Hail Xenu

I’m becoming a Scientologist, gang. Sorry! But they just have all the cool celebrities.

I’m serious. Look at the list at the Wiki. Beck! Chaka Khan! Jason Lee! Greta Van Susteren, for crying out loud. I can’t take it! All those celebrities can’t be wrong. Gordon Jump cannot hold a candle to the power of the Church of Scientology, and so I bid you all adieu.

If you want a serious angle to debate, three questions: 1. How on EARTH did they get all these celebrities? 2. What is the effect of so many popular people as representatives? 3. Should Mormonism try this too?


  1. I think the list of former members is more impressive.

  2. Yeah, Van Morrison was a relief to see in that second list. And SEINFELD???????

  3. Nah — still better to be jewish.

  4. Well sure it is Bryce, but it ain’t that easy! Do you have a Jewish mother?

  5. Thetan Steve,

    What about Steve Martin and the South Park guys? They’re Mormon?

  6. That’s just urban legend, like for Howard Jones.

  7. I know. Our only really cool famous people aren’t really Mormon.
    Sigh. Maybe I’ll be Scientologist too.

    Choosing religions by the number/quality of celebrities is the only way to do it these days.

  8. My understanding from what I’ve read about Scientology is that they hold a special place of reverance for the artist and have special ministries to such. For that reason they have a large amount of celebrity currently or once on their rolls.

  9. Yeah, Van Morrison was a relief to see in that second list. And SEINFELD???????

    I thought Van Morrison was a Jehovah’s Witness way back when…that guy doesn’t know what he wants, maybe we can lure him over to our side! :)

    As regards Seinfeld, taking a few classes does not a Scientologist make, just like talking to the missionaries a time or two doesn’t make one LDS.

  10. Man, Gladys Knight AND Van Morrison? Holy moley what a great concert.

  11. “Mormons should just be happy that Scientology came along and made them the second-weirdest.” – Bill Maher.

    When we (rightly) take the mick out of Scientology, I sense some relief. I mean, let’s face it, we are weird, but compared with Xenu, Kolob is minor league.

  12. A semi-serious thought: I wonder how many aspiring TV and movie actors became Scientologists purely for networking purposes.

    That’s an interesting list, full of little-known tidbits of information. For example, did you know that Giovanni Ribisi’s sister is married to Beck? I didn’t!

  13. Kevin Barney says:

    I think the head muckety muck of Scientology is a former Mormon. Let’s keep that one under our hats.

    They have a Celebrity Centre in LA, so celebrities are a major focus for their recruitment efforts.

    I noticed on the list that Giovanni Ribisi was raised Scientologist. You normally don’t think of someone actually growing up with it as opposed to converting later in life. I wonder what that was like.

    A guy came to our student apt. once at the UoIllinois, copy of Dianetics in hand. I felt sorry for him; in his spiel he several times tried to rebut the assumption that it was all so weird. You know it’s weird when you have to address the topic of weirdness in your door approach before you’ve even set foot inside.

  14. Kevin Barney says:

    BTW, Steve, I predict that you, me and everyone else commenting on this thread will be slapped with libel suits within 72 hours. (Just kiddin’ folks, post away!)

  15. Kevin, I *heart* the Celebrity Centers. Magical places. They also have a really cool center in NYC for the general public. I don’t remember if it has a Science Fair -style volcano in it or not, but in my dreams it does.

  16. “You know it’s weird when you have to address the topic of weirdness in your door approach before you’ve even set foot inside.”

    You should have listened in on my standard door approach when I served in Japan. I’m pretty sure that a weirdness disclaimer was frequently used.

  17. I humored a good friend a couple of months ago and ended up getting a tour and taking the scientology personality test. I can barely talk about it now, it was traumatic. They seriously scare me, that and the fact that I wanted to laugh at some of their inaneness but couldn’t.

  18. You left Isaac Hayes off the list of followers of Scientology. If the man who wrote the theme to Shaft is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

  19. Capt., he’s on the list. Go ahead and sign up.

  20. TStevens says:

    I have never heard the Howard Jones urban legend before. But since we grew up in the same town I can safely say he never once showed up at the chapel.

  21. Speaking of famous Mormon urban legends, a kid at BYU who wrote for the school paper did a funny column tracking down the more popular celebrity Mormon rumors.


  22. Aaron Brown says:

    We have Alice Cooper, Rick Schroeder, Aaron Eckhart and Paul Walker.

    But more importantly, all the BCC permabloggers are Mormon, and given the 30,000 hits a day this site receives, we should truly count ourselves as international celebrities of the first order.

    Aaron B

  23. MikeInWeHo says:

    I live up the street from the beating heart of Scientology in L.A. It’s unbelievable, really. I find them incredibly scary, but as a therapist perhaps I should. The new anti-psychiatry museum they put up on Sunset Boulevard (Psychiatry: An Industry Of Death Museum) puts any LDS visitor center to shame in terms of glossy presentation. If you’re ever in town, it’s worth checking out (but try to keep from laughing like I did– oops).

    Gladys Knight wins hands down as coolest Mormon, imo. Jon Heder comes in second.

    Yeah, the Scientologists have the longest celebrity list, but do you really want Tom Cruise pimping for the Church???

  24. Aaron Brown says:

    P.S. Here’s one you surely haven’t heard, but is true: The “Pointer Sisters” took the first discussion about 3 or 4 years ago. They were taught by the pair of elders assigned to my ward in Los Angeles, and I was Ward Mission Leader at the time. I kind of wish they had asked me to go on splits that day. Oh well.

    Aaron B

  25. Alice Cooper I dispute, Aaron. His family belonged to a Mormon splinter group, but Cooper didn’t know enough about Mormonism to recognize what my companion and I were when we met him during my mission.

  26. MikeInWeHo-yeah, I didn’t have much of an opinion of them or their philosophies until after I took their personality test and the auditor spent a good 45 minutes discussing the test with me. It wasn’t just what she told me, it was the methods the auditor was using with and on me. I then realized why they might be so against psychologists–these scientologists are dangerous. I was also turned off by the fact I had to buy everything they gave me to hold. Now that’s an old trick.

  27. Gordon Jump cannot hold a candle to the power of the Church of Scientology…

    Sure, but the Scientologists don’t have a theme song nearly as cool as WKRP in Cincinnati. “Baby, if you’ve ever wondered–wondered whatever became of me…”

  28. Kevin Barney says:

    RT/JNS is right about Alice Cooper. His father was a bishop in a Mormon sect (not RLDS; I forget which one, but it was a small group). So he was exposed to the BoM growing up, but he wasn’t a “Mormon” in the sense of a member of the Utah church.

  29. When my friend was taking the discussion, he stopped by the scientology booth in Harvard Square. He took the stress test and then they tried to sell him Dianetics.
    What?! he said, too loudly. The MORMONS give THEIRS away for FREE!
    They argued with him for awhile, saying how it’s worth the money. And he said,
    “but the Mormons think theirs is so good they give it away for FREE!”
    He made a big scene but it was hilarious. And in the end we won his soul.

  30. According to Wikipedia, AC’s father was an ordained apostle in the Bickertonite sect, an off shoot that traces its connection through Sidney Rigdon.

    I always assumed the stuff about Alice Cooper being a Mormon was urban legend. Turns out I was only partially right. (I prefer the versions about Cooper dying his garments blood red and about a fried-of-a-fried who was Cooper’s home teacher.)

  31. Allison says:

    Amri, that’s both funny and inspiring.

    I’d be embarrassed to belong to a church whose main selling point is that most of Hollywood believes.

  32. MikeInWeHo says:

    Most of Hollywood most certainly does not believe in Scientology. It’s very fringe even here. They do have the most amazing PR machine, though.

  33. See Bowfinger. Some very funny Scientology stuff there.

  34. Steve Evans says:

    keepittogether, gst.

  35. Costanza says:

    “we are weird, but compared with Xenu, Kolob is minor league.” I think for most people on the “outside” the difference between Kolob and Xenu is non-existent. Of course, for most people beyond christendom there is little distinction between Xenu, Kolob, and a god who commands you to cannabilize him on a regular basis.

  36. Costanza says:

    The point being that there is no such thing as a non-weird religion; what is weird really depends upon the dominant normative position of the culture doing the judging. Except of course for those people that went to meet the Hale Bopp comet. They weren’t weird.

  37. Constanza,
    Nah. Believing that God lives on a planet called Kolob is weird. Pretty weird. Very weird in fact. But believing that Lord Xenu brought people to earth 85 billion years ago on DC-8 aircraft is ____ crazy. I’ll take Kolob over Xenu any day, and I think most people would. TK Smoothies…now that’s another matter.

  38. Ronan, do we believe that God lives on a planet called Kolob?

  39. pedant

  40. MikeInWeHo says:

    OK, Ronan, quit teasing. This is twice now. What’s a TK Smoothie???

    Based on my knowledge of Scientology (which was taught to me by South Park), Lord Xenu’s space cruisers only LOOKED like DC-8s. So therefore, it’s really no more crazy than Kolob. : )

    I love Kolob, btw. What the bloggernacle needs is more discussion of said orb.


  42. TK Smoothie is forbidden knowledge.

    Google keywords: genitals, telestial kingdom, terrestrial kingdom, Joseph Fielding Smith, action man.

  43. Costanza says:

    Kolob is nigh unto the throne of God, according to Abraham. Ok, DC-8s are a little strange. But maybe Moroni came to visit Joseph via a high-tech balloon operated by the pre-embodied spirit of Richard Branson. I heard that the documents attesting to such an event are locked up in the FP’s vault.

    Ok, I’m going outside to put up my lightening rod now.

  44. DC-8s seem strange, but you see Xenu used exact copies of Douglas DC-8s, “except the DC-8 had fans, propellers on it and the space plane didn’t”. Let L. Ron tell you himself (see Operations Clambake).

    For those looking to adorn their homes with the Scientology equivalent of the ubiquitous Mormon Jesus portrait, here is my suggestion. Funyuns + Pizza + Dianetics.

  45. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 42 Cool, Google took me right to your post (which was fascinating, btw). That said: Ouch! Who knew?! I think this knowledge should be revealed to inactives to encourage our repentence and return to Church. Nobody told me I’d be emasculated in the Terrestial Kingdom.

  46. Does anyone else ever get the insatiable desire to call L. Ron Hubbard “The Ron”? A spanish speaking friend pointed that out to me once, and I’ve called him “The Ron” ever since.

    I guess that would mean I should start calling L. Tom Perry “The Tom,” but it isn’t near as funny to me for some reason.

  47. Wow! Holy crap! Here’s the thing: “Quakers on the moon” sounds crazy today and we all know it is crazy, but it’s not exactly out of place among 19th century frontier dreamers. But DC-8’s! Thay’s crazy now, then, and forever.

  48. tesseract says:

    beck was raised scientologist too (besides giovanni ribisi) BTW, beck married giovanni’s sister. Also, theres a very interesting article about scientologist in rolling stones.

  49. Costanza says:

    “DC-8’s! Thay’s crazy now, then, and forever.” I can see that on bumper stickers and T-shirts.

  50. MikeInWeHo says:

    I’m pretty sure they just looked like DC-8s, seriously. But I’m not going to spend the time trying to prove it. Maybe some can check with the Scientology-run Foundation for Ancient Research and Transportation Sciences. : )

  51. Kolob is the planet NEAREST to where God lives. In other words – “you don’t know where God lives, suckers, and nobody’s telling you, but here’s a planet really far away so you will quit asking.” Also, God’s time and Kolob’s time seem to be the same.

    As to why actors like scientology – who knows why actors do anything?

  52. The Scientologists can have all the celebrities they want — I’m glad we got this kid.

  53. Did anyone read the Gospel of Judas?

    One of the things that puts Judas in the know is that he recognizes Jesus as The holy one from Barbelos. He’s the only one of the apostles that knows that and is therefore so worthy that he’s chosen to be the betrayer.

  54. Van Morrison was probably never a scientologist–that’s just speculation based on the fact that he extended special thanks to Hubbard in the credits on “Inarticulate Speech of the Heart” (not Morrison’s best work, if you ask me).

    The Church of Scientology is an example of exactly what we DO NOT want our church to be like.

    A friend of mine organized a site in 1996 (a very early stage of the web) to catalog the attempts by the Church of Scientology to prevent information about it from being disseminated online. It’s known as the War between Scientology and the Net. The Net, of course, won, because that’s the way the marketplace works, and the Church of Scientology just ended up coming out looking like a bunch of vindictive, controlling numbskulls.

    The Church of Scientology tried to bring down my friend’s web site, which is one reason it remains up to this day, even though it has been nearly a decade since it was actively maintained. Part of the attempts to thwart my friend’s web site included Scientologists entering his place of employment to distribute a flyer trying to impugn his character (even interrupting the meeting that he was in). Thankfully, our church doesn’t do stuff like that.

    But our church has gone to court to block the online publication of the Church Handbook of Instruction (AKA, the CHI). Months later, they were back in court to force people to remove links to sites that hosted the CHI illegally. Why? Because the initial court order didn’t work, and there are hosting locations available on the internet outside the jurisdiction of any workable court system. The CHI remains on the net to this day (check it out: http://www.provocation.net/chi/chi99.htm).

    This is a lesson that our church doesn’t seem to have learned yet: The old days barriers of entry for publication market are gone; there is no longer any way to monopolize (quietly or otherwise) all of information that available about you online. Trying to monopolize such information nowadays results in the attempts being exposed for what they are: The heavy-handed actions of ignorant leaders who just don’t get how this kind of information works. It’s especially disappointing to see them exposed this way, because such behavior is of dubious morality quite apart from the fact that the internet now makes it look foolish.

  55. To your mind, DKL, is there anything our church or its leaders do well?

  56. Jeez, jimbob. That question doesn’t exactly presuppose nice things about my faithfulness as a member. If you read carefully, I take specific exception to the way that policies relating to dissent and information dissemination. In most other areas, I’m a reasonably orthodox (if irreverent) Mormon.

    But to answer your question directly: I really enjoy general conference, and I think that the correlation committee actually does a really good job with the church curriculum–which is, I think, one of the hardest jobs in the church. I could go on and on, but I don’t want to threadjack.

  57. Not trying to presuppose anything, really. I’ve just never seen a post by you not finding something significantly “foolish” about how the church is run. I’m glad I’m wrong.

  58. D. Fletcher says:

    You *like* General Conference?


  59. OK, I take that back about not wanting to threadjack:

    D. Fletcher, yes, I do enjoy general conference. The only issue that I have with it is that the conference edition of the Ensign does not contain a pre-made home teaching message with pointers for kids and such. This forces me to actually choose what I am teaching about, and this makes me realize how truly overrated free agency really is (not to take anything away from the plan of salvation–it’s the greatest show on earth.)

  60. DKL, what do you mean our church doesn’t do stuff like that? Don’t you recall the time Midgley showed up unannounced at Lighthouse Ministries and rudely interrupted George Smith having fondue with the Tanners?

    Otherwise, I tend to agree with you. I read recently that a non-Mormon once managed to obtain photographs of the interior of the Salt Lake Temple and then tried to use them to blackmail the Church, demanding $40,000 for them, or he’d sell them to magazines back East. Elder Talmage responded by writing The House of the Lord, illustrated with photographs of the interior of the Salt Lake Temple. I think that’s usually the best way to handle such things.

  61. MarissaS says:

    If I could WHAT to WHAT-LOB??!

    We have tons of semi famous members amongst our ranks. Just check out famousmormons.net for the evidence. Keep in mind though that the terms “tons” and “semi-famous” are relative.

  62. mem: DKL, what do you mean our church doesn’t do stuff like that? Don’t you recall the time Midgley showed up unannounced at Lighthouse Ministries and rudely interrupted George Smith having fondue with the Tanners?

    LOL! Brovo. I must be getting rusty if I need to be reminded of that Lou Midgely showed up unannounced at Lighthouse Ministries and rudely interrupted George Smith having fondue with the Tanners.