Tom Cruise Gets Visitation Rights? Why Don't We, Ask Ex-Scientologists Cut Off From Family Members

TomCruiseSalute.jpg
If Tom Cruise is such a loyal Scientologist, why does he get to ignore the rules?
Fans of Katie Holmes are celebrating that she seemed to get just about everything she wanted in her divorce settlement with Tom Cruise -- reportedly, she's getting primary custody of Suri, and Tom will get visitation rights. And with Katie registering with a Catholic Church in Manhattan, it's a good bet that Suri will be shielded from her father's controversial religion, Scientology.

So if Katie seems to have won, and in the process brought Scientology unprecedented bad publicity, why are some Ex-Scientologists greeting news of the divorce settlement with derision?

Because of its hypocrisy, they tell me.

With so many ex-Scientologists cut off entirely from their own children, or parents, or siblings through the church's policy of "disconnection," it's another slap in the face, they say, that Tom Cruise gets to bypass that rule and see his child and communicate freely with his ex-wife.

After the jump, we'll explain.

First, let's give Katie her due: She is, without a doubt, the biggest SP in the history of Scientology.

While L. Ron Hubbard originally figured that about two and a half percent of the world's population are "suppressive" -- antisocial types who would never be reachable by Scientology -- over the ensuing years, the church has applied the label "suppressive person" or "SP" to anyone it deems an enemy. Anyone, that is, who ditches Scientology or publicly criticizes it. And when a former church member or critical relative or uncooperative ex-wife or other potential source of bad juju and bad publicity is declared a suppressive person, they become like kryptonite to other Scientologists.

If you are a member of Scientology in good standing and want to stay that way, you cannot have anything to do with SPs. If it's learned by the church that you're working for or talking with or otherwise communicating with an SP, then you can also be declared an SP if you don't take actions to remedy the situation.

There is no more perfect definition of a suppressive person than Katie Holmes. She has taken one of Scientology's prize possessions -- her daughter Suri -- out of the church, spurned her Scientologist husband, and in the process brought more bad publicity to Scientology than it has ever had. Even the death of Lisa McPherson (1995) and the lawsuit of L. Ron Hubbard Jr. against the church (1982) did not bring this kind of sustained, multifarious entheta (negative information) from every kind of news outlet, from blogs to daily newspapers to network news. (And there's plenty more coming, take it from me. Whoa Nelly.)

Katie Holmes, there is no doubt, is the SP from hell.

And in that case, the rules are clear: Tom Cruise must disconnect from her and her devil-spawn child. He must completely cut both of them out of his life, make sure they have no way of reaching him, and even guard against communications in a roundabout way through family and friends.

That's what Tom would have to do, that is, if he were treated like the rest of the people in his church.

Visitation rights? Wow, you talk about Scientology sacrilege.

"I would like some visitation rights with my son Benjamin," former top church spokesman Mike Rinder tells me. "I tried to see him, but they called the police and issued a trespass warning against me."

"This is the double standard that gets applied," Rinder says, explaining that simply because of who Tom Cruise is, he gets a pass and doesn't have to follow the same rules that other Scientologists do. "The church always says it's simply applying policy -- but it's all total crap. The church does what is convenient and expedient. It's never what's right or what ought to be."

"Katie Holmes won't be declared a suppressive person because she's too famous," says Amy Scobee, another former executive.

"The rest of us want visitation rights with our families," says Amy, whose struggle to remain a part of her mother's life led her to speak out publicly after leaving Scientology and write her book, Abuse at the Top.

The ex-Scientology community has been buzzing about this ever since ex-member Tom DeVocht said something about it on his Facebook page.

I know so many people who can't even talk to their kids -- even worse is Karen [de la Carriere]'s situation as an example -- because the Church enforces their disconnection policy so strenuously. But Tom Cruise gets "visitation rights" to see Suri despite the fact that Katie's divorce had EVERYTHING to do with Scientology and was possible the worse blow to Scientology's PR yet.

I immediately thought of some of the worst disconnection stories I'd heard.

There was Lori Hodgson, for example, whose son, Jeremy Leake, was injured seriously and was taken to a San Jose hospital -- but her family tried to keep her away from him simply because Jeremy is still in the church and Lori is not. That was sick.

"I haven't seen my kids since February, 2010, because I resigned from the Church of Scientology and spoke out publicly that I was against their policies of taking kids out of school to put them to work in the Sea Organization," she told me today. Her son and daughter, both young adults, refuse to have anything to do with her as they follow the church's policy.

"I don't get any visitation rights at all. And the church has made up lies about me. They tell my kids I've had a psychotic break. This is what they do to all of the ex-Scientologists," she says. "My kids are just afraid."

I thought also of Derek Bloch, whose father first threatened to disown him when it turned out he was gay and got kicked out of the Sea Org for it. Then, when Derek dared to write an anonymous Internet post detailing his difficulty growing up in the church -- and his sincere desire not to harm his parents with his doubts -- the church's operatives ID'd him from the post, notified his parents, and they promptly kicked him out of their house. Despite that treatment, Derek tells me he still sincerely wants to be a part of his parents' lives, but they are following the church's disconnection policy to the letter.

Derek gets no visitation rights.

And maybe the most heartbreaking recent case of disconnection is that of Karen de la Carriere. Two years ago, she dared to speak out, criticizing the treatment of Heber Jentzsch, president of the Church of Scientology International, who has not been seen in public since about 2004. Karen says her son, Alexander, was forced to disconnect from her. And now, two years later, her 27-year-old son is dead -- the church even prevented her from seeing him before he was cremated, and is refusing to hold a memorial service.

I asked Karen if she would have wanted visitation rights with her son over the past two years.

"Oh my god, yes. If I'd had visitation rights he'd still be alive," she told me.

There are so many more unconscionable examples of disconnection. I'm going to add links to them as I have time this afternoon. But in the comments, please, tell us who you would like to have visitation rights to see, just like Tom Cruise has to see his daughter.

---

-- Still doubt that disconnection in Scientology exists? Last August we published a recording made secretly that captures church executive Tommy Davis trying to intimidate a young, powerless church member into quitting his job working for an SP or lose all contact with his family.

-- When Placido Domingo Jr, son of the famous tenor, was told he had to disconnect from his ex-wife, Sam Domingo, even though the two were still friendly and helping each other raise their three kids, he refused. Damaging, private information that he had only revealed in supposedly confidential counseling sessions then suddenly showed up on anonymous attack websites. Disgusted, Placido Jr. quit the church.

-- A stunning example of betrayal: Scientology's Australian spokeswoman goes on TV to say that "disconnection" doesn't exist, but doesn't mention that she'd shunned her own father for 23 years.

-- Jeremy Powers joined the Sea Org at 12 and then again at 15. Now he's 20, and the rest of his family just wishes they could see him -- and not suffer the intimidation attempts of church goons.


See also:
What Katie is saving Suri from: Scientology interrogation of kids
Scientology's new defections: Hubbard's granddaughter and Miscavige's dad
Scientology's disgrace: our open letter to Tom Cruise
Scientology crumbling: An entire mission defects as a group
Scientology leader David Miscavige's vanished wife: Where's Shelly?


**********
Tony Ortega has been the editor in chief of the Village Voice since March, 2007. He started writing about Scientology in 1995. You can reach him by e-mail at tortega@villagevoice.com, and if you ask nicely he'll put you on his mailing list for notifications of new stories. You can also catch his alerts at Twitter (@VoiceTonyO), at his Facebook author page, on Pinterest, a Tumblr, and even this new Google Plus doohickey.

New readers might want to check out our primer, "What is Scientology?" Another good overview is our series from last summer, "Top 25 People Crippling Scientology." At the top of every story, you'll see the "Scientology" category which, if you click on it, will bring up all of our most recent stories.

As for hot subjects we've covered here, you may have heard about Debbie Cook, the former church official who rebelled and was sued by Scientology. You might have also heard about the Super Power Building, Scientology's "Mecca," whose secrets were revealed here. We also reported how Scientology spied on its own most precious object, Tom Cruise. (We wrote Tom an open letter that he has yet to respond to.) Have you seen a Scientology ad on TV lately? We debunked some of the claims in that 2-minute commercial you might have seen while watching Glee or American Idol.

Other stories have looked at Scientology's policy of "disconnection" that is tearing families apart. You may also have heard something about the Sea Org experiences of the Paris sisters, Valeska and Melissa, and their friend Ramana Dienes-Browning. We've also featured Paulette Cooper, who wrote about Scientology back in the day, and Janet Reitman, Hugh Urban, and the team at the Tampa Bay Times, who write about it today. And there's plenty more coming.

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22 comments
Jjonefiftypb
Jjonefiftypb

I think the very simple answer to the question you posed with the title of this story is that Scientology can't afford to upset or lose Tom Cruise. Tom may have balked at the idea of disconnecting from Suri. Normal John Doe they can afford to lose if they decide to leave or disconnect from the church. It would be a PR disaster if Cruise walked now.

Clam On A Halfshell
Clam On A Halfshell

The fans caring about Tom Cruise is $cientology-watchers' greatest gift right now. All the tabloids are following the TomKat divorce story, and $cientology is a big, big part of it. I read Us Magazine's article on the divorce today. It discussed Katie's alarm about Suri being covertly introduced to the cans and how Tom's handlers were subverting her authority as a parent. It wasn't just Tom being controlling, it was Tom's $cientology people being controlling too. And apparently she was in secret communication with Nicole Kidman. Tom Cruise may be David Miscarriage's BFF, but he's also one of the Co$'s greatest liabilities right now. The divorce may have been settled quickly, but I expect it'll stay in the tabloids for a while...

Jo Pavlov
Jo Pavlov

All of the examples you listed were of ex-$cinos talking about how they were denied visitation to their children who are practising $cinos.  In this case the ex-$cino (Katie) got custody of Suri, and the current $cino (Tom) is getting visitation.  Are there any other cases of current $cinos visiting with kids who are not being raised in the Co$? 

Deen
Deen

Scientology is an extremist relgion, and an elitist one too.  What kind of relgion has a center just for "so-called" celebrities? I am so glad I never got into Scientology even though I once had an LRH book gathering dust but now  is pummeled  in some garbage dump. shred to pieces.  (They still  mail me shit  to PAY for more books. HA HA HA HA)  NEVER - Xenu won't allow me. You know Scientologists read these blogs too and I  hope the "disconnected" families will reunite and be free from this extremist religion once they've come to their senses about the cult.   Evil leaders receive their due, it's just a matter of time.     Tom Cruis is no longer seen as an actor but a Sceintologist.  He is the face of  the cult that believes in space alien parasites. ( I saved $10,000 just by saying that)  

Jgg
Jgg

  This thread may reach 1,000 posts.

Clam On A Halfshell
Clam On A Halfshell

Gotta love how $cientology "ethics" doesn't mean what "ethics" means to, oh, the whole rest of the world. Love? I meant that other word.

1 i on U
1 i on U

IMO, IF Shelly is alive and well as the church lawyer claims, they should bring her forward IMMEDIATELY to prove it! If they have nothing to hide....and she is not being held against her will somewhere, she should appear in good health and look well cared for...NOW...not later Why are people not DEMANDING that she show herself so that we can BELIEVE what they are saying?  Is law enforcement on this?  

Clam On A Halfshell
Clam On A Halfshell

Yes, you TOO can give yourself radiation poisoning for some reason! ;)

Clam On A Halfshell
Clam On A Halfshell

Ohai OSAbot, how is life at Int Base? My my, this website must be SO enturbulating for your poor thetan.

grundoon
grundoon

Sid, thanks for the correction. The process quoted above for "putting energy in the walls" was inspired by L. Ron Hubbard but not written by him. It isn't from the Church of Scientology. It's from the Levitation Rundown written around 1990 by the late Ken Ogger, who used the pseudonym The Pilot. It seems he wished Hubbard had created more Tech, much more. So, like other prominent Freezoners, he stepped up to carry on where Hubbard left off, creating and delivering lots of new clearing processes, new grades and levels. The whole Levitation Rundown is at http://gathering-minds.Xnet/fza/fz-ss07b (remove X from Xnet). It is all as delightful as the tiny excerpt we have just been discussing. For more Ken Ogger, go to http://gathering-minds.Xnet/fza/fz-pilot-index (remove X from Xnet).

Clam On A Halfshell
Clam On A Halfshell

*gets popcorn ready for "Tom Cruise's Beard Casting"* This new season's gonna be great!

Islandofmisfittoys
Islandofmisfittoys

Honorable Mention to Katie's Dad, Mr. Martin J. Holmes. Divorce Attorney and Cult Extractionist Extrordinaire Print up the business cards.

Jonathan W. Hendry
Jonathan W. Hendry

"do you think the Jeremy Renner character written into MI4 was deliberately done so he could carry on the franchise" I think that has as much to do with Cruise's advancing age as anything else. Dude'll be pushing 60 by the time an MI6 comes out.

AnonymousMeg
AnonymousMeg

her addiction to cocaine was cured by her addiction to food (and Scientology). It's just a transfer of the focus from one thing to another. You haven't cured your addictive personality that way. That's why addicts sometimes end up being work out fanatics or religious fanatics or work fanatics... It's still unhealthy.

Jonathan W. Hendry
Jonathan W. Hendry

A rally like that would be very easy to portray in a negative light, especially if a few participants carry signs with ill-considered messages. You don't want Scientology to start getting sympathetic coverage as a religion subject to hate and bigotry.

wwwRESEARCHcom
wwwRESEARCHcom

 @Jjonefiftypb I think Cruise leaving would be the BIGGEST key to closing the gates for good! I am sure all of the people that have been forced to disconnect from their families have balked at the idea.

How do they keep Tom's generous visitations a secret from the others?

So Miscavige bends the rules for Tom? 

We all know Katie didn't 'route out'. She is SP.  ~disconnect~ rules apply here!

To bad for Katie that she will have to deal with Tom lying to her and teaching Suri how to hold the cans and giving her the kool aide, each visit, Scares me, for Katie and Suri!!!!

AussieCase
AussieCase

I'm a little out of date, but as far as the late 1990's, the answer is yes. There are divorced couples of $cientologist where only one parent remained active or committed. The child can be raised by the non-active member and the active member would visit or visa-verse. My experience is largely based on the goings on at smaller $cientology organizations where most members are not OT. 

 

From what I recall someone has to do something, like speak out against $cn, or engage in delivering "non standard" $cn, to receive a suppressive declare. One is not declared for not attending. Now in the case of the sea organization with people who have signed a billion year contract, and take off, the rules seem to be different.

 

If Katie and Tom were nobodies, just public $cienos at a small organization. and Katie took off with the child and didn't speak out publicly against the Co$, she would not be declared suppressive and the $cino father could visit. Based on my experience, in general at the smaller organizations, the staff member friends, the member, and ex-member would try to avoid a suppressive declare.

 

I suspect Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise, and David Miscavige are also avoiding forcing and SP declare.

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