Score for Scientology? Cruise may have lured Becks

Scientology‘s chief cheerleader Tom Cruise helped tempt David Beckham to L.A., fueling speculation the soccer ace and his wife may become the church’s next celebrity converts.

Beckham said yesterday a late-night phone chat with the “Mission: Impossible” star helped seal his decision to move stateside.

The soccer great and his wife, Victoria (Posh Spice) Beckham, are close buddies with Cruise and his spouse, Katie Holmes.

“I talked with [Cruise] for about an hour last night and an hour the night before,” Beckham said at a news conference held yesterday to discuss his five-year, $250 million deal with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Celebrities and Scientology

“The Church of Scientology uses celebrity spokesmen to endorse L. Ron Hubbard’s teachings and give Scientology greater acceptability in mainstream America. As far back as 1955, Hubbard recognized the value of famous people to his fledgling, off-beat church when he inaugurated ‘Project Celebrity.’ According to Hubbard, Scientologists should target prominent individuals as their “quarry” and bring them back like trophies for Scientology. […] Celebrities are considered so important to the movement’s expansion that the church created a special office to guide their careers and ensure their ‘correct utilization’ for Scientology. The church has a special branch that ministers to prominent individuals, providing them with first-class treatment. Its headquarters, called Celebrity Centre International, is housed in a magnificent old turreted mansion on Franklin Avenue, overlooking the Hollywood Freeway.
The Selling of a Church: The Courting of Celebrities

“I asked him for his advice. … He’s a very wise man and a very good friend of mine. To have his experience and have him explain some things to me, that’s a big favor,” Beckham said.

“He couldn’t speak any higher than what he was saying about L.A.”

Though the couple has not publicly mentioned the controversial religion, Posh reportedly has accepted church literature from her new friends.

And she is lined up to play an alien bride in “The Thetan,” a Cruise-backed movie about an immortal spiritual being Scientologists believe is present in all humans.

Beckham and Cruise met two years ago after being introduced by the Creative Artists Agency, which represented both.

Their wives have since become inseparable, taking trips to Paris fashion shows together and hanging out in L.A. Posh recently looked at a home for sale only five doors from Cruise’s Beverly Hills mansion.

Holmes reportedly has made it her mission to turn Posh into a movie star, and has worked to line up meetings with the movers and shakers of the Hollywood scene – including Steven Spielberg.

But London’s Daily Mail reported recently that she’s also been talking to Posh about the religion founded by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard.

And the newspaper said the ex-Spice Girls singer was a prime target for the church, which has a dedicated wing aimed at recruiting high-profile stars.

Posh, who, like Holmes, was brought up Catholic, is perfect fodder because she is desperate for help to boost her celebrity status in America, the Daily Mail reported.

A spokeswoman for the Church of Scientology in Los Angeles said yesterday she could not confirm if the Beckhams had shown any interest in the religion.

“It is not something that I can answer for them,” she said.

Beckham’s move from Spanish club Real Madrid to the Los Angeles Galaxy makes him one of the world’s highest-paid athletes.

But he said yesterday the money and celebrity status weren’t reasons for his move.

“I’m coming there not to be a superstar,” he told the L.A. news conference via a live satellite link from Madrid.

“I’m coming there to make a difference. I’m coming there to play football.

“I’m not saying me coming to the States is going to make soccer the biggest sport in America … but I think soccer has a huge, huge potential.”

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Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday January 13, 2007.
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