In 1954, the American author, L. Ron Hubbard, developed a set of religious beliefs and practices that turned into the Church of Scientology. There has been a lot of controversy and criticism surrounding Scientology and it was not very popular with the public. Another important leader of the Church of Scientology who also faced a lot of criticism is David Miscavige. There has been a lot of allegations against Miscavige, stating illegal and unethical practices within Scientology and his own personal actions. It has been said that Miscavige intimidated members into joining the church. With so many allegations, Miscavige never spoke to the media to confirm or deny what has been said about him or the church.
In an attempt to popularize Scientology, Miscavige attempted to recruit many A-list celebrities. He knew that people would be more interested in Scientology if those in the public eye were more accepting of the religion. Not only would it popularize the church, he would be able to use these celebrities to make a profit. Miscavige recruited celebrities like Tom Cruise and John Travolta. Recruiting celebrities became all about the money and making Scientology an accepted religion.
Miscavige used celebrities to enrich public relations and use them for something they have a lot of, money. He would prey on weak-minded, needy, and vain A-listers and told them everything they wanted to hear. Some of these recruitment tactics were shady and questionable. Here are 15 shady ways David Miscavige recruited these A-listers.
15 Provided A Place Where Celebrities Could Feel Normal
In order to gain attention from celebrities, Miscavige created a place where celebrities could feel normal, a place for people of their own kind only, which allowed them to feel like they are just like everyone else. This place was called the "Celebrity Center Network." It was a center where A-listers could feel safe and be themselves. They provided a sense of protection if they were to join Scientology. He made the Celebrity Center Network sound like a place where every celebrity should want to go, so they could be around like-minded people. Celebrities often felt like they were attacked when in the normal world, therefore, when they are approached by someone who is offering them safety and chance to be around people who understood their circumstances it was hard to pass.
14 Gained Access to Movie and Television Sets
Miscavige would have certain celebrities that he had in mind to recruit, therefore, he would do whatever he could to track down these celebrities. This meant that he would figure out where they would film their movies or television shows and do what he could to gain access to these sets so he would be able to approach them. Getting access to these sets gave him a sense that he was someone special and when he approached celebrities, they could get a false sense that he was actually someone with power. To gain access, he contacted whoever he knew in the industry or did whatever it took to get to know someone who would be able to give him that access. He made A-listers feel like he had some authority in the industry.
13 Asked Celebrities For Potential Candidates
To maintain a constant flow of celebrities joining Scientology, Miscavige would ask current celebrity members to compile a list of hopeful candidates that would be willing to join. This way, if they were seen as potential candidates, it would be easier to convince them. Potential candidates often included friends of celebrities who are already a part of the group or people who have express interest. Some of these hopefuls have also done their own research and since there was a large A-lister following, it made it more appealing to other A-listers. Miscavige also believed that it was better to hear about the church from fellow celebrities, rather than someone who was not seen as an equal. He felt celebrities would only listen to other celebrities.
12 Required Celebrities To Take Courses
Workers for the Celebrity Center Network were required to approach celebrities and make them feel like they needed to take courses within Scientology. In order to give them knowledge about Scientology, they were required to take courses, which were not cheap and they had to pay for them themselves. Miscavige knew that these celebrities have money and that they would be willing to spend what they had to in order to better their lives. By making celebrities feel like they needed to take courses, it ensured that these A-listers were spending money and that was a way Scientology made money. Celebrities were made to think these courses were necessary and that if you wanted to stay in the church, you had to partake. A-listers were people who had no problem spending money since finances were not an issue.
11 A-Listers Who Found Themselves Lost
Miscavige liked to prey on celebrities who felt like they had lost hope and those who felt like they were at a low point in life. The Celebrity Center Network gave those celebrities who felt lost a place where they can find themselves. Those celebrities, who were portrayed as weak, were perfect for the center because it meant that they were almost guaranteed to join. The feeling of being lost meant that these celebrities would embrace the religion more and would be more willing to preach it to other celebrities. They would be more willing to listen to what the religion is preaching to them since they do not know who or what else to turn to in their time of need. Being able to say that they are a part of something is what made these celebrities feel better and feel like they are worth something. Miscavige made sure celebrities only hung out with celebrities who felt lost and hopeless.
10 Promised Answers Celebrities Were Seeking For
A-listers who were facing rough times were often approached by people in the religion because Scientology would offer them answers that they were seeking. Scientology promised to answer all of the celebrities' questions that were causing them bad times in their lives. Whether it was in their personal lives or career, Scientology was giving them promises to make whatever they were dealing with better. Celebrities, at the time, did not know who to turn to in their time of need and had no one to talk to when they were going through something tough. Scientology became that place they could go to and get the help they needed. It became a place that promised answers even when there was no answer to be given. Miscavige made sure he made Scientology all about giving answers to people who were looking for them.
9 Scientology Cared For Their Followers
In order to draw the attention of A-listers, Miscavige made it seem like Scientology cared for their followers. He made it seem like his main concern was for the celebrities to be taken care of and make it seem like they could benefit from joining the religion. He wanted it to be about the celebrity and to make it seem like they came first; to make it seem like they mattered and were wanted in the religion. He did not make it known that they were only wanted for their social presence, power and for their money. He wanted A-listers to feel like the religion was beneficial and something they should be invested in. He was all about making it seem like Scientology was for everyone and that he would do anything for them and, ultimately, that he cared about them.
8 Made A-Listers Feel Powerful
Miscavige wanted his A-listers to feel like they would hold some sort of power; that these celebrities would be important to the religion and that they would have a say on how things were run. An example of this is Tom Cruise. Scientology made Cruise feel like he was very powerful and that he was a spokesperson for the religion. He was seen as Scientology's most well-known member, however, for the religion itself, Cruise was their biggest catch. Miscavige did whatever he could to make sure that Cruise would never leave the religion, therefore he made him feel powerful. He had convinced Cruise to feel like the ultimate Scientologist and godlike. This was all Miscavige's plan to ensure Cruise would never leave. People in the religion referred to the way Cruise would control things by calling it "Cruise Control."
7 Focused On A-Listers With Low Self-Esteem
Miscavige would focus on celebrities who he felt had a low self-esteem. This way, he could offer them courses in Scientology that would help them with self-improvement and gaining confidence. Miscavige felt like he could build up these celebrities and if he is successful, they would feel no need to leave the church. Since Scientology was able to fix these celebrities, they would remain in the religion to seek further assistance when needed. To help these celebrities, Scientology would offer courses in self-improvement and confidence building courses, which they had to pay for. These courses would intrigue A-listers and them paying for courses would provide Scientology with more money. However, Scientology made these celebrities feel like they could always use more help and when new courses were introduced, it was suggested they partake in them.
6 Appealed To Celebrities Who Did Charity Work
Another way Miscavige would recruit celebrities would be by making Scientology come across as a religion that is charitable. Many celebrities are involved with charities and do a lot of charity work, therefore, Miscavige thought if he could make people believe that Scientology gets involved with charities, celebrities would be more willing to join. When a natural disaster would occur and help was needed, Miscavige would send people from Scientology to these places to help out. However, he only gave off the illusion that they were helping. Most of the time he would send these people to help victims without resources. This way, people would think they are helping, but without the religion having to spend any money in the process. Celebrities would see that Scientology was helping and they would be more likely want to join.
5 Offered Rewards For High Recruiting Celebrities
If other celebrities were able to recruit A-listers they would be offered special rewards. The more A-listers that these celebrities were able to recruit the greater the rewards were. What also determined the award was the status of the celebrity you were able to recruit. With this in mind, celebrities would do whatever they could to spread the idea of Scientology. Most celebrities would only join because it became so popular amongst people in the entertainment industry. At some point, it became a numbers game and it did not matter what you were preaching to people or what Scientology was about, A-listers just wanted to reap the benefits and receive rewards. Miscavige did not care why each celebrity did what they did, he only cared that celebrities were getting recruited and contributing to the uprising of Scientology.
4 A Religion For Individuals
Scientology was portrayed as a religion for individuals. It celebrated individuality and portrayed individual identities as divine. Knowing that you are one of a kind and not like anyone else would attract celebrities, who often felt like they were clumped into a category. Specifically, in the Celebrity Center Network, A-listers were seen as individuals and not judged or based off of the work they did for a living. They were able to be amongst other individuals who were proud of who they are. However, Scientology gave these celebrities a false feeling. They were told they were individuals, however, this religion viewed them all as the same, arrogant celebrities who were willing to spend money on things they were told that they needed. There is no such thing as individuality in Scientology. How can someone be an individual if they are told what to think and believe in?
3 Made Celebrities Feel In Control
Miscavige recruited celebrities by making them feel like they were in control of their mind, self, and destiny. Celebrities in the entertainment industry often feel like they are not in control of their life because they are constantly told what to do, what they should not do, how they should look, or what they should wear. This aspect of being in control of your life sparks the attention of many entertainers. They saw Scientology as a chance to gain control of themselves. However, Scientology did not allow their followers to be in control of themselves because through Scientology's teaching, they were told what to do or what they should believe. There was no own control of their mind or self. Miscavige knew that A-listers like to have control, therefore, he made a religion that will allow them to be in control.
2 Ensured Celebrities That Their Lifestyle Was Acceptable
Miscavige would validate the way celebrities lived as normal and acceptable. He would make them feel like being wealthy and famous is a sign of spiritual development. He did not discourage their behavior because he knew that them earning a lot of money meant that they would be willing to put more towards Scientology. He made it seem like the more money they were making, the more they were developing as a person. Miscavige validated their lifestyle because he did not want to make it seem like what they do is wrong, which might make them want to leave. He made it seem like being a part of Scientology was normal, just like being Catholic or Jewish. He made sure no one suspected that his teachings were more harmful than helpful.
1 Showed Affection and Praised Celebrities
One of the main ways Miscavige would recruit A-listers was by showering them with affection and praise. He would compliment them on anything he could think of, which would make A-listers feel like he cared about their work and the things that they have done. There was a lot of affection given to these celebrities from Miscavige, in hopes that this would make them want to join. With being so accepting of the way these celebrities lived their lives, he could get closer to them and gain their trust, therefore, he was able to give them an offer they could not refuse. He made them feel like they had no choice but to join the religion and make it seem like it was their best option. Miscavige was able to manipulate celebrities and make them believe everything he said.