Scientology is more than just the reason no one takes Tom Cruise
seriously anymore. It's also--according to defectors, who are condemned
as liars and much worse by the church--a very expensive and sometimes
violent cult. Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis is the Church of
Scientology's most high-profile ex-member, and he talked to The New
Yorker's Lawrence Wright about why he left his religion of 34 years. A
few reasons: support of an anti-gay ballot initiative in California,
reports of beatings by church leader David Miscavige, re-education work
camps, billion-year contracts for children, and other unpleasantries.
The final straw for Haggis, who has two gay daughters, was the church's support of Prop 8, which stripped gays of the right to same-sex marriage. But that incident got him digging into the church's other problems--and he was shocked at what he found.
By the numbers:
$400,000+: Amount Haggis spent on Scientology courses and other initiatives.
$150,000: Amount Haggis's wife Deborah Rennard spent on coursework.
$100,000: "Freeloader tab" charged to Sea Org members--members of Scientology's internal religious order--who want to leave the church.
$50: Weekly salary of many Sea Org members
$13: Actually weekly salary of many Sea Org members once they've been docked for various infractions
2: Number of Purple Heart awards Scientology claims founder L. Ron Hubbard received during his military service.
0: Actual number of Purple Hearts Hubbard received.
50: Number of times former church spokesman Mike Rinder says Miscavige beat him
14: Number of defectors who say they were victims of--or witnessed--Miscavige's beatings.
1: Number of ongoing FBI investigations into the church.