By now, pretty much everyone knows that the Church of Scientology has become extremely popular among some of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood. The phenomenal documentary Going Clear revealed how higher-ups in the church deliberately went after big name stars to increase Scientology's renown, not to mention its bank accounts. That's how Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and many more were brought into the fold.
Considering Scientology's surprisingly immense power over people, most entertainers avoid making any critical statements for fear of upsetting someone in the industry. But, these eight celebrities refused to stay quiet about Scientology's shady practices and had some strong words for Xenu's organization.
1. Leah Remini
Leah Remini has been all over the internet lately with news that her tell-all book, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, is hitting shelves next month. After over 30 years as an active Scientologist, Leah made the decision to leave and to shine a light on the church's restrictive and unsettling policies:
"When you leave, you can leave quietly,' Leah said. 'But If you make a stink in the public world, they call you a Suppressive Person, which means the church has put a stamp on you that says you are bad...No one is going to tell me how I need to think, no one is going to tell me who I can, and cannot talk to."
2. Jim Carrey
Despite the fact that his former girlfriend Cathriona White was a Scientologist before her untimely death, Jim Carrey has been openly critical of the church. In one interview, he jokes with the reporter about the effects of Scientology and appears ready to openly mock it:
"I actually got into Scientology for a while, and that's how I got this nice glazed look in my eyes...Have you ever read Dianetics?"
Too bad the interviewer moved on to the next question, or else we would have learned all about his thoughts on L. Ron Hubbard's infamous book.
3. Lisa Marie Presley
Though mom Priscilla Presley is still an active member of the church, Lisa Marie Presley left in 2012. She soon released an album that has some scathing lyrics that heavily suggest she's dissing Scientology:
This here is a city without lights / Those are all the people without eyes / Churches, they don’t have a soul / Soup for sale without a bowl / Religion so corrupt and running lives / Farewell, fair weathered friends / I can’t say I’ll miss you in the end.
Then, when Going Clear debuted, she tweeted this.
I'm honestly surprised she can maintain contact with her mom and avoid being labeled a "Suppressive Person," but it was incredibly bold of her to speak (or sing) out.
4. Christopher Reeve
TV's best Superman briefly took some Scientology classes before getting some serious doubts about the whole thing. He decided that during one auditing session (a kind of question and answer process that's a cornerstone of Scientologist's beliefs), he was going to test the limits of this religion.
The auditor was trying to get Christopher Reeve to recall his past lives, so he relayed a Greek myth as if it were fact:
"I didn't expect my auditor to be familiar with Greek mythology; I was simply relying on her ability, assisted by the E-Meter, to discern the truth. The fact that I got away with a blatant fabrication completely devalued my belief in the process."
5. Bill Maher
Bill Maher was one of the first comedians to really discuss the tenets of Scientology's beliefs, going into detail about their creation myth that involves aliens, ancient souls, and a big volcano. He frequently discusses the church on his show, and, in his typical witty way, throws a few barbs on Twitter.
He also discusses the deceitful nature of the organization (as in, how they don't tell you upfront what you really believe in until you've spent enough time and money in the church) in the movie Religulous.
6. Paul Haggis
Paul Haggis, a screenwriter known for Oscar-winning films like Crash and Million Dollar Baby, cracked Scientology secrets wide open when he left in 2009. He called it a "cult" and was horrified to discover acts of violence committed by church members.
When he found out that Scientology was anti-gay and supporting Proposition 8, the ballot to ban same-sex marriage in California, he immediately starting denouncing the church and its teachings:
"Despite all the church’s words about promoting freedom and human rights, its name is now in the public record alongside those who promote bigotry, intolerance, homophobia and fear… I am only ashamed I waited this many months to act."
7. Russell Brand
Russell Brand starred in Rock of Ages alongside Tom Cruise, and, being Russell Brand, couldn't leave the set without giving the most famous Scientologist a bit of a hard time. He told Conan and the audioBoom podcast that he feigned interest in joining and hounded Tom for days to get him in, but he never took the bait.
"I would mooch around [during filming] looking a bit down in the dumps by Tom Cruise’s trailer and I’d go ‘Oh Tom, if only there was a system for all these feelings and thoughts I have and sometimes I wonder what’s the point Tom, is there a God? Is there a God in there, is there some way of analyzing this data?"
Russell may just be the only person Scientology turned away, and he's well aware of this fact:
"If there’s a cult that doesn’t want me, I want to know why."
8. Jennifer Lawrence
In an interview with the Hollywood Inquirer, Jennifer Lawrence revealed that she was approached to audition to be Tom Cruise's wife. Yes, you read that right, audition. Leaders of the Church of Scientology supposedly approached her for a very special interview to determine if she was "compatible" with Tom.
Needless to say, Jennifer was more than a little creeped out, and didn't hesitate to bring this news to the world.
"But seriously, an interview to evaluate if we are compatible? That’s just plain weird! And honestly, I find this Scientology thing a bit creepy. I’m really not into that kind of thing you know… Xenu, the auditings and all that crap."
I think it's safe to say we won't be seeing Katniss having her thetan levels checked any time soon.