Before Katie Holmes’ devoutly Catholic parents officially sign their daughter over to the Church of Scientology, they might want to get in touch with Philip J. Spickler. One of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s original disciples, Spickler is the father of Mimi Rogers, Tom Cruise’s first wife and the person responsible for recruiting him into the cult in the early ’80s.
Like his daughter—who, at her most pious, worked for the Church full-time—Spickler has since left Scientology. Unlike his daughter—who spent last week on the talk-show circuit spinning her ex’s increasingly unhinged behavior—he has quite a bit to say about the sect.
Of particular note to Martin and Kathleen Holmes might be Spickler’s firsthand account of L. Ron Hubbard’s virulent anti-Catholicism. Although Scientology publicly portrays itself as compatible with Christianity, in one of a series of emails he has written to friends and associates since his defection, Spickler writes that Hubbard “often referred to the Pope as ‘Dr. Pious,’ and the priests as his ‘witchwater boys.’”
In addition, Spickler writes, Hubbard ironically dismissed Catholicism as a “very successful operation to control the spirit, minds, and bodies of those who fell under its thrall before they attained an age where they could reason and discriminate and choose for themselves.”
Unfortunately, the ex-Scientologist could not be reached by press time for his perspective on the newly affianced couple, and a rep for Rogers—who traded her cult membership for a prominent seat on the celebrity poker circuit—did not return calls for comment.