Not too long ago, Paul Haggis wrote a rather scathing indictment against The Church of Scientology. Haggis, a one-time member, took issue with the church’s advocation of Proposition 8 and some of the church’s more controversial methods — namely the policy of “disconnection,” wherein one must cut all ties from negative influences in their lives whether they be friends or family. All this is merely a preamble to say that the prolific writer/director may not yet be done bashing the oft-derided religion/cult (you choose).
Haggis is now teaming up with author Lawrence Wright to write an expose on Scientology. The book follows Haggis’s three-decade love affair and subsequent public break-up with the church. The Heretic of Hollywood: Paul Haggis vs. The Church of Scientology is set for release this June. Guesswork: it will most likely paint Scientology in a negative manner. Hit the jump for the official description.
The Academy Award winning writer and director, Paul Haggis (Million Dollar Baby, Crash), spent three decades in the Church of Scientology. Haggis was one of the church’s Hollywood trophies, along with Tom Cruise and John Travolta, whose paths cross with Haggis’s. His resignation from the church in August of 2009 was a crushing disappointment to the organization. This is the first time Haggis has spoken about his experience.
The roots of Scientology are explored in this book, particularly the life of its eccentric founder, L. Ron Hubbard, whose flashes of brilliance and insanity are woven into the fabric of this elaborate belief system. Through Haggis’s eyes, we discover the appeal of Scientology, especially to talented and ambitious members of the entertainment industry. Haggis conducted a personal investigation of the church, in which he was told about the wanton physical abuse on the part of its current leader, David Miscavige, of senior members of the organization. He was told that young volunteers in the Scientology clergy, called the Sea Org, are subjected to conditions approaching slavery or imprisonment, and that many female members have been forced to have abortions.
The most profound reckoning to date with this powerful and secretive organization, The Heretic of Hollywood is also a moving human story of the lure of extreme faith and the price of leaving it.