Tom Cruise saw second-richest man in Australia as perfect Scientology recruit

Melbourne, Jan 18: Tom Cruise targeted James Packer as the ‘perfect recruit’ for Scientology during his crusade to convert wealthy and influential celebrities to his controversial Church in mid-2002, claims Andrew Morton in his biography on the actor.

Packer joined the campaign when he was extremely sad, overweight and left by his then wife Jodi Meares.

In his book, Morton describes Packer as the ‘raw meat’ Scientology needed to achieve recognition and credibility.

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

“Not only was he (Mr Packer) wildly wealthy and emotionally confused, he was a well-known figure in a country that has been hostile to the faith, a 1965 (Australian) Government report accusing scientology of being ‘evil’,” quoted Morton, as stating in the book.

“Dominated by his larger-than-life father (the late Kerry Packer), James Packer cut a sorry figure, overweight and out of shape.

“Not only had his One.Tel communications business collapsed, but his wife of just two years had walked out on him.

“His ‘ruin’ was obvious to anyone – and it did not take long before he was reading Scientology literature,” he added.

According to Morton, the ‘Mission Impossible’ star offered Packer a role as a samurai extra in the movie ‘The Last Samurai’ only to convert him.

Packer was immediately seduced, saying later he admired Cruise for his humility, values and decency.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Friday January 18, 2008.
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