Katie Holmes’s articles of faith: Scientology continues to shape coverage of divorce

DANNY MOLOSHOK REUTERS Actor Tom Cruise and actress Katie Holmes arrive at the 2012 Vanity Fair Oscar party in West … Continued



Actor Tom Cruise and actress Katie Holmes arrive at the 2012 Vanity Fair Oscar party in West Hollywood in this February 26 file photo. The couple settled their divorce Monday in what Holmes’ lawyer called a “speedy resolution” to a case that prompted questions over the raising of their daughter and the Church of Scientology.

Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise may have reached a divorce settlement this week, but rumors about the actors’ faith lives continue to dominate buzz about the former couple.

The L.A. Times reported that “Scientology and what role it would play in the upbringing of the couple’s daughter, Suri, was a key factor in the split.”

And for many, Scientology is also the most intriguing aspect of the Hollywood power-couple’s split.

Holmes was raised Catholic and Cruise, of course, is Scientology’s most famous adherent, putting a handsome Hollywood face on the little-known religion.

The 20th century faith, founded by eccentric science fiction enthusiast L. Ron Hubbard, is controversial for many reasons –including the cost of membership, its policies of secrecy, discrepancies over its number of adherents, and allegations that its members are expected to shun those who leave the church. Church members, including Cruise himself in a May interview with Playboy, say that Scientology’s methods of self-improvement and personal liberation simply work.

The Daily Beast rounded up some of the most incisive journalism done on Scientology in recent decades, including Lawrence Wright’s 2011 piece for The New Yorker, The Apostate.

Others have noted that the Holmes-Cruise story line isn’t only about the (some-say) fringe faith of one movie star. The breakdown of a marriage rumored to be troubled by a difference in belief systems is, nowadays, as American as celebrity news sites.

USA Today’s Cathy Lynn Grossman pointed out on her blog last week that interfaith couples face bleaker divorce statistics than couples of the same faith. A 2010 Washington Post Outlook article explored the phenomenon, noting that “people who had been in mixed-religion marriages were three times more likely to be divorced or separated than those who were in same-religion marriages.” And more Americans than ever are coupling outside of their faith—a hopeful sign for pluralists, but still a challenge for long-term relationship stability.

Update: This post previous stated that Holmes had joined a New York City Catholic Church. A church leader there told the Post that she has not registered, but is welcome to join.


Elizabeth Tenety Elizabeth Tenety is the former editor of On Faith, where she produced "Divine Impulses," On Faith’s video interview series. She studied Theology and Government at Georgetown University and received her master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. A New York native, Elizabeth grew up in the home of Catholic news junkies where, somewhere in between watching the nightly news and participating in parish life, she learned to ponder both the superficial and the sacred.
  • jaygatsby27

    I was born in Clearwater, FL and have visited L. Ron Hubbard’s offices out of curiosity. I can tell you firsthand that very few people in Clearwater are Scientologists.

  • vzepijdu

    OMG like really like OMG

  • DavidJ9

    The Washington Post wouldn’t want to have to defend a lawsuit from the LRon mob, I guess, so they managed to sound incredibly wishy-washy here.

  • chowlett1

    Very litigious people, by all accounts.

  • EvadtheSlayer

    As some may know, Hubbard was a sci-fi writer who always struggled financially. He said that the easiest way to make money was to start a new religion which, of course, relied on “contributions” to fund his lifestyle. In short, Scientology is nothing less than a huge fraud. At one time I know that members bought his books by the thousands ( and returned them a few days later for a refund) to that his books would hit the Best Seller list. So much for honesty. I was quite shocked when Katie married him and never expected it to last even this long.

  • RonaldWilsnReagan666

    Have to be some freaky hoops to jump through…

  • Hamza Shaikh

    What is Church Scientology?

    In 1952 the Church of Scientology was established with the help of CIA agent , Miles Copland Jr. which he mentioned in his book, The Game Player: Confessions of the CIA’s Original Political Operative”, London: Aurum Press, 1989.
    The main objective was to be a front group of CIA in western world.

    Who was L Ron Hubbard?
    L Ron Hubbard was a science fiction writer who joined Office of Naval Intelligence in 1940′s , it is duly acknowledged by the Church in Feb 2011 issue of Lawrence Wright article in New Yorker magazine.

    Who controls Church of Scientology ?

    Church of Scientology is a subsidiary of Church of Spiritual Technology (Google it) which is in turn a subsidiary of Author Services Incorporated (also known as LRH library)
    Author Services Incorporated as commercial organization- means, its objective is to make and ditribute profit for its owners.

    In short a religious organization (Church of Scientology) is a subsidiary of another religious organization (Church of Spiritual Technology) which is a subsidiary of a commercial organization (Author Services Incorporated) — strange !.

    Who is David Miscavige ?

    David Miscavige is the Chairman of Board of RTC (a division of Church of Scientology),he is just a front man.

    Who is the head of Church of Spiritual Technology ?
    Confidential- Secret

    Who is running the Author Service Incorporated ?
    Most Confidential- Top Secret

    Is it illuminate ?
    Secret agencies?
    may be Xenu ?

  • bluebronco

    An organization not very different from say, the Catholic Church, wouldn’t you say? A collection of writings from various fable authors who convince people that they have to pay their way in by contributing a certain percentage of their income to the church, who perpetuates the story. This book becomes so popular that it is the highest-selling book of all time.

    I’m not by any means saying that god isn’t real, but the Catholic Church is just as much of a for-profit organization as Scientology. Look at the Vatican–enough said.

  • jyl1st

    Memo to all couples. Before committing to marriage, sync on the ‘big 5′:
    Religion, Money, Sex, Children, Compatibility.

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