Paul Haggis Archive

You'll find articles about this subject in each of the items listed, even if the term does not necessarily occur within the headlines or descriptive text.

Mormon Purge * Scary Scientology * No More Hijab

bullet The Mormon Church is not just theologically a cult of Christianity, but sociologically it often acts like a cult as well. Its members face church discipline, up to possible excommunication, just for speaking out on certain issues.

This has prompted Religion News Service reporter Jana Riess, herself a Mormon, to take an in-depth look at every individual excommunicated by Jesus Christ in scripture.1

Earlier this month Riess wondered whether we’re looking at a Mormon purge, and said

If that’s what is coming for me, so be it. I would be terribly sad to be disfellowshipped or excommunicated from my church — excommunication meaning, literally, out of community.

I’ve been a Mormon for more than twenty years. This is my home, and Mormonism is part of my core identity. I love it.

If the point of these pending excommunications is to strike fear in the hearts of other Latter-day Saints who love the Church but do not always agree with it on matters of social justice, then it has already failed. For Zion’s sake, and for my own, I will not keep silent.

Over at Mormon Coffee — a Christian blog about everything Mormon — Sharon Lindbloom provides more details on the situation, and says that Riess has planted her flag, “choosing freedom of thought and expression over allegiance to the Church.”

Noting that in 1993 there also was a Mormon purge, when a number of people were booted from the church “for publishing scholarly work against Mormon doctrine or criticizing Church doctrine or leadership,” Lindbloom says

If the Church’s current disciplinary actions cause hundreds or thousands of Mormons to more closely examine the Church, its history, and its doctrines, I pray that these people come to find they must abandon the false system of Mormonism. I pray that as they turn away from the Mormon Church they will find love and acceptance in Jesus as He waits for them with open arms.

bullet The Roman Catholic Church is the most activist church in America, the 2012 National Congregations Study finds.

bullet Ex-Muslim Hiba Krisht, 25, adhered to the Islamic dress code throughout her childhood and young adulthood in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.

But when she came to the U.S., two years ago, she abandoned the hijab.

Last week she started “The Ex-Hijabi Fashion Photo Journal” on Tumblr, “Celebrating body and fashion for those who have broken away from Islamic modesty norms. Because bodies are a joy and not a shame.”

It’s getting lots of attention.

bullet The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) — described by the New York Times as “a historic mainline Protestant denomination that spans a broad spectrum from liberal to conservative evangelicals” — has voted at its General Assembly to change its constitution’s definition of marriage from “a man and a woman” to “two people,” and to allow its ministers to perform same-sex marriages where it is legal.

The denomination has ordained openly gay ministers since 2010, but has debated its approach to homosexuality for about three decades.

[As an aside: Why are there so many different churches and denominations?]

bullet The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) at its General Assembly also voted (310 to 303) to divest from three multinational corporations — Motorola Solutions, Caterpillar and Hewlett Packard — that it said supply Israel with products that promote violence in occupied Palestinian territories.

The Huffinton Post reports

There was an audible gasp on the floor in at the COBO Center in downtown Detroit after the motion passed. “In no way is this a reflection of our lack of love for our Jewish brothers and sisters,” Heath Rada, the church assembly’s moderator, told the assembly afterwards.

But opponents described it as exactly that.

Paul HaggisbulletPaul Haggis, the Hollywood film director who resigned from the Church of Scientology in 2009 after 35 years as a member in protest against its opposition to gay marriage, to-date is disturbed as ever about the way those who leave the cult are treated.

In a conversation with the Huffinton Post, Haggis says his personal interactions with former Scientology members has been emotionally troublesome.

“It was chilling to see how scared they were about speaking out or leaving. Just leaving. Just letting people know they’d left, they were scared,” Haggis said. “Well-known people come to me who have been in secretly and have left secretly and just don’t want anyone to ever know.”

In our view the Church of Scientology is a hate group, as well as a destructive cult. Its unethical behavior is based on the writings of the cult’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard — who came up with such policies as ‘Dead Agenting‘ and ‘Fair Game.’

Here’s the classic New Yorker piece by investigative journalist Lawrence Wright on Paul Haggis vs. the Scientology gang. Wright later published his acclaimed book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief.

Our tweets-thief is taking a break for a couple of days, but that’s OK since you can get all of @religionnews‘s tweets directly:


  1. Note that the Jesus of the Mormon Church differs significantly from the Jesus of Christian churches. The Mormon Church also uses scriptures rejected by Christian churches.

Paul Haggis feels blowback for criticizing Scientology

Paul Haggis is making headlines around the world for denouncing the Church of Scientology, but the Oscar-winning director doesn’t think the rebuke will affect his career, the Canadian Press reports.

Rather, the Canadian filmmaker says he has felt a personal blow since speaking out against the controversial religion, which boasts several influential Hollywood devotees, including Tom Cruise and John Travolta.

A lengthy New Yorker article [hit the stands] Monday detailing Haggis’s complaints with the church, which the 57-year-old filmmaker left in 2009 after nearly 35 years and now denounces as a cult.

During a visit to Toronto on Wednesday, the director said he’s lost one friend since the story broke online, in addition to several others who have turned their backs on him since he left the church.

“It’s had a bit of an impact — a lot of people aren’t speaking to me anymore, but it’s a personal impact,” Haggis said of fallout from his condemnation of the group, founded by L. Ron Hubbard in 1952.

The Church of Scientology is viewed by many as a destructive cult, in part due to its ‘disconnection’ policy.

Disconnection is a practice in Scientology, in which a Scientologist severs all ties between themselves and friends, colleagues and/or family members that are deemed to be antagonistic towards Scientology.

In the New Yorker article, authored by investigative journalist Lawrence Wright, Haggis predicts that his revelations regarding the Church of Scientology will not be without consequence:

“My bet is that, within two years, you’re going to read something about me in a scandal that looks like it has nothing to do with the church.”

Those familiar with the cult know just what he means. The Church of Scientology has a lengthy history of hate- and harassment activities — unethical behavior based on the writings of cult founder L. Ron Hubbard. Hubbard condoned and encouraged such behavior with his dead agenting and fair game policies. This is one reason why Apologetics Index, publishers of Religion News Blog, labels the Church of Scientology as a hate group.

One of Scientology’s victims was Paulette Cooper. The Scientology Lies website explains:

Paulette Cooper is a journalist who suffered extraordinary harassment after writing an article and a book about Scientology. FBI raids of Scientology offices turned up evidence of conspiracies against Cooper, including Scientology’s attempt to frame her for sending bomb threats – threats which Scientology operatives sent themselves in order to get Cooper jailed.

Cooper’s story, Looking over my shoulder, The Inside Account of the Story That Almost Killed Me, provides further details.

Her book, The Scandal of Scientology, can be read online.

Lawrence Wright, who authored Paul Haggis profile, is working on a book about the controversial church and Haggis’s lengthy involvement.