The New York Times brings up an issue underreported so far in the drama surrounding Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' divorce: It is really hard to get un-hitched in Scientology. And in one of those rare looks behind the curtain courtesy or reporter Stacey Solie, we get to learn why and how.
The religion, which was started by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard frowns severely on married couples splitting up, encouraging them to instead seek counseling through the church to preserve its membership. The details of Holmes' separation from Cruise haven't been made public, but Solie got actress Carmen Llywelyn, who used to be in the church and married to fellow actor Jason Lee, to relate her experience of getting a divorce in the church:
Before deciding to divorce, the couple agreed to pay for a form of counseling that Ms. Llywelyn said entails sitting in a room answering questions while hooked up to a device known as an E-meter, which Scientologists believe can detect unexpressed thoughts.
She said a chaplain, also known as an auditor, questioned them for hours. “You do it until the needle is flat, until the sign on the machine doesn’t read any more thoughts,” she said. “They think that once you unload all these bad things, you’re going to fall madly back in love with each other.” And when they didn’t, Ms. Llywelyn said, she was assigned an in-house lawyer. “Scientologists aren’t allowed to sue each other,” she said, because of a policy to contain any public disputes.
Of course, there's nothing the church can ultimately do to stop a couple from splitting up. Divorce, like marriage, is a legal process after all. But the church doesn't want its flock separating, and it's fascinating to learn the lengths to which it will go to keep them together.
Check out the whole story at The New York Times.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.