Scientology book takes on Travolta

The First Post, UK/January 23, 2008

On the heels of Andrew Morton's new book about Tom Cruise and Scientology, comes investigative journalist Ian Halperin's Hollywood Undercover, in which he describes how he once posed as a member of the 'Israeli royal family' and claimed to be gay in order to test how officials at the Scientology 'Celebrity Center' in Los Angeles would react. Halperin, whose book chronicles his quest to 'make it' in Hollywood, expressed his fear to a Church official that revelations of his homosexuality could ruin his career. The official took him in, promising the Church could "cure him of his sexuality through auditing".

Auditing is a form of personal counselling, led by a Scientology 'auditor' who asks a set of questions about the subject's personal life and records the answers. Halperin, 43, claims some well-known Hollywood actors - including John Travolta - have completed the process, which can cost as much as $500,000. A 1991 article in Time magazine about Scientology claimed that Travolta - then the most well-known Scientologist - was being held hostage in the church, scared that, if he defected, they'd reveal everything he'd confessed to them about his homosexuality.

According to Halperin, the Church also reportedly arranges marriages for 'cover' and to help 'cure' its members. Two days after a male porn star collected $100,000 from the National Enquirer for an account of his alleged two-year liaison with Travolta, the actor, a Scientologist since 1975, announced his engagement to Kelly Preston (pictured).

Halperin also recounts how Anna Nicole Smith wanted to join the Church, but changed her mind after a friend told her of the Church's anti-homosexual stance. Smith, who reportedly was bisexual, decided not to join in fear the Church would reveal her most intimate secrets if she defected.

Halperin videotaped his encounters with Church officials and posted them on YouTube. He plans to release a documentary based on Hollywood Undercover later this year.

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