Last week's news that Katie Holmes filed for divorce from Tom Cruise has brought Scientology -- the controversial religion founded by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard -- back into the spotlight
Rumors are swirling that the religion played a big role in Holmes' decision to leave her husband of five years, with sources claiming that she fears for the couple's daughter Suri, 6, who is now old enough to be subjected to intense interrogation, known as security checking or "sec checking," by the church.
The church is a huge presence in Hollywood and anyone who has visited Los Angeles can attest to its looming power in real estate alone -- starting with its massive Celebrity Centre located on Franklin Avenue, and the enormous blue compound on Sunset Boulevard, which is home to the church's West Coast headquarters. And it doesn't stop there. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the church owns seven historic Hollywood properties worth about $300 million, which are just part of their Los Angeles real estate empire of 26 properties.
With its immense wealth and controversial practices, the church has a long list of detractors and its followers have now even been called "creepy, maybe evil" by (of all people) media mogul Rupert Murdoch -- but it also has an army of Hollywood stars who subscribe to its ideologies and practices: