Is Scientology just a fancy term for reparation therapy? That's what investigative journalist Ian Halperin, author of books on Kurt Cobain's death and the underbelly of the modeling world, is claiming in his new tome, Hollywood Undercover, out today. After claiming to be a gay actor afraid that revelations of his homosexuality would ruin his career, the Church took him in, promising they could "cure him of his sexuality through auditing,"or, you know, asking him to pay up. We asked Halperin if he had any dirt on the usual suspects (Tommy C. and Johnny T., natch), and learned way more than we wanted to. Hear why Travolta remains a smiley scientologist out of fear, why bisexual Anna Nicole Smith refused to join the tribe, and details on founder L. Ron Hubbard's proven contempt for these "sexual perverts" after the jump.
After joining the church under his homo guise, Halperin discovered it wasn't mainly sexual reparation that scientologists wanted; it was their cash. Former scientologist Michael Pattinson, who joined hoping to 'straighten' out, spent over 500k over 18 years, with no results. He's since sued. This 'auditing' process is vaguely "based on the weird science fiction theology espoused by Hubbard," says Halperin. "Members are expected to take very expensive courses" in order to be "cured." "I found that just about everything about the Church is about money, which makes them not much different than most religions."
But on to the actual celeb scoop. After a 1991 article in Time came out claiming John Travolta was being held hostage in the church, scared that by defecting, they'd reveal everything he'd confessed to them about his homosexuality, he announced his engagement to Kelly Preston two days later. 17 years later, he's still a proud card-carrying member.
As for Tom Cruise?
"The cure was certainly not reserved only for gay men. I was told that the Church would occasionally marry a lesbian celeb off to a gay male celeb, thus killing two birds with one stone. As for names, that shouldn't be too hard to figure out."
The good news? Anna Nicole Smith wasn't as dumb as we thought she was!
"Anna Nicole wanted to join the Church and was strongly considering it until a friend told her about the Church's attitude toward gays. Anna, who was bisexual, decided not to join in fear the Church would reveal her most intimate secrets if she defected."