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A Scientology building on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California.

Recruitment and endorsements by Scientologist celebrities have always been very important to the Church of Scientology. Scientology actively recruits celebrities to promote Scientology to the public at large. Scientology has had a written program governing celebrity recruitment since at least 1955, when L. Ron Hubbard created "Project Celebrity", offering rewards to Scientologists who recruited targeted celebrities.[1][2] Early converts included former silent-screen star Gloria Swanson and jazz pianist Dave Brubeck.[2][3] A Scientology policy letter of 1976 states that "rehabilitation of celebrities who are just beyond or just approaching their prime" enables the "rapid dissemination" of Scientology.[4]

The Church of Scientology operates special Celebrity Centres. Scientology policy governs the Celebrity Centres (the main one in Los Angeles and others in Paris, Nashville, and elsewhere), stating that "one of the major purposes of the Celebrity Centre and its staff is to expand the number of celebrities in Scientology." (Scientology Flag Order 2310) Another order describes Celebrity Centre's Public Clearing Division and its goal, "broad public into Scientology from celebrity dissemination"; this division has departments for planning celebrity events and routing the general public onto Scientology services as a result of celebrity involvement.[1][5]

As founder L. Ron Hubbard put it:

"Celebrities are very Special people and have a very distinct line of dissemination. They have comm[unication] lines that others do not have and many medias [sic] to get their dissemination through" (Flag Order 3323, 9 May 1973)[6]

Hugh B. Urban, professor of religious studies in the Department of Comparative Studies at Ohio State University said about Scientology's appeal to celebrities in an interview for

But then I think the reason that celebrities would be interested is because it's a religion that fits pretty well with a celebrity kind of personality. It's very individualistic. It celebrates your individual identity as ultimately divine. It claims to give you ultimate power over your own mind, self, destiny, so I think it fits well with an actor personality. And then the wealth question: These aren't people who need more wealth, but what they do need, or often want at least, is some kind of spiritual validation for their wealth and lifestyle, and Scientology is a religion that says it's OK to be wealthy, it's OK to be famous, in fact, that's a sign of your spiritual development. So it kind of is a spiritual validation for that kind of lifestyle.[2]

According to statements by former Scientologist Jesse Prince, celebrities are secretly being given Scientology auditing courses without charge. These courses regularly cost up to $1,000 per hour. According to Mr. Prince, John Travolta alone has had in excess of $100,000 of free services in compensation. [3] Prince's credibility on the subject of Scientology has been called into question, for instance by the Florida judge presiding over the Lisa McPherson wrongful death suit who expressed a belief that Prince had extreme bias and, in her opinion, lacked credibility.[7]

Under the Church's Field Staff Member (FSM) program, celebrity Scientologists, like any public Scientologist, can earn commissions of up to 10 percent on services purchased by their "selectees", i.e. persons they introduce to Scientology.[8]

Among the most well-known celebrity Scientologists are John Travolta, Juliette Lewis, Kirstie Alley, Catherine Bell, Nancy Cartwright, Beck, Jason Lee, Edgar Winter, Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Anne Archer, Lisa Marie Presley, and opera singer Julia Migenes. The January 14, 2008, issue of The New Yorker magazine included a feature by Dana Goodyear, "Château Scientology," on the topic of Scientology and Hollywood celebrities.[9]


  1. ^ a b Sappell, Joel; Welkos, Robert W. (1990-06-25). "The Courting of Celebrities". Los Angeles Times: p. A18:5.,1,279442.story?coll=la-news-comment. Retrieved 2006-06-06.   Additional convenience link at [1].
  2. ^ a b Shaw, William (2008-02-14). "What do Tom Cruise and John Travolta know about Scientology that we don't?". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-06-25.  
  3. ^ Cusack, Carole M. "Celebrity, the Popular Media, and Scientology: Making Familiar the Unfamiliar". In: Lewis, James R. (2009). Scientology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. pp. 394–395. ISBN 978-0-19-533149-3.  
  4. ^ Baker, Russ (April 1997). "Clash of Titans" ( – Scholar search). George. Retrieved 2006-10-03.  
  5. ^ Scientology and Celebrities - Premiere Magazine
  6. ^ Farrow, Boyd (2006-08-01). "The A-listers' belief system". The New Statesman. Retrieved 2006-08-24.  
  7. ^ Ruling lets Scientology death lawsuit proceed St. Petersburg Times published January 14, 2003 accessed 2006-10-04
  9. ^ Goodyear, Dana (2008-01-14). "Château Scientology". Letter from California. The New Yorker. Retrieved 2008-01-10.  

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