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Recruiting Scientologist celebrities and getting them to endorse Scientology to the public at large has always been very important to the Church of Scientology. Scientology has had a written program governing celebrity recruitment since at least 1955, when L. Ron Hubbard created "Project Celebrity", offering rewards to Scientologists who recruited targeted celebrities. Early interested parties included former silent-screen star Gloria Swanson and jazz pianist Dave Brubeck. A Scientology policy letter of 1976 states that "rehabilitation of celebrities who are just beyond or just approaching their prime" enables the "rapid dissemination" of Scientology.
The Church of Scientology operates special Celebrity Centres. Scientology policy governs the Celebrity Centres (the main one in Los Angeles and others in Paris, Nashville, and elsewhere), stating that "one of the major purposes of the Celebrity Centre and its staff is to expand the number of celebrities in Scientology." (Scientology Flag Order 2310) Another order describes Celebrity Centre's Public Clearing Division and its goal, "broad public into Scientology from celebrity dissemination"; this division has departments for planning celebrity events and routing the general public onto Scientology services as a result of celebrity involvement.
As founder L. Ron Hubbard put it:
Celebrities are very Special people and have a very distinct line of dissemination. They have comm[unication] lines that others do not have and many medias [sic] to get their dissemination through (Flag Order 3323, 9 May 1973)
But then I think the reason that celebrities would be interested is because it's a religion that fits pretty well with a celebrity kind of personality. It's very individualistic. It celebrates your individual identity as ultimately divine. It claims to give you ultimate power over your own mind, self, destiny, so I think it fits well with an actor personality. And then the wealth question: These aren't people who need more wealth, but what they do need, or often want at least, is some kind of spiritual validation for their wealth and lifestyle, and Scientology is a religion that says it's OK to be wealthy, it's OK to be famous, in fact, that's a sign of your spiritual development. So it kind of is a spiritual validation for that kind of lifestyle.
The Church of Scientology has a long history of seeking out artists, musicians, writers and actors, and states that Scientology can help them in their lives and careers. Among the most well-known celebrity Scientologists are Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Juliette Lewis, Isaac Hayes, Kirstie Alley, Catherine Bell, Nancy Cartwright, Beck, Doug E. Fresh, Kelly Preston, Elisabeth Moss, Erika Christensen, Jason Lee, Edgar Winter, Giovanni Ribisi, Jenna Elfman, Anne Archer, Chick Corea and Julia Migenes. The January 14, 2008, issue of The New Yorker magazine included a feature by Dana Goodyear, "Château Scientology," on the topic of Scientology and Hollywood celebrities.
According to prosecuting attorney Vincent Bugliosi in his 1974 book Helter Skelter, American serial murderer Charles Manson had been an avid Scientologist in the mid-1950s, claiming for years to be proud of his Theta Clear status. Bugliosi referenced Manson's interest in Scientology several times during his trial as a basis for some of Manson's psychologies about human culture and behavior.
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