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Scientology Loses a Billionaire


One of Tom Cruise’s Scientology buddies, Australian billionaire James Packer, is reportedly over the ‘religion’. Packer was recently listed as Scientology’s richest member.

Cruise introduced Packer to Scientology in 2002.

Packer’s closest friends have revealed that he’s quietly distanced himself from Scientology, was no longer undertaking Scientology courses and has told them he no longer “needs it”.

The religion entered Packer’s life at one of the lowest points. He was overweight and depressed, his marriage to his first wife, Jodhi Meares, had ended and he was reeling from the humiliating and very public collapse of business, One.Tel, in which he lost about $350 million.

Packer spilled about his association with Scientology only once, telling The Australian Financial Review Magazine in 2006 that he spent an hour or so “every couple of days” practicing the religion. “I think it has been very good for me,” he said. “It has been helpful. I have some friends in Scientology that have been very supportive. But I think it’s just helped me have a better outlook on life.”

However, looks like Packer’s distancing from the church could be money-motivated. The report points to observers who’ve suggested that Packer’s expanding casino empire has presented issues difficult to reconcile with Scientologist beliefs.

Scientology’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard, denounced gambling. “An obsessive gambler is a psychotic just like a drug addict or an alcoholic,” Hubbard wrote in 1977.

Packer’s office did not respond to calls for comments.

This is a big glow for the “church.” Packer – as all Scientologists do – give a big portion of their annual income to the house of Xenu.

That’s a lot of money Scientology’s no longer getting!

[Image via WENN.]

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May 09, 2008 16:20pm PDT

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