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Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise's Unshakeable Faith

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By Brian Hurwitz

Although he was raised in a devoutly Catholic household and planned to become a priest, Tom Cruise found his path to spiritual and emotional success in the Church of Scientology. While many consider it more of a cult than a religion, Cruise regularly praises its teachings and credits his faith with helping him weather the highest highs and lowest lows that inevitably accompany superstardom. While his unshakeable faith has netted the enduring superstar nearly every acting accolade in the business, Oscar gold has yet to come his way.

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Tom Cruise
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The son of special education teacher Mary Lee and electrical engineer Thomas Mapother III, Thomas Cruise Mapother IV was born on July 3rd, 1962 in Syracuse, New York. Cruise and his three sisters grew up in near poverty and took comfort in attending Sunday church services where Catholic dogma made a profound impression on the young boy. When he was nine, Cruise and his family moved to Canada for his father’s work. It was there Cruise first developed an affection for the dramatic arts. Two years later, his parents divorced and Cruise moved back to the States with his mother and sisters. Soon after, he set his sights on joining the priesthood and briefly attended a Franciscan seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio on a church scholarship. But when he landed the part of Nathan Detroit in his high school’s production of Guys and Dolls, Cruise put his theological aspirations aside and focused on acting. He then dropped out of high school and, with his mother’s blessing, moved to New York City to study acting.

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Cruise then made his feature film debut in the dramatic romance Endless Love (1981). Despite only having a few lines, Hollywood took notice. Cruise then played supporting roles in the drama Taps (1981) and the crime drama The Outsiders (1983) before landing his first starring role in the 1983 dramedy Losin’ It. That same year he captured the hearts and minds of American teenagers from coast to coast with his star-making turn in the dramedy Risky Business (1983). Then, in 1986, he was catapulted to the top of the A-List after playing Maverick in the mega-blockbuster Top Gun. It was around this time Cruise met actress Mimi Rogers, who introduced him to the Church of Scientology.

Church of Scientology Event
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Initially created by prolific science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard as a self-help philosophy in 1952, Scientology quickly developed into a body of religious beliefs and practices. Central amongst them is the idea that while our bodies are limited by their mortality, our spirits, which Scientologists refer to as ‘thetans,’ are eternal and limitless. Contrary to the bible, thetans created the universe and are capable of unlocking our infinite potential.

Members of the church are taught that Scientology is a practice, not a belief. As such, its ultimate goal is spiritual enlightenment. Church members contend that people are far more than a product of their environment; they are a product of their own spirit and capable of creating their own reality. Cruise credits Scientology with helping him overcome dyslexia he had struggled with most of his life.

Tom Cruise
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Since joining the Church in 1990, Cruise’s career has been on an unstoppable trajectory. Later that year, his performance in Oliver Stone’s biographical drama Born on the Fourth of July (1989) earned him his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Cruise then went on to headline films that were as popular with audiences as they were with critics. Amongst them were the drama A Few Good Men (1992), the fantasy horror Interview with the Vampire (1994), the action-adventure Mission: Impossible (1996) and the drama Jerry Maguire (1996). To date, his films have made over ten billion dollars worldwide, making him one of the highest-grossing box office stars of all time. Additionally, he has been nominated for a total of three Academy Awards and seven Golden Globes, winning three, amongst countless other honors. Although Cruise has hit a few snags along the way, he consistently relies on his faith to get him through the toughest of times.

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