ABC News looks at…wait a minute…Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are getting divorced? Why isn’t this getting more media attention?!?
The divorce of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, both bold-faced names and members of the Church of Scientology, shines a light on one aspect of their religion.
For many of the world’s religions, the rituals surrounding divorce are as structured as those governing marriage. Jews seeking a divorce must sign a ritual contract. Mormons married in the temple must undergo a “sealing cancellation.” In some Muslim sects, witnesses must be present for a divorce, and in others a husband recites a formula of denunciation three times to end a marriage.
The Church of Scientology, however, is much clearer on the rituals and practices of marriage than it is on divorce, according to experts and the church’s own official website.
Rather than focus on divorce, the church concentrates on improving couples’ relationships through therapy.
“Church members believe that tension in a marriage comes from ‘overts’ and ‘withholds,’ unstated, undiscussed issues or problems,” said Stephen Kent, a religion professor at the University of Alberta.
“Communication is therefore a good way to rebuild a marriage that’s crumbling. Couples can take a course called How to ‘Improve Your Marriage’ and in dire situations auditors, or counselors, can lead couples through exercises,” he said.
“There’s no real annulment in the church. Many members have been divorced, even founder L. Ron Hubbard was married three times,” Kent said.
The church does not allow members to have contact with disconnected, or excommunicated members of the faith, making divorce inevitable sometimes when one spouse wants to continue in the faith and another wants to leave the church, according to Kent.
“If one person wants to stay in church, he can’t have contact with someone who holds doubts or criticism of the group. The doubter is called a PTS, potential trouble source.”
Holmes reportedly left the marriage – and now seeks sole custody – over fears that Cruise wanted to enroll their six-year-old daughter in the infamous Sea Organization, and now believes Scientology goons are following her around. This is completely plauisble: