Top Gun Tom Under Fire! . . . over claim church helped his dyslexia

National Enquirer, Aug. 7, 2003

“Top Gun” star Tom Cruise is under intense fire for claiming that his problems with dyslexia disappeared thanks to the teachings of the controversial Church of Scientology.

The heartbreaking learning disability that afflicts as many as 40 million Americans simply CANNOT be treated successfully with their method, say experts.

“I’m not aware of any research that supports the teaching of the Church of Scientology as a successful intervention for dyslexia,” J. Thomas Viall, executive director of the prestigious International Dyslexia Association, told The ENQUIRER.

And Philip Pasho, executive director of the National Dyslexic Foundation, agreed. “Dyslexia is a condition and conditions don’t get ‘cured’ — they get dealt with,” he said.

Dyslexia victims have difficulty translating spoken sounds into writing.

Cruise was diagnosed with dyslexia at age 7. “I’d try to concentrate on what I was reading, then I’d get to the end of the page and have very little memory of anything I’d read,” he told an interviewer.

“I’d go blank, feel anxious, nervous, bored, frustrated, dumb.

“I would get angry. My legs would actually hurt when I was studying. My head ached. All through school and well into my career, I felt like I had a secret.

“When I’d go to a new school, I wouldn’t want the other kids to know about my learning disability, but then I’d be sent off to remedial reading.”

He still had the problem at age 22 while making “Top Gun” — the movie that made him an international superstar.

Asked about that film experience, the superstar goes on Cruise control.

“I got the chance to make my dream come true — to become a pilot,” he revealed.

“I thought, ‘This is the time to do it.’ So I had a couple of lessons. But then I just blew it off.

“When people asked what happened, I told them I was too busy. The truth is, I couldn’t learn how to do it.”

But in 1986 — the year “Top Gun” was released — he became a Scientologist and began using the religion’s “Study Technology.”

“I realized I could absolutely learn anything that I wanted to learn.”

Viall, of the International Dyslexia Association, said he’s concerned “when an individual of the prominence of Tom Cruise makes statements that are difficult to replicate in terms of what science tells us.”

Curiously, in 1992, Cruise denied to celebrity columnist Marilyn Beck that he had dyslexia!

He told Beck he’d started reading faster after studying a Scientology manual.

“And that convinced me,” he said, “that I had never been dyslexic.”

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Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday August 13, 2003.
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