Hollywood helped make Scientology famous, and the church claims its membership is "most definitely in the millions in the U.S.," according to spokesman Tommy Davis. Yet the American Religious Identification Survey lists the number of Scientologists as just 25,000 in 2008. That was just one of the stunning findings in a blockbuster New York Times article on the growing number of members defecting from the controversial religion.
"The church works hard to cultivate public members -- especially celebrities like Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Nancy Cartwright -- whose money keeps it running," the article states. But even Hollywood is starting to turn its back on Scientology. As RadarOnline.com reported last year, Oscar-winning writer/director Paul Haggis of Crash fame, bolted after 35 years.
Paul Haggis Leaves Scientology
None of the celebrities talked to the NY Times about Scientology but a number of long-term members who have recently left, did. They consistently tell of an "oppressive" atmosphere, "living in fear," and for members of the top-tier Sea Org, not being allowed to have children.
Said one former member who was sent to South Africa to open a new church, "It was all built on lies.....the church is shrinking."