BONNER: War of the Worlds: The Devil vs. Xenu?
By JESSIE L. BONNER, Contributing writer
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
The sparkle in actress Katie Holmes' eyes says it all - she is deeply in love with Tom Cruise.
And who wouldn't be? Cruise, 42, embodies the concept of the All-American male. With his chiseled features he has mesmerized millions of moviegoers in roles ranging from high-school football player to fighter pilot flying into the "danger-zone."
It doesn't hurt that he's loaded. He banked $140 million for the first two "Mission: Impossible" movies, which I still have a hard time following the complex plots.
It's definitely good to be Tom Cruise.
Cruise now seems to be on a Mission: Possible - to convert young starlets to Scientology. His love life reads like a "who's who" of Scientology: Mimi Rogers (first wife) is a member, Nicole Kidman (second wife) supposedly left the sect, and Penelope Cruz (recent girlfriend) now praises it. Holmes, who is 26, is his new fiancée and is expressing interest in Scientology.
Cruise recently tried to recruit Scarlett Johansson, 21, to co-star in his upcoming "Mission: Impossible III." According to Radar Magazine.com, "After two hours of proselytizing, Cruise opened a door to reveal a second room full of upper-level Scientologists who had been waiting to dine with the pair, at which point the cool-headed ingénue politely excused herself."
Ms. Johansson's status just went up in my book.
I wonder how the media would treat Cruise if he were rounding up young actresses for Jesus. I'm not sure if he would be receiving the same favorable press coverage for his upcoming movie, "War of the Worlds" - just ask Mel Gibson. I do believe that he would be criticized for using his good looks and pocketbook to "rob the cradle" for Christ.
The recent media attention focused on Scientology has attracted my interest. Surely, if Scientology is good enough for Tom Cruise (and his love interests), John Travolta (and his love interests), and other Hollywierdos, then it must be good enough for an East Texas hick like me.
It turns out that my family has already experienced some Scientology. About a decade ago, my wife started reading L. Ron Hubbard's "Dianetics." After about 100 pages, she declared that it was "total crap" and tossed it aside. Instead of science fiction, the book was actually Scientology dogma.
A few years later, my wife got into a brief, yet heated exchange with a Scientologist on the streets of New York City. Family members had to intervene.
Officially, Scientology is a controversial "applied religious philosophy" founded by science fiction writer Hubbard. Germany and Belgium won't call Scientology a religion. They call it a "totalitarian cult" that defrauds people. France recognizes it as a "dangerous cult."
And the United States legally claims that it is not a "bona fide" religion, although the Internal Revenue Service granted the organization tax-exempt status in 1993 after 26 years of legal battles. It should come as no surprise that Hollywood's favorite son, Bill Clinton, was president during this ruling.
Operation Clambake (www.xenu.net) is an anti-Scientology Web site which claims that if you ascend to its inner circle (called Level OT III), you will be told the story of its origin. I will paraphrase that story below.
A long time ago, in our galaxy, a tyrant named Xenu had a population control problem. He decided to use a hydrogen bomb to kill all living beings, and then brainwashed the souls left behind. Eventually, tyrants must be taught a lesson, so Xenu was overthrown and imprisoned in a mountain encircled by an impenetrable force field. He remains there to this day, whereas the souls left behind have attached themselves to Earthlings.
That's good science fiction! Of course, the story of an angel, banished from heaven who walks around with horns and a pitchfork damming souls to hell, might seem fictitious to some.
According to respected atheist William Zellner, if you pay as much as $400,000, Scientologists will free you from Xenu's brainwashing. My atheist friend Louis Cable will enjoy that this brainwashing included our belief in God, Satan and Christ.
Obviously, I am biased and would hope that people searching for a religion would find and embrace the teachings in the Holy Bible. But, if you have deep pockets and no need for psychiatric medicine, Scientology may be calling you. Young people impressed by Cruise and Travolta should realize that they are actors, and in real life, are no different than you and I (well, a lot more handsome than I am). I would encourage everyone to search the core of any belief system, whether Christianity, Scientology, or others, prior to accepting its tenets.
In the meantime, I'll stick with one that does not suggest that I am possessed by ancient extraterrestrials. And let's hope that Katie Holmes, currently described as a wholesome Catholic girl, will turn the tables on Cruise and proselytize her religion for a change.
Jessie L. Bonner is a member of The Lufkin Daily News Board of Contributors. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.