Recently, actress Leah Remini made the brave decision to quit the Church of Scientology. Apparently, there were policies set in place to prevent anyone from questioning the leader, David Miscavige, and any of his actions (very dictatorship-y, if you ask me) and Remini realized how ridiculous that really was. And she’s not the only one. Out of the people that have supported the religion, many of them have parted ways with the church, including these well-known figures:
1) Jerry Seinfeld
Back when he was in his 20s, the sitcom star went through a Scientology phase while trying to figure out his identity. “I don’t know [why I stopped]… I was kind of flitting from thing to thing,” he said about the practice. Exploring weird subjects is practically what your 20s was made for so I can’t really say much about this decision.
2) Paul Haggis
In 2009, Mr. Harris announced his decision to resign from the Church of Scientology in a harshly worded letter, which described his history with the religion and why it eventually fizzled out:
“Despite all the church’s words about promoting freedom and human rights, its name is now in the public record alongside those who promote bigotry, intolerance, homophobia and fear… I am only ashamed I waited this many months to act.”
For this reason, and for writing some of my favorite movies like Crash, Paul, you are my hero.
3) Jeffrey Tambor
At one point in time, the star of Arrested Development also took an interest in the studies of Scientology but apparently, left his fascination in the classroom. “I took some Scientology classes at one time…but no more. I have nothing against it, but I am no longer a Scientologist.” No hard feelings, Jeffy.
4) Russell Crowe
It’s hard to “quit” something when you never technically joined it but it still seems important to mention. Russell Crowe told a co-worker that he once dabbled in Scientology, watching many videos about the religion online and reading Hubbard’s book. Ultimately, though, he abandoned the practice, but admitted the religion is “perfect for people who feel like they need grounding, who feel that the world has run off with them.”
5) Superman (well, Christopher Reeve)
I find this one kind of fitting considering Scientologist’s beliefs about “alien” spirits. Christopher Reeve, who played [the technically alien superhero] Clark Kent in the 1978 version of Superman, described a very funny encounter with Scientology recruiters: when hooked up to a lie-detector machine (“security checks” are a key aspect of Scientology), the actor described a fake Greek myth, one that went completely undetected by the device. Faulty machinery or crazy people? He concluded with the latter and decided not to join the church after all.
6) Katie Holmes
Most people saw this one coming. I mean, if your husband urged you to stay completely silent while giving birth because of his religion, I bet you’d leave too.
7) Nicole Kidman
Kidman was dumping Cruise because of Scientology before that was even a thing (Nicole Kidman: the original hipster). The British-born actress has flip-flopped on her beliefs about the religion over the years, first denouncing it, then claiming that she “utterly respect[s] their beliefs” in 2013.
8) Jason Beghe
For years, Californication actor Jason Beghe was a very powerful advocate for the religion. Then, in 2007, he publically hated on the group, saying, “I think [Scientology] stunts your evolution.” Those are some harsh words, Beghe.
9) Lisa Marie Presley
Presley wins points for the most creative religion break-up on this list. After realizing the manipulative nature of the church, the singer announced her departure through her song “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet.” Half of me thinks her interest in the first place was a delayed act of teenage rebellion, as her father, Elvis Presley, was very much against the religion. But that’s just a guess.
10) Demi Moore
Demi, who acted alongside previously mentioned Beghe in G.I. Jane, reportedly left the religion for her then-husband Bruce Willis, who didn’t want the children to be raised under those beliefs.
Religion is a tricky subject so I usually try not to take sides, and Scientology is no exception (even though I’ve kind of joked about it this entire time…sorry?). Despite the religion’s extreme beliefs, it has been said to be an effective practice for struggling drug addicts (though this claim was made by Hubbard himself and is pretty sketchy in itself). How should I know? Then again, Hubbard was rumored to have said this quote around 1948, so I don’t really know what to believe:
“If a man really wanted to make a million dollars, the best way to do it would be start his own religion.” – L. Ron Hubbard
What do you think about Leah Remini’s exit or about Scientology in general? Crazy religion? Or just misunderstood?