Welcome Back to Reality, Katie Holmes!

OK well not “reality” so much, because you are probably a millionaire (you’ve got Batman money!), but welcome back to a world in which it’s totally okay for you to Google the word “Xenu.” It can’t have been easy to live and be married to a Scientologist for five long years, and it can’t be easy to finally admit that that’s just not working out for you, especially when you have an adorable little kid you have to share with the Scientologist, but it’s okay! We’re here for you. Here’s a handy guide to being an ex-Scientologist:

You can Google anything you want!
Like “Xenu,” for example! Xenu is the secret twist ending of the grand Scientology science fiction movie, and it’s an ending they hate for anyone to know about before they’ve spent a good 10 years and thousands of dollars proving their gullibility to the Church. But now that you’re out, you can read all about him! Here’s a handy video about it courtesy of the BBC:

You can read the horror stories told by other ex-Scientologists!
The Church tries their best to stop adherents from learning about how L. Ron Hubbard was maybe physically abusive, how Scientologists ripped families apart, how Scientologists tried to have critics imprisoned in psychiatric facilities, and other juicy tales of woe. No more worrying about Tom reading over your shoulder!

You can go back to your therapist!
Scientologists hate psychiatry and spin some terrifying stories in order to stop people from getting the help they need for their mental health. Now you and your family can enjoy the very best mental health care available in the United States without worrying about a Scientology operative hiding in the bushes threatening to accuse you of pedophilia if you take Suri to a therapist or something. Enjoy!

You can donate money to organizations that actually help people!
You know, instead of a bunch of deluded dumbasses who go somewhere with no supplies (apparently in follow-up attempts they brought their own supplies, but still. Lots of secular charities need your help!).

You can yell during future childbirth!
No more “silent birthing” for you! Feel free to scream your head off without worrying about it fucking up your baby for life. Because it won’t! That’s definitely a stupid made-up Scientology story.

You can admit that it’s all super messed up!
When you finally learn what Scientology is all about, you can turn to your friend and say, “Wow, that is all super messed up!” without worrying about Scientologists attacking you in your own home. Awesome!

You can trade some ridiculous gossip with Nicole Kidman!
You know she knows some shit, Katie. You know she does.

For more information on leaving Scientology, check out this great resource guide or go find some sympathetic ears at Operation Clambake.


Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky

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    1. It’s called using a large profile media story as a jumping off point to talk about a particular subject, not an assumption. It’s a pretty standard journalistic practice.

    2. I don’t know. This seems really similar to what happened with him and Nicole. I’m more worried about poor Suri. I don’t imagine Tom and his lawyers are going to be nice about this.

        1. Depends. I’m sure Katie wants to keep her career.

          They are pretty good at keeping things quiet. Things to leak out but it doesn’t happen as often as it should.

          1. I have heard rumors that the church has been pressuring Cruise to step up his involvement since they can no longer rely on Travolta. Those same sources say that is the reason Holmes wanted out, she got fed up with the church.

            Seems the church has been running scared since the John Travolta story came out. They fear that since Travolta has little left to lose he no longer fears their smear campaigns and that he and Preston blame the church for Jett’s death and are ready to come forward with damning evidence and possibly testimony.

            Anyway, that’s what I’ve heard.

          2. Yeah, this is what I’ve heard, too. Also, there as a pre-nup.

            Oh, and she filed for divorced in NY because it’ll be easier for her when she tries for primary custody (which she’s doing). Which is why I mentioned Nicole Kidman. That whole thing was weird then, too.


            All rumors, of course, but something about this relationship is off. And normally I don’t like to comment on celeb relationships.

  1. Well to be fair if it was a 5 year contract like all the rumors claimed then it would seem she was “working” without a contract for nearly a year holding out for favorable terms for the renewal. Maybe another kid or boasts about Tom’s manliness in a magazine article. I’m sure he’ll be holding auditions for a replacement and by now Oprah’s got a new couch that needs jumping.

  2. I just had a great idea. Send her an invitation to TAM.

    That is exactly what she needs, a gigantic dose of skepticism to get rid of that scientiology crap.

    Maybe Randi could send her a personal invitation? He just sent me one.

      1. I got one too,but I’m under no illusions of my specialness since the subject line began with FWD: Come on,JR, I know you’ve a few years on you but you can at least send me the original form letter if you want to make this woman feel wanted at TAM. ;)

        1. I think that is the difference. In mine he closed with

          “See you in less than two weeks! And don’t forget that I’m very huggable!
          – Randi”

          It would be hard to get more personal and stay within the harassment guidelines. ;)

          Unfortunately I won’t be going (funding and time difficulties).

  3. Yeah, I really hope I’m wrong but I can see a nasty child custody case in the next few months. Wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

    Tragically, even if she does leave Scientology, she’s going to have to deal with them on some level since Tom will most likely have some form of custody/visitation rights.

  4. I hope Katie stands up for all the other people who are way more trapped than she every was in an oppressive bullshit religion. And really, given her resources and fame she doesn’t have anything to loose by leaving except the opportunity to make more lawyers rich. Other people in similar situations would risk way more just visiting their parents for a weekend.

  5. This is an obnoxious post Rebecca. It reads like some tabloid column bashing a celebrity for their personal life.

    I get what it’s trying to point but it comes off as a gossip post. Which is lame.

    1. Did you read the post? Because it barely touched on the personal lives of these two celebrities other than to use it as a starting point to discuss the abuses and bat-shit craziness of Scientology.

      Besides, since when is Rebecca not allowed to post something that isn’t uberserious?

      1. Well she’s allowed to post anything she wants, it’s her blog. I just don’t like the gossipy aftertaste of this post.

        And as far as seriousness, everything on the internet must be serious because the internet is serious business.

        Smiley face

        1. Well sure, but that came from the comments, and I specifically said that it was gossip.

          I wouldn’t worry too much, I don’t think there is much chance of Rebecca becoming Perez Hilton any time soon.

          1. That’s not what I heard… I recently heard that Rebecca is planning to launch a new site called which will focus on the juicy details of things like the secret sex lives of Arthropods, breaking open scandals about well known scientists that are addicted to colloidal silver, and what famous skeptic leaders REALLY eat for breakfast. No my friend this is only the beggining.

          2. @drdr –

            PZ’s talk at NECSS was about cephalopod sex. Is he in cahoots with Rebecca?

  6. Xenu the end of the story? Not even close. The Xenu story is only Operating Thetan level three. Supposedly, there are fifteen or even sixteen OT levels. I think that the highest OT level reached is currently VII, held by Travolta and Cruise, but that’s probably fake. Of course, L Ron Hubbard is at the highest OT level, who is Cleared Theta Clear. He’s floating around the universe somewhere.

    All this translates to “spending amazing amounts of money on tech (Scientology books).”

    1. Yeah, I was just about to chime in and say that Suri’s at the age where Tom is going to have to start pushing for her to start sec checking and possibly into being audited by people outside their household (gotta fill up that PC folder!). Perhaps Katie balked when the time came. Who knows. But for someone who came into Cof$ from the outside, I can certainly see how it could become an ‘irreconcilable difference’.

  7. What lovely options for Suri!

    1. Be raised by someone dumb enough to be in Scientology…


    2. Be raised by someone dumb enough to marry someone in Scientology.

    I’m betting someday she’ll be laying on a psychiatrist’s couch bemoaning the lack of a third option.

    1. Wow, you clearly lack any sympathy or ability to consider that maybe, just maybe, you don’t know the whole situation and that your assumptions could be way-off base. Nuance is key in these situations. Not just calling people dumb.

      As someone who was in a long-term abusive relationship: Fuck you.

      We don’t know why she married him. She was quite young when it happened, and he was quite a bit older.

  8. I’m a long time reader of skepchick, but I’ve never really posted before. I thought maybe my experiences with scientology might give another perspective.

    I am an atheist. My mother is a Christian and I grew up in the church, going to church every week, bible study, the whole nine yards. When I started high school, my mom decided to home school me and my sister. When we tried to make friends with other homeschoolers, it was very difficult. Even though my mom is very conservative, compared to the other families we were freaks. We consumed popular culture, we dyed our hair, we listened to rock music. It became very clear that we didn’t have much in common with the other kids in christian homeschool groups, so we ended up forming friendships with the children of scientologists (they homeschool a lot too).

    Through these friends, I met my now boyfriend/life partner/whatever of 5 years. He is a scientologist. His parents are scientologists, and he was brought up in the church. I am very open with him and his family about my atheism. While I believe his religion to be nonsense (and I tell him so), and I believe that people in the upper reaches of scientology do quite a lot of harm, I also think that there are some misconceptions about how most scientologists operate.

    Just like there are Christians who use their religion as a battering ram against people who live differently than they do, there are scientologists who close themselves off from the world, and use their religion as an excuse to hate people they disagree with. On the other hand, just like there are many moderate Christians (like my mom) who believe something false, but are generally doing the best they can to help others and love people, there are scientologists who are doing the same.

    Some of my best friends have been scientologists, and I have found them to be, as a group, loving and accepting of me and and of others. Certainly, they have been more accepting then many of the Christians I grew up with, and they have never made me feel like I was one false move away from being cut out of their lives.

    I don’t defend the falseness of their beliefs, but I know that most of them are far more “normal” then what is portrayed. My boyfriend is kind and loving and supports my efforts to get more involved in skepticism and atheism, even though he disagrees with me. Also, he is allowed to google anything, and I have gone with him to the org (church) he is involved with. The people there were not universally awesome, but I was able to have (sometimes heated) discussions with them about what they believe. His mom had four children, and made noise at every birth, and when she homeschooled her kids learned about evolution, unlike me and my sister. Also, no one has ever tried to convert me.

    I think part of the reason there is this disconnect between what the religion espouses and what the individuals practice, is that scientology is not a all or nothing religion. This is one of the reasons it can be so insidious. You are told you can take or leave any individual part as feels right to you. This makes it seem very reasonable, and the things that aren’t, well, you don’t have to believe in that stuff. However, it also means that the vast majority of scientologists are low level, and use it as a sort of therapy as opposed to as a religion. Most of the people there on staff are just trying to help others. They take the “take responsibility for your life part” and leave the “Xenu, nuclear bombs” part. Just like most other religions.

    Sorry for the length of this post, and the constant run on sentences. I just thought maybe I could add something to the discussion.

        1. No, not exactly, but I was probably way more rude than I needed to me. I still think a lot of it is is just making excuses and trying to explain away the terribleness of the “region”.

      1. That’s absolutely true, however I hold other scientologists no more or less responsible for the actions of others in their community than say catholics. If their religion is doing something they do not agree with in their name, they should say/do something, but you can’t necessarily judge each individual for the actions of others.

        It’s no worse and no better then what more mainstream religions do, it just has a sexy sci-fi weirdo twist. We (as skeptics and atheists) talk all the time about how and if we should work together with more moderate Christians to work for goals we hold in common. I don’t see how it’s any different here.

        1. The problem I have with Scientologists, and in the same way, Catholics, is that fact that in your entire description of them as being nice, accepting, loving individuals, which I have no reason not to accept as true, there is no mention of them acknowledging and repudiating the crimes of their organization’s hierarchy. There is never talk of how they have sent strongly worded letters (at the very least) or withheld funds, or just admitted that David Miscavige and their founder himself, L. Ron Hubbard, were tyrannical criminals who abused people around them and harassed their opponents in ways that are frankly astounding. The “falseness” of their beliefs are just the tip of the iceberg. Whether or not they are cafeteria Scientologists or Catholics hardly concerns me.

          I don’t hold these individuals “responsible”, in the same way I don’t hold my Catholic friends necessarily responsible for priests raping children or the church attacking contraception/abortion/gay marriage…but if they tell me how they aren’t like those mean Catholics in the Vatican, but spend no time in actually denouncing their edicts and actions (and I’m not asking for armed revolt here…a simple questioning of where their donations go, maybe a letter to a Cardinal or local Bishop, support for “renegade” nuns), I don’t see how we’re working towards common goals. If they spend more time attempting to validate their life choices to me rather than accepting the deficiencies of the organized aspect of their beliefs and demanding changes/asking someone to be held accountable, then I remain unimpressed.

        2. I’m sure there are many individual Scientologists who are great people, and even a few local orgs that do great work for their local community.

          But the Church of Scientology is evil. The documentation to demonstrate this is everywhere.

          Read up on the Free Zone. If they feel they have to practice Scientology, they can do so outside the auspices of the Church. Try to point them towards the Free Zone. The beliefs aren’t any more rational(they are mostly the same, though some FZ groups discard stuff they feel is a corruption of the original doctrine), but at least they wouldn’t be supporting one of the most evil “religious” organizations the world has ever seen.

  9. The more I think of it, the more I think it would be a great idea to do some skeptic outreach to Katie Holmes in her hour of need.

    The skeptics as a group have access to resources that could make a gigantic difference in any custody battle she has with the Scientologists.

      1. She and Suri really need legal counsel that know about Scientology.

        I suspect that the Scientologists are willing to throw Cruise under the bus, but the lawyers that Cruise has hired will try to prevent that. I suspect there is going to be a big fight between the lawyers that Cruise has hired (who will keep their activities within the law) and the Scientologists who will do illegal stuff to try and protect Scientology.

        If she is being followed by Scientology goons, she needs to get a restraining order against them and Scientology. I suspect they won’t obey a restraining order. When the Cruise lawyers tell them to is when they will go rogue and throw Cruise under the bus.

        If discussions are going on in Scientology headquarters about Katie Holmes and Suri and what to do to/with them, that would be discoverable if they breached a restraining order.

  10. Firstly – no, make this Point Zero – I don’t know jack about their relationship(s), but my comments are about Scientology (and similar groups/religions) and not either of these celebs.

    Now. Firstly as in Point One, Scientology is hardly a religion – it’s clear (ha ha, did you see what I did there?) that Scientology claims itself to be a religion for the tax exemptions and for the “goodwill” and deference that is too-often given to religious groups in the USA (much more so than in other countries. It’s arguably less of a religion than many Eastern religions and philosophies that don’t promote a deity). As far as goodwill, read Sam Harris’ writings for the problems caused by deference to religion. Scientology has “classes” that supposedly teach you “personal growth,” similar to est (later named the Landmark Forum) and other groups that started around the 1960s that were part of the “Human Potential Movement.” As far as I know, none of the other groups claim religious or even “spiritual” status. The movement has a neat-o, positive-sounding name, but the groups that are/were under it are known for extreme verbal abuse as part of their “reprogramming.” I’ve read of examples of people having psychotic breaks after attending est who had no history of mental illness before attending.

    Here are two pertinent links – first is the writing “How To Talk To A Scientologist” by a former long-time member (and keep in mind this can work with many other “high-demand, coercive” groups by changing only a very few details):

    This odd little film, “Mind Control Made Easy,” describes MANY techniques used by certain groups without naming a single one other than the fictional “E-merge” group depicted. See how many techniques YOU recognize:

    And I didn’t even mention Alcoholics Anonymous this time…

  11. Sounds like she is back to being Roman Catholic now. Out of the Frying Pan and into the Friar? It amazes me that people like Stephen Colbert and Melinda Gates, who seem really really smart and use critical thinking, can be members of a religion that is so not. Xenu, Cardinal Ratzinger, Jerry Falwell, Joseph Smith, whats the difference?

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