All of them, those in power, and those who want the power, would pamper us, if we agreed to overlook their crookedness by wilfully restricting our activities.
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THANK YOU, thank you, thank you for having the courage to print your Scientology story ["Catch a Rising Star," September]. I have lived in California for quite a while now and have seen the Scientology presence grow like a tumor. I have been harassed by the "nice young men" in suits and ties handing out Scientology literature. It doesn't surprise me, considering the number of people that are looking for something to believe in and will pay a lot of money to find it. I am sure Ms. Alley and Mr. Cruise do not see or want to acknowledge the more sinister side of Scientology. If this religion is aboveboard, why are they so afraid of the press?
Sun Valley, Calif.
HEY, [JOHN .H.] RICHARDSON, didn't you leave something out? I told you, I don't know how many times, how back in 1972 I took a communications course at Celebrity Centre for $20 that taught me how to really listen to people. Then I told you, I don't know how many times, why I had to split the organization: Because their ethics required no alcohol, no sleeping pills, and no telling of lies. So how the hell was I going to exist in the movie business?
Los Angeles, Calif.
I'VE BEEN A SCIENTOLOGIST for many years, and it has helped me. Scientology auditing has helped me maintain a positive outlook in a world fraught with fear, death, insanity, and injustice. Scientology gives me hope for what can be perceived as a very dim future for the human race.
Los Angeles, Calif.
I SALUTE YOU for the courage shown in your Scientology piece, tepid as it was. If Scientology in Hollywood were no more than a few wealthy stars following a dogma that was part psychology, part science fiction, part psycho-babble, there would be no harm. But the Scientologists are cunning; they shield the well-known followers, who are mostly sane, from the loony aspects of the cult that siphon tremendous amounts of money from the gullibles who aren't so sane. And they use the images of the stars, who don't see the most noxious parts of the cult, to win more converts. Again, congratulations; because of your courage, I will never allow my subscription to lapse.
I COMMEND YOU on your efforts to risk reprisals and write an article that Scientologists will no doubt find offensive. While I do not doubt that their methods may have helped Cruise, Alley, and others, I have extreme difficulty accepting Scientology as an organized religion. I cannot trust any so-called "church" that actively recruits high-profile members, charges money to learn secretive "revelations," and readily employs antagonism and harassment.
Falls Church, Va.
TOM CRUISE should do a follow-up to The Firm titled The Church. It's about a man who joins a prestigious church that promises him wealth and power, only to find out that the church is not all it is cracked up to be. Sounds like a hit to me.
I GENERALLY ENJOY reading your magazine, but I may have read it for the last time, having read the piece on Tom Cruise in your September issue. You should be ashamed of yourselves. I think that Cruise responded appropriately and with unnecessary tact to the outrageous questions he was asked about his religion. (Just what does that have to do with anything?) I think we all need an explanation for this. Right on, Tom!
M. ADAM BROWN
I CONSENTED TO giving Mr. Richardson a lengthy interview on the good, the bad, and the ugly of my experiences while involved in Scientology, in large part because I asked and was given assurances by Mr. Richardson on two occasions that it would be a well-rounded and fair representation of my time spent there. Well, he covered the bad and certainly the ugly in my interview — where the hell was the good? When complaining about the misrepresentation to my friends after reading the article, the consensus was: "What did you expect?" Maybe I'm naive, but I take a person at their word, even if they write for PREMIERE. You have a good reputation. It seems that anytime an article on Scientology appears anywhere, editors and writers get into a feeding frenzy, forget understandings, verbal agreements, or best efforts between writer and interviewee.
Los Angeles, Calif.
JOHN H. RICHARDSON RESPONDS: Many people wrote in asking what PREMIERE was doing writing about a religion. Why not write about Jews in Hollywood, they said, or Mormons? The answer is simple: Scientology's position in Hollywood is unique and visible. It runs the lavish Celebrity Centre, intended as a meeting place for artists. It publishes a magazine devoted to profiling celebrities who stress how Scientology boosted their careers. It advertises regularly in industry publications such as Daily Variety. No other religious group does any of these things. If and when the Jews or the Mormons or anyone else takes such an active role in Hollywood, PREMIERE will cover them as well. In response to Mr. Lipton, before publication I read him not only his quotes but the surrounding context. I am completely mystified by his letter.