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    At Inland Base, Scientologists Trained Top Gun

    Tom Cruise studied intensively at the remote compound near Hemet while becoming a passionate messenger for the church.

    By Claire Hoffman and Kim Christensen, Times Staff Writers
    Los Angeles Times
    Dec. 18, 2005

    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-f...home-headlines


    GILMAN HOT SPRINGS, Calif. — Nearly 30 years ago, the Church of Scientology bought a dilapidated and bankrupt resort here and turned the erstwhile haven for Hollywood moguls and starlets into a retreat for L. Ron Hubbard, the science fiction writer who founded the religion.

    Today, the out-of-the-way 500-acre compound near Hemet has quietly grown into one of Scientology's major bases of operation, with thriving video and recording studios, elaborate offices and a multimillion-dollar mansion that former members say was built for the eventual return of "LRH," who died in 1986.

    Like the previous owners, the church also has used the property as a sanctuary for its own stable of stars. It is here, ex-members say, that Hollywood's most bankable actor, Tom Cruise, was assiduously courted for the cause by Scientology's most powerful leader, David Miscavige.

    Scientology has long recruited Hollywood luminaries. But the close friendship of these two men for nearly 20 years and their mutual devotion to Hubbard help explain Cruise's transformation from just another celebrity adherent into the public face of the church.

    The bond between the star and his spiritual leader was evident last year when the two traded effusive words and crisp salutes at a Scientology gala in England. Calling Cruise "the most dedicated Scientologist I know," Miscavige presented him with the church's first Freedom Medal of Valor.

    "Thank you for your trust, thank you for your confidence in me," Cruise replied, according to Scientology's Impact magazine. "I have never met a more competent, a more intelligent, a more tolerant, a more compassionate being outside of what I have experienced from LRH. And I've met the leaders of leaders. I've met them all."

    Founded in 1954, Scientology is a religion without a deity. It teaches that "spiritual release and freedom" from life's problems can be achieved through one-on-one counseling called auditing, during which members' responses are monitored on an "e-meter," similar to a polygraph. This process, along with a series of training courses, can cost Scientologists many tens of thousands of dollars.

    As Scientology's highest-ranking figure, Miscavige, 45, has found in Cruise, 43, not just a fervent and famous believer but an effective messenger whose passion the church has harnessed to help fuel its worldwide growth.

    "Across 90 nations, 5,000 people hear his word of Scientology — every hour," International Scientology News proclaimed last year. "Every minute of every hour someone reaches for LRH technology … simply because they know Tom Cruise is a Scientologist."

    Cruise and Miscavige declined requests for interviews.

    A Scientology spokesman, Mike Rinder, called them the "best of friends," men who've achieved great success through "their force of personality and their drive to excel."

    At the same time that Cruise's increasingly vocal advocacy of Scientology has drawn attention to his faith, it has collided with his career. While promoting "War of the Worlds" this year, the film's director, Steven Spielberg, grew concerned that Cruise was talking too little about the movie and too much about Scientology and his wide-eyed-in-love fiancee, Katie Holmes, who turns 27 today.

    Their romance generated even more buzz when Holmes was seen in the nearly constant company of Jessica Rodriguez, who is from a prominent family of Scientologists. Holmes, who said after becoming engaged to Cruise that she was embracing Scientology, described Rodriguez as a close friend, though she was widely seen as a church-appointed companion.

    Unlike Holmes' embrace of the church, Cruise's is not new. Long before he sprang onto Oprah's couch, jabbed an accusing finger at "Today" show co-anchor Matt Lauer and blasted Brooke Shields for taking antidepressants, Cruise undertook intensive Scientology study and counseling at the church's compound, according to current and former Scientologists.

    The vast majority of Scientologists train at the church's better-known facilities, including those in Hollywood and Clearwater, Fla. Cruise also has trained at those locations, but for much of his studies in the late 1980s and early 1990s, he headed to Gilman Hot Springs.

    He stayed for weeks at a time, arriving by car or helicopter, according to ex-Scientologists who saw him there on repeated occasions. The former resort, 90 miles east of Los Angeles, was an ideal place for Cruise to get out of the spotlight while focusing on his Scientology training, ex-members say.

    Described by ex-members as the church's international nerve center, the property is largely concealed from outsiders by tall hedges and high walls. The complex's barbed-wired perimeter and driveways are monitored by video cameras, and motion sensors are placed around the property to detect intruders, ex-members say. Some also remember a perch high in the hills, dubbed "Eagle," where staffers with telescopes jotted down license plate numbers of any vehicle that lingered too long near the compound.

    Behind the compound's guarded gates, Cruise had a personal supervisor to oversee his studies in a private course room, ex-members say. He was unique among celebrities in the amount of time he spent at the base. Others visited, they said, but only Cruise took up temporary residence.

    "I was there for eight years and nobody stayed long at all, except for Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman during that period," said Bruce Hines, who clashed with Miscavige and left Scientology in 2001 after three decades in the group.

    He said he once provided spiritual counseling to the actress before she and Cruise divorced. Kidman, who had taken Scientology courses, has largely remained silent about the group in recent years. While at the complex, Cruise stayed in a renovated bungalow near a golf course on the property.

    "It was sort of like an upscale country place," said Karen Schless Pressley, a former Scientology "image officer," whose duties included interior design and creating military-style uniforms for Scientology staffers.

    While hardly palatial, the guest digs where Cruise stayed were luxurious compared with the drab apartments in Hemet, where Schless Pressley and hundreds of other base staffers lived, with few amenities and almost no privacy.

    She said she and her ex-husband shared a two-bedroom unit with another couple and were not allowed to make personal phone calls. Schless Pressley said she left the church because of what she alleged were invasions of members' privacy and other deprivations — a claim church officials say is unfounded.

    At the same time, she and other former members say, Miscavige was seeing to Cruise's every need, assigning a special staff to prepare his meals, do his laundry and handle a variety of other tasks, some of which required around-the-clock work.

    Maureen Bolstad, who was at the base for 17 years and left after a falling-out with the church, recalled a rainy night 15 years ago when a couple of dozen Scientologists scrambled to deal with "an all-hands situation" that kept them working through dawn. The emergency, she said: planting a meadow of wildflowers for Cruise to romp through with his new love, Kidman.

    "We were told that we needed to plant a field and that it was to help Tom impress Nicole," said Bolstad, who said she spent the night pulling up sod so the ground could be seeded in the morning.

    The flowers eventually bloomed, Bolstad said, "but for some mysterious reason it wasn't considered acceptable by Mr. Miscavige. So the project was rejected and they redid it."

    Other ex-members say it wasn't the only time that Miscavige put them to work to please Cruise.

    Miscavige, a firearms enthusiast, introduced Cruise to skeet shooting at the compound, according to an ex-member who said the actor was so grateful that he sent an automated clay-pigeon launcher to replace an older, hand-pulled model. With Cruise due to return in a few days, Miscavige again ordered all hands on deck, this time to renovate the base's skeet range, the ex-member said.

    Dozens worked around the clock for three days "just so Tom Cruise would be impressed," the ex-member said.

    Rinder, head of Scientology International's Office of Special Affairs, said such accounts were fabricated by "apostates," members who had abandoned the religion.

    He said he knew nothing about the skeet range incident. The wildflower planting never occurred and might be a confused version of repairs done after a 1990 mudslide, he said, adding that he couldn't account for ex-members' detailed recollections, including those of Bolstad, whom he specifically described as not credible.

    "I don't know exactly how to explain every one of these bizarro stories that you hear," he said.

    Rinder also disputed the contention by numerous ex-members that Cruise's stays at the facility were exceptional, saying that many celebrity Scientologists had stayed there.

    Cruise has made no extended visits to the complex since the early 1990s and has done 95% of his religious training elsewhere, Rinder said. Miscavige, he said, spends only a fraction of his time there and divides the rest of his time among offices in Los Angeles, Clearwater and Britain. He also stays aboard the Freewinds, Scientology's 440-foot ship based in Curacao in the Caribbean, Rinder said.

    However, voter registration records list the Gilman Hot Springs complex as Miscavige's residence since the early 1990s and as recently as the 2004 general election. Rinder said the church leader simply had not updated his registration. Miscavige's wife, father, stepmother and siblings also have resided at the complex, according to voting records and interviews.

    The base has changed significantly in the years since Cruise spent long days in intensive training, from which he would occasionally take time out to ride dirt bikes or go sky diving with Miscavige, ex-members said.

    For years, the property has been home to Golden Era Productions, where Scientologists work around the clock producing videos, audio recordings and e-meters, to be sold to church members. Rinder said nearly all of the members at Golden Era have signed billion-year contracts to serve the church.

    Since 1998, the church has poured at least $45 million into expanding the facility and has bought dozens of nearby homes and vacant lots, public records show. The additions include an $18.5-million, 45,000-square-foot management building with a wing of offices for Miscavige.

    The most striking building is a mansion that sits on a hill — uninhabited. Dubbed "Bonnie View," ex-members say, it was built for the church founder, who died in secrecy on a ranch near San Luis Obispo amid a federal tax investigation that was dropped after his death. The mansion has a lap pool and a movie theater and was completed in 2000 at a cost of nearly $9.4 million, property records show.

    "It's high-end beautiful but not ostentatious," decorated with Craftsman furniture, and draperies and other items that were designed to be changed with the seasons, Schless Pressley said.

    Former members say they were told the mansion was built for Hubbard's return.

    "The whole theory of that house was that before Hubbard died in 1986, David Miscavige told us, Hubbard told him he was going to come back and make himself visible within 13 years," Schless Pressley said.

    The mansion, Rinder said, is merely a museum that contains most of Hubbard's belongings.

    "It's preserved because the life of L. Ron Hubbard is extremely important to Scientologists," he said.

    Miscavige, who spent his teenage years as one of Hubbard's cadre of young aides, rose to the head of Scientology after the founder's death. Little known outside the organization, Miscavige in the early 1990s succeeded in gaining tax-exempt status for the church after he and another Scientology official personally approached the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service to negotiate a settlement.

    As chairman of the board of the Religious Technology Center, which holds the lucrative rights to the Scientology and Dianetics trademarks, he is the church's ultimate authority — and is treated as such.

    Miscavige's living quarters and offices in renovated bungalows were modest compared with Bonnie View but reflected his taste for the best of the best, including state-of-the-art audio and visual equipment, said ex-members who viewed the accommodations.

    "He's about five-seven, and everything was built in proportion to his body size," Schless Pressley said. "And everything was the best. You know how everybody has a pen cup on his desk? His pen cup had about 20 Montblanc pens in it."

    Shelly Britt, who joined Scientology at 17, said she was at the base for nearly 20 years before leaving the church in 2002. She said she worked directly with Miscavige much of that time. She recalled a Beverly Hills tailor visiting to measure Miscavige for his suits, and said moldings of his feet were taken and sent to London for custom-made shoes.

    "His lifestyle so far exceeds anyone else's. He had his own personal staff to handle his food and his room and his clothes and his ironing and his dogs," she said. "His uniforms were specially tailored, and he had, like, Egyptian cotton shirts, special pants, special shoes, special everything. And it was all of the highest quality."

    Although Hines, Britt and other ex-members describe Miscavige as extremely demanding of those under his command, they say he treated Cruise "like a king." Among other things, Britt said, Miscavige and his wife attended the star's 1990 wedding to Kidman in Colorado and then followed up with frequent gifts.

    "They don't do that for every celebrity," she said. "I remember one time I had to go pick up one of those big fancy picnic baskets and china and silver and take it out to Burbank to Tom's pilot. I even took pictures of it so Dave and his wife could see I took it out to the plane."

    Rinder said that Cruise was treated no differently from other members and that his highly public support of Scientology came straight from his heart.

    "It's a reflection of his own decisions and personal conviction," Rinder said.

    The church's belief in the power of celebrity to promote Scientology dates to its earliest days when, in 1955, the church issued "Project Celebrity," a call to arms for Scientologists to recruit show business "quarry" such as Walt Disney, Liberace and Greta Garbo to help expand the religion's reach.

    Although the church failed to enlist those famous figures, it has been successful in attracting many others in addition to Cruise, including John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Juliette Lewis, Isaac Hayes, Anne Archer, Jenna Elfman, Beck and Chick Corea.

    More than any other celebrity, Cruise has helped fuel the growth of the church, which claims a worldwide membership of 10 million and in the last two years has opened major centers in South Africa, Russia, Britain and Venezuela. Cruise joined Miscavige last year for the opening of a church in Madrid.

    In his own spiritual life, Cruise has continued to climb the "Bridge to Total Freedom," Scientology's path to enlightenment. International Scientology News, a church magazine, reported last year that the actor had embarked on one of the highest levels of training, "OT VII" — for Operating Thetan VII.

    At these higher levels — and at a potential cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars — Scientologists learn Hubbard's secret theory of human suffering, which he traces to a galactic battle waged 75 million years ago by an evil tyrant named Xenu.

    According to court documents made public by The Times in the 1980s, Hubbard espoused the belief that Xenu captured the souls, or thetans, of enemies and electronically implanted false concepts in them to keep them confused about his dirty work. The goal of these advanced courses is to become aware of the trauma and free of its effects.

    At Cruise's high level of training, ex-members say, devotees also are charged with actively spreading the organization's less secretive beliefs and advancing its crusades, including Hubbard's deep disdain for psychiatry, a profession that once dismissed his teachings as quackery.

    "When you hear Tom Cruise talking about psychiatrists and drugs," said one prominent former Scientologist who knows Cruise, "you are hearing from the grave the voice of L. Ron Hubbard speaking."


    Copyright 2005 Los Angeles Times

  2. #47
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Cruise ‘South Park’ Show Censored

    By WENN|Thursday, January 19, 2006
    http://www.hollywood.com/news/detail/id/3477151




    Link to the censored episode: http://www.scientomogy.info/south-park.htm
    Tom locks himself in the closet and "won't come out"
    HOLLYWOOD - Tom Cruise has reportedly stopped an episode of South Park that mocks him from being aired in Britain.

    The show, in which Nicole Kidman and Cruise's fellow Scientologist John Travolta are depicted attempting to coax an animated version of the actor out of a closet, caused controversy when broadcast in the U.S.

    The cartoon Kidman tells Cruise, "Don't you think this has gone on long enough? It's time for you to come out of the closet. You're not fooling anyone"—referring to allegations about Cruise's sexuality.

    According to TheRegister.co.uk, Paramount has agreed not to show the episode again, after Cruise complained.

    A source tells the site, "Tom is famously very litigious and will go to great lengths to protect his reputation. Tom was said not to like the episode and Paramount just didn't dare risk showing it again. It's a shame that UK audiences will never see it because it's very funny."

    Article Copyright World Entertainment News Network All Rights Reserved.

  3. #48

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    "It's a shame that UK audiences will never see it because it's very funny."

    See we never get anything vaguely controversial....

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    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Satire turns mystery: Where's the sex scene?

    SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL

    A 12-second hookup scene starring Katie Holmes was missing from the satirical political comedy "Thank You for Smoking" at a weekend screening.

    By John Horn, Times Staff Writer
    LA Times
    Jan. 24, 2006

    http://www.calendarlive.com/movies/c...-more-channels

    PARK CITY, Utah — The Sundance Film Festival is all about discovery, but what filmmaker Jason Reitman found out during a screening of "Thank You for Smoking" was unusual even by Sundance standards: The Katie Holmes sex scene in his movie had vanished.

    During a packed screening of his satirical political comedy on Saturday night, Reitman and his team were stunned to see that the 12-second hookup between a journalist played by Holmes and a tobacco lobbyist played by Aaron Eckhart had been snipped from the print.

    "We were sitting there in shock," Reitman said Monday. "And I turned to other people who had worked on the film, and we were completely confused. But the audience didn't seem to notice or care." When the film was shown the next morning, the encounter was still missing.

    Reitman was quick to tell the audiences what they had missed. The news solicited loud moans, but Reitman stopped short of acting out the racy, but hardly explicit, scene.

    A couple of theories seemed possible. Had an enterprising operative from US Weekly sneaked into the Eccles Center projection booth and stolen the footage for an exclusive? Did Tom Cruise exert all of his Hollywood muscle to preserve the honor of his pregnant girlfriend? Or maybe conservative Utah activists felt Sundance's decadence had sunk so low, they took matters into their own hands.

    The correct answer was not quite as provocative.

    Reitman says that when the "Thank You for Smoking" print was assembled in Los Angeles, the scene — which comes at the end of the second reel but is preceded by a brief blackout — had been accidentally sliced off when the reels were spliced together.

    The film, which is adapted from Christopher Buckley's novel, premiered at last year's Toronto International Film Festival and was sold to Fox Searchlight in a bidding war and is showing as a Sundance premiere; the movie opens in theaters March 17.

    Still, Reitman found some humor — and potential box-office business — in the deletion.

    "There were a couple of thousand people who saw the film at Sundance without the Katie Holmes sex scene," Reitman said. "I implore all of them to now go back and see the movie with the Katie Holmes sex scene."

    Copyright LA Times

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    Cruise in birth control

    By JULIE MOULT
    The SUN
    March 28, 2006

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2006140204,00.html

    TOM Cruise’s pregnant fiancée Katie Holmes will be reminded to keep her vow of silence during birth — by signs plastered around their home.

    The couple — following the Scientology tradition of a silent birth — had the posters delivered to their Beverly Hills mansion.

    The 6ft placards will be placed so Katie can see them in labour.

    One reads: “Be silent and make all physical movements slow and understandable.”


    Yell of a birth ...
    silent sign delivered to Cruise mansion

    Dawson’s Creek actress Katie, 26, must “keep mum” and will not even be allowed painkillers when she has the couple’s first child due any day.

    Friends — believed to be Scientology elders — were pictured carrying the huge white boards through the gates.

    Keep mum ... Katie yesterday

    The “birthing boards” will also tell staff and visitors to stay silent.

    Followers believe it is traumatic for babies to hear their mother scream or groan when giving birth. They think it can cause “psychic” damage, which takes years of therapy to overcome.

    Mission Impossible? ...
    Katie, with Tom, must keep quiet

    The cult’s creator, sci-fi writer L. Ron Hubbard, once said: “Maintain silence in the presence of birth to save both the sanity of the mother and child.”

    The doctrine stresses newborns cannot be poked or prodded for medical tests or spoken to for seven days.

    Katie began dating Tom, 43, last year. She was well-known for her Catholic beliefs but quickly fell pregnant and is yet to wed.

    © 2005 News Group Newspapers Ltd.

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    [quote Followers believe it is traumatic for babies to hear their mother scream or groan when giving birth. They think it can cause “psychic” damage, which takes years of therapy to overcome. quote]

    Right... the kid will be in years of therapy simply for being the child of this whack job! Tom Cruise, proof that someone so cute can be a total ass. Not to mention his obvious control issues... it sounds like a clear case of "little man" syndrome to me.

  7. #52
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    Such bizarre behavior for a gay man.

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    If only Tom Cruise could have those signs visible everywhere he goes.

  9. #54
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    In all fairness, I do think that the mother screaming is probably stressful.

    BUT, I believe that being crushed through an opening slightly smaller than your head by being squashed on all sides has got to be a little more traumatic.

    Add to it, the baby has no real connection to these sounds yet and as such will not be able to associate them very well. If, later in life, they hear the same kind of screaming and somehow feel that someone is hurting, I believe they will be correct in assuming that!

    And finally, the first things I remember were fuzzy to begin with. But the EARLIEST memory I have is breaking my arm (not even the act, just before and after) when I was two.

    TWO.

    So if that schitzo L. Ron believed that something other than his own mental instability contruibuted to the voices in his head, let him. He's DEAD. I feel bad for Katie, but as for the no prodding for 7 days, I think that is a good thing. The more they do that, the more of a chance that people who believe in this sort of barbarous mythological "science" will have a higher risk of infant mortality.

  10. #55
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Following this logic: To insure "optimal" results and the "healthiest" of babies, shouldn't a pregnant woman be held in silent isolation for, say, the final two trimesters?

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    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Funny how most rules concerning things like this are made by men.

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    Now he's going TOO far ...

    TOM'S MISSION IMPOSSIBLE:
    CONVERT ANGELINA TO SCIENTOLOGY




    By HAL LIFSON
    http://www.nationalenquirer.com/celebrity/63618
    June 12, 2006

    Mission Impossible star Tom Cruise is on a new mission — to convert new mom Angelina Jolie to Scientology! The action star personally called Angelina and Brad Pitt in Africa to congratulate them on the birth of Baby Shiloh — and he even invited them to his Beverly Hills home when they return to the U.S., pals say. But before the conversation ended, Tom tossed out the idea of Angie and Brad coming to check out the Church of Scientology.

    "Even though they've known each other for years, Tom Cruise was probably the last person Angelina and Brad expected a congratulations call from," a close friend told The ENQUIRER.

    Copyright © 2000-2006 American Media, Inc.

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    Anyone who names their child after a civil war battle "Shiloh?????" needs to be converted to COMMON SENSE.

    Oh, by the way, wht's the deal with the 'gay' stuff. Why would anyoen in thsi day and age, let alone a Hollywod flake, feel insulted or belittled is osmeone said you're gay?

    If someone said that about me I'd just say "sure, whatever makes you happy, I'm as camp as a troop of boy scouts."

  14. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by Luca
    Oh, by the way, wht's the deal with the 'gay' stuff. Why would anyoen in thsi day and age, let alone a Hollywod flake, feel insulted or belittled is osmeone said you're gay?
    Not Hollywood.

    The Lord God L. Ron Hubbard sayeth:
    http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_scie.htm

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    When Elfmans Explode

    Jun 13th 2006
    by TMZ Staff
    TMZ



    If Tom Cruise's recent public displays weren't evidence enough, Scientologists Jenna and Bodhi Elfman prove that they, too, are willing to go to great lengths to defend their religion.

    Indie film director John Roecker tells TMZ he was walking to his car with a female friend in LA's trendy Los Feliz neighborhood last Sunday when he was approached by a shirtless man and a tall blonde. "Hey, man, you're making fun of my religion," said the stranger angrily.

    Roecker quickly recognized the couple as actor Bodhi Elfman and his wife, 'Dharma and Greg' star Jenna Elfman. Mr. Elfman's ire was apparently drawn by Roecker's self-made t-shirt, which had a picture of Tom Cruise on the front under the caption "Scientology is Gay!" and a 'Stayin'-Alive'-era John Travolta on the back with the words "Very Gay!" For the record, both Cruise and Travolta have said repeatedly they are not gay.



    According to Roecker, whose encounter was first reported on LA's KROQ-FM's Kevin and Bean Show, the invective started to fly after he made several references to Scientology theology and its reported central tenant, the story of Xenu.

    Roecker says Jenna repeatedly said "What crimes have you committed?" and began screaming at Roecker, "Have you raped a baby?" as motorists on Los Feliz Boulevard drove by in snarled traffic.

    Roecker says it appears that Bodhi Elfman prepared to take a swing at him, but thought against it.

    Bizarrely, Roecker also says that the Elfmans had a young, twenty-something male companion with them whom they continually instructed to move away and cover his ears whenever references to Xenu were made.

    Roecker says this is not the first time he has worn a t-shirt that has provoked similar reactions from fellow devotees of L. Ron Hubbard like Juliette Lewis, Lisa Marie Presley, and actor Hal Ozman, who worked on 'Dawson's Creek' with none other than a certain Katie Holmes. Sources at the Church of Scientology's Celebrity Centre say Roecker is no stranger to them. Several non-celeb parishioners have also complained about Roecker's t-shirts.

    Bodhi Elfman's rep Jenni Weinman tells TMZ that according to Bodhi "He was out for a Sunday stroll with his wife, when some guy walks by with a t-shirt on, very prominently attacking his religion. Words were extended and Bodhi and Jenna were personally attacked for their beliefs. As they went about their business, the guy continued to try to illicit negative responses from the both of them. As they walked away he continued to scream propaganda and hate at them. Apparently he spent all Monday calling the press to promote himself."

    ©2005-2006 TMZ.com, Inc

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