Screenwriter-Director Paul Haggis Speaks Out for First Time Since Leaving Church of Scientology


Davis told Haggis that making a public statement on the issue would bring "more attention than if we leave it be," according to the article.

Haggis told Davis in a letter in February 2009 that this wasn't a public relations issue but "a moral issue," later conceding to Davis, however, "You were right: Nothing happened -- it didn't flap -- at least not every much. But I feel we shamed ourselves," the magazine reported.

Six months later, the issue still resonated with Haggis.

"Silence is consent, Tommy. I refuse to consent. I hereby resign my membership in the Church of Scientology," Haggis wrote to Davis in a letter dated Aug. 19, 2009, according to the New Yorker interview.

The New Yorker writes that the incident sparked Haggis' research and exploration of the church beyond official documents.

Haggis looked for information online about the church and read an expose by the St. Petersburg Times that reported allegations of physical violence among church senior executives and other Scientologists, according to the article.

Other Allegations by Former Members

The New Yorker article highlights several other revelations about Haggis' relationship with the church and negative allegations against the church by former members including:

"Disconnection" -- A number of former scientologists have alleged that the church orders member to disconnect from friends or family who have left and who take positions critical of the church. Haggis told the New Yorker that his wife was ordered to disconnect from her parents after that left the church. Scicentology spokesmen deny any formal policy of "disconnection," although they say many members will choose to cut off connections with "apostates."

Cost of coursework -- Haggis told the magazine that he reached one of the highest levels in the church, Operating Thetan VII, by purchasing incentives and "bundled hours of auditing." The article says that, according to a professor who researched the church, the cost of taking courses could run as high as half a million. The church told the New Yorker that donations are "requested" and begin at $50 and could never possibly reach that amount suggested."

"E-meter" - The New Yorker describes this device as an electropsychometer that "measures bodily changes in electrical resistance that occurs when a person answers questions by an auditor." Haggis told the New Yorker that he found it to be "responsive."

"Purification rundown" -- Haggis told the Scientology magazine, Celebrity, in 1986 that he experienced the purification rundown - a program "intended to eliminate body toxins" that were a barrier to "spiritual well-being," the New Yorker described. The rundown included vitamins and sauna sessions.

Alleged physical beating by Church Leader David Miscavige -- The New Yorker interviewed former church members who alleged that Miscavige physically struck staff members. Church officials have told the New Yorker that those are making the allegations are "discredited individuals" who were demoted for incompetence or expelled for corruption.

Read more here.

FBI Probe on Human Trafficking?

Aside from presenting Paul Haggis' account of his time in Scientology, the New Yorker article also alleges an "investigation" by the FBI in December of 2009.

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