well do something with them.”

The different court docket problem in 1985 concerned Julie Christofferson-Titchbourne, a defector who argued that the church had falsely claimed that Scientology would enhance her intelligence, and even her eyesight. In a courtroom in Portland, she mentioned that Hubbard had been portrayed to her as a nuclear physicist; in actual fact, he had did not graduate from George Washington University. As for Hubbard’s declare that he had cured himself of grave accidents in the Second World War, the plaintiff’s proof indicated that he had by no means been wounded in battle. Witnesses for the plaintiff testified that, in a single six-month interval in 1982, the church had transferred hundreds of thousands of {dollars} to Hubbard via a Liberian company. The church denied this, and mentioned that Hubbard’s revenue was generated by his e book gross sales.

The jury sided with Christofferson-Titchbourne, awarding her thirty-nine million {dollars}. Scientologists streamed into Portland to protest. They carried banners advocating spiritual freedom and sang “We Shall Overcome.” Scientology celebrities, together with John Travolta, confirmed up; Chick Corea performed a live performance in a public park. Haggis, who was writing for the NBC collection “The Facts of Life” at the time, got here and was drafted to write down speeches. “I wasn’t a celebrity—I was a lowly sitcom writer,” he says. He stayed for 4 days.

The choose declared a mistrial, saying that Christofferson-Titchbourne’s attorneys had introduced prejudicial arguments. It was one of the biggest triumphs in Scientology’s historical past, and the church members who had gone to Portland felt an everlasting sense of kinship. (A yr and a half later, the church settled with Christofferson-Titchbourne for an undisclosed sum.)

In 1986, Hubbard died, of a stroke, in his motor residence. He was seventy-four. Two weeks later, Scientologists gathered in the Hollywood Palladium for a particular announcement. A younger man, David Miscavige, stepped onto the stage. Short, trim, and muscular, with brown hair and sharp options, Miscavige introduced to the assembled Scientologists that, for the previous six years, Hubbard had been investigating new, larger O.T. ranges. “He has now moved on to the next level,” Miscavige mentioned. “It’s a level beyond anything any of us ever imagined. This level is, in fact, done in an exterior state. Meaning that it is done completely exterior from the body. Thus, at twenty-hundred hours, the twenty-fourth of January, A.D. 36”—that’s, thirty-six years after the publication of “Dianetics”—“L. Ron Hubbard discarded the body he had used in this lifetime.” Miscavige started clapping, and led the crowd in an ovation, shouting, “Hip hip hooray!”

Miscavige was a Scientology prodigy from the Philadelphia space. He claimed that, rising up, he had been sickly, and struggled with unhealthy bronchial asthma; Dianetics counselling had dramatically alleviated the signs. As he places it, he “experienced a miracle.” He determined to dedicate his life to the faith. He had gone Clear by the age of fifteen, and the subsequent yr he dropped out of highschool to affix the Sea Org. He grew to become an government assistant to Hubbard, who gave him particular tutoring in pictures and cinematography. When Hubbard went into seclusion, in 1980, Miscavige was one of the few individuals who maintained shut contact with him. With Hubbard’s demise, the curtain rose on a person who was going to impose his character on a company going through its biggest take a look at, the demise of its charismatic founder. Miscavige was twenty-five years previous.

In 1986, Haggis appeared on the cowl of the Scientology journal Celebrity. The accompanying article lauded his rising affect in Hollywood. He had escaped the cartoon ghetto after promoting a script to “The Love Boat.” He had climbed the ladder of community tv, writing motion pictures of the week and kids’s reveals earlier than settling into sitcoms. He labored on “Diff’rent Strokes” and “One Day at a Time,” then grew to become the government producer of “The Facts of Life.” The journal famous, “He is one of the few writers in Hollywood who has major credits in all genres: comedy, suspense, human drama, animation.”

In the article, Haggis mentioned of Scientology, “What excited me about the technology was that you could actually handle life, and your problems, and not have them handle you.” He added, “I also liked the motto, ‘Scientology makes the able more able.’ ” He credited the church for enhancing his relationship with Gettas. “Instead of fighting (we did a lot of that before Scientology philosophy) we now talk things out, listen to each other and apply Scientology technology to our problems.”

Haggis advised Celebrity that he had not too long ago gone via the Purification Rundown, a program meant to get rid of physique toxins that type a “biochemical barrier to spiritual well-being.” For a median of three weeks, members endure a prolonged each day routine combining sauna visits, train, and large doses of nutritional vitamins, particularly niacin. According to a forthcoming e book, “Inside Scientology,” by the journalist Janet Reitman, the sauna periods can last as long as 5 hours a day. In the interview, Haggis recalled being skeptical—“My idea of doing good for my body was smoking low-tar cigarettes”—however mentioned that the Purification Rundown “was WONDERFUL.” He went on, “I really did feel more alert and more aware and more at ease—I wasn’t running in six directions to get something done, or bouncing off the walls when something went wrong.” Haggis talked about that he had taken medication when he was younger. “Getting rid of all those residual toxins and medicines and drugs really had an effect,” he mentioned. “After completing the rundown I drank a diet cola and suddenly could really taste it: every single chemical!” He really helpful the Rundown to others, together with his mom, who at the time was severely sick. He additionally persuaded a younger author on his workers to take the course, in an effort to wean herself from numerous medicines. “She could tell Scientology worked by the example I set,” Haggis advised the journal. “That made me feel very good.”

Privately, he advised me, he remained troubled by the church’s theology, which struck him as “intergalactic spirituality.” He was grateful, nonetheless, to have an auditor who was “really smart, sweet, thoughtful. I could always go to talk to him.” The confessionals had been useful. “It just felt better to get things off my chest.” Even after his incredulous response to O.T. III, he continued to “move up” the Bridge. He noticed so many clever individuals on the path, and anticipated that his considerations could be addressed in future ranges. He advised himself, “Maybe there is something, and I’m just missing it.” He felt unsettled by the lack of irony amongst many fellow-Scientologists—an incapacity to giggle at themselves, which appeared at odds with the character of Hubbard himself. When Haggis felt doubts about the faith, he recalled 16-mm. movies he had seen of Hubbard’s lectures from the fifties and sixties. “He had this amazing buoyancy,” Haggis says. “He had a deadpan humor and this sense of himself that seemed to say, ‘Yes, I am fully aware that I might be mad, but I also might be on to something.’ ”

Haggis lastly reached the high of the Operating Thetan pyramid. According to paperwork obtained by WikiLeaks, the activist group run by Julian Assange, the remaining train is: “Go out to a park, train station or other busy area. Practice placing an intention into individuals until you can successfully and easily place an intention into or on a Being and/or a body.”

Haggis anticipated that, as an O.T. VII, he would really feel a way of accomplishment, however he remained confused and unhappy. He thought that Hubbard was “brilliant in so many ways,” and that the failing should be his. At one level, he confided to a minister in the church that he didn’t assume he ought to be a Scientologist. She advised him, “There are all sorts of Scientologists,” simply as there are all kinds of Jews and Christians, with various ranges of religion. The implication, Haggis mentioned, was that he may “pick and choose” which tenets of Scientology to imagine.

Haggis was a workaholic, and as his profession took off he spent much less and fewer time together with his household. “He never got home till late at night or early in the morning,” his oldest daughter, Alissa, mentioned. “All the time I ever spent with him was on the set.” Haggis often introduced his daughters to work and assigned them odd jobs; Alissa earned her Directors Guild card when she was fifteen.

In 1987, Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz, the creators of the new collection “thirtysomething,” employed Haggis to write down scripts. When I talked to them not too long ago, Herskovitz recalled, “Paul walked in the door and said, ‘I love the fact that you guys are doing a show all about emotions. I don’t like talking about my emotions.’ ” In the present’s first season, one of Haggis’s scripts gained an Emmy. Since he hardly ever mentioned his faith, his bosses had been stunned to study of his affiliation. Herskovitz advised me, “The thing about Paul is his particular sense of humor, which is ironic, self-deprecating—”

“And raw!” Zwick interjected.

“It’s not a sense of humor you often encounter among people who believe in Scientology,” Herskovitz continued. “His way of looking at life didn’t have that sort of straight-on, unambiguous, unambivalent view that so many Scientologists project.”

Observing Zwick and Herskovitz at work bought Haggis enthusiastic about directing, and when the church requested him to make a thirty-second advert about Dianetics he seized the likelihood. He was decided to keep away from the normal declare that Dianetics provided a triumphal march towards enlightenment. He shot a bunch of Scientologists speaking about the sensible ways in which that they had used Dianetics. “It was very naturalistic,” he recollects. Church authorities hated it. “They thought it looked like an A.A. meeting.” The spot by no means aired.

In 1992, he helped out on the pilot for “Walker, Texas Ranger,” a brand new collection starring Chuck Norris. It ran for eight seasons and was broadcast in 100 international locations. Haggis was credited as a co-creator. “It was the most successful thing I ever did,” he says. “Two weeks of work. They never even used my script!”

With his rising accomplishments and wealth, Haggis grew to become an even bigger prize for the church. In 1988, Scientology sponsored a Dianetics automobile in the Indianapolis 500. David Miscavige was at the race. It was one of the few occasions that he and Haggis met. They sat close to one another at a Scientology-sponsored dinner occasion earlier than the race. “Paul takes no shit from anybody,” the organizer of the occasion recalled. Several occasions when Miscavige made some remark throughout the dinner, the organizer mentioned, “Paul challenged him in a lighthearted way.” His tone was perceived as insufficiently deferential; afterward, Miscavige demanded to know why Haggis had been invited. (Miscavige declined requests to talk to me, and Tommy Davis says that Miscavige didn’t attend the occasion.) The organizer advised me, “You have to understand: no one challenges David Miscavige.”

Haggis’s marriage had lengthy been troubled, and he and his spouse had been getting into a remaining state of estrangement. One day, Haggis flew to New York with a casting director who was additionally a Scientologist. They shared a kiss. Haggis felt unhealthy about it, and confessed to it throughout an “ethics” session. He was given instruction on repair the downside. It didn’t work. He had a collection of liaisons, every of which he confessed. Yet, maybe as a result of of his fame, he was not made to atone for what Scientologists name “out ethics” habits.

Haggis and Gettas started a divorce battle that lasted 9 years. Their three ladies lived with Gettas, visiting Haggis sometimes. Gettas enrolled them in personal faculties that used Hubbard’s instructional system, which known as Study Tech. It is one of the extra grounded techniques that he developed. There are three central parts. One is the use of clay, or different supplies, to assist make tough ideas much less summary. Alissa explains, “If I’m learning the idea of how an atom looks, I’d make an atom out of clay.” A second idea is ensuring that college students don’t face “too steep a gradient,” in Hubbard’s phrases. “The schools are set up so that you don’t go on to the next level until you completely understand the material,” Alissa says. The third aspect is the frequent use of a dictionary to get rid of misunderstandings. “It’s really important to understand the words you’re using.”

Lauren, the center sister, initially struggled at school. “I was illiterate until I was eleven,” she advised me. Somehow, that truth escaped her mother and father. “I assume it was because of the divorce,” she says.

When the divorce grew to become remaining, in 1997, Haggis and Gettas had been ordered by the court docket to endure psychological evaluations—a process abhorred by Scientologists. The court docket then decided that Haggis ought to have full custody of the kids.

His daughters had been resentful. They had lived their complete lives with their mom. “I didn’t even know why he wanted us,” Lauren says. “I didn’t really know him.”

“Your pilot is still de-icing.”

Haggis put his daughters in an peculiar personal faculty, however that lasted solely six months. The ladies weren’t totally comfy speaking to individuals who weren’t Scientologists, and basic items like multiple-choice assessments had been unfamiliar. At a daily faculty, they felt like outsiders. “The first thing I noticed that I did, that others didn’t, is the Contact,” Alissa advised me, referring to a process the church calls Contact Assist. “If you hurt yourself, the first thing I and other Scientology kids do is go quiet.” Scientology preaches that, when you contact the wound to the object that induced the harm and silently focus, the ache lessens and a way of trauma fades.

The ladies demanded to be despatched to boarding faculty, so Haggis enrolled them at the Delphian School, in rural Oregon, which makes use of Hubbard’s Study Tech strategies. The faculty, Lauren says, is “on top of a hill in the middle of nowhere.” She added, “I lived in a giant bubble. Everyone I knew was a Scientologist.”

For one course, she determined to write down a paper about discrimination towards numerous religions, together with Scientology. “I wanted to see what the opposition was saying, so I went online,” she says. Another pupil turned her in to the faculty’s ethics committee. Information that doesn’t correspond to Scientology teachings is termed “entheta”—that means confused or harmful considering. Lauren agreed to cease doing analysis. “It was really easy not to look,” she says. By the time she graduated from highschool, at the age of twenty, she had scarcely ever heard anybody converse sick of Scientology.

Alissa was a high pupil at Delphian, however she discovered herself shifting away from the church. She nonetheless believed in some concepts promoted by Scientology, reminiscent of reincarnation, and she or he preferred Hubbard’s instructional strategies, however by the time she graduated she not outlined herself as a Scientologist. Her reasoning was true to Hubbard’s philosophy. “A core concept in Scientology is: ‘Something isn’t true unless you find it true in your own life,’ ” she advised me.

After beginning boarding faculty, Alissa didn’t converse to her father for a quantity of years. She was indignant about the divorce. Haggis mined the expertise for the script of “Million Dollar Baby,” through which the lead character, performed by Clint Eastwood, is haunted by his estrangement from his daughter.

“I’m very proud of Alissa for not talking to me,” Haggis advised me, his eyes welling with tears. “Think what that takes.” It was the solely time, in our many conversations, that he displayed such emotion.

Haggis and Alissa slowly resumed communication. When Alissa was in her early twenties, she accepted the proven fact that, like her sister Katy, she was homosexual. She recollects, “When I finally got the courage to come out to my dad, he said, ‘Oh, yeah, I knew that.’ ” Now, Alissa says, she and Haggis have a “working relationship.” As she places it, “We do see each other for Thanksgiving and some meals.” Recently, Alissa, who can also be a author, has been collaborating on screenplays along with her father. Haggis additionally gave her the function of a murderous drug addict in “The Next Three Days.”

In 1991, as his marriage to Gettas was crumbling, Haggis went to a Fourth of July occasion at the residence of Scientologist buddies. Deborah Rennard, who performed J.R.’s alluring secretary on “Dallas,” was at the occasion. Rennard had grown up in a Scientology family and joined the church herself at the age of seventeen. In her early twenties, she studied appearing at the Beverly Hills Playhouse and fell in love with Milton Katselas. They had not too long ago damaged up, after a six-year romance.

“When I first met Paul, he said he was having a ‘crisis of faith,’ ” Rennard advised me. “He said he’d raced up to the top of the Bridge on faith, but he hadn’t gotten what he expected.” Haggis admitted to her, “I don’t believe I’m a spiritual being. I actually am what you see.” They grew to become a pair, and married in June, 1997, instantly after Haggis’s divorce from Gettas grew to become remaining. A son, James, was born the following yr.

Rennard, involved about her husband’s religious doubts, urged that he do some extra research. She was having breakthroughs that generally led her to find previous lives. “There were images, feelings, and thoughts that I suddenly realized, That’s not here. I’m not in my body, I’m in another place,” she advised me. For occasion, she could be analyzing what the church calls a “contra-survival” motion—“like the time I clobbered Paul or threw something at him. And I’d look for an earlier similar. Suddenly, I’d realize I was doing something negative, and I’d be in England in the eighteen-hundreds. I’d see myself harming this person. It was a fleeting glimpse at what I was doing then.” Examining these moments helped the emotional cost dissipate. “Paul would say, ‘Don’t you think you’re making this up?’ ” She questioned if that mattered. “If it changed me for the better, who cares?” she says. “When you are working on a scene as an actor, something similar happens. You get connected to a feeling from who knows where.”

Haggis and Rennard shared a home in Santa Monica, which quickly grew to become a hub for progressive political fund-raisers. Haggis lent his title to almost any trigger that espoused peace and justice: the Earth Communications Office, the Hollywood Education and Literacy Project, the Center for the Advancement of Non-Violence. Despite his rising disillusionment with Scientology, he additionally raised a major quantity of cash for it, and made sizable donations himself, showing often on an honor roll of high contributors. The Church of Scientology had not too long ago gained tax-exempt standing as a non secular establishment, making donations, in addition to the value of auditing, tax-deductible. (Church members had lodged greater than two thousand lawsuits towards the Internal Revenue Service, ensnaring the company in litigation. As half of the settlement, the church agreed to drop its authorized marketing campaign.)

Over the years, Haggis estimates, he spent greater than 100 thousand {dollars} on programs and auditing, and 300 thousand {dollars} on numerous Scientology initiatives. Rennard says that she spent a few hundred and fifty thousand {dollars} on coursework. Haggis recollects that the calls for for donations by no means appeared to cease. “They used friends and any kind of pressure they could apply,” he says. “I gave them money just to keep them from calling and hounding me.”

A decade in the past, Haggis moved into function movies. He co-wrote the scripts for the two most up-to-date James Bond movies, “Casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace.” He claims that Scientology has not influenced his work—there aren’t any evident references in his motion pictures—however his scripts usually do have an autobiographical aspect. “I’m not good at something unless it disturbs me,” he mentioned. In “Million Dollar Baby,” he wrote a few boxing coach who pulls the plug on a paralyzed fighter. Haggis made the same alternative in actual life together with his finest pal, who was mind lifeless from a staph an infection. “They don’t die easily,” he mentioned. “Even in a coma, he kicked and moaned for twelve hours.” Haggis likes to discover contradictions, making heroes into villains and vice versa, as with the racist cop in “Crash,” performed by Matt Dillon, who molests a girl in a single scene and saves her life in one other. In “In the Valley of Elah,” Tommy Lee Jones performs a father making an attempt to find who murdered his son, a heroic soldier simply returned from Iraq, solely to study that the sadism of the conflict had turned his son right into a keen torturer.

In 2004, Haggis was rewriting “Flags of Our Fathers,” a drama about Iwo Jima, for Clint Eastwood to direct. (Haggis shared credit score with William Broyles, Jr.) One day, Haggis and Eastwood visited the set of “War of the Worlds,” which Steven Spielberg was taking pictures with Tom Cruise. Haggis had met Cruise at a fund-raiser and, a second time, at the Celebrity Centre. Cruise says that he was launched to the church in 1986 by his first spouse, the actress Mimi Rogers. (Rogers denies this.) In 1992, he grew to become the faith’s most well-known member, telling Barbara Walters that Hubbard’s Study Tech strategies had helped him overcome dyslexia. “He’s a major symbol of the church, and I think he takes that very seriously,” Haggis mentioned.

Tommy Davis, at Cruise’s request, was allowed to erect a tent on the set of Spielberg’s “War of the Worlds,” the place Scientology supplies had been distributed. That raised eyebrows in Hollywood. Haggis says that when he appeared on the set Spielberg pulled him apart. “It’s really remarkable to me that I’ve met all these Scientologists, and they seem like the nicest people,” Spielberg mentioned. Haggis replied, “Yeah, we keep all the evil ones in a closet.” (Spielberg’s publicist says that Spielberg doesn’t recall the dialog.)

A couple of days later, Haggis says, he was summoned to the Celebrity Centre, the place officers advised him that Cruise was very upset. “It was a joke,” Haggis defined. Davis affords a distinct account. He says that Cruise talked about the incident to him solely “in passing,” however that he himself discovered the comment offensive. He confronted Haggis, who apologized profusely, asking that his contrition be relayed to “anyone who might have been offended.”

Davis has identified Cruise since Davis was eighteen years previous. They are shut buddies. The two males bodily resemble one another, with lengthy faces, sturdy jaws, and spiky haircuts. “I saw him hanging out with Tom Cruise after the Oscars,” Haggis recollects. “At the Vanity Fair party, they were let in the back door. They arrived on motorcycles, really cool ones, like Ducatis.” Cruise was additionally near David Miscavige, and has mentioned of him, “I have never met a more competent, a more intelligent, a more tolerant, a more compassionate being outside of what I have experienced from L.R.H. And I’ve met the leaders of leaders.”

In 2004, Cruise obtained a particular Scientology award: the Freedom Medal of Valor. In a ceremony held in England, Miscavige referred to as Cruise “the most dedicated Scientologist I know.” The ceremony was accompanied by a video interview with the star. Wearing a black turtleneck, and with the theme music from “Mission: Impossible” taking part in in the background, Cruise mentioned, “Being a Scientologist, you look at someone and you know absolutely that you can help them. So, for me, it really is K.S.W.”—initials that stand for “Keeping Scientology Working.” He went on, “That policy to me has really gone—phist!” He made a vigorous gesture together with his hand. “Boy! There’s a time I went through and I said, ‘You know what? When I read it, you know, I just went poo! This is it!’ ” Later, when the video was posted on YouTube and seen by hundreds of thousands who had no thought what he was speaking about, Cruise got here throughout as unhinged. He didn’t dispel this notion when, in 2005, throughout an interview with Oprah Winfrey, he jumped up and down on a sofa whereas declaring his love for the actress Katie Holmes. He and Holmes married in 2006, in Italy. David Miscavige was his finest man.

Proposition 8, the California initiative towards homosexual marriage, handed in November, 2008. Haggis discovered from his daughter Lauren of the San Diego chapter’s endorsement of it. He instantly despatched Davis a number of e-mails, demanding that the church take a public stand opposing the ban on homosexual marriage. “I am going to an anti Prop 8 rally in a couple of hours,” he wrote on November eleventh, after the election. “When can we expect the public statement?” In a response, Davis proposed sending a letter to the San Diego press, saying that the church had been “erroneously listed among the supporters of Proposition 8.”

“ ‘Erroneous’ doesn’t cut it,” Haggis responded. In one other notice, he remarked, “The church may have had the luxury of not taking a position on this issue before, but after taking a position, even erroneously, it can no longer stand neutral.” He demanded that the church overtly declare that it helps homosexual rights. “Anything less won’t do.”

Davis defined to Haggis that the church avoids taking overt political stands. He additionally felt that Haggis was exaggerating the affect of the San Diego endorsement. “It was one guy who somehow got it in his head it would be a neat idea and put Church of Scientology San Diego on the list,” Davis advised me. “When I found out, I had it removed from the list.” Davis mentioned that the particular person who made the mistake—he didn’t disclose the title—had been “disciplined” for it. I requested what that meant. “He was sat down by a staff member of the local organization,” Davis defined. “He got sorted out.”

“Just let me know if you want me to make a valiant attempt at holding the doors.”

Davis advised me that Haggis was mistaken about his daughter having been ostracized by Scientologists. Davis mentioned that he had spoken to the pal who had allegedly deserted Katy, and the pal had ended the relationship not as a result of Katy was a lesbian however as a result of Katy had lied about it. (Haggis, when knowledgeable of this account, laughed.)

As far as Davis was involved, reprimanding the San Diego workers member was the finish of the matter: “I said, ‘Paul, I’ve received no press inquiries. . . . If I were to make a statement on this, it would actually be more attention to the subject than if we leave it be.’ ”

Haggis refused to let the matter drop. “This is not a P.R. issue, it is a moral issue,” he wrote, in February, 2009. In the remaining notice of this trade, he conceded, “You were right: nothing happened—it didn’t flap—at least not very much. But I feel we shamed ourselves.”

Haggis despatched this notice six months earlier than he resigned. Because he stopped complaining, Davis felt that the subject had been laid to relaxation. But, removed from placing the matter behind him, Haggis started his investigation into the church. His inquiry, a lot of it carried out on-line, mirrored the actions of the lead character he was writing for “The Next Three Days”; the character, performed by Russell Crowe, goes on the Internet to discover a strategy to break his spouse out of jail.

Haggis quickly discovered on YouTube the video of Tommy Davis speaking on CNN about disconnection. The observe of disconnection shouldn’t be distinctive to Scientology. The Amish, for instance, lower themselves off from apostates, together with their very own kids; some Orthodox Jewish communities do the identical. Rennard had disconnected from her mother and father twice. When she was a younger baby, her stepfather had bought the household concerned with Scientology. When she was in her twenties, and showing on “Dallas,” her mother and father broke away from the church. Like many energetic members of Scientology, that they had stored cash in an account (of their case, twenty-five hundred {dollars}) for future programs they meant to take. Rennard’s mom took the a refund. “That’s a huge deal for the church,” Rennard advised me. She didn’t converse to her mother and father for a number of years, assuming that that they had been declared Suppressive Persons.

In the early nineties, Rennard wrote to the International Justice Chief, the Scientology official in cost of such issues; she was knowledgeable that she may discuss to her mother and father once more. A decade later, nonetheless, she went to Clearwater, meaning to take some upper-level programs, and was advised that the earlier ruling not utilized. If she needed to do extra coaching, she needed to confront her mother and father’ errors. The church really helpful that she take a course referred to as P.T.S./S.P., which stands for “Potential Trouble Source/Suppressive Persons.” “That course took a year,” Rennard advised me. She petitioned officers at the Celebrity Centre in Los Angeles for assist. “They put me on a program that took two years to complete,” she says. Still, nothing modified. If she did not “handle” her mother and father, she must disconnect not solely from them but additionally from everybody who spoke to them, together with her siblings. “It was that, or else I had to give up being a Scientologist,” she says.

Rennard’s mother and father had been amongst 4 hundred claimants in a lawsuit introduced towards Scientology by disaffected members in 1987; the case was thrown out of court docket the following yr, for lack of proof. To make amends, Rennard’s mother and father needed to denounce the anti-Scientologist group and supply a “token” restitution. The church prescribes a seven-step course of rehabilitation, referred to as A to E, for penitents searching for to get again into its good graces, which incorporates returning money owed and making public declarations of error. Rennard advised her mother and father that in the event that they needed to stay involved along with her they needed to comply with the church’s procedures. Her mother and father, nervous that they might even be lower off from their grandson, agreed to carry out group service. “They really wanted to work it out with me,” she says.

But the church wasn’t glad. Rennard was advised that if she maintained contact along with her mother and father she could be labelled a “Potential Trouble Source”—a designation that will alienate her from the Scientology group and render her ineligible for additional coaching. “It was clearly laid out for me,” she says. A senior official counselled her to comply with have her mother and father formally branded as S.P.s. “Until then, they won’t turn around and recognize their responsibilities,” he mentioned. “O.K., fine,” Rennard mentioned. “Go ahead and declare them. Maybe it’ll get better.” She was granted permission to start upper-level coursework in Clearwater.

In August, 2006, a discover was posted at the Celebrity Centre declaring Rennard’s mother and father Suppressive Persons, saying that that they had related to “squirrels,” which in Scientology refers to individuals who have dropped out of the church however proceed to observe unauthorized auditing. A month later, Rennard’s mother and father despatched her a letter: “We tried to do what you asked, Deborah. We worked the whole months of July & Aug. on A-E.” They defined that that they had paid the church the twenty-five hundred {dollars}. After all that, they continued, a church adjudicator had advised them handy out 300 copies of L. Ron Hubbard’s pamphlet “The Way to Happiness” to libraries; that they had additionally been advised to doc the trade with pictures. They had declined. “If this can’t be resolved, we will have to say Good-Bye to you & James will lose his Grand-Parents,” her mom wrote. “This is ridiculous.”

In April, 2007, Rennard’s mother and father sued for the proper to go to their grandson. Rennard needed to rent an lawyer. Eventually, the church relented. She was summoned to a church mission in Santa Monica and proven an announcement rescinding the ruling that her mother and father had been S.P.s.

Tommy Davis despatched me some coverage statements that Hubbard had made about disconnection in 1965. “Anyone who rejects Scientology also rejects, knowingly or unknowingly, the protection and benefits of Scientology and the companionship of Scientologists,” Hubbard writes. In “Introduction to Scientology Ethics,” Hubbard outlined disconnection as “a self-determined decision made by an individual that he is not going to be connected to another.”

Scientology defectors are full of tales of forcible household separations, which the church virtually uniformly denies. Two former leaders in the church, Marty Rathbun and Mike Rinder, advised me that households are generally damaged aside. In their circumstances, their wives selected to remain in the church after they left. The wives, and the church, denounce Rathbun and Rinder as liars.

A couple of days after sending the resignation letter to Tommy Davis, Haggis got here residence from work to search out 9 or ten of his Scientology buddies standing in his entrance yard. He invited them in to speak. Anne Archer was there with Terry Jastrow, her husband, an actor turned producer and director. “Paul had been such an ally,” Archer advised me. “It was pretty painful. Everyone wanted to see if there could be some kind of resolution.” Mark Isham, an Emmy-winning composer who has scored movies for Haggis, got here together with his spouse, Donna. Sky Dayton, the EarthHyperlink founder, was there, together with a number of different buddies and a church consultant Haggis didn’t know. His buddies may have served as an commercial for Scientology—they had been rich excessive achievers with strong marriages, who embraced the concept that the church had given them a way of well-being and the abilities to excel.

Scientologists are educated to imagine of their persuasive powers and the have to preserve a constructive body of thoughts. But the temper in the room was downbeat and his buddies’ questions had been full of reproach.

Jastrow requested Haggis, “Do you have any idea that what you might do might damage a lot of pretty wonderful people and your fellow-Scientologists?”

Haggis reminded the group that he had been with them at the 1985 “freedom march” in Portland. They all knew about his monetary assist of the church and the events when he had spoken out in its protection. Jastrow remembers Haggis saying, “I love Scientology.”

Archer had explicit purpose to really feel aggrieved: Haggis’s letter had referred to as her son a liar. “Paul was very sweet,” she says. “We didn’t talk about Tommy.” She understood that Haggis was upset about the means Proposition 8 had affected his homosexual daughters, however she didn’t assume it was related to Scientology. “The church is not political,” she advised me. “We all have tons of friends and relatives who are gay. . . . It’s not the church’s issue. I’ve introduced gay friends to Scientology.”

Isham was annoyed. “We weren’t breaking through to him,” he advised me. Of all the buddies current, Isham was the closest to Haggis. “We share a common artistic sensibility,” Isham mentioned. When he visited Abbey Road Studios, in England, to document the rating that he had written for “In the Valley of Elah,” Haggis went together with him. Haggis needed him to compose the rating for “The Next Three Days.” Now their friendship was in danger. Isham used Scientology to research the scenario. In his view, Haggis’s feelings at that second ranked 1.1 on the Tone Scale—the state that’s generally referred to as Covertly Hostile. By adopting a tone simply above it—Anger—Isham hoped to blast Haggis out of the psychic place the place he appeared to be lodged. “This was an intellectual decision,” Isham mentioned. “I decided I would be angry.”

“Paul, I’m pissed off,” Isham advised Haggis. “There’s better ways to do this. If you have a complaint, there’s a complaint line.” Anyone who genuinely needed to vary Scientology ought to keep inside the group, Isham argued, not give up; actually, going public was not useful.

Haggis listened patiently. A basic tenet of Scientology is that differing factors of view should be absolutely heard and acknowledged. When his buddies completed, nonetheless, Haggis had his personal set of grievances.

He referred them to the exposé in the St. Petersburg Times that had so shaken him: “The Truth Rundown.” The first installment had appeared in June, 2009. Haggis had discovered from studying it that a number of of the church’s high managers had defected in despair. Marty Rathbun had as soon as been inspector normal of the church’s Religious Technology Center, which holds the logos of Scientology and Dianetics, and exists to “protect the public from misapplication of the technology.” Rathbun had additionally overseen Scientology’s legal-defense technique, and reported on to Miscavige. Amy Scobee had been an government in the Celebrity Centre community. Mike Rinder had been the church’s spokesperson, the job now held by Tommy Davis. One by one, that they had disappeared from Scientology, and it had by no means occurred to Haggis to ask the place that they had gone.

The defectors advised the newspaper that Miscavige was a serial abuser of his workers. “The issue wasn’t the physical pain of it,” Rinder mentioned. “It’s the fact that the domination you’re getting—hit in the face, kicked—and you can’t do anything about it. If you did try, you’d be attacking the C.O.B.”—the chairman of the board. Tom De Vocht, a defector who had been a supervisor at the Clearwater religious heart, advised the paper that he, too, had been crushed by Miscavige; he mentioned that from 2003 to 2005 he had witnessed Miscavige placing different workers members as many as 100 occasions. Rathbun, Rinder, and De Vocht all admitted that that they had engaged in bodily violence themselves. “It had become the accepted way of doing things,” Rinder mentioned. Amy Scobee mentioned that no one challenged the abuse as a result of individuals had been terrified of Miscavige. Their biggest concern was expulsion: “You don’t have any money. You don’t have job experience. You don’t have anything. And he could put you on the streets and ruin you.”

Assessing the truthfulness of such inflammatory statements—made by individuals who abandoned the church or had been expelled—was a problem for the newspaper, which has maintained a particular deal with Scientology. (Clearwater is twenty miles northwest of downtown St. Petersburg.) In 1998, six years earlier than he defected, Rathbun advised the paper that he had by no means seen Miscavige hit anybody. Now he mentioned, “That was the biggest lie I ever told you.” The reporters behind “The Truth Rundown,” Joe Childs and Thomas Tobin, interviewed every defector individually and videotaped many of the periods. “It added a measure of confidence,” Childs advised me. “Their stories just tracked.”

Much of the alleged abuse happened at the Gold Base, a Scientology outpost in the desert close to Hemet, a city eighty miles southeast of Los Angeles. Miscavige has an workplace there, and the web site options, amongst different issues, film studios and manufacturing amenities for the church’s many publications. For a long time, the base’s location was unknown even to many church insiders. Haggis visited the Gold Base solely as soon as, in the early eighties, when he was about to direct his Scientology business. The panorama, he mentioned, urged a spa, “beautiful and restful,” however he discovered the environment sterile and scary. Surrounded by a safety fence, the base homes about eight hundred Sea Org members, in quarters that the church likens to these “in a convent or seminary, albeit much more comfortable.”

According to a court docket declaration filed by Rathbun in July, Miscavige anticipated Scientology leaders to instill aggressive, even violent, self-discipline. Rathbun mentioned that he was resistant, and that Miscavige grew annoyed with him, assigning him in 2004 to the Hole—a pair of double-wide trailers at the Gold Base. “There were between eighty and a hundred people sentenced to the Hole at that time,” Rathbun mentioned, in the declaration. “We were required to do group confessions all day and all night.”

The church claims that such tales are false: “There is not, and never has been, any place of ‘confinement’ . . . nor is there anything in Church policy that would allow such confinement.”

According to Rathbun, Miscavige got here to the Hole one night and introduced that everybody was going to play musical chairs. Only the final particular person standing could be allowed to remain on the base. He declared that folks whose spouses “were not participants would have their marriages terminated.” The St. Petersburg Times famous that Miscavige performed Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” on a increase field as the church leaders fought over the chairs, punching one another and, in a single case, ripping a chair aside.

Tom De Vocht, one of the members, says that the occasion lasted till 4 in the morning: “It got more and more physical as the number of chairs went down.” Many of the members had lengthy been lower off from their households. They had no cash, no bank cards, no telephones. According to De Vocht, many lacked a driver’s license or a passport. Few had any financial savings or employment prospects. As individuals fell out of the recreation, Miscavige had airplane reservations made for them. He mentioned that buses had been going to be leaving at six in the morning. The powerlessness of everybody else in the room was nakedly clear.

Tommy Davis advised me {that a} musical-chairs episode did happen. He defined that Miscavige had been away from the Gold Base for a while, and when he returned he found that in his absence many roles had been reassigned. The recreation was meant to display that even seemingly small modifications will be disruptive to a company—underscoring an “administrative policy of the church.” The relaxation of the defectors’ accounts, Davis advised me, was “hoo-ha”: “Chairs being ripped apart, and people being threatened that they’re going to be sent to far-flung places in the world, plane tickets being purchased, and they’re going to force their spouses—and on and on and on. I mean, it’s just nuts!”

Jefferson Hawkins, a former Sea Org member and church government who labored with Haggis on the rejected Dianetics advert marketing campaign, advised me that Miscavige had struck or crushed him on 5 events, the first time in 2002. “I had just written an infomercial,” he mentioned. Miscavige summoned him to a gathering the place a couple of dozen members had been seated on one facet of a desk; Miscavige sat by himself on the different facet. According to Hawkins, Miscavige started a tirade about the advert’s shortcomings. Hawkins recollects, “Without any warning, he jumped up onto the conference-room table and he launches himself at me. He knocks me back against a cubicle wall and starts battering my face.” The two males fell to the ground, Hawkins says, and their legs grew to become entangled. “Let go of my legs!” Miscavige shouted. According to Hawkins, Miscavige then “stomped out of the room,” leaving Hawkins on the ground, shocked and bruised. The others did nothing to assist him, he claims: “They were saying, ‘Get up! Get up!’ ”

I requested Hawkins why he hadn’t referred to as the police. He jogged my memory that church members imagine that Scientology holds the key to salvation: “Only by going through Scientology will you reach spiritual immortality. You can go from life to life to life without being cognizant of what is going on. If you don’t go through Scientology, you’re condemned to dying over and over again in ignorance and darkness, never knowing your true nature as a spirit. Nobody who is a believer wants to lose that.” Miscavige, Hawkins says, “holds the power of eternal life and death over you.”

Moreover, Scientologists are taught to deal with inside conflicts inside the church’s personal justice system. Hawkins advised me that if a Sea Org member sought outdoors assist he could be punished, both by being declared a Suppressive Person or by being despatched off to do handbook labor, as Hawkins was made to do after Miscavige beat him. The church denies that Hawkins was mistreated, and notes that he has participated in protests organized by Anonymous, a “hacktivist” collective that has focused Scientology. The group pugnaciously opposes censorship, and have become hostile towards Scientology after the church invoked copyright claims in an effort to take away from the Internet the video of Tom Cruise extolling “K.S.W.” The church describes Anonymous as a “cyber-terrorist group”; final month, the F.B.I. raided the properties of three dozen members after Anonymous attacked the Web websites of companies vital of WikiLeaks. (Two members of Anonymous have pleaded responsible to taking part in a 2008 assault on a Scientology Web web site.)

The church offered me with eleven statements from Scientologists, all of whom mentioned that Miscavige had by no means been violent. One of them, Yael Lustgarten, mentioned that she was current at the assembly with Hawkins and that the assault by Miscavige by no means occurred. She claims that Hawkins made a large number of his presentation—“He smelled of body odor, he was unshaven, his voice tone was very low, and he could hardly be heard”—and was admonished to form up. She says that Hawkins “wasn’t hit by anyone.” The defector Amy Scobee, nonetheless, says that she witnessed the assault—the two males had fallen into her cubicle. After the altercation, she says, “I gathered all the buttons from Jeff’s shirt and the change from his pockets and gave them back to him.”

The church characterizes Scobee, Rinder, Rathbun, Hawkins, De Vocht, Hines, and different defectors I spoke with as “discredited individuals,” who had been demoted for incompetence or expelled for corruption; the defectors’ accounts are constant solely as a result of they’ve “banded together to advance and support each other’s false ‘stories.’ ”

After studying the St. Petersburg Times collection, Haggis tracked down Marty Rathbun, who was residing on Corpus Christi Bay, in south Texas. Rathbun had been making ends meet by writing freelance articles for native newspapers and promoting beer at a ballpark.

Haggis complained that Davis hadn’t been sincere with him about Scientology’s insurance policies. “I said, ‘That’s not Tommy, he has no say,’ ” Rathbun advised me. “Miscavige is a total micromanager. I explained the whole culture.” He says that Haggis was shocked by the dialog. “The thing that was most troubling to Paul was that I literally had to escape,” Rathbun advised me. (A couple of nights after the musical-chairs incident, he bought on his bike and waited till a gate was opened for another person; he sped out and didn’t cease for thirty miles.) Haggis referred to as a number of different former Scientologists he knew nicely. One of them mentioned that he had escaped from the Gold Base by driving his automobile—an Alfa Romeo convertible that Haggis had offered him—via a picket fence. The defector mentioned that he had scars on his brow from the incident. Still others had been expelled or declared Suppressive Persons. Haggis requested himself, “What kind of organization are we involved in where people just disappear?”

When Haggis started casting for “The Next Three Days,” in the summer time of 2009, he requested Jason Beghe to learn for the half of a cop. Beghe was a gravel-voiced character actor who had performed Demi Moore’s love curiosity in “G.I. Jane.” In the late nineties, Haggis had labored with Beghe on a CBS collection, “Family Law.” Like so many others, Beghe had come to the church via the Beverly Hills Playhouse. In previous promotional supplies for the church, he’s quoted as saying that Scientology is “a rocket ride to spiritual freedom.”

Beghe advised Haggis, “You should know that I’m no longer in Scientology. Actually, I’m one of its most outspoken critics. The church would be very unhappy if you hire me.”

Haggis responded, “Nobody tells me who I cast.” He checked out a prolonged video that Beghe had posted on the Internet, through which he denounces the church as “destructive and a ripoff.” Haggis thought that Beghe had “gone over the edge.” But he requested if they may discuss.

The two males met at Patrick’s Roadhouse, a espresso store on the seashore in Pacific Palisades. Beghe was calmer than he had been in the video, which he referred to as “a snapshot of me having been out only three months.” Even although Beghe had renounced the church, he continued to make use of Scientology strategies when coping with members and former members. “It’s almost like: ‘I can speak Chinese, I understand the culture,’ ” he defined to me. In a number of conferences with Haggis, he employed strategies based mostly on what Hubbard labelled “Ethics Conditions.” These vary from Confusion at the backside and ascend via Treason, Enemy, Doubt, Liability, and Emergency, ultimately resulting in Power. “Each one of the conditions has a specific set of steps in a formula, and, once that formula is applied correctly, you will move up to the next-highest condition,” Beghe defined. “I assumed that Paul was in a condition of Doubt.”

Beghe joined Scientology in 1994. He advised Haggis that, in the late nineties, he started having emotional issues, and the church really helpful auditing and coursework. In retrospect, he felt that it had carried out no good. “I was paying money for them to fuck me up,” he mentioned. “I spent about five or six hundred thousand dollars trying to get better, and I continued to get worse.” He says that when he lastly determined to go away the church, in 2007, he advised an official that the church was in a situation of Liability to him. Ordinarily, when a Scientologist does one thing incorrect, particularly one thing which may harm the picture of the group, he has to make amends, usually in the type of a considerable contribution. But now the scenario was reversed. Beghe recollects telling the official, “You guys don’t have any policies to make up the damage.” He ultimately urged to the official that the church purchase property and lease it to him at a negligible price; the church now characterizes this as an try at extortion.

Beghe was reluctant to make use of the phrase “brainwashing”—“whatever the fuck that is”—however he did really feel that his thoughts had been someway taken over. “You have all these thoughts, all these ways of looking at things, that are L. Ron Hubbard’s,” he defined. “You think you’re becoming more you, but within that is an implanted thing, which is You the Scientologist.”

Perhaps as a result of Haggis had by no means been as a lot of a real believer as some members, he didn’t really feel as deeply betrayed as Beghe did. “I didn’t feel that some worm had buried itself in my ear, and if you plucked it out you would find L. Ron Hubbard and his thought,” he advised me. But, as he continued his investigation, he grew to become more and more disturbed. He learn the church’s official rebuttal to the St. Petersburg Times collection, in the Scientology journal Freedom. It included an annotated transcript of conversations that had taken place between the reporters and representatives of the church, together with Tommy Davis and his spouse, Jessica Feshbach. In Freedom’s rendition of these conversations, the reporters’ sources weren’t named, maybe to defend Scientologists from the shock of seeing acquainted names publicly denouncing the group. Rathbun was referred to as “Kingpin” and Scobee “the Adulteress.”

At one level in the transcribed conversations, Davis reminded the reporters that Scobee had been expelled from the church management as a result of of an affair. The reporters responded that she had denied having sexual contact outdoors her marriage. “That’s a lie,” Davis advised them. Feshbach, who had a stack of paperwork, elaborated: “She has a written admission [of] each one of her instances of extramarital indiscretion. . . . I believe there were five.” When Haggis learn this in Freedom, he presumed that the church had obtained its info from the declarations that members generally present after auditing. Such confessions are speculated to be confidential. (Scientology denies that it obtained the info this fashion, and Davis produced an affidavit, signed by Scobee, through which she admits to having liaisons. Scobee denies committing adultery, and says that she didn’t write the affidavit; she says that she signed it in the hope of leaving the church on good phrases, in order that she may keep in contact with kinfolk.)

In his letter to Davis, Haggis mentioned that he was nervous that the church would possibly look via his recordsdata to smear him, too. “Luckily, I have never held myself up to be anyone’s role model,” he wrote.

At his home, Haggis completed telling his buddies what he had discovered. He urged that they need to no less than look at the proof. “I directed them to certain Web sites,” he mentioned, mentioning, which was created by three younger ladies who grew up in Scientology and subsequently left. Many tales on the web site are from women and men who joined the Sea Org earlier than turning eighteen. One of them was Jenna Miscavige Hill, David Miscavige’s niece, who joined when she was twelve. For Hill and lots of others, formal schooling had stopped after they entered the Sea Org, leaving them particularly ill-prepared, they are saying, for dealing with life outdoors the church.

The tales Haggis discovered on the Internet of kids drafted into the Sea Org appalled him. “They were ten years old, twelve years old, signing billion-year contracts—and their parents go along with this?” Haggis advised me. “Scrubbing pots, manual labor—that so deeply touched me. My God, it horrified me!” The tales of the Sea Org kids reminded Haggis of baby slaves he had seen in Haiti.

Many Sea Org volunteers discover themselves with no viable choices for maturity. If they attempt to depart, the church presents them with a “freeloader tab” for all the coursework and counselling they’ve obtained; the invoice can quantity to greater than 100 thousand {dollars}. Payment is required in an effort to depart in good standing. “Many of them actually pay it,” Haggis mentioned. “They leave, they’re ashamed of what they’ve done, they’ve got no money, no job history, they’re lost, they just disappear.” In what appeared like a really unguarded remark, he mentioned, “I would gladly take down the church for that one thing.”

The church says that it adheres to “all child labor laws,” and that minors can’t enroll with out parental consent; the freeloader tabs are an “ecclesiastical matter” and will not be enforced via litigation.

Haggis’s buddies got here away from the assembly with blended emotions. “We all left no clearer than when we went in,” Archer mentioned. Isham felt that there was nonetheless a risk of getting Haggis “to behave himself.” He mentioned that Haggis had agreed that “it wasn’t helping anyone” to proceed distributing the letter, and had promised to not flow into it additional. Unmentioned was the proven fact that this could be the final time most of them ever spoke to Haggis.

I requested Isham if he had taken Haggis’s recommendation and checked out the Web websites or the articles in the St. Petersburg Times. “I started to,” he mentioned. “But it was like reading ‘Mein Kampf’ if you wanted to know something about the Jewish religion.”

In the days after the buddies visited Haggis’s residence, church officers and members got here to his workplace, distracting his colleagues, significantly his producing associate, Michael Nozik, who shouldn’t be a Scientologist. “Every day, for hours, he would have conversations with them,” Nozik advised me. It was August, 2009, and taking pictures for “The Next Three Days” was set to start out in Pittsburgh at the finish of the month; the workplace desperately wanted Haggis’s consideration. “But he felt a need to go through the process fully,” Nozik says. “He wanted to give them a full hearing.”

“I listened to their point of view, but I didn’t change my mind,” Haggis says, noting that the Scientology officers “became more livid and irrational.” He added, “I applied more Scientology in those meetings than they did.”

Davis and different church officers advised Haggis that Miscavige had not crushed his staff; his accusers, they mentioned, had dedicated the violence. Supposing that was true, Haggis mentioned, why hadn’t Miscavige stopped it? Haggis recollects that, at one assembly, he advised Davis and 5 different officers, “If someone in my organization is beating people, I would sure know about it. You think I would put up with it? And I’m not that good a person.” Haggis famous that, if the rumors of Miscavige’s violent mood had been true, it proved that everybody is fallible. “Look at Martin Luther King, Jr.,” he mentioned, alluding to King’s sexual improprieties.

“How dare you compare Dave Miscavige with Martin Luther King!” one of the officers shouted. Haggis was shocked. “They thought that comparing Miscavige to Martin Luther King was debasing his character,” he says. “If they were trying to convince me that Scientology was not a cult, they did a very poor job of it.” (Davis says that King’s title by no means got here up.)

In October, 2009, Marty Rathbun referred to as Haggis and requested if he may publish the resignation letter on his weblog. Rathbun had develop into an off-the-cuff spokesperson for defectors who believed that the church had damaged away from Hubbard’s unique teachings. Haggis was in Pittsburgh, taking pictures his image. “You’re a journalist, you don’t need my permission,” Haggis mentioned, though he requested Rathbun to excise components associated to Katy’s homosexuality.

Haggis says that he didn’t take into consideration the penalties of his resolution: “I thought it would show up on a couple of Web sites. I’m a writer, I’m not Lindsay Lohan.” Rathbun bought fifty-five thousand hits on his weblog that afternoon. The subsequent morning, the story was in newspapers round the world.

At the time Haggis was doing his analysis, the F.B.I. was conducting its personal investigation. In December, 2009, Tricia Whitehill, a particular agent from the Los Angeles workplace, flew to Florida to interview former members of the church in the F.B.I.’s workplace in downtown Clearwater, which occurs to be instantly throughout the avenue from Scientology’s religious headquarters. Tom De Vocht, who spoke with Whitehill, advised me, “I understood that the investigation had been going on for quite a while.” He says Whitehill confided that she hadn’t advised the native brokers what the investigation was about, in case the workplace had been infiltrated. Amy Scobee spoke to the F.B.I. for 2 days. “They wanted a full download about the abuse,” she advised me.

Whitehill and Valerie Venegas, the lead agent on the case, additionally interviewed former Sea Org members in California. One of them was Gary Morehead, who had been the head of safety at the Gold Base; he left the church in 1996. In February, 2010, he spoke to Whitehill and advised her that he had developed a “blow drill” to trace down Sea Org members who left Gold Base. “We got wickedly good at it,” he says. In 13 years, he estimates, he and his safety staff introduced greater than 100 Sea Org members again to the base. When emotional, religious, or psychological strain did not work, Morehead says, bodily power was generally used to carry escapees again. (The church says that blow drills don’t exist.)

Whitehill and Venegas labored on a particular job power dedicated to human trafficking. The legal guidelines concerning trafficking had been constructed largely round pressured prostitution, however in addition they pertain to slave labor. Under federal legislation, slavery is outlined, partly, by the use of coercion, torture, hunger, imprisonment, threats, and psychological abuse. The California penal code lists a number of indicators that somebody could also be a sufferer of human trafficking: indicators of trauma or fatigue; being afraid or unable to speak, as a result of of censorship by others or safety measures that forestall communication with others; working in a single place with out the freedom to maneuver about; owing a debt to 1’s employer; and never having management over identification paperwork. Those circumstances echo the testimony of many former Sea Org members who lived at the Gold Base.

Sea Org members who’ve “failed to fulfill their ecclesiastical responsibilities” could also be despatched to 1 of the church’s a number of Rehabilitation Project Force areas. Defectors describe them as punitive reëducation camps. In California, there may be one in Los Angeles; till 2005, there was one close to the Gold Base, at a spot referred to as Happy Valley. Bruce Hines, the defector turned analysis physicist, says that he was confined to R.P.F. for six years, first in L.A., then in Happy Valley. He recollects that the properties had been closely guarded and that anybody who tried to flee could be tracked down and subjected to additional punishment. “In 1995, when I was put in R.P.F., there were twelve of us,” Hines mentioned. “At the high point, in 2000, there were about a hundred and twenty of us.” Some members have been in R.P.F. for greater than a decade, doing handbook labor and in depth religious work. (Davis says that Sea Org members enter R.P.F. by their very own selecting and might depart at any time; the handbook labor maintains church amenities and instills “pride of accomplishment.”)

In 2009, two former Sea Org members, Claire and Marc Headley, filed lawsuits towards the church. They had each joined as kids. Claire grew to become a member of the Sea Org at the age of sixteen, and was assigned to the Gold Base. She says she wasn’t allowed to inform anybody the place she was going, not even her mom, who was made to signal over guardianship. (Claire’s mom, who continues to be in the church, has issued a sworn assertion denying that she misplaced contact along with her daughter.) The safety equipment at the Gold Base intimidated Claire. “Even though I had been in Scientology pretty much all my life, this was a whole new world,” she advised me. She says she was hardly ever allowed even a phone name to her mom. “Every last trace of my life, as I knew it, was thrown away,” she mentioned. “It was like living in George Orwell’s ‘1984.’ ”

Claire met Marc Headley, additionally a teen-ager, quickly after her arrival. “We had no ties to anyone not in Scientology,” Claire mentioned. “It was a very closeted and controlled existence.” Marc says it was extensively identified round the base that he was one of the first individuals Tom Cruise audited. In Scientology, the auditor bears a major duty for the progress of his topic. “If you audit somebody and that person leaves the organization, there’s only one person whose fault that is—the auditor,” Headley advised me. (Cruise’s lawyer says that Cruise doesn’t recall assembly Marc.) Claire and Marc fell in love, and married in 1992. She says that she was pressured by the church to have two abortions, as a result of of a stipulation that Sea Org members can’t have kids. The church denies that it pressures members to terminate pregnancies. Lucy James, a former Scientologist who had entry to Sea Org personnel information, says that she is aware of of dozens of circumstances through which members had been pressed to have abortions.

In 2005, Marc Headley says, he was punched by Miscavige throughout an argument. He and his spouse give up. (The church calls Marc Headley dishonest, claiming that he stored seven hundred {dollars} in earnings after being approved to promote Scientology digital camera gear; Headley says that delivery prices and different bills account for the discrepancy.) In 2009, the Headleys filed their fits, which maintained that the working circumstances at the Gold Base violated labor and human-trafficking legal guidelines. The church responded that the Headleys had been ministers who had voluntarily submitted to the rigors of their calling, and that the First Amendment protected Scientology’s spiritual practices. The court docket agreed with this argument and dismissed the Headleys’ complaints, awarding the church forty thousand {dollars} in litigation prices. The court docket additionally indicated that the Headleys had been technically free to go away the Gold Base. The Headleys have appealed the rulings.

“When is this sexual fantasy going to get interesting, Brad?”

Defectors additionally talked to the F.B.I. about Miscavige’s luxurious life type. The legislation prohibits the head of a tax-exempt group from having fun with uncommon perks or compensation; it’s referred to as inurement. Tommy Davis refused to reveal how a lot cash Miscavige earns, and the church isn’t required to take action, however Headley and different defectors recommend that Miscavige lives extra like a Hollywood star than like the head of a non secular group—flying on chartered jets and carrying footwear custom-made in London. Claire Headley says that, when she was in Scientology, Miscavige had 5 stewards and two cooks at his disposal; he additionally had a big automobile assortment, together with a Saleen Mustang, much like one owned by Cruise, and 6 bikes. (The church denies this characterization and “vigorously objects to the suggestion that Church funds inure to the private benefit of Mr. Miscavige.”)

Former Sea Org members report that Miscavige receives elaborate birthday and Christmas items from Scientology teams round the world. One yr, he was given a Vyrus 985 C3 4V, a bike with a retail value of seventy thousand {dollars}. “These gifts are tokens of love and respect for Mr. Miscavige,” Davis knowledgeable me.

By distinction, Sea Org members sometimes obtain fifty {dollars} per week. Often, this stipend is docked for small infractions, reminiscent of failing to fulfill manufacturing quotas or skipping scripture-study periods. According to Janela Webster, who was in the Sea Org for nineteen years earlier than defecting, in 2006, it wasn’t uncommon for a member to be paid as little as 13 {dollars} per week.

I not too long ago spoke with two sources in the F.B.I. who’re near the investigation. They assured me that the case stays open.

Last April, John Brousseau, who had been in the Sea Org for greater than thirty years, left the Gold Base. He was sad with Miscavige, his former brother-in-law, whom he thought-about “detrimental to the goals of Scientology.” He drove throughout the nation, to south Texas, to fulfill Marty Rathbun. “I was there a couple of nights,” he says. At five-thirty one morning, he was leaving the motel room the place he was staying, to get espresso, when he heard footsteps behind him. It was Tommy Davis; he and nineteen church members had tracked Brousseau down. Brousseau locked himself in his room and referred to as Rathbun, who alerted the police; Davis went residence with out Brousseau.

In a deposition given in July, Davis mentioned no when requested if he had ever “followed a Sea Organization member that has blown”—fled the church. Under additional questioning, he admitted that he and an entourage had flown to Texas in a jet chartered by Scientology, and had proven up outdoors Brousseau’s motel room at daybreak. But he insisted that he was solely making an attempt “to see a friend of mine.” Davis now calls Brousseau “a liar.”

Brousseau says that his defection induced nervousness, partly as a result of he had labored on a collection of particular tasks for Tom Cruise. Brousseau maintained grounds and buildings at the Gold Base. He labored for fourteen months on the renovation of the Freewinds, the solely ship left in Scientology’s fleet; he additionally says that he put in bars over the doorways of the Hole, at the Gold Base, shortly after Rathbun escaped. (The church denies this.)

In 2005, Miscavige confirmed Cruise a Harley-Davidson bike he owned. At Miscavige’s request, Brousseau had had the automobile’s components plated with brushed nickel and painted candy-apple pink. Brousseau recollects, “Cruise asked me, ‘God, could you paint my bike like that?’ I looked at Miscavige, and Miscavige agreed.” Cruise introduced in two bikes to be painted, a Triumph and a Honda Rune; the Honda had been given to him by Spielberg after the filming of “War of the Worlds.” “The Honda already had a custom paint job by the set designer,” Brousseau recollects. Each bike needed to be taken aside utterly, and all the components nickel-plated, earlier than it was painted. (The church denies Brousseau’s account.)

Brousseau additionally says that he helped customise a Ford Excursion S.U.V. that Cruise owned, putting in options reminiscent of handmade eucalyptus panelling. The customization job was introduced to Tom Cruise as a present from David Miscavige, he mentioned. “I was getting paid fifty dollars a week,” he recollects. “And I’m supposed to be working for the betterment of mankind.” Several years in the past, Brousseau says, he labored on the renovation of an airport hangar that Cruise maintains in Burbank. Sea Org members put in fake scaffolding, large banners bearing the emblems of plane producers, and an expensive workplace that was fabricated at church amenities, then reassembled inside the hangar. Brousseau confirmed me dozens of pictures documenting his work for Cruise.

Both Cruise’s lawyer and the church deny Brousseau’s account. Cruise’s lawyer says that “the Church of Scientology has never expended any funds to the personal benefit of Mr. Cruise or provided him with free services.” Tommy Davis says that these tasks had been carried out by contractors, and that Brousseau acted merely as an adviser. He additionally says, “None of the Church staff involved were coerced in any way to assist Mr. Cruise. Church staff, and indeed Church members, hold Mr. Cruise in very high regard and are honored to assist him. Whatever small economic benefit Mr. Cruise may have received from the assistance of Church staff pales in comparison to the benefits the Church has received from Mr. Cruise’s many years of volunteer efforts for the Church.” Yet this help could have concerned many hours of unpaid labor on the half of Sea Org members.

Miscavige’s official title is chairman of the board of the Religious Technology Center, however he dominates the complete group. His phrase is absolute, and he imposes his will even on some of the individuals closest to him. According to Rinder and Brousseau, in June, 2006, whereas Miscavige was away from the Gold Base, his spouse, Shelly, crammed a number of job vacancies with out her husband’s permission. Soon afterward, she disappeared. Her present standing is unknown. Tommy Davis advised me, “I definitely know where she is,” however he gained’t disclose the place that’s.

The backyard behind Anne Archer and Terry Jastrow’s home, in Brentwood, is stuffed with olive bushes and hummingbirds. A fountain gurgles beside the swimming pool. When I visited, final May, Jastrow advised me about the first time he met Archer, in Milton Katselas’s class. “I saw this girl sitting next to Milton,” Jastrow recalled. “I said, ‘Who is that?’ ” There was a cool wind blowing in from the Pacific, and Archer drew a scarf round her.

“We were friends for about a year and a half before we ever had our first date,” Archer mentioned. They had been married in 1978. “Our relationship really works,” Jastrow mentioned. “We attribute that essentially a hundred per cent to applying Scientology.” The two spoke of the strategies that had helped them, reminiscent of by no means being vital of the different and by no means interrupting.

“This isn’t a creed,” Archer mentioned. “These are basic natural laws of life.” She described Hubbard as “an engineer” who had codified human emotional states, in an effort to information individuals to “feel a zest and a love for life.”

I requested them how the controversy surrounding Scientology had affected them. “It hasn’t touched me,” Archer mentioned. “It’s not that I’m not aware of it.” She went on, “Scientology is growing. It’s in a hundred and sixty-five countries.”

“Translated into fifty languages!” Jastrow added. “It’s the fastest-growing religion.” He added, “Scientologists do more good things for more people in more places around the world than any other organization ever.” He continued, “When you study the historical perspective of new faiths, historically, they’ve all been—”

“Attacked,” Archer mentioned. “Look what happened to the—”

“The Christians,” Jastrow mentioned, concurrently. “Think of the Mormons and the Christian Scientists.”

We talked about the church’s deal with celebrities. “Hubbard recognized that if you really want to inspire a culture to have peace and greatness and harmony among men, you need to respect and help the artist to prosper and flourish,” Archer mentioned. “And if he’s particularly well known he needs a place where he can be comfortable. Celebrity Centres provide that.” She blamed the press for concentrating an excessive amount of on Scientology celebrities. Journalists, she mentioned, “don’t write about the hundreds of thousands of other Scientologists—”


“Millions of other Scientologists. They only write about four friggin’ people!”

The church gained’t launch official membership figures, but it surely informally claims eight million members worldwide. Davis says that the determine comes from the quantity of individuals all through the world who’ve donated to the church. “There is no process of conversion, there is no baptism,” Davis advised me. It was a easy resolution: “Either you are or you aren’t.” A survey of American spiritual affiliations, compiled in the Statistical Abstract of the United States, estimates that solely twenty-five thousand Americans really name themselves Scientologists. That’s lower than half the quantity who establish themselves as Rastafarians.

Jastrow urged that Scientology’s critics usually had a vested curiosity. He pointed to psychiatrists, psychologists, docs, drugmakers, pharmacies—“all those people who make a living and profit and pay their mortgages and pay their college educations and buy their cars, et cetera, et cetera, based on people not being well.” He cited a current article in USA Today which famous that an alarmingly excessive quantity of troopers in Iraq and Afghanistan had been hospitalized for psychological sickness. Drugs merely masks psychological misery, he mentioned, whereas “Scientology will solve the source of the problem.” The medical and pharmaceutical industries are “prime funders and sponsors of the media,” he mentioned, and due to this fact would possibly exert “influence on people telling the whole and true story about Scientology just because of the profit motive.”

Scientology has perpetuated Hubbard’s antagonism towards psychiatry. An group that the church co-founded, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, maintains a everlasting exhibit in Los Angeles referred to as “Psychiatry: An Industry of Death,” which argues that psychiatry contributed to the rise of Nazism and apartheid. The group is behind an effort “to help achieve legislative protections against abusive psychiatric treatment and drugging of children.” (Paul Haggis has hosted an occasion for the group at his residence. His defection from Scientology has not modified his view that “psychotropic drugs are overprescribed for children.”)

Jastrow, in his again yard, advised me, “Scientology is going to be huge, and it’s going to help mankind right itself.” He requested me, “What else is there that we can hang our hopes on?”

“That’s improving the civilization,” Archer added.

“Is there some other religion on the horizon that’s gonna help mankind?” he mentioned. “Just tell me where. If not Scientology, where?”

Archer and Jastrow discovered their means into Scientology in the mid-seventies, however Tommy Davis was reared in Archer’s unique religion, Christian Science. He by no means met L. Ron Hubbard. He was 13 years previous on January 24, 1986, the day Hubbard died. Although Davis grew up amid cash and movie star, he impressed individuals together with his modesty and his idealism. Like Paul Haggis, Davis was first drawn to the church as a result of of romantic issues. In 1996, he advised Details that, when he was seventeen, he was having bother with a girlfriend, and went to his mom for recommendation. Archer urged that he go to the Celebrity Centre. After taking the Personal Values and Integrity course, Davis grew to become a Scientologist.

In 1990, Davis was accepted at Columbia University. But, in keeping with the defector John Peeler—who was then the secretary to Karen Hollander, the president of the Celebrity Centre—strain was placed on Davis to affix the Sea Org. Hollander, Peeler says, needed Tommy to be her private assistant. “Karen felt that because of who his parents were, and the fact that he already had close friendships with other celebrities, he’d be a good fit,” Peeler mentioned. “Whenever celebrities came in, there would be Anne Archer’s son.” At first, Davis resisted. “He wanted to go to college,” Peeler mentioned.

That fall, Davis entered Columbia. He attended for a semester, then dropped out and joined the Sea Org. “I always wanted to do something that helped people,” Davis defined to me. “I didn’t think the world needed another doctor or lawyer.” Archer and Jastrow say that they had been stunned by Tommy’s resolution. “We were hoping he’d get his college education,” Jastrow mentioned.

Davis grew to become fiercely dedicated to the Sea Org. He bought a tattoo on one arm of its brand—two palm fronds embracing a star, supposedly the emblem of the Galactic Confederacy seventy-five million years in the past. He started working at the Celebrity Centre, attending to younger stars like Juliette Lewis, earlier than taking up Tom Cruise. David Miscavige was impressed with Davis. Mike Rinder recalled, “Miscavige liked the fact that he was young and looked trendy and wore Armani suits.”

Paul Haggis remembers first assembly Davis at the Celebrity Centre in the early nineties. “He was a sweet and bright boy,” Haggis mentioned.

Davis’s rise inside Scientology was not with out issue. In 2005, Davis was despatched to Clearwater to take part in one thing referred to as the Estates Project Force. He was there at the identical time as Donna Shannon, a veterinarian who had develop into an O.T. VII earlier than becoming a member of the Sea Org. She had thought that she was attending a sort of boot camp for brand new Sea Org members, and was stunned to see veterans like Davis. She says that Davis, “a pretty nice guy,” was subjected to in depth hazing. “He complained about scrubbing a Dumpster with a toothbrush till late at night,” she recollects. “Then he’d be up at six to do our laundry.” Only later did Shannon study that Davis was Anne Archer’s son.

Shannon and Davis labored collectively for some time in Clearwater, sustaining the grounds. “I was supposedly supervising him,” Shannon says. “I was told to make him work really hard.” At one level, Shannon says, Davis borrowed a few hundred {dollars} from her as a result of he didn’t have cash for meals.

One day, in keeping with Shannon, she and Davis had been taking the bus to a piece venture. She requested why he was in the E.P.F.

“I got busted,” Davis advised her. Using Scientology jargon, he mentioned, “I fucked up on Tom Cruise’s lines”—that means that he had botched a venture that Cruise was concerned in. “I just want to do my stuff and get back on post.”

Shannon recalled that, immediately, “it was like a veil went over his eyes, and he goes, ‘I already said too much.’ ”

Several months later, Davis paid her again the cash. (Davis says that he doesn’t recall assembly Shannon, has by no means scrubbed a Dumpster, and has by no means had a have to borrow cash.)

Davis ascended to his function as spokesman in 2007. He has since develop into identified for his aggressive defenses of the church. In 2007, the BBC started reporting an investigative story about Scientology. From the begin, the BBC crew, led by John Sweeney, was shadowed by a Scientology movie crew. Davis travelled throughout the U.S. to disrupt Sweeney’s interviews with Scientology dissidents. The two males had a quantity of confrontations. In an incident captured on video in Florida, Sweeney means that Scientology is “a sadistic cult.” Davis responds, “For you to repeatedly refer to my faith in those terms is so derogatory, so offensive, and so bigoted. And the reason you kept repeating it is because you wanted to get a reaction like you’re getting right now. Well, buddy, you got it! Right here, right now, I’m angry! Real angry!” The two males had one other encounter that left Sweeney screaming as Davis goaded him—an incident so uncooked that Sweeney apologized to his viewers.

Shortly afterward, in March, 2007, Davis mysteriously disappeared. He was below appreciable stress. According to Mike Rinder, Davis had advised Sweeney that he reported to Miscavige every single day, and that angered Miscavige, who needed to be seen as focussed on religious issues, not public relations. According to Rinder, Davis “blew.” A couple of days later, he surfaced in Las Vegas. Davis was despatched to Clearwater, the place he was “security-checked” by Jessica Feshbach, a church stalwart. A safety verify entails searching for to achieve a confession with an E-Meter, in an effort to rout out subversion. It can operate as a strong type of thought management.

Davis claims that he by no means fled the church and was not in Las Vegas. He did go to Clearwater. “I went to Florida and worked there for a year and took some time off,” he advised me. “I did a lot of study, a lot of auditing.” He and Feshbach subsequently bought married.

When I first contacted Tommy Davis, final April, he expressed a reluctance to speak, saying that he had already spent a month responding to Paul Haggis. “It made little difference,” he mentioned. “The last thing I’m interested in is dredging all this up again.” He stored placing me off, saying that he was too busy to get collectively, however he promised that we’d meet when he was extra out there. In an e-mail, he mentioned, “We should plan on spending at least a full day together as there is a lot I would want to show you.” We lastly organized to fulfill on Memorial Day weekend.

I flew to Los Angeles and waited for him to name. On Sunday at three o’clock, Davis appeared at my resort, with Feshbach. We sat at a desk on the patio. Davis has his mom’s sleepy eyes. His thick black hair was combed ahead, with a lock falling boyishly onto his brow. He wore a wheat-colored swimsuit with a blue shirt. Feshbach, a slender, engaging lady, anxiously twirled her hair.

Davis now advised me that he was “not willing to participate in, or contribute to, an article about Scientology through the lens of Paul Haggis.” I had come to Los Angeles particularly to speak to him, at a time he had chosen. I requested if he had been advised to not discuss to me. He mentioned no.

Feshbach mentioned that she had spoken to Mark Isham, whom I had interviewed the day earlier than. “He talked to you about what are supposed to be our confidential scriptures.” Any dialogue of the church’s secret doctrines was offensive, she mentioned.

In my assembly with Isham, he asserted that Scientology was not a “faith-based religion.” I identified that, in Scientology’s higher ranges, there was a cosmology that must be accepted on religion. Isham mentioned that he wasn’t going to debate the particulars of O.T. III. “In the wrong hands, it can hurt people,” he mentioned.

“Everything I have to say about Paul, I’ve already said,” Davis advised me. He agreed, nonetheless, to reply to written questions on the church.

In late September, Davis and Feshbach, together with 4 attorneys representing the church, travelled to Manhattan to fulfill with me and 6 workers members of The New Yorker. In response to almost a thousand queries, the Scientology delegation handed over forty-eight binders of supporting materials, stretching almost seven linear toes.

Davis, early in his presentation, attacked the credibility of Scientology defectors, whom he calls “bitter apostates.” He mentioned, “They make up stories.” He cited Bryan Wilson, an Oxford sociologist, who has argued that testimony from the disaffected ought to be handled skeptically, noting, “The apostate is generally in need of self-justification. He seeks to reconstruct his own past to excuse his former affiliations and to blame those who were formerly his closest associates.”

Davis spoke about Gerry Armstrong, a former Scientology archivist who copied, with out permission, many of the church’s recordsdata on Hubbard, and who settled in a fraud swimsuit towards the church in 1986. Davis charged that Armstrong had solid many of the paperwork that he later disseminated in an effort to discredit the church’s founder. He additionally alleged that Armstrong had unfold rumors of a 1967 letter through which Hubbard advised his spouse that he was “drinking lots of rum and popping pinks and grays” whereas researching the Operating Thetan materials. Davis additionally famous that, in 1984, Armstrong had been captured on videotape telling a pal, “I can create documents with relative ease. You know, I did for a living.” Davis’s resolution to quote this proof was curious—although the quote solid doubt on Armstrong’s ethics, it additionally urged that forging paperwork had as soon as been half of a Scientologist’s job.

Davis handed round {a photograph} of Armstrong, which, he mentioned, confirmed Armstrong “sitting naked” with an enormous globe in his lap. “This was a photo that was in a newspaper article he did where he said that all people should give up money,” Davis mentioned. “He’s not a very sane person.”

Armstrong advised me that, in the photograph, he’s really carrying operating shorts below the globe. The article is about his try to create a motion for individuals to “abandon the use of currency.” He mentioned that he obtained eight hundred thousand {dollars} in the 1986 settlement and had given most of the cash away. (The settlement prohibited Armstrong from speaking about Scientology, a prohibition that he has ignored, and the church has gained two breach-of-contract fits towards him, together with a five-hundred-thousand-dollar judgment in 2004.)

Davis additionally displayed pictures of what he mentioned had been bruises sustained by Mike Rinder’s former spouse in 2010, after Rinder bodily assaulted her in a Florida car parking zone. (Rinder denies committing any violence. A sheriff’s report helps this.) Davis additionally confirmed a mug shot of Marty Rathbun in a jailhouse jumpsuit, after being arrested in New Orleans final July for public drunkenness. “Getting arrested for being drunk on the intersection of Bourbon and Toulouse?” Davis cracked. “That’s like getting arrested for being a leper in a leper colony.” (Rathbun’s arrest has been expunged.) Claire and Marc Headley had been “the most despicable people in the world”; Jeff Hawkins was “an inveterate liar.”

I requested how, if these individuals had been so reprehensible, that they had all arrived at such elevated positions in the church. “They weren’t like that when they were in those positions,” Davis responded. The defectors we had been discussing had not solely risen to positions of duty inside the church; that they had additionally ascended Scientology’s ladder of religious accomplishment. I urged to Davis that Scientology didn’t appear to work if individuals at the highest ranges of religious attainment had been really liars, adulterers, spouse beaters, and embezzlers.

Scientology, Davis mentioned, doesn’t faux to be good, and it shouldn’t be judged on the misconduct of a couple of apostates. “I haven’t done things like that,” Davis mentioned. “I haven’t suborned perjury, destroyed evidence, lied—contrary to what Paul Haggis says.” He spoke of his frustration with Haggis after his resignation: “If he was so troubled and shaken on the fundamentals of Scientology . . . then why the hell did he stick around for thirty-five years?” He continued, “Did he stay a closet Scientologist for some career-advancement purpose?” Davis shook his head in disgust. “I think he’s the most hypocritical person in the world.”

We mentioned the allegations of abuse lodged towards Miscavige. “The only people who will corroborate are their fellow-apostates,” Davis mentioned. He produced affidavits from different Scientologists refuting the accusations, and famous that the tales about Miscavige all the time hinged on “inexplicable violent outbursts.” Davis mentioned, “One would think that if such a thing occurred—which it most certainly did not—there’d have to be a reason.”

I had questioned about these tales as nicely. While Rinder and Rathbun had been in the church, that they had repeatedly claimed that allegations of abuse had been baseless. Then, after Rinder defected, he mentioned that Miscavige had crushed him fifty occasions. Rathbun has confessed that, in 1997, he ordered incriminating paperwork destroyed in the case of Lisa McPherson, the Scientologist who died of an embolism. If these males had been succesful of mendacity to guard the church, would possibly they not even be succesful of mendacity to destroy it? Davis later claimed that Rathbun is in actual fact making an attempt to overthrow Scientology’s present management and take over the church. (Rathbun now makes his residing by offering Hubbard-inspired counselling to different defectors, however he says that he has no need to be half of a hierarchical group. “Power corrupts,” he says.)

Twelve different defectors advised me that that they had been crushed by Miscavige, or had witnessed Miscavige beating different church workers members. Most of them, like John Peeler, famous that Miscavige’s demeanor modified “like the snap of a finger.” Others who by no means noticed such violence spoke of their fixed concern of the chief’s anger.

At the assembly, Davis introduced up Jack Parsons’s black-magic society, which Hubbard had supposedly infiltrated. Davis mentioned, “He was sent in there by Robert Heinlein”—the science-fiction author—“who was running off-book intelligence operations for naval intelligence at the time.” Davis mentioned, “A biography that just came out three weeks ago on Bob Heinlein actually confirmed it at a level that we’d never been able to before.” The e book to which Davis was referring is the first quantity of a certified Heinlein biography, by William H. Patterson, Jr. There is not any point out in the e book of Heinlein’s sending Hubbard to interrupt up the Parsons ring, on the half of naval intelligence or another group. Patterson says that he regarded into the matter, at the suggestion of Scientologists, however discovered nothing.

“To answer your question, we may or may not be trying to have it both ways.”

Davis and I mentioned an assertion that Marty Rathbun had made to me about the O.T. III creation story—the galactic revelations that Haggis had deemed “madness.” While Hubbard was in exile, Rathbun advised me, he wrote a memo suggesting an experiment through which ascending Scientologists skipped the O.T. III degree. Miscavige shelved the thought, Rathbun advised me. Davis referred to as Rathbun’s story “libellous.” He defined that the cornerstone of Scientology was the writings of L. Ron Hubbard. “Mr. Hubbard’s material must be and is applied precisely as written,” Davis mentioned. “It’s never altered. It’s never changed. And there probably is no more heretical or more horrific transgression that you could have in the Scientology religion than to alter the technology.”

But hadn’t sure derogatory references to homosexuality present in some editions of Hubbard’s books been modified after his demise?

Davis admitted that that was so, however he maintained that “the current editions are one-hundred-per-cent, absolutely fully verified as being according to what Mr. Hubbard wrote.” Davis mentioned they had been checked towards Hubbard’s unique dictation.

“The extent to which the references to homosexuality have changed are because of mistaken dictation?” I requested.

“No, because of the insertion, I guess, of somebody who was a bigot,” Davis replied.

“Somebody put the material in those—?”

“I can only imagine. . . . It wasn’t Mr. Hubbard,” Davis mentioned, reducing me off.

“Who would’ve done it?”

“I have no idea.”


“I don’t think it really matters,” Davis mentioned. “The point is that neither Mr. Hubbard nor the church has any opinion on the subject of anyone’s sexual orientation. . . .”

“Someone inserted words that were not his into literature that was propagated under his name, and that’s been corrected now?” I requested.

“Yeah, I can only assume that’s what happened,” Davis mentioned.

After this trade, I checked out some current editions that the church had offered me with. On web page 125 of “Dianetics,” a “sexual pervert” is outlined as somebody partaking in “homosexuality, lesbianism, sexual sadism, etc.” Apparently, the bigot’s handiwork was not absolutely excised.

At the assembly, Davis and I additionally mentioned Hubbard’s conflict document. His voice filling with emotion, he mentioned that, if it was true that Hubbard had not been injured, then “the injuries that he handled by the use of Dianetics procedures were never handled, because they were injuries that never existed; therefore, Dianetics is based on a lie; therefore, Scientology is based on a lie.” He concluded, “The fact of the matter is that Mr. Hubbard was a war hero.”

In the binders that Davis offered, there was a letter from the U.S. Naval Hospital in Oakland, dated December 1, 1945. The letter states that Hubbard had been hospitalized that yr for a duodenal ulcer, however was “technically pronounced ‘fit for duty.’ ” This was the identical interval throughout which Hubbard claimed to have been blinded and lame. Davis had highlighted a passage: “Eyesight very poor, beginning with conjunctivitis actinic in 1942. Lame in right hip from service connected injury. Infection in bone. Not misconduct, all service connected.” Davis added later that, in keeping with Robert Heinlein, Hubbard’s ankles had suffered a “drumhead-type injury”; this will end result, Davis defined, “when the ship is torpedoed or bombed.”

Davis acknowledged that some of Hubbard’s medical information didn’t seem to corroborate Hubbard’s model of occasions. But Scientology had culled different information that did affirm Hubbard’s story, together with paperwork from the National Archives in St. Louis. The man who did the analysis, Davis mentioned, was “Mr. X.”

Davis defined, “Anyone who saw ‘J.F.K.’ remembers a scene on the Mall where Kevin Costner’s character goes and meets with a man named Mr. X, who’s played by Donald Sutherland.” In the movie, Mr. X is an embittered intelligence agent who explains that the Kennedy assassination was really a coup staged by the military-industrial advanced. In actual life, Davis mentioned, Mr. X was Colonel Leroy Fletcher Prouty, who had labored in the Office of Special Operations. (Oliver Stone, who directed “J.F.K.,” says that Mr. X was a composite character, based mostly partly on Prouty.) In the eighties, Prouty labored as a advisor for Scientology.

“We finally got so frustrated with this point of conflicting medical records that we took all of Mr. Hubbard’s records to Fletcher Prouty,” Davis advised me. “He actually solved the conundrum for us.” According to Davis, Prouty defined to the church representatives that, as a result of Hubbard had an “intelligence background,” his information had been subjected to a course of generally known as “sheep-dipping.” Davis defined that this was army parlance for “what gets done to a set of records for an intelligence officer. And, essentially, they create two sets.” He mentioned, “Fletcher Prouty basically issued an affidavit saying L. Ron Hubbard’s records were sheep-dipped.” Prouty died in 2001.

Davis later despatched me a duplicate of what he mentioned was a doc that confirmed Hubbard’s heroism: a “Notice of Separation from the U.S. Naval Service,” dated December 6, 1945. The doc specifies medals gained by Hubbard, together with a Purple Heart with a Palm, implying that he was wounded in motion twice. But John E. Bircher, the spokesman for the Military Order of the Purple Heart, wrote to me that the Navy makes use of gold and silver stars, “NOT a palm,” to point a number of wounds. Davis included {a photograph} of medals that Hubbard supposedly gained. Two of the medals in the {photograph} weren’t even created till after Hubbard left energetic service.

After submitting a request with the National Archives in St. Louis, The New Yorker obtained what archivists assured us had been Hubbard’s full army information—greater than 9 hundred pages. Nowhere in the file is there point out of Hubbard’s being wounded in battle or breaking his toes. X-rays taken of Hubbard’s proper shoulder and hip confirmed calcium deposits, however there was no proof of any bone or joint illness in his ankle.

There is a “Notice of Separation” in the information, however it isn’t the one which Davis despatched me. The variations in the two paperwork are telling. The St. Louis doc signifies that Hubbard earned 4 medals for service, however they mirror no distinction or valor. In the church doc, his job desire after the service is listed as “Studio (screen writing)”; in the official document, it’s “uncertain.” The church doc signifies, falsely, that Hubbard accomplished 4 years of faculty, acquiring a level in civil engineering. The official doc appropriately notes two years of faculty and no diploma.

On the church doc, the commanding officer who signed off on Hubbard’s separation was “Howard D. Thompson, Lt. Cmdr.” The file comprises a letter, from 2000, to a different researcher, who had written for extra details about Thompson. An analyst with the National Archives responded that the information of commissioned naval officers at the moment had been reviewed, and “there was no Howard D. Thompson listed.”

The church, after being knowledgeable of these discrepancies, mentioned, “Our expert on military records has advised us that, in his considered opinion, there is nothing in the Thompson notice that would lead him to question its validity.” Eric Voelz, an archivist who has labored at the St. Louis archive for 3 a long time, checked out the doc and pronounced it a forgery.

Since leaving the church, Haggis has been in remedy, which he has discovered useful. He’s discovered how a lot he blames others for his issues, particularly those that are closest to him. “I really wish I had found a good therapist when I was twenty-one,” he mentioned. In Scientology, he all the time felt a delicate strain to impress his auditor after which write up a glowing success story. Now, he mentioned, “I’m not fooling myself that I’m a better man than I am.”

Recently, he and Rennard separated. They have moved to the identical neighborhood in New York, in order that they will share custody of their son. Rennard has additionally determined to go away the church. Both say that the divorce has nothing to do with their renunciation of Scientology.

On November ninth, “The Next Three Days” premièred at the Ziegfeld Theatre, in Manhattan. Movie stars lined up on the pink carpet as photographers fired away. Jason Beghe, who performs a detective in the movie, was there. He advised me that he had taken in a younger man, Daniel Montalvo, who had not too long ago blown. He was positioned in the Cadet Org, a junior model of the Sea Org, at age 5, and joined the Sea Org at eleven. “He’s never seen television,” Beghe mentioned. “He doesn’t even know who Robert Redford is.”

After the screening, everybody drifted over to the Oak Room of the Plaza Hotel. Haggis was in a nook receiving accolades from his buddies when I discovered him. I requested him if he felt that he had lastly left Scientology. “I feel much more myself, but there’s a sadness,” he admitted. “If you identify yourself with something for so long, and suddenly you think of yourself as not that thing, it leaves a bit of space.” He went on, “It’s not really the sense of a loss of community. Those people who walked away from me were never really my friends.” He understood how they felt about him, and why. “In Scientology, in the Ethics Conditions, as you go down from Normal through Doubt, then you get to Enemy, and, finally, near the bottom, there is Treason. What I did was a treasonous act.”

I as soon as requested Haggis about the future of his relationship with Scientology. “These people have long memories,” he advised me. “My bet is that, within two years, you’re going to read something about me in a scandal that looks like it has nothing to do with the church.” He thought for a second, then mentioned, “I was in a cult for thirty-four years. Everyone else could see it. I don’t know why I couldn’t.” ♦


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