Scientology losing its hold on James Packer, friends say

The Church of Scientology has lost its grip on James Packer. The billionaire’s closest friends say he has quietly distanced himself from Scientology.

Members of Mr Packer’s inner circle have confirmed that the billionaire, Scientology’s wealthiest member in the world, was no longer undertaking Scientology courses and had slowly moved away from the religion, telling his closest friends he no longer “needs it”.

Blatantly commercial…
Scientology’s own documents show an organization which is blatantly commercial, blatantly secular and blatantly predatory, as well as blatantly fraudulent. As Hubbard himself said in 1962, the religion label “is entirely a matter for accountants and solicitors” (Hubbard Communications Office Policy Letter, HCOPL, 29 October 1962). – Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, quoted at the Apologetics Index entry on Scientology

Mr Packer’s office did not respond to reporters’ calls yesterday.

Mr Packer was introduced to Scientology by his close friend Tom Cruise in 2002. Friends say they remain close, most recently photographed dining together with their wives in Germany. Scientology entered Mr Packer’s realm at one of the lowest points in his personal and business life.

He was overweight and depressed, his first marriage, to Jodhi Meares, had ended and he was reeling from the collapse of One.Tel.

He has only spoken publicly of his involvement in Scientology once, telling The Australian Financial Review Magazine in 2006: “I think it has been very good for me. It has been helpful.”

But Scientology caused some discomfort within Mr Packer’s old circle of Sydney friends. Some suggest Mr Packer’s expanding casino empire has presented him with issues difficult to reconcile with Scientologist beliefs.


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Andrew Hornery, The Age, May 10, 2008,

Religion News Blog posted this on Friday May 9, 2008.
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