Paul Haggis to Write Expose on Scientology

by     Posted 3 years, 238 days ago


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.

Found in The Wylie Agency Frankfurt 2010 catalog [via Gawker]: paul-haggis-image

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.

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  • Marc Abian

    The Scientology enterprise is quite concerned about their abuses and crimes being exposed. The corporation has been sending out its “Office of Special Affairs” operatives to post negative comments about this story all over the internet. They will be here soon slinging mud at Paul Haggis and any other critics of Scientology, while praising the cult, or claiming that freedom of religion justifies any kind of abuse.

    • AnonFag

      Haggis should concentrate on getting his life in order. Too many drugs, perverts and bankruptcies run in his family. Writing a big fart of a book will not help him at all. For the sake of movies better than his last one: kill this project and do something creative!

      • Jimbo

        I’m guessing you’re the Scientologist’s version of Joseph Goebbels?

  • ObjectiveThinker

    Scientologists are free to believe in engrams and thetans just like Christians are free to believe in Heaven and Jesus but people don’t have a problem with those beliefs, they have a problem with the vicious and abusive way that Scientology treats critics and members.

    • Atheist01

      Well, many people DO have problems with the likes of Christianity, and every other religion. Its ALL madness… FACT! I do not believe in anything except that we are born from the universe and thats where we will end up.
      That said, at least Muslims/Christians Buddhists etc.. Their teachings have been passed down through thousands of years, yes still Bullshit, and in this day and age people should know better. BUT, I imagine as those beliefs have been passed on from parents and generations, and cultures (some of which don’t even have flushing toilets yet) I can at least see how it may be tricky to shake off.

      Scientology is New. Its a cashgrab cult/religion call it what you will, theres no difference. 2 of my good friends went off and became devout Scientologists, one of which even moved to the US to practice Auditing on others. A dark path they have chosen! One friend, had grievances with his parents, nothing major, and could have been sorted out with common sense. BUT no, he hasnt spoken or seen them in about 11 years! (Thanks Scientology, way to ruin a family!)

      Now, my friend is still a practicing Scientologist, I do get the “Vibe” he has had enough, but I also get the strong “Vibe” He can’t leave!

      Auditing, from what I can gather, is where you open up EVERYTHING you did in the past (like confessional) Then they blackmail or slander you with those WRITTEN DOWN details If you try to leave, or protest about your findings.

      At least the new JEDI religions that are emerging are for fun, and the source material it is based on we know to just be from films. (However, I do wonder if in 2000 years time if it will have evolved into something more.. sinister?)

      My advice, stop looking up at false Gods and imaginary heavens! Or you will miss out on the true wonders of our Universe.

      • ObjectiveThinker

        Yeah, I’m an atheist myself but I suppose I understand why people might want to believe in something magical or supernatural, sometimes the world can be a little gray and boring.

        I don’t really care about whether Xenu or engrams are silly, I care about the fact that Scientology is a self-help scam that markets itself as a religion for tax purposes, destroys people’s lives, and perverts spirituality. I consider myself to be a spiritual atheist even though I disbelieve all metaphysics.

        The Scientology Office of Special Affairs internet handlers are going to have to swtich gears and start trying to redirect the discussion to other religions, per L Ron’s intruction,”Never discuss Scientology with the critic. Just discuss his or her crimes, known and unknown.” (HCO Bulletin of 27 August, 1987).”

  • Strong Enough

    ^ oh there goes one now

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  • dogg

    He probably sweats bullets whenever he starts his car.

  • Louanne

    I’m not sure if it’s actually due out in June. The catalog describes June as a “Delivery” date. Since the book currently doesn’t have a publisher lined up, I think June is the date it’s expected to be ready for review and publication. I could be wrong though. I don’t have the best grasp on how the industry works.

    What I do know is that, if Paul has done his homework on Scientology, he’s very brave for writing this book. Authors critical of Scientology have notoriously met very unfortunate fates at the hands of their lawyers, PI’s, and other nefarious associates. I fully support him for doing his part to shed some light on the corruption within the organization he supported for so long. Hopefully it can help those still trapped inside see the truth.

    There will inevitably be comments in this discussion calling him a liar, a poor director, and someone solely motivated by money – ultimately downplaying any significance of the story. This is par for the course for any threats to Scientology. There are actually people whose job it is to troll comment threads to try to neutralize bad PR. Luckily they’re often juvenile ad hominem attacks that can be easily disregarded. But that is hardly the limit to what Scientology will do to hurt Mr. Haggis and Wright and anyone else who has a hand in this book’s production. His celebrity status may shield him from the more overtly criminal attacks, but if I were Paul Haggis I’d be careful.

    To the lay reader this may sound like paranoid ranting, but I advise any skeptics out there to glance over any easily accessible sources (e.g. Wikipedia, Google) for terms like “Paulette Cooper”, “Scientology Fair Game”, “Operation Snow White”, and “Lisa McPherson.” In addition to verifying much of what I’ve said, it’ll also be a nice preview to all those interested in this book.

  • James

    Why doesn’t he just help produce Paul Thomas Anderson’s project. We all know it’ll be a better movie.

    • christophercantos

      because PT Anderson’s problem is not financing. it’s creative. it shows the man doesn’t want to gives us a subpar work. if he thinks it’s not going to work, then STOP

  • Ben

    I’m looking forward to this. Am keen to learn more of this controversial religion/ cult and be better informed – it’s too easy to make judgements about significant life choices like a belief in scientology without knowing much about it.

  • Kyle Rud

    The cult turns rabid on apostate members who speak out. They sic their private investigator dogs on them.

    No one knew this before the internet. Still Haggis probably has some things to tell about celebrity sciloontology that no one knew.

    It’s a car wreck though as Scientology’s filthy past comes back to haunt them. All Hubbard’s lies. All their lies and schemes and “operations.”

    When more celebrities start waking up, Scientology will really be in trouble, course then resources will need to be allocated to find where David Miscavige went with a billion or more dollars.

  • Snowdog

    Admittedly, I know next to nothing about Scientology. My hope is that like all religions, it will mature or die on the vine. The more violent aspects of fundamentalism of any sort need not be tolerated by a society. We better step carefully when condemning EVERYONE involved in a religion/sect, those more radical/harmful elements should be exposed for what they are whether Christian/Muslim/Scientologist.

  • SupahDupah

    What’s the difference between a cult and a religion? Answer: The number of members.

    Scientology probably has a lot of negative aspects attached, but it’s a minor problem compared to Islam. Islam is the worst threat to democracy and freedom since….well, since the invention of religion probably (outside the fact that Islam is a political system, not a religion). I would rate Islam a worse or equal threat in the long term than Nazism was because it’s a hidden threat. Islam is not an outside and clearly defined enemy like Hitler’s Germany was. Why doesn’t anyone make a film about that? Answer: Because then everyone involved would receive death threats, there would be embassy burnings, flag burnings and threats of war. That’s the effect Islam has on freedom today.

    Wake up and smell the coffee.

    So, will this text be marked “offensive” and removed from the board? I don’t know, but I am not surprised of anything anymore. Speaking the truth is now defined as hate speech or offensive. The first sign of freedom lost.

    • Rusty

      There are several differences between a religion and a cult. Mostly religions act to (allegedly) better the members or the world as a whole; cults serve to benefit the select few in power. Religions are indeed concerned with recruiting, but not nearly as much as cults. In a cult, the emphasis is nearly entirely on recruiting new members. The initial love-bombing that takes place while one is being recruited quickly disappears once successful, and the priority shifts to encourage that new member to find even more people. Some religions like Buddhism may entail giving up one’s possessions and usually living in a somewhat detached environment, but cults make you give up your possessions TO THE PEOPLE IN CHARGE and to live isolated from outside influences. Cults seek to control people and take things from them while treating them as commodities and recruiting tools. There are plenty of things messed up about various religions, but those are some key differences between a religion and a cult. You can find more if you google something like “cult identification checklist.” It becomes very clear that Scientology meets nearly all requirements of being a cult. Plus they have a documented history of infiltrating and sabotaging the American government (google “Operation Snow White”) so really it doesn’t matter what you call them; they’re criminals.

      As for all that other stuff you said? It was mostly idiocy. But there’s no sense arguing over the internet. Best case scenario is, several hours later, I will win an argument with a nationalistic idiot. Doesn’t sound too appealing. Enjoy your anger.

  • jackie

    My issue with Scientology is this: It was ‘founded’ by a science fiction writer that said you can make lots of money by coming up with a ‘religion’. This is enough for me to say ‘do what?’. Also, after all of the allegations over the years of bad doings, etc. I tend to side with the victims…what do they have to gain from it? I also have a large curiosity about people that seem to have common sense and how they ended up in this strange ‘religion’. The fact that John Travolta and his wife, Kristie Alley, not to mention Mr. Cruise and his wife are all side by side in this floors me!! These people seem to be normal (well…scratch that…Tom is a bit out there)!!! I just dont understand it!!

  • Marylou

    I have many issues with Scientology, but I agree that the fact that it was started by a science fiction writer who exhibited “flashes of brilliance and insanity” (as the above article mentions), boggles my mind that people can actually take this stuff seriously. There was a lengthy article in McLeans a few years back, in which LRH himself got quick a kick out of the idea that people actually started a religion based on his writings! Seems even he never saw that coming!

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