Tom Cruise is not just the face of Scientology. He is the church's most important member.
In discussing his book "Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief," author Lawrence Wright told E! News that "There's nobody more important in Scientology since L. Ron Hubbard. [Cruise is] the front of Scientology."
Furthermore, Wright says, "the whole goal [of the Church of Scientology] was to take over the entertainment industry and use celebrities as kind of a product endorsement for their brand." Indeed, some of its most notable members are household Hollywood names, including John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Juliette Lewis and Jenna Elfman.
In a previously published excerpt from his book, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author mentioned that Cruise was considered the unofficial Ethics Officer of Hollywood since the mid-2000s. Wright also noted that Cruise told actress Nazanin Boniadi, who allegedly auditioned to be his girlfriend, that he is No. 3 in the church. The latest statement, however, seems to rank him even higher.
Yesterday, The Daily Beast took on the challenge of fact-checking parts of Wright's book, which the Church of Scientology claims are incorrect. Wright interviewed 200 Scientologists for his tell-all, though Karin Pouw, Scientology’s director of public affairs, claims only 12 of those interviewees are actual members.
The New York Post recapped some of the book's most intriguing content as well, detailing that "the ultimate aim of the religion is to reclaim the Earth and rescue humankind [from aliens]."