Television actor Jason Beghe, the Cult of Scientology’s first celebrity defector, spilled another big heap of beans on Scientology and his experience in it in an interview with the Village Voice. Beghe spoke of how, as a spiritually curious person, he had been deeply intrigued by some of Scientology’s procedures and its claims at helping people get to know themselves very deeply and in time cultivate superhuman abilities (e.g., perfect memory, the ability to leave one’s body, be impervious to disease). Beghe was first introduced to Scientology by boyfriend of celebrity Scientologist Jenna Elfman.
Beghe’s intrigue with Scientology was heightened by some very positive early experiences with the cult’s auditing (i.e., 1-on-1 therapy/training) practices. In addition to positive early experiences, Beghe joined an increasingly large group of ex-members in accusing the cult of employing hypnotic brainwashing techniques.
For the first many years of his 12 year stay in Scientology, Beghe was an extremely dedicated Scientologist, setting records for rate of advancement. He quickly became Scientology leader David Miscavige’s “favourite boy”. This is in addition to being pampered and having his ass kissed (his words) constantly at the Celebrity Center; unsurprisingly, celebrity members receive a number of attractive perks, including pampering and persistent ingratiation. This is unsuprising given that celebrities are the prime marketing tool of Scientology. Oh, and they can afford to shell out big money, too. Beghe reports having spent about $1-million on Scientology services.
Given his celebrity, his keen commitment to Scientology, and his remarkably rapid progress through Scientology, the cult’s administration viewed Beghe as something of a trophy member. Beghe reports having to constantly show up at parties and social events with a successful smile on his face, to help the cult continually keep its best foot forward.
The good times didn’t keep on rolling forever for Beghe. His rate of progress up the ladder (or across “The Bridge”, in the Scientology system) slowed dramatically at the highly advanced levels, which involved extensive personal interrogation as if he were on trial for a high crime. His slow rate of progress came at his own expense: he was obligated to pay for more and more auditing sessions, at a cool price of $1,000/hr.
Beghe says that that proof that Scientology was no longer working for him came to him in the form of a near-fatal car accident. Given his level of training, according to the promises of Scientology, he should have been “practically immortal”. Like members of the recognized religions that Scientology is trying to gain social parity with, Scientologists framed this evidence against the word of L. Ron Hubbard in a faith-biased manner: they said that someone must be “suppressing” Beghe. Just as falsifiability is a core feature of science, it seems that unfalsifiability is a cornerstone of cult/religious theology. In the case of Scientology and Beghe, however, this biased interpretation based on an unfalsifiable and unwavering belief that “LRH technology” (i.e., L. Ron Hubbard’s procedures) is utterly flawless could result in only one thing: MORE MONEY! Yes, Beghe was persuaded to pay for more pricey audit sessions to attempt to figure out who was suppressing Beghe to the point of apparently making him a lowly mortal. Beghe asserts that the auditor suggested that a gay friend may be the suppressive person in Beghe’s life – y’know, what with the guy being gay and all… In Dianetics, LRH wrote that homosexuality is a sexual perversion; the homosexual is physically ill and is dangerous to society.
Beghe continued to be unhappy in Scientology and as he discussed leaving it with Scientology admins, they made significant efforts to keep him aboard. Most notably, they offered to make him president of a celebrity center. Beghe didn’t bite, though. Both he and his wife left the cult. Or in Scientology lingo, they blew. The Beghes’ big project now is to help others by sharing the knowledge that they have acquired of Scientology. As Beghe put it “These are bad motherfuckers”. In his filmed discussion on Scientology, which was produced by Mark “Wise Beard Man” Bunker, he described Scientology as “destructive and a rip-off”, as being dangerous to one’s psychological and spiritual health and evolution.
In his interview with the Village Voice, Beghe also discusses the cult’s penchant for enlisting celebrities. It is more than a simple PR campaign. According to Beghe, Scientologists can have all of their past recorded transgressions removed from the records if they recruit a celebrity. He also speaks of Scientology as being somewhat camera-happy. Every supposedly confidential auditing session is recorded, sometimes with hidden cameras. Beghe warns Will Smith, who has been dabbling in Scientology of late, that whatever Smith has said in any audit counseling he may have received has been recorded, whether he knew it or not. Beghe also claims that confidentiality with celebrity Scientologists is regularly flouted behind the celebrity’s back, saying that Scientology staff regularly discuss with one another the private matters of celebrities that were revealed in auditing sessions. Andrew Morton, author of the controversial unauthorized biography of Tom Cruise, has claimed that former Scientologist and ex-wife of Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, was threatened with blackmail in the form of revealed personal information should she speak ill of the “Church”. Allegations have been thrown around from time to time that the cult has blackmailed celebrities using information that they had received from them during auditing.
The VV article concludes with the following Beghe statement:
“Scientology seduces you into thinking that it’s a process through which you can truly become yourself. But ultimately, what it turns you into is a Scientologist—a brainwashed version of yourself.”
For more on Scientology, click here.