Scientology and the Third Law of PR (Push BS and the press will push back)

Recently, there has been a lot of press coverage in UK newspapers surrounding Tom Cruise, using his celebrity to subtly promote Scientology. This is the result of a quite deliberate policy of the Church of Scientology to recruit celebrities and use them to create a positive public image.

For example, there have been stories about his daughter, who lives in London. She has been given a ‘qualification’ in ‘auditing’. This is Scientology’s core practice which involves using the e-meter to track down incidents in the believer’s past which are affecting their minds to this day. These included ‘past lives’ as Roman soldiers, spaceship pilots and other incarnations.

It costs a lot and it’s a questionable achievement of little interest to the general public. However, she is reported to have thanked her father – and that’s the only reason the story made the tabloids.

Also, Tom Cruise’s son, who lives on Church property is getting married to a committed Scientologist.  Almost everyone likes a celebrity wedding, even if the ceremony is distinctly odd. At this point in Scientology’s history, almost any publicity is good publicity as long as they spell your name right.

However, Scientology came unstuck when the story emerged that Cruise ex-wife Nicole Kidman, is to be excluded from her son’s Scienotlogy wedding.

This is according to fixed Church policy. When Kidman left Tom and Scientology (and took the child they had together with her) she became an apostate. L Ron Hubbard decreed that no Scientologist is allowed to have any contact whatsoever with such people. If they do, they are shunned also. This policy is known as ‘disconnection’, and breaks up families.

It’s probably no coincidence that The Daily Telegraph, a UK broadsheet paper, published a brief, critical piece about Scientology in Today’s Sunday edition. This is a doorstop, which people read with close attention, consisting of a number of ‘supplements’ that cover subjects like travel and sport. Readable images after the break

Here are images of the text of the nwspaper articles. Click on the images to open full-size (readable) version in a new tab

The article features stories from two ex-Scientologists.

First, Jamie De Wolf, l  Ron Hubbard’s grandson. He is well know among those who follow Scientology as a fierce and effective critic of the Church, described by Wikipedia as:  “known for “Slam poet, spoken word, comedian, storyteller, showman, filmmaker”.

Next William Drummond.  Born into a family that was fiercely committed to the Church, he was brought into Scientology at an early age and remained a Scientologist, on and off for decades. During that time, he endured considerable abuse – which didn’t end after he finally left to become a prominent UK campaigner against Scientology, present at every protest in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

There is a web version of this story, but you have to register to get around the paywall once-only.

Of course, then his family ‘disconnected’ from his.  As his interview describes, he was not told that his mother was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease of that she had died until after her funeral.

Click on the images to open full-size (readable) version in a new tab

It’s interesting that this piece is on  a single sheet of newsprint whic has been inserted into the larger paper. It’s possible that it was specially prepared, at the last moment as a reply to the Tom Cruise related articles that had appeared in several tabloids.

This demonstrates that Scientology’s celebrity-based PR strategy is a double-edged sword.  TC’s involvement in Scientology has led to a spate of ‘wacky Tom believes in’ stories which has blunted their edge. After a certain point, Scientology’s use of celebrities of propaganda purposes creates the public interest that motivates serious newspapers to reply to them with articles like this.

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