'What Drives Me': Tom Cruise's True Mission

Tom Cruise's attorney on the video leaked online and the unauthorized biography.

ByABC News
January 8, 2009, 12:16 AM

Jan. 18, 2007— -- It's the jaw-dropping performance most of us were never supposed to see -- Tom Cruise speaking openly and honestly about his faith.

"Scientologists look at the world and really see what it is ... and can be effective to do something about it," Cruise says on the tape. "Why ask permission? We are the authorities."

"What drives me ... is that I know we have an opportunity to really to help for the first time," Cruise continues. "[To] effectively change people's lives and I am dedicated to that. I am absolutely, uncompromisingly dedicated to that."

The tape was part of Scientology's 40th anniversary celebration. There was also a big-budget, Hollywood-style award show where Cruise was awarded Scientology's highest honor, the Freedom Medal of Valor.

"I am there for you, and I do care so very, very, very, very, much," he said.

Tom Cruise's involvement in Scientology is well known, but the interview clearly demonstrates the depth of his passion for an often beleaguered faith that critics of Scientology label a cult, a claim Scientology has always denied.

"I don't care if someone thinks it's hard or easy," Cruise says on the tape. "You're either helping and contributing everything you can, or you're not. Because I'm carrying my load, all right. ... As much as I'm carrying, I still feel like I gotta do more."

The interview wasn't intended for general release, and the Church of Scientology sent cease and desist orders to Web sites that posted it. Mark Graham's site, Defamer.com, refused to take down the video.

"I think that it was, people were clearly afraid of being sued by the Church of Scientology," he said. "And we figured, this week makes perfect timing."

It's been a tough few days for Cruise and the church. In addition to the videos, a new, unauthorized biography of Cruise was published this week. British author Andrew Morton -- best known for his book about the late Princess Diana -- said he spent two years investigating Cruise.

"I think Scientology to Tom Cruise is integral to understanding who he is as a man and where he is going," Morton said. "And when his obituary is written, it will be his film career as well as his faith. And it seems to me that to understand Tom Cruise you've got to understand Scientology."

Neither Cruise nor any of his close friends spoke to Andrew Morton, but that hasn't stopped him making some surprising claims -- first, that Cruise is not just a member of the Church of Scientology but is now effectively the second in command.