Scientology add *

creditWith lots of buzz around today about Tom Cruise and Scientology, various sources emailed to remind me of some seminal local reporting in addition to the 1990 Sappell-Welkos series in the LAT. The late Ron Curran got inside the church for the LA Weekly in 1986, and the LAT's Robert Gillette and Robert Rawitch also had done a 20,000-word, five-part series in 1978 that was a Pulitzer finalist. The main local police reporter at the Times then, Nieson Himmel, had been a Pasadena roommate of L. Ron Hubbard in the pre-Dianetics days and always said that Hubbard used to boast the best way to get rich was to form a religion. "He was a guy on the make," Himmel was quoted saying. "I couldn't stand him." Himmel died in 1999.

Sunday's LAT stories by Claire Hoffman, Kim Christensen and photographer Don Kelsen are still atop the paper's most-emailed list.

* And of course: Mark Ebner joined the church for Spy magazine in 1996. 1:50 pm


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