Ex-Scientologist Reveals Details Behind 'Dangerous Cult,' Tom Cruise in New Book
By Mike Hess Posted May 13th 2010 07:44AM
'Scientology: Abuse at the Top,' Scobee details all of the troubling things she saw that made her flee what she once called her trusted religion, but now refers to as a "dangerous cult." Scobee spoke exclusively to PopEater over e-mail about her shocking book, her time with Tom Cruise and other Scientology bigwigs, and the (her words) brainwashing, systematic violence and slave labor camps she saw during her 27 years there. Her terrifying claims ... after the jump!
Could you explain your role within the Church of Scientology?
I worked in the upper management of Scientology for two decades. For a good portion of that time, I was responsible for the international network of Celebrity Centers, which service people in the field of the arts, government and sports -- people with high profiles in the world who are capable of creating a lot of influence on the population.
You were a member for 27 years. What was the spark plug for your departure?
I became less and less tolerant of the abuse that I witnessed as it got more and more harsh. People were very unhappy, family members were being separated, David Miscavige [the current "leader" of Scientology] committed assault and battery on my friends on numerous occasions. I could not justify continuing to support such an organization bent on threats and severe human rights violations, which were a dichotomy of the stated goals and reason I joined in the first place. I wanted to help people and create a better world based on love and compassion for mankind.
Why is there such a big push to recruit celebrities to Scientology?
A strategic priority for Scientology is to bring in big-name celebrities as they can influence whole populations. If they endorse Scientology, then masses will want to join, as well. That means expansion, more money, more members who in turn bring in others. The stated goal for Celebrity Center is to make celebrities into "walking success stories" of Scientology so they promote their success and attribute it to what they learned in Scientology.
In the press, there's often articles that are negative towards the Church. Why would they want to attract more celebrities, and in turn, more attention?
They think that any negative press is just a result of "disgruntled ex-members" and should be ignored.
Tom Cruise is by far the most known Scientologist. What types of interaction did you have with him during your time there, and what can you say about him as a person?
I met Tom Cruise and members of his family. I did a project to locate Scientologists for him to hire in order to fill specific positions in his household -- such as executive housekeeper, maid, cook, nanny. Personally, I do not have much respect for Tom at all for a few very important reasons. First of all, I think he has abused his "power" as a well-known figure to gain special favors from Scientology. I know of several examples of this, including the fact that I was personally assigned to select his personal entourage, which had nothing to do with my job at the time. I was a full-time staff member in the Sea Organization. I did not get paid for that service, I did not get thanked for that service. I was at the International Management base in Hemet when he came to do Scientology services for an extended period of time. The staff members there were not set up to service a celebrity at that property. People were pulled off their own jobs to cater to him. I knew of people [Sea org members] doing his laundry, supervising him in the course room, supervising his counseling, the music studio conference room was converted to a course room for him, many staff members were utilized to establish audio-visual facilities in his home. Many staff members had to stay up day and night, because on the 500 acre property there were some brown patches on the lawns -- it's in the middle of the desert in Hemet. Those brown patches could be seen by helicopter per David Miscavige, and Cruise was going to arrive via helicopter, so we laid sod for days -- night and day.
The other factor is that Tom Cruise has proclaimed David Miscavige to be a "LEADER OF LEADERS" and announced to all Scientologists attending the International Association of Scientologists Event in 2004 that David Miscavige was the best leader and said that he should know "because I've met them ALL." That's an arrogant statement, plus David Miscavige viciously beats his staff members. So to give Miscavige all this praise puts in concrete to Scientology followers to listen to this "leader" who has NO BUSINESS being in that position because he's DANGEROUS.
Recently, reports surfaced claiming that David Miscavige played Tom Cruise's confession tapes -- which are meant to be private -- to fellow church members for a laugh over drinks. Does that seem like something he'd do, or have you known this to be true?
Tom Cruise Snapshots
Actor Tom Cruise speaks onstage during the 5th Annual 'Oscar Wilde: Honoring The Irish In Film' held at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre on March 4, 2010.
Getty Images for The US-Ireland
Getty Images North America
What was the Church's reaction to his showdown with Matt Lauer?
I was already out of Scientology when that happened. I saw the show and thought Tom was being very arrogant towards Matt Lauer. I don't know what the Church response was because I wasn't there, but I presume they would have patted Tom on the back for "standing up" to Lauer and telling the world how bad psychiatric drugs are for people.
Scientology often gets criticized for mobilizing when there's a tragedy (9/11, the Haiti earthquake) as people feel they're trying to recruit. What can you share on that?
They ARE trying to recruit and create good PR for Scientology -- "good works, well publicized" is the goal, so as to become more accepted in society and to bring in new members. People are instructed to video [tape] their actions and get media if they can so this can then be shown at their very frequent PR events to "prove" to their members how much they are accepted and expanding and doing good for the world.
Do you think more and more celebrities will lean towards Scientology as time goes on, or has it hit its high point star-wise?
No. Scientology celebrities are already beginning to turn away and have publicly resigned their membership. Award-winning writer/director Paul Haggis, actor Jason Beghe and actor Larry Anderson are a few recent examples. I think more celebrities will walk away as they discover the truth and cease turning a blind eye to the blatant human rights violations so many people are exposing inside Scientology.
During an interview with ABC, you detail your experience with Scientology's purification treatment. You eventually began taking massive amounts of niacin, which led to some side effects. Could you detail that?
The purification program is supposed to be relatively short, where you exercise for a period of time per day and then sweat in the sauna in order to rid the body of any residual drugs and toxins. Miscavige decided that executives in International Management were "incompetent" as they were "dead heads" due to past drug histories being "unhandled." So he decided to create a weird variation of the purification program where many of us were put in the sauna 5 hours per day for MONTHS at a time. I was on it for 8 months and I know of several others who were on even longer. You take high dosages of niacin -- 5000 mg per day -- while on this program. I got freaked out that my body was being damaged. I had gray matter coming out of my pores and I asked if it could please be checked into by the lab or doctor, which was never done. This is the point when I started to plan my escape from that place. I felt trapped, and at risk both physically and mentally. And it didn't help to have an abusive and nasty leader dictating our lives at that point either. I was sent to Florida and I left from there in March 2005.
What good things are there that Scientology does that people may not know about?
I believe that the study technology has really helped people because I've read many rave success stories -- where people who could not learn before obtained simple tools to be able to read and learn and increase their competence as a result. One doesn't have to be a Scientologist to apply the basic tools of study, such as using a dictionary to clear words and terms one doesn't understand in order to obtain a conceptual understanding of what you are reading and to study a subject on a gradient and to balance the significance with the actual mass of what you're learning -- such as LOOK at the piece of equipment while reading the manual!
Scientology believes that one is a spiritual being that has lived before and will continue to live. This is not unique to Scientology, but a basis of a lot of religions. They do promote a moral code of love and compassion and following the laws of the land, which is helpful to those who will actually apply those concepts.
What are some of the worst things?
-- Family disconnection and their manipulation, blackmail and control through the threat of being cut off from family, which has devastating effects, and being denied your "only road to salvation as a spiritual being."
-- The Rehabilitation Project Force, which I cover in detail in my book. This is a slave labor camp within the Sea Organization where people who have supposedly messed up get sent for sometimes years and years. They are separated from family, segregated from the rest of the group, made to run everywhere, put on hard manual physical work and paid 1/4 the regular staff pay -- about $12 per WEEK. I've known several people on that program for over a decade for minor offenses. It's inhumane and that "program" should be shut down.
-- The way Scientology goes after critics. It's their policy to utterly annihilate the credibility of anyone speaking out against the "church." They have done brutal things in the past along these lines and are still pulling these stunts currently. I've been followed by private investigators – sometimes several at a time, my family's house watched, they've tried to get my in-laws (never even in Scientology) to kick me out of the family, which they refused and dismissed as a completely insane and evil proposal. They put out publications with vicious false and defamatory information about me to hopefully make the readers think I was incapable of accurately reporting on my observations with regards to their illegal activities.
-- Another key thing is INFORMATION CONTROL. This is a form of mind control. If one controls what you can and can not see or hear, one is unable to make a rational decision about that matter. Scientology specializes in information control -- one is banned from upper levels of "spiritual enlightenment' if it is discovered that you read anything negative about Scientology or talked to someone about it. People are put in for routine confessionals to find out if you "committed this sin." So you are careful to avoid any contact with the media when it comes to Scientology or to read about any exposure about what is going on at the highest echelons. If the general public knew, they would stop supporting Scientology. They would walk away. They'd have the INFORMATION to be able to make that decision. Instead, all they hear is what the head of Scientology (Miscavige) reports at their frequent PR events -- how the expansion is better than ever and popularity of Scientology is at an all-time high, etc. They applaud, thinking it's all wonderful and donate a lot of money for the cause to "keep the expansion going." It's very sad. I want people to have the truth. When I informed a family member of mine, who had been a dedicated Scientologist for about 30 years, what was really going on at the top of his church, he chose to walk away and he has officially resigned. That's the logical thing to do. He still believes the technology itself is beneficial, but will no longer support that organization – in fact he has also now requested all of his money back.
Something dangerous about Scientology is that they truly believe that they are the "only salvation" for mankind. They therefore consider they can do all sorts of things -- even if it breaks the law -- because it's "the greatest good" and forwards their overall mission to ensure everyone's future eternity. Crush a critic into silence, lie on national television, beat a staff member who is not behaving as you'd like, blackmail people using family disconnection and other threats to keep them in line, use personal information obtained on people to smear their name, keep people on the RPF for years, force staff to work around the clock for almost no pay, hide evidence that could be damning if it were discovered -- on and on. They are fanatics about being the ONLY salvation and the end justifies the means.
Germany recently declared Scientology a cult. Do you think that's an accurate definition?
Yes -- I believe Scientology is actually a dangerous cult. By definition, a "destructive cult" is a religion or other group which has caused or has a high probability of causing harm to its own members or to others. Some researchers define "harm" in this case with a narrow focus, specifically groups which have deliberately physically injured or killed other individuals, while others define the term more broadly and include emotional abuse among the types of harm inflicted. Both physical and spiritual/mental abuse has occurred, and from what I understand is continuing to occur, within Scientology -- at its highest ranks. I observed quite a bit of such destructive action and this is detailed in my new book.
Is there a single most-shocking incident or occasion that stands out in your mind from your time in Scientology?
Yes -- my realization that I had just spent 27 years of my life supporting what I now realize is a dangerous and destructive cult -- a so-called "religion" that hides behind its status as a "church" to cover up crimes and major human rights violations. My own personal integrity is intact and I am determined to expose the abuse to hopefully put it to an end.
PopScene: Week's Hottest Pics
Dame Helen Mirren attends a photocall to unveil a new waxwork of herself at Madame Tussauds on May 11th in London.
Gareth Cattermole, Getty Images
Gareth Cattermole, Getty Images
PopScene: Weeks Hot Pics
- Jennifer Aniston
- Paris Hilton
Kate Middleton is officially a princess. She walked the aisle in an Alexander...
According to Denise, she's not sure that her estranged ex is completely sober....
Popeater Hot Topics
- 'Concussion' director denies film was changed to avoid antagonizing NFL
- Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka charged with 1983 murder of girlfriend
- James Bond author sorry for saying Idris Elba 'too street' for 007
- 'Scream's' Killer Speaks: Who Was Behind MTV's Ghostface Mask?
- Chinese Super Dad Builds Life-Size Transformer for Son
- Parvati Shallow Tests Out 'Survivor: Second Chance' Premiere Challenge, Reveals Season's Big Change
Access HollywoodFEEDMore From Access Hollywood Li
- 'SpongeBob SquarePants' Musical Is In the Works
- 007 Writer Says Idris Elba Is 'Too Street' to Play James Bond, Quickly Apologizes
- Tony Todd to Voice Villain Zoom on 'The Flash' Season 2