Many question that figure, some putting it as low as 40,000.
In October 1993, during the first year of the Clinton administration, Scientology received its disputed status as a tax-exempt church.
He joined Scientology in 1986, when he was 24, and he credits its study methods with helping him overcome dyslexia.
Cruise sued for divorce, and the children—Bella, then eight, and Connor, then six—were reportedly given a course in identifying Suppressive Persons.
As Penélope Cruz became Cruise’s new love interest, she took her own set of courses, but, the sources say, she soon ran afoul of Miscavige, who dismissed her as a mere “dilettante” when it was learned that she was unwilling to forsake her Buddhist beliefs.
Feffer’s wife, Monique Yingling, is still a top lawyer for Scientology.
Perhaps the most notable joint public appearance of Cruise and Miscavige occurred weeks after the opening in Madrid, when Miscavige conferred the organization’s Freedom Medal of Valor—an award created specially for Cruise—on the star at a black-tie ceremony outside London.
In the years leading up to that, thousands of Scientologists had sued the I. S., claiming discrimination after the government began to audit their tax returns.
The organization employed the services of a former deputy assistant attorney general, Gerald Feffer, then a member of Washington’s well-connected Williams & Connolly law firm.
Subjects are encouraged to bring up any disturbing past memories or transgressions and get them out in order to be “cleared” to go up the Bridge to Total Freedom, through many levels leading to eternal spiritual happiness, a process that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Ron Hubbard’s secret writings, which reveal the church’s most sacred beliefs—how 75 million years ago a galactic emperor named Xenu sent millions of frozen souls on spaceships from his overpopulated kingdom to the bases of volcanoes on Earth; the volcanoes were hydrogen-bombed, and today the scattered and reincarnated spiritual beings, or “thetans,” pick up human bodies as “containers” to inhabit.
Photographs © Blue Jeans Images/Alamy (Silhouette), By Dan Callister/Getty Images (Kidman), Luke Macgregor/Reuters/Corbis (Miscavige), Brian To/Filmmagic/Getty Images (Boniadi), Vinnie Zuffante/Getty Images (Cruz)According to Nicole Kidman’s last auditor, former Scientologist Bruce Hines, in the early 1990s she got all the way up to O. Their excess emotional baggage can haunt the human hosts, however, so it needs to be cleared out.
Cruise appeared both in person and on a bizarre videotape—wearing a black turtleneck and extolling Scientology—that subsequently went up on the Internet.