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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Will Travolta leave Scientology?

Reports have been circulating that John Travolta's depression over the January death of his 16 year old son Jett has led to his disenchantment with the Church of Scientology. Scientology does not accept the science behind autism, and members whose children have the disorder are not allowed to treat its symptoms with anything other than the church's programs.

Naturally, a high-visibility, deep-pocketed, celebrity member like Travolta cannot be allowed to walk away from Scientology's clutches without a struggle, especially after 34 years. So, allegedly, the rumors have already been leaked that the church allegedly has blackmail files that reveal the actor to allegedly be a closeted homosexual. Nothing that could be traced to the church, naturally, just you know, rumors. Nothing substantiated, naturally, just the alleged possibility that they might have files that detail this ugly secret. Allegedly.

It's been a gang-up year for Scientology. Two of its top executives dove overboard and went public—Marty Rathbun and Mike Rinder, the highest-ranking executives to ever leave the cult, and Amy Scobee, who helped create Scientology's celebrity network that specializes in setting up promotions involving the cult's high-visibility stars like Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Lisa Marie Presley and Kirstie Alley. All three gave extensive interviews to the St. Petersburg Times in June. Now Travolta may be slipping away.

Coverage of the Travolta story keeps growing, and an extensive article in The Daily Mail seems to wallow in the homosexual allegation side of the tale. But it also gives a glimpse of just how Scientology has benefitted lavishly from Travolta's wallet:

Travolta is also known to have pumped millions of his own fortune into its new Superpower Centre, being built at Scientology headquarters in Clearwater, Florida.

According to insiders, he has reached the rank of Operating Thetan VII, one rung below the most senior position in the Church, which adheres to the teachings of controversial 1950s science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard.

The author bizarrely claimed all humans are descended from Thetans, space aliens who were banished to earth 75 million years ago.

At great expense, Travolta turned another of Hubbard's novels, 'Battlefield Earth,' into a disastrous 2000 film.

But to reach such an exalted level within Scientology, Travolta, insiders say, has had to submit himself to years of so-called 'auditing', during which disciples are connected to primitive lie-detectors and subjected to hours of questioning about their innermost secrets.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given Hollywood's obsession with the secret sect, talk in the smarter salons of gossip-hungry Tinseltown is now all about what Travolta might have divulged during these sessions.

However, Travolta's personal representative Paul Bloch spoke to People magazine. "There's no change in the relationship between the Church of Scientology and John," says Bloch. "He is a member and it's as it was, now and forever."

Forever's a long time. But it makes one wonder if Scientology's celebrities are required to sign the same kind of billion year contracts the church's Gold Base Sea Org workers have to agree to?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

"Conspiracy Theory With Jesse Ventura" Debuts This Fall

THR.com website today is announcing that TruTV (formerly CourtTV) will debut a TV series called "Conspiracy Theory With Jesse Ventura" later this year. Seven episodes (how appropriately symbolic) have been ordered.

From the website:

The decision to pick up to series "Conspiracy Theory," originally ordered as a pilot last fall, came after a preview of the project received "positive response" at the network's upfront presentation to advertisers, truTV exec vp and general manager Marc Juris said.

In "Conspiracy Theory," former Navy SEAL, wrestler and Minnesota governor Ventura explores the mysteries behind modern-day conspiracies.