THE father of Scientology’s leader claims his son is “hooked on power” who lives a lavish lifestyle while many of his followers are mired in poverty.
While the allegations are vehemently denied by the church, Ron Miscavige said his son David’s management style was like that of a “military strongman”, with luxurious homes around the world, gourmet food at every meal and expensive clothes.
At the church’s headquarters in California, there is a gym reserved for its leader and senior celebrity members including Tom Cruise, Ron writes in an except from his book Ruthless, published in The Daily Beast.
“While David lives like a prince wherever he travels and flies first class or in Tom Cruise’s private jet, the rest of the Sea Org lives like indentured servants, at best,” wrote the 80-year-old, painting a picture of deep mutual admiration between the pair.
He also claimed that David tried unsuccessfully to lure stars such as Jennifer Lopez and David Beckham into the church.
On the controversial chief’s birthday, staff at centres around the world would buy presents for him, said his father. One year, David received a $10,000 suit.
Rank-and-file Sea Org members would typically receive an allowance of $50 a week, which could be reduced to zero when finances were under strain, added Ron. Meanwhile, famous actors like John Travolta and Elisabeth Moss are the rich, successful face of the church.
He said the secret Gold Base HQ, where he lived for years, had tennis courts, manicured gardens, a golf course and Olympic-sized swimming pool. But uniformed staff were rarely, if ever, allowed a day off.
Outgoing and incoming mail was read and every phone call was listened to by the church, he claimed, comparing it to a prison. In another extract published by Esquire, he said women on the base were forbidden to have children, with several former Sea Org members claiming they were pressured by colleagues or supervisors to have an abortion. The church denies this.
The father of four is still a Scientology member, but objects to how his son runs the controversial religious order, claiming David had not remained true to the “humanitarian objectives” laid out by the church’s founder L. Ron Hubbard in 1968.
Ron believes power changed his “happy, bright kid” into someone who cared about having a comfortable lifestyle while those who worked for the church lived like “medieval serfs.”
Following the death of Hubbard in 1986, Ron Miscavige said his son outmanoeuvred others to assume power and their relationship had changed for ever.
He says: “It was not father-son any more.
“He was the leader of the Church of Scientology and that took precedence.
“David got totally hooked on power.”
Ron says he made a daring escape from Gold Base in 2012 with his second wife, Becky, and now lives quietly on the outskirts of Milwaukee. Scientology denies it was an escape, saying people can come and go as they please.
Ron’s two Scientologist daughters Denise, 56, and Lori, 53, have cut ties with him and 56-year-old David has reportedly threatened to sue him over the book. Only his eldest son Ronnie Jr, who left the church, still speaks to him.
“I have lost my family because of Scientology,” he told The Sun in an interview published this weekend.
“My time in the church still haunts my dreams.”
While promoting his book, he also shared a family portrait featuring Shelly Miscavige, David’s allegedly missing wife.
The church has responded to the allegations in Ron’s book with a statement: “Ronald Miscavige is seeking to make money on the name of his famous son.
“Ronald has virtually no first-hand knowledge of his son’s leadership of the Church and he knows absolutely nothing about his son’s ascent.
“Ronald’s statements about his son are invariably false.”
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