Scientology on the Set

Here’s an astonishing little  snippet from Spiegel’s terrific interview with Tom Cruise. The italicized comments in brackets are mine..

SPIEGEL: We visited one of your locations near Los Angeles and were amazed to find a fully staffed tent of the Scientology organization right next to the food tents for the journalists and extras.

Cruise: What were you amazed about?
[Translation: I’m rich and powerful and I can do whatever the hell I want. Don’t you realize that?]

SPIEGEL: Why do you go so extremely public about your personal convictions?

Cruise:
I believe in freedom of speech. I felt honored to have volunteer Scientology ministers on the set. They were helping the crew.
[Helping the crew with what?] When I’m working on a movie, I do anything I can to help the people I’m spending time with. I believe in communication. [I’m sure the crew was clamoring for a Scientologist on the set. Crew members often need to get in touch with their past lives while moving lights around. That’s also why you see so many ministers of other cults and religious faiths on movie sets.]

SPIEGEL: The tent of a sect at someone’s working place still seems somewhat strange to us. Mr. Spielberg, did that tent strike you as unusual?

Spielberg: I saw it as an information tent. No one was compelled to frequent it, but it was available for anybody who had an open mind and was curious about someone else’s belief system.
[So why weren’t there ‘information tents’ from other religious groups and cults on the set…or on the sets of your other movies that don’t star Tom Cruise? I didn’t realize a movie set was a religion and cult faire].

Cruise:The volunteer Scientology ministers were there to help the sick and injured. [Was it a movie…or a war zone? And what help could Scientologists provide to the sick and injured? Isn’t that why you have a nurse on the set? Or how about just calling some Paramedics?] People on the set appreciated that.  [Oh yeah, I bet.]

Imagine what would happen if I was producing a TV series and invited
some Mormons or Jews or Christians or Muslims to pitch tents on the set and minister to the "sick and injured" on my crew. There would be an uproar, and justifiably so. But I’m not Tom Cruise. I don’t make billions of dollars  for Hollywood studios.

It gets worse.  Spielberg tried to defend Cruise’s outrageous
actions by comparing the actor’s passion for Scientology with the
director’s support of the Shoah Foundation,  which educates people
about the Holocaust.

Spielberg:
I often get asked similar questions about my Shoa Foundation. I get
asked why I am trying to disseminate my deep belief in creating more
tolerance through my foundation’s teaching the history of the Holocaust
in public schools. I believe that you shouldn’t be allowed to attend
college without having taken a course in tolerance education. That
should be an important part of the social studies curriculum.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Spielberg, are you comparing the educational work of the Shoa Foundation with what Scientology does?

Spielberg: No, I’m not. Tom told you what he believes in, and
after that I told you what I believe in. This is not a comparison
between the Church of Scientology, the Shoa Foundation and the
Holocaust. I was only showing you that some of us in Hollywood have set
out to do more than just be actors or directors. Some of us have very
personal missions. In Tom’s case, it’s his church, and in my case, it’s
the Shoa Foundation, where I’m trying to help other people learn about
the mortal dangers of pure hatred.

But you don’t see Spielberg putting up a Shoah tent on his set, or
inviting Rabbis to come and  help with the "sick and injured" at the
craft services table. What’s amazing to me is that a man of Spielberg’s
power bent to Cruise’s will and allowed Scientologists to proselytize
on his movie set.

18 thoughts on “Scientology on the Set”

  1. In fact, you do not have to be Tom Cruise to bring Scientology in to the work place and require all your employees to learn its unique principles, acronyms, and “ethics” systems. However, if you aren’t Tom Cruise, you may well get sued. Many offices import Scientology as the “technology” of the workplace, without telling employees that is what’s in use, until they send you to the Church itself for a course or two, then fire you when you don’t feel happy taking the courses. The EEOC has sued employers for this effort to “help” employees, as have several employees who feel their right to earn a living should not depend on adopting L. Ron Hubbard as their savior. FYI.

  2. He didn’t have them on the sets I worked on, only two but still. Crew can have some bizarre beliefs though. On a windy set we were huddled under one of those big lighting filters and the clamps weren’t tightened enough, the thing flipped suddenly and I got beaned on the head.
    A burly Samoan came over and offered his services as a, I don’t know what to call it really, shaman perhaps. He did an arm waving mumbo jumbo act on my aura trying to remove the negative chi as a crowd gathered. It had no effect as you might suspect and moreover the AD wanted a medical opinion to cover the bases. Good idea.
    Scientology is nutcase.

  3. Let’s see…it’s 6pm as I’m reading this…by 9pm, the entire network of Scientologists will be posting comments here, you’ll have about 5 dozen private emails, and at some point you may get a nice email from an executive with the organization as well.
    Or at least that’s how it worked with me…

  4. Did you ever take those ridiculous Scientology personality tests? I used to kill time in Hollywood by assuming a new fake name and giving different answers.
    The only person I ever knew who got told afterward that there was nothing wrong with him was the most egotistical, amoral person of my acquaintance.
    Not that Tom Cruise is either of those things.

  5. Frankly, Spielberg makes me sicker than Cruise. Because it’s the same thing, you know, supporting a foundation and religious intrusion in a workplace.
    Would you -expect- Cruise to have the internal resources to realize that he’s being held to slightly different standards than everyone else and that one has a great deal of power, one is … ah, hell, I can’t avoid saying ‘with great power comes great responsibility.’
    Makes me happy I never saw Schindler’s List. The day I need Spielberg to teach me about the Holocaust is the day I give my Jew card back to the Elders of Z. and join the Scientologists.

  6. I’d comment, but there’s a Scientology storefront I have to pass on my way to the parking lot every night, and I’d just as soon have my first audit done by the IRS. Why? Because eventually the IRS leaves you alone.

  7. For more about the Scientology Organized Crime Family see Operaion Clambake on the Net. There may have been more vicious, amoral, lying, crackpot cults during the history of the wolrd, but I’d be hard pressed to name one.
    And as for those “ministers” offering their services for free, I’ll wager anything they’re recruiters and they get 10% of whatever someone they sign up spends. Not in dollars, but in Scientology’s outrageously-priced “services.”

  8. During a spate of unemployment about 4 1/2 years ago I went to a job interview in downtown Portland that turned out to be a front for Scientology. They offered me a “job” after my “personality profile” was complete. Lucky for me, I knew who L. Ron Hubbard was so even though they alledged that they would pay me 15 bucks an hour (more than I was making unemployed) I said no… Those guys give me the willeys.

  9. Jim, you may not know this, but your editor (and my fellow Fort Worther) once worked as a private eye on a case involving Scientology. Very interesting stuff, in the sense of “may you live in interesting times.”

  10. If you invited MORMONS, you would get killed by the media and the public in general.
    I have no idea why Scientology is so accepted, but, for instance, Mel Gibson is considered a wacko for being a fundamentalist Catholic. (I’m not saying he isn’t a wacko; just pointing out how there is a clear distinction made.)

  11. Spot on, DeAnn. As you point out, the only fair game for insults regarding faith are Christians. If it’s Madonna’s Kabbalah or Cruise’s Scientology, it’s not PC to say anything negative. Same way you can tell jokes about white folks, but not black. It’s all about which groups are perceived to be the ones in power.
    The only “minority” group that you can still poke fun at are fat people.

  12. All ideas are open to ridicule if they earn it. I don’t know that Catholicism is ridiculed on sets. Was it on Passion? Will it be on The Da Vinci Code? I doubt it. This was obviously a concession for Cruise and evidence that almost anything can be entered into the category of religion.

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