true stories The 13 Scariest (Believable) Scientology Conspiracy Theories  

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Scientology is a weird "religion" and as such, there are some bizarre Scientology conspiracy theories floating around. Its influence led John Travolta to make one of the worst movies known to mankind. Love of Scientology meant Tom Cruise shifted from popular leading man to creepy guy you avoid eye contact with. Scientology may have destroyed Cruise's marriage as well, if Katie Holmes truly left him to protect Suri from Scientology disciples. But even though you know Scientology is scary, do you know just how f*cked up it is?

What are the worst things Scientology has done? This self-described, IRS-approved religion has some very dirty deeds in its closet. Read on to learn about 13 of the scariest Scientology conspiracies and conspiracy theories out there.

Operation Snow White: Scientology Infiltrates the U.S. Government

The Theory
Scientology fights back hard against anyone and anything it perceives as an enemy. But Operation Snow White was Scientology going above and beyond to defend itself against perceived threats from the U.S. government. In the 1970s, Scientology was being investigated by the FBI and its tax-exempt status was being questioned by the IRS. In response, Scientologists around the world took government jobs, at every level, in order to whitewash information about Scientology.

What I wish Operation Snow White had been

Why It's Terrifying
Operation Snow White isn't just a theory: L. Ron Hubbard's wife, and many other Scientologists, went to prison for their roles in infiltrating the U.S. government and illegally copying and passing along information. And though Operation Snow White was a worldwide effort, the focus was on the U.S. and its government agencies. With 5,000 undercover agents, Scientology carried out the largest infiltration of the U.S. government in history. And that's pretty f*cking scary.

The IRS is Scientology's Bitch

The Theory
After Operation Snow White, you'd think the government would be wary of Scientology. But despite being bugged and robbed by Scientologists during Operation Snow White, in 1993 the IRS abruptly went along with Scientology's demand to be acknowledged as a tax-exempt religion, possibly just to stop the deluge of Scientologist lawsuits it was suffering from.

Just like Scientology!

Why It's Terrifying
Yes, taxes are boring. But Scientology, despite the claims of abuse and despite infiltrating the U.S. government, doesn't have to pay any. In its 1993 agreement, Scientology agreed to pay a measly $12.5 million in back taxes and then breezed out the door. No other organization has gotten away with similar demands.

David Miscavige's Missing Wife

The Theory
David Miscavige is the current head of Scientology, having taken over for L. Ron Hubbard. BFFs with Tom Cruise, Miscavige's word is law in Scientology. Anyone who goes against him pays a price and his list of victims may include his own wife. In 2006, Shelly Miscavige filled several job vacancies without Miscavige's permission. She hasn't been seen in public since.

Your soul or your life. Or both.

Why It's Terrifying
Scientology spokespeople all deny Shelly Miscavige is missing. However, the easiest way to prove Shelly is fine would be to have her appear in public or to meet her family and friends. This hasn't happened. Shelly could be alive but held against her will. Or her fate could be even worse. What we do know is that Miscavige is powerful enough to get an entire organization to cover for him for years. Repeat, Miscavige is in charge of Scientology. The decisions about whatever agenda Scientology follows come from him. If this guy is willing to turn on his own wife, imagine what else he's been up to.

Auditioned Bride for Tom Cruise: The Katie Holmes Story

The Theory
Twice-divorced yet still desperate to find true love, Scientology helped a needy Tom Cruise audition young actresses to play the part, ahem, to be his third wife. Although Scarlett Johansson, Erika Christensen, and Sofia Vergara were considered for the role, in the end Katie Holmes nailed her audition and got to marry Cruise. Her compensation was rumored to include $3 million per year of marriage plus a bonus for producing Suri.

Are you a sexy young Scientologist? We've got a job for you!

Why It's Terrifying
Although it's understandable Cruise can't fill out an application on eHarmony, it's still creepy that Scientology had to step in and basically pimp starlets to him. And it's terrifying to think of which young girl might be getting groomed right now to step into the role of Mrs. Tom Cruise. Rumor has it that Scientology wants Tom's next hook-up to be someone "beautiful and steeped in Scientology."

Operation Freakout: Scientology Really ls Out to Get You

The Theory
Scientology hates its critics, and is known to use litigation to harass anyone the organization perceives as an enemy. But one critic, journalist Paulette Cooper, who wrote a book critical of Scientology, was singled out for even worse punishment: a plan was hatched to have her either thrown in prison or committed. Or, failing that, Scientology would have been happy for Cooper to be driven so far to the edge, she'd take her own life.

Why It's Terrifying
This is a paranoid conspiracy theory come to life. People plotting against you, following your every move in order to take you down – Paulette Cooper lived that. She was indicted for making bomb threats and was only cleared after Operation Snow White was discovered and prosecuted. What if Scientology has targeted other people who haven't been as lucky as Cooper?

Narconon: Run by Scientology for Scientology

The Theory
Narconon is supposedly set up to get addicts off drugs. Instead, participants pay tens of thousands of dollars to read books by L. Ron Hubbard, be given high doses of niacin, and spend up to five hours a day getting purified in a sauna. Participants are also viewed as ripe pickings to be converted to Scientology.

Why It's Terrifying
People who turn to Narconon, for themselves or for family members, genuinely need help. Instead they're going to facilities that aren't capable of offering true assistance. Given that Narconon is currently under investigation for four recent deaths at its Oklahoma facility, participants may also be putting their very lives at risk.

Project Normandy: Scientology Takes Over Clearwater

The Theory
In the 1970s, Scientology decided to move to Clearwater, Florida, and began buying properties under the assumed name "United Churches of Florida." Being Scientology, they also concocted a plan to make sure Clearwater's officials were on Scientology's side. When Clearwater's mayor, Gabe Cazares, objected, saying the city was being taken over, Scientology sued him. And in case the lawsuits didn't work, the organization hatched a wacko back-up plot to frame Cazares for a hit and run. As a bonus, Scientology accused him of sexual indiscretions he hadn't committed.

Run, Scientology is coming!

Why It's Terrifying
Although Clearwater and Scientology reached a truce, Scientology is still tightening its grip on Clearwater. There are hundreds of Scientology-owned businesses in town and more are being set up every day. Scientology is also growing uncomfortably close with the Clearwater police force. Think about how you'd feel in a town run by Scientologists for Scientologists – that's how the non-Scientologist residents of Clearwater feel every day.

Killed by Scientology?: Lisa McPherson

The Theory
In 1995, Lisa McPherson, a devoted Scientologist living in Clearwater, was in a minor car accident. She acted erratically after the accident, stripping off her clothes, so was taken to the hospital. Given her behavior, doctors wanted McPherson to get psychiatric care. Instead, Scientology officials came to pick up Lisa from the hospital – remember, Scientology doesn't believe in psychiatry. McPherson checked herself out of the hospital and was taken back to Clearwater. There Scientology officials tried to cure her psychotic breakdown with silence and rest.

Shut up, Tom

Why It's Terrifying
McPherson needed psychiatric help, something Scientology officials could never accept. Instead they watched over her for weeks, seeing her condition deteriorate and watching McPherson grow more and more disoriented and dehydrated. By the time McPherson got to the hospital, it was too late to save her. When charges and a wrongful death suit were filed, Scientology officials continued their stellar behavior by destroying documents and counter-suing McPherson's family and the state of Florida. Most terrifying of all, Scientology's procedures for dealing with psychosis weren't changed after McPherson's death, which means the same thing could happen today.