Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter

Ex-Scientologist, Actor Jason Beghe to Idol Chatter: ‘Scientology is Not a Religion’

jasonbeghepicforic.jpgMany of us here at Idol Chatter have been transfixed by the downward trajectory of Tom Cruises’ career since the Oprah couch jumping incident which coincided with his being more out about Scientology. But celebrity and Scientology have gone hand in hand for many years now and many household names are Scientologists–John Travolta, Nancy Cartwright (The voice of Bart Simpson), Jason Lee, and Jenna Elfman–another connection we are curious about. So when actor Jason Beghe publicly parted ways with the group a few months ago, the first celebrity to do so openly, Idol Chatter contacted him to talk about his departure from the organization.
You see, before there was Tom Cruise, there was Jason Beghe.
Reportedly once dubbed the “poster boy for Scientology” by the church’s leader David Miscavige, the film and television actor (“G.I. Jane,” “Monkey Shines,” “Melrose Place,” “CSI,” “Everwood”) sped through the levels of Scientology training to be met with special treatment, including a private sauna, and the opportunity to do voice over-work in promotional videos and sit on the board of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, Scientology’s mental health-abuse watchdog organization. But in March, Beghe, 48, repudiated his nearly 13-year association with the group in a series of videos posted to YouTube, calling it “a rip off” and “destructive.”
Beghe was no less outspoken with Idol Chatter: “In my humble opinion, Scientology is not a religion. It’s a dangerous religious cult: a cruel, sadistic business practice. Just because the IRS gave it tax exempt status does not make it a religion. Ninety percent of ex-Scientologists–and there are millions out there–do not consider it a religion.”


Beghe, a one-time OT V (Operating Thetan) and Class Five Auditor (which means he could audit “Clears”–people who are free of their “reactive” mind, undermining painful and unconscious memories), claims that Scientology is trying to establish itself by imitating The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons), a group which encountered similar accusations of being a cult. “I have it on pretty good authority that one of the major strategies that [Scientology] is trying is to draw comparisons to Mormonism,” he says. “If L. Ron Hubbard is Joseph Smith, then David Miscavige is Brigham Young.”
Beghe, who was introduced to Scientology by his then-friend Bodhi Elfman (actress Jenna Elfman’s husband), acknowledges that Scientology is very attractive to artists because it promises success and certainty. “Even the most successful artists are extremely insecure about their careers. Everybody is your best friend over there, they just love you to death.”
As the career of Tom Cruise suggests, the certainty that Scientology confers isn’t necessarily the best thing for creativity, which might be better served by ambiguity. But it isn’t just artistic expression that Scientology ruins, says Beghe, but followers’ financial and mental health. Beghe himself estimates that he spent nearly $1 million on courses and auditing sessions during his 12 years with the church. The costs to his mental health, he says, were even more devastating.
It is Beghe’s opinion that mind control is “the primary tool the church uses to solicit devotion from its members,” keeping members on The Bridge–the ever-more-expensive auditing process for attaining the highest Operating Thetan level (OT VIII), to put it simply–and that “the further you go up in Scientology, the more enslaved you are.”
Frustrated by a lack of progress even though he had been declared Clear twice, and not getting satisfactory answers to his questions about contradictory information, Beghe became unhappy and disillusioned. He was told to take more courses and given new auditors.
“All my life I’ve been a very happy guy,” he says. “Until I got into Scientology, I didn’t know what depression was. The last ten years, I was absolutely miserable.”
At the time of this interview, Beghe had not been declared a “Suppressive Person,” the term Scientology uses for an enemy of the church. “It’s hard to declare me an SP,” Beghe surmises, “because I made it all the way up the Bridge and everyone knows that. It’s bad PR.”
“Most people are afraid of speaking out against the church because of the personal stuff that the church has recorded. I don’t have anything that interesting,” says the actor, who has publically petitioned the church for his files and attempted to speak with New York Scientology officials in late May. “Anyway, it’s bigger than my personal life. I’m speaking out because what’s happening is wrong.”
Beghe is “so thankful” that he woke up to what he calls the “con” of Scientology and is not anxious to jump into a new religious relationship, so to speak. “If you dated a person for 12 years and you’re still realizing how messed up it was, there’s a case to be made that it’s not necessarily the right thing to jump into another relationship.”
Read more of Beghe’s comments about Scientology in The Village Voice and at Fox
Jason-Beghe at

  • Alicia

    I’m very happy for this guy. Scientology has always struck me as being a cult, and I was living in California when L. Ron Hubbard died under very suspicious circumstances.
    The excessive response to any criticism of Scientology is just one of the things that, to me, screams “Cult.” Also, the excessive hatred of psychotherapy clearly seems to be because psychotherapy is the competition rather than because psychotherapy is illegitimate.
    It takes a courageous person to turn his back on a 13-year investment of time (not to mention all the money) and say it was a mistake, so more power to Jason Beghe.

  • P.Harney

    Jason Beghe speaks the truth.
    And now a multi-agency Federal investigation in to scientology is underway.
    Educate yourself – Knowledge is Free!

  • Beghefan

    I wonder why Oprah hasn’t had him on?

  • Paul, seeking wisdom

    Germany will not allow Scientology religious status.
    I was once interested in what they taught but when I was told how much it would cost me to find “piece of mind”, I told them that if I had that kind of money to trough away, I would already have piece of mind. Scientology is nothing more that a money making scam that destroys lives.
    My brother-in-law lost his family because of it (before he became my brother-in-law) and he didn’t connect with his children or grandchildren until they also woke up to the fact that they were deceived by this cult.

  • Flip

    What a story. Excellent, but terrifying.

  • Chuck Beatty

    Thanks for interviewing Jason. The reason, I concluded, after almost 3 decades in the staff ranks of Scientology (I was “Sea Org” from Dec 1975 until March 2003), that Hubbard’s Scientology promises and hypes itself as being able to produce super-people, the “Clear” and the “Operating Thetan.” Scientology has the “lower grades” and the “upper levels” with the plateau of “Clear” being in the middle of these two sets of “spiritual” rungs in the ladder, the so-called “Bridge to Total Freedom.” There are sadly, no super-people. People who were essentially good people to begin with, who continue to carry through life and continue to “grow up” and become more mature and able just like any other group of people anywhere. But the “Clears” and “OT” people, they are NOT super-people, they are NOT able to fly out of their bodies exterior and go sailing off across the universe, which was what my impression of the abilities that are supposed be gained, the “out of the body” controlled “pure soul” abilities, that so many other mystical and eastern religion groups also hype and promise, but likewise NONE of these groups in human history have delivered the goods. Since getting out, I’ve learned in India there are groups that expose the mystical hype of the Indian mystics. My mistake, was believing that there were a whole group of these human groups, and that Scientology was only just another variety, that actually was able to make people into pure souls who had spiritual powers to leave their bodies at will. This is not so, this is hallucination, group agreed upon delusion. Scientology is a fraud and con activity because it does not in reality deliver the spiritual goods, and neither does any other group in the world in human history, so Scientology is just a modern mystical con job operation. My expertise was in the authoritarian administrative system, since I was an advanced staff member dupe, inside the movement in my almost 3 decades in the movement. Thanks to Jason for being so clear in explaining the Scientology mess. Chuck Beatty, ex staffer (1975-2003), Pittsburgh, USA, 412-260-1170

  • Ronald Dahl

    I saw on tv that a group calling itself “anonymous” was picketing outside scientology offices all over the world. I got curious and looked up scientology on google. I was really shocked by what I read. I thought it was just some trendy thing like EST. Scientology has a lot to do with UFOs (they believe all human problems are caused by an alien being called “Xenu” from millions of years ago! They’ve done terrible things to many people who quit the cult, and they even have their own secret prison camps for lifetime members that get out of line! This crazy stuff is absolutely true! Look into it like I did and you will be amazed! And they PAY NO TAXES.

  • Rob

    I remember the old commercials for ‘Dianetics’, with the animated volcano and the promise of being…something…it was supposed to do something for you. I picked up the book at a sale one day, and leafed through it. Even in my most self-helpful days, I thought it was crap…and I was a Hubbard fan to some degree.

  • LaNon

    Please join Anonymous on August 16 for a world-wide information and lulz (lots of lol’s! maybe cake) demonstration. For details visit
    Stop the cult. Get informed. Get a mask. Get involved. Save lives.
    Join us.

  • Anon

    In b4 OSA cries “Religious Intolerance”. Nope, Money Hungry Hypnosis Cult Intolerance. If Anonymous was a hate group, MANY factions and groups would rise to counter it, none have, because they know Scientology is a cult. IMHO Anonymous is being very nice to this cult.

  • Quentin Hubbard

    Jason Beghe is very courageous to be outspoken against the scientology corporation, which is infamous for its human rights abuses. Scientology practices “Fair Game” against those who disagree or oppose it. Hubbard engrained that practice into one of the scientology maxims: “Never fear to hurt another in a just cause.”
    Hubbard even went so far as to Fair Game lifelong friends and family members.

  • Quentin Hubbard

    Jason Beghe is courageous to be outspoken against the corporation of scientology. Scientology has a practice of “Fair Game” it uses to punish those who disagree with it. Hubbard said, “Never fear to hurt another in a just cause.” Scientology is a dangerous, extremist cult.

  • Gene McHavel

    Jason Beghe doesn’t look too good either. His “departure” from Scientology might be just a publicity stunt. He did not have the success that Tom Cruise and John Travolta have. His face is just vaguely familiar and not many know his name?
    So, what does he do? He leaves the Church of Scientology and attacks it to get finally more fame.
    I knew people of the Church of Scientology and I also was inside of churches. It is not dangerous
    People lie about the LDS Church and the Scientology Church. They could use a better leader than David Miscavige though.

  • Asmo

    Hey Gene,
    It’s funny that Beghe would try to use attacking Scientology to garner fame for himself by making all the exact same accusations that tens of thousands of other ex-scientologists have made. You’d think that if you wanted to draw attention to yourself, you’d say something different and new. Beghe’s accusations fall clearly in line with what just about everyone says when they leave the church after having been a member for a while. Which do you think is more likely, that thousands of former members are conspiring to bring down Scientology for some reason, or that what they’re saying is actually truthful?
    Unless you yourself are a Scientologist, the answer is obviously the latter.

  • Stevee

    Beghe needs a job, and this is the best way for him to get one.

  • Stevee

    Stevee, is Scientology really helping you to win more freedom by making you go out on the Internet to attack it’s critics?

  • Lastoff

    Asmo, stop with the BS. Thousands of former members?? Those Anon protests have died out almost completely. Nobody gives a rats A** about it because it’s 99% propaganda a 1% “fun”.

  • bob dobbs

    Stevee, is Scientology really helping you to gain more freedom by making you go out on the Internet to attacks it’s critics?

  • bob dobbs

    Lots of OSA-bots in this comments section, notice how they act cagey and don’t actually come out and say they’re Scientologist, they just attack Beghe.

  • Terryeo

    Lots of Bob Dobbs post criticism opinion. But notice they don’t say, “I’m a critic”. Heh. Mr. Dobbs is very willing to tell anyone else they are not a regular human being. Since I’m not employed by, or even know anyone who works with, the Office of Special Affairs, and since I’m not attached to Beghe and have never met him, I’ll just post up my opinion here. Beghe appears to me to be pretty uptone and capable — on the first dynamic. That is, on an island of 1000 people, Beghe is likely to do well. But that leaves 999 people who won’t be helped by Beghe. My guess is, he’s got a fine, stable first dynamic that he’s happy with. But he would he like to find other people doing as well as he? Because when you come down to it, that is what the OT levels are all about.

  • Jane

    Scientology is in its final days. This is the end of Scientology. The downward spiral has massively intensified. By the end of this year, David Miscavige et al will have been indicted on numerous Federal charges. Don’t believe me? Watch and see. It won’t be long.

  • William Johnson

    Mr. Beghe shows great courage to get away from, and speak out against this cult.
    And cult it is. Ever see a ‘church’ pay commissions to members when they get another ‘into the fold’? $cientology does.
    Ever see a $cientology soup kitchen? NO, and you never will, their ‘doctrine’ states that homeless, needy people are ‘downstat’ and to be ignored. Only go after those with Buck$.
    What kind of ‘church’ charges upwards of $300,000.00 to find out that we are all infected with space cooties? $cientology does.

  • Wilawow

    Terryeo = closet Freezoner
    ADMIT IT, TERRYEO! You are not a vicious, Scientology corporate attack-bot. You just believe in the tech. You’re actually a nice person. I hope you will stop pouring money into David Miscavige’s bank account. You can be free.

  • pagansister

    Lots of religions are cult like…and get very unhappy when folks leave. JW being one. However, short of harming him, what can the science dudes do to those that leave?

  • Jimmy

    I was in Scientology for 25 years and I agree with everything Mr. Beghe has mentioned. It is very much a con game. Scientology makes it appear you are getting something for nothing, only $300,000 to gain spiritual freedom and certainty of self. There’s just one catch, you end up with nothing, nothing in your pockets and not one spiritual gain that were promised. Scientology does deliver what it promises. Slowly members are realizing this and leaving in droves.

  • Maya

    Pagansister, please read up on Scientology. First off, Scientology has nothing to do with science. Second, Scientology has an exceptionally well-documented history of stalking and harassing its critics. That’s only the beginning. Spend half an hour at this site: or this one: or even this one:

  • bob dobbs

    Okay Terryeo, I’m a critic, if you could’nt tell by what I wrote. Can’t wait
    for the OSA-bots to follow suit and make the full disclosure that they are Scientologist, but that would defeat their purpose, which is to appear as
    some normal, disinterested “everyman” who thinks that Scientology is perfectly
    fine and normal.

  • Heather Grace

    Thanks for interviewing Jason Beghe. Jason is a breath of fresh air – honest about how he got sucked in and not afraid to say so to the world. When we think about challenging a “religion” or a “church”, many of us have a natural check that holds us back. But we should be able to hold religions (churches) accountable to HIGHER standards of conduct, not be excusing them for frauds and abuses that we wouldn’t accept in secular businesses.
    Scientology needs transparency, honesty and an infusion of justice adminstered by law enforcement.

  • Marc A.

    “Gene McHavel, Stevee & Lastoff” are employing a very commonly used tactic from the “scripture” or “tech” Hubbtard wrote for “handling” critics of $cientology. The main thing is pretty much to “attack. never defend.” So you won’t hear them trying to justify the heinous wrongdoings of their cult. Instead they will attack the critics to try and discredit them to try to get people’s minds off of the cult’s misdeeds long enough to change the subject or redirect blame. They call this manipulation “handling.” Their “tech” is all about manipulation and control.
    What they don’t seem to understand is that now that everyone is aware of these tactic, the “tech” fails. It’s like watching a magician when you already know how all the tricks are done. But they cannot alter “sacred scripture.” They are stuck with fail “tech.” This is strictly enforced.
    That which cannot adapt, perishes. $cientology had it’s chance to contribute positively to society and earn our trust, instead it blew it and betrayed the trust of society, and worse, those who believed in it like Jason.

  • James Lightfield

    Well I’d like to thank anonymous and Jason Beghe, without them I would have never left this cult. Thank you guys!

  • Tom C.

    Scientology is a scam with many ‘front’ groups that won’t admit their connection.
    CCHR – Citizens Commission on Human Rights
    NARCODEX – A new front name for NARCONON
    Get educated:

  • meli

    watch Jason’s full interview here

  • Anonymous

    Scientology is a pale shadow of humanity with no remorse, no caring, no love, or no sense of morality.
    “There is a strange mechanism in some men, an aberration of a decadent age, which causes them to seek out and help and protect the pitiful and weak… a failure is postulated at the beginning of such an association. However much the weak member may be raised on the tone scale by this association, the person on the higher level is inevitably lowered.”
    – L. Ron Hubbard (founder of Scientology) in the Scientology book “Science of Survival”

  • Anonymous

    Scientology doctrines teach followers that they are the harbingers of judgment, and it is the mission of every Scientologist to “clear” the planet. Alarming and immoral methods are authorized, according to Scientology teachings:
    “There are only two answers for the handling of people from 2.0 down on the tone scale, neither one of which has anything to do with reasoning with them or listening to their justification of their acts. The first is to raise them on the tone scale… The other is to dispose of them quietly and without sorrow… The sudden and abrupt deletion of all individuals occupying the lower bands of the tone scale from the social order would result in an almost instant rise in the cultural tone and would interrupt the dwindling spiral into which any society may have entered. It is not necessary to produce a world of clears in order to have a reasonable and worthwhile social order; it is only necessary to delete those individuals who range from 2.0 down”
    -L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology founder, in the Scientology book “Science of Survival”

  • frgough

    Lesson to be learned. NEVER criticize psychologists in Hollywood. All the neurotic wives on Valium from their therapists will hound their husbands until they rip you to shreds.

  • Alicia

    I don’t think Scientology has helped the careers of Tom Cruise and John Travolta. Tom Cruise’s career might have started going down hill even if he wasn’t a Scientologist, but his increasingly odd behavior which seems connected to the cult certainly didn’t help.
    Every Tom Cruise film has become a big ego trip which is all about “the star.” I remember him when he was just a hard-working actor and I used to have some respect for him.

  • pagansister

    maya, I know that Scientology has nothing to do with science!

  • AF

    Gee, frgough, are you trying to say that Jason Beghe is a neurotic wife on Valium? No? Then why are you ignoring the data right in front of your face, Beghe’s first-hand experience? Something tells me that if the subject was someone talking about the wonderful “wins” they’d had with Scientology “technology”, you’d be declaring it words of golden wisdom from “someone who knows” — and yet when you get words that AREN’T favorable to Scientology from someone who knows, someone who gave over a decade to Scientology and was declared OT V, all of a sudden you’re rushing to attribute those words to a childishly crude stereotype you have in your head.

  • Xenuphobic

    Jason deserves major kudos for his courage in speaking out about his experiences in Scientology.
    Scientology harrasses it’s critics and defrauds and abuses its followers.
    It’s a business masquerading as a religion that acts like a cult.
    Hopefully, Mr. Beghe won’t be the last former Scientology celeb to speak out.

  • Alicia

    Book recommendation for those who have been commenting on this post: “Mistakes Were Made (But not by ME)” by Carol Tavris and Eliot Aronson.
    The book explains the process of self-justification and the part that cognitive dissonance plays in the inability of most of us, at some time or another, to admit we’ve made a big mistake. Several examples are given from politics and relationships, but some that I found particularly relevant were:
    * Religious cult leaders that predict the world will end on a date certain. When it does not, rather than leave the cult and admit they were wrong, the leader and cult come up with an explanation of why their prediction turned out to be wrong ie. “Our prayers save the world. Praise God!”
    * Police and prosecutors who put the wrong person in prison for a serious crime like rape or murder. When exonerating evidence turn up, those police and prosecutors still insist they prosecuted the guilty party. To do otherwise would be to admit that they put an innocent person in prison, sometimes for years.
    Cognitive dissonance says, “I am a smart person, how could I have been taken in by Scientology?” It’s simple — people don’t do things for rational reasons, or for only rational reasons. Even smart people have been fooled by cults.

  • Anon

    Co$ (Cult of $cientology$$$) has been ruining lives for 50 years now. Step up to the plate… Google $cientology lies, $cientology fraud, $cientology “medal of valor” fraud, $cientology crimes, and lastly and most sadly $cientology Deaths.

  • Juan

    Why the Heck is Scientology a tax exempt organisation in any way? Who did they pay off or extort to make that happen? Are we in some 3rd world country where for the right amount of money even the IRS will take bribes? I am outraged.

  • Johnny Lee Boice

    No one ever seems to talk about what this applied religious philosophy of Scientology consists of via it’s technical and philosophical writings. It’s said to contain data that can aid mankind in improving conditions on this planet. How can this be discerned when what it’s said to contain is never discussed and/or honestly evaluated?! The single source of aberration has been discovered. Is this true? What a monumental discovery if it’s true which would then make such a subsequent monumental significance worthy of an honest discernment. Common sense as well as historical examples has shown that bitter invalidated without proper evaluation is only done out of fear that it might expose vested interests and their accomplices who don’t want man more aware, able, and free, for then man would be very hard to control which would refute the objectives of the slavemasters and the reason the discoveries of Scientology are ignored and/or suppressed via bias, rumors and gossiping, creating a suppressive smoke screen to its understanding. Scientology is an organized body of data concerning life. If one wants to judge such data, one should study and understand what he’s judging rather than being convinced by opinions since anyone can have an opinion about anything and therefore can twist the minds of people who take opinion as fact. John Boice

  • Eva

    I think it’s very sad Jason Beghe did not take the measures that were available to him, and of which he is very well aware of.

  • Your Name

    The reason the actual concepts of Scientology are not discussed is because 1) if examined the truth would be known 2) financial- if it is open and honest and out there for all to see (if we assume it is helpful at all) the church would not gain the financial reward of money spent on books and classes, which they make allot of money off of. They wanted $1000 for saunas and pills to cure the toxins out of me, the same kind of fad cleansing that are 30 dollars at the store or can be done hollistically for much less.
    The scary part- they wanted at the time exactly the amount in my savings account. This was several years ago. They also did not seem artistically supportive of me at all, but wanted me to practice law and stay in touch with my parents, which was not healthy for me, but they saw sources of money.
    I saw a document when in their building written by L. Ron Hubbard claining he was happy someone had died who was against the church. Though shalt not kill is the number one rule of most religions. I have found myself accused of things- phone calls, and e-mails- yet the accuser never tells me and instead has done things to hurt my reputation. All of these incidents happened after I said I thought this group was a cult. They wanted me to become a recruiter for them, and when I tried to disassociate, a website wanted me to state that I turned to Scientology to be a celebrity, when I was seeking art and artists and my love of the craft. If you are a celebrity you are treated one way, but if not you are abused and manipulated and used.

  • Reverend Claudia Barber

    I went to a few Scientology meetings and talked with some folks on advice of a “friend.” I found that the only thing Scientology wanted was money, which I had very little of at the time. I finally got disgusted and left the group. They didn’t bother me anymore (probably because they realized I really didn’t have any money. The, IMHO, are in it for the money only. Why pay Scientology when other churches will get you what you need for free if necessary. Scientology is a ripoff.

  • bev

    I read – carefully & critically – L. Ron Hubbard’s first book. And most of it makes no sense – not because it is difficult to comprehend – or because I am incapable – but because it is nonsense – no sense! I have also read many other spiritual and religious authors – and psychology authors – and, seriously, if anyone was to critically read Hubbard’s books (the origins of Scientology), you can see for yourself – no sense! And I really wanted to believe it would be helpful. I’ve been willing to try anything (well, almost) to relieve Clinical Depression! I never perceived Scientology as a “religion” because there was no talk of “God”. It’s less ‘spiritual’ than Buddhism – and more like a psychology than religion, so I don’t get why anyone calls it ‘religion’. Inform yourself – try to read L. Ron Hubbard’s books – critically. Really weird stuff.

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