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Okay, how is it that the same people who love to comment on everything from sociopaths to Dialogue to Thomas Jefferson don't find the Tom and Katie saga worth at least a comment or two? How can a topic that mixes religion, sex, and celebrity not spur at least one or two reflections?

Can I just say that I find some of the recent Mormon critiques of Scientology distasteful? They really remind me of comments I read at various non-Mormon blogs about us! Even if some of the things about Scientology are true (and many appear to be) why should you care? Is believing that the spirits of a bunch of aliens are trapped in human bodies really *that* much weirder than most religious beliefs?

Cruise seems to go out of his way to help people. Far more than I think most Christians do. While his critiques of psychiatry are exaggerated and perhaps overblown, the fact is that psychiatry as a discipline certainly deserves a lot of critique. While I worry about some of his comments on drugs, the fact is that we trust drugs more than we should and almost certainly overprescribe them.

I really dislike the way that Scientology is treated by so many. And yes it really reminds me of the way many treat us.

Dude, Tom is whack!

(How was that Dave?)

Overrated short actor converts his love interest that's young enough to be his daughter to his whack job religion? Yawn.

I think something about a religion founded by a science fiction writer keeps people from taking it seriously. Because of that, many of us don't know enough to comment.

There's an interesting question in here somewhere, about how mormons feel toward scientology and how scientologists feel about mormonism, and how mormons feel about how scientologists are treated in the media, etc. There's some vague parallel, some interesting conclusion to be drawn about the psychological state of mormon culture.

I just don't know what it is.

Let me add this. A non-LDS friend of mine from NYC asked me what is the difference between mormonism and scientology. Not doctrinally, but why are mormons widely accepted and scientologists widely villified? Even though neither of these religions are much in line with "mainstream" american religion. (I really don't want to get into defending or attacking his assumption--something else is more interesting here.)

I told him: 25 years. Because 25--maybe even 15--years ago, the LDS church was *not* widely accepted. I grew up in California and was constantly forced to explain and defend, from everybody from baptists to atheists to zoroastrians. Yeah, pretty much literally. And when Steve Young made it big it was always an oddity that the guy was mormon and actually lived an LDS lifestyle.

So *of course* there are more differences, but if you go back in time there may not have been such a difference in how they were perceived. Make sense?

I'm beginning to feel that the world-wide tendency this summer to call Katie Holmes a zombie is creepy in itself.

Clark, I agree with your comment--except that I don't agree that Tom Cruise helps people. I think he does what I consider to be crazy, ineffective shamanistic rituals at them, and then advises them to avoid getting real help for their problems. I recognize that some people might want to give priesthood blessings the same "crazy, ineffective shamanistic ritual" label, and they have the right to do that if they please. One undebatable difference is that we don't tell anyone to avoid getting real help after we give our blessings.

One the one hand, I agree with Clark that the media is happy to give Tom -- or anyone else who dares to show sincere religious commitment publicly -- a hard time. The Katie angle just gives the story more celebrity mileage in the press. So one can sympathize with how the media is spinning Tom's new religious intensity. Remember that the media made Mel Gibson's Catholic commitment seem strange and bizarre!

On the other hand, it's no secret that Hollywood and the cultural left gives little respect to mainstream, "Main Street" religion. So why should anyone expect us to treat Scientology or other Hollywood religions (those that cater to those who want to feel spiritually special but which conveniently skip over commandments or moral duties) any differently? What goes around comes around.

The difference between Mormons and Scientologists? That's easy.

Mormons are the ones who aren't a psychologically damaging, money- and pleasure-loving fake religion that charges tens of thousands of dollars to initiate weak-spirited followers and is admired by vacuous, anorexic, overpaid Hollywood types.

Oh, and Saints are the ones with a belief in GOD.

But that's just an informed non-Mormon's view. I bet most other people know the difference, too, even if they know very little about Saints.

Tom Cruise is doing great damage to his 'faith' if only by focusing more attention on its beliefs and practices. On the other hand, the more attention the LDS church gets, the better people think of it.

BS...Mormons are weirdos!

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