Working for Tom Cruise and other celebrity Scientologists can be treacherous if a member ever wants to leave the controversial church, according to a stunning new investigation.
What happened to Sinar Parman, the five star chef who prepared the 1990 wedding feast for Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman when he later made numerous attempts to leave Scientology, reads like a best-selling thriller. Except his story is true and told in great detail in Sunday's St. Petersburg Times.
Oscar-winning writer/director Paul Haggis shocked the Scientology world by abandoning the Church last week, and in an open letter, he addressed the subject of what happens to members who want to leave.
Scientology's U.S. base is in Clearwater, Florida and the local daily, the St. Pete Times, launched a three-part investigation into the church with its front page story on what happens to members who decide to leave.
Parman was a special case because of his involvement with celebs like Cruise.
"John Travolta gave him a carton of Camels for his birthday. Cruise brought him a jacket from the set of Days of Thunder and would hand him Cuban cigars," according to the Times. And Cruise personally selected him to prepare the food for his Christmas Eve wedding to Kidman in Telluride, CO.
Parman and his wife Shelly Wolff, who worked as a personal assistant to Scientology head David Miscavige (he was Cruise's Best Man), were estatic to be part of the Telluride adventure. For a variety of reasons though, only about a month later, they jointly made the decision to leave the Church, and fled in the middle of the night.
They were "free" for only a few weeks before they were tracked down at the home of a distant relative. After convincing the pair they only wanted to help them, a Scientology security team searched their luggage and clothes. They claimed to be looking for pictures Parman and Wolff might have taken at Cruise's wedding but found nothing.
Branded as "security particles," Parman and Wolff were taken to a local hotel where they were "audited" and "security checked" every day for a week. They finally agreed to return and "route out" properly under threat that this was the only way they would not suffer eternal damnation.
It was the beginning of a decade-long cat-and-mouse existence. Four more times the couple would leave, each time to be "chased down" by Scientology investigators and talked into returning. The couple's marriage fell apart under the pressure and they divorced in 1998.
Parman left Scientology for good in 2001; Wolff finally left in 2004 after signing a declaration blaming herself for everything that had happened.
"Had I the guts, I would have gotten up and gotten out of there," Wolff said of her last return to Scientology HQ. "But you're scared."