|Photo courtesy AP|
Back in May, Travolta had been accused in a federal lawsuit of assault and sexual battery on two male massage therapists, with the plaintiffs providing lurid details about the actor's unwanted advances. The first incident chronicled Travolta's alleged groping of a masseur in a Beverly Hills bungalow, ending with Travolta masturbating himself. The second victim purported that he faced similar molestation while attending to Travolta in Atlanta. In a bold legal maneuver, defense attorneys fought the allegations by citing Travolta's right to freely exercise his religious beliefs as a Scientologist.
Bran Sertisford, lead defense attorney and fellow Scientologist, explained to the court that practitioners at level OT VII can detect clusters of hostile body thetans on men by gripping their genitals suddenly and thereby measuring the pure energy outputs.
"What you would call sexual battery or abuse, a devoted Scientologist would call helping out," Sertisford added indignantly. "We don't sue nuns for feeding the poor. We don't persecute rabbis for not eating pork. We don't shoot an acupuncturist for sticking us with pins."
He chided the lawsuits as attacks on Travolta's right to "honor and fulfill his religious obligations."
Both suits against the 58-year-old star of "White Man's Burden," "Battlefield Earth," "Wild Hogs," "Michael" and the "Look Who's Talking" franchise were eventually dropped.
Scientologists and their unconventional methods are often portrayed in a controversial light, but adherents claim the end results justify the means -- and even the derision they are subjected to for their beliefs.
Travolta points to his successful assist as such an example: "I was in Shanghai recently at a work event and the Master of Ceremonies' best friend had recently gotten into a car wreck. He had broken his ankle and was in constant pain. I asked him permission to do some Scientology assists and he said, 'Okay sure.' People were standing around watching as I did them. You could actually see him confronting the pain and after a while he looked up at me and said, 'I feel better,' so I said, 'Okay, end of assist.' He had gotten noticeably better, and I was chomping at the bit for more."
According to Scientology, treating injuries through only physical means cannot alleviate pain and discomfort. The victim's spiritual state, which influences well-being and health, must also be addressed.
But an assist, Scientologists emphasize, is not a variation of faith healing -- it's a scientific method.
"Conventional religions attempt to explain the world through magic, miracles and improbable supernatural events," Travolta said. "That takes a lot of faith. Scientology requires no faith because it explains the world through proven scientific fact."
Those facts, as revealed through the teachings of the church's founder L. Ron Hubbard, involve an alien named Xenu who ruled a Galactic Confederacy 75 million years ago, known as "Teegeeack." Facing a coup for his inability to curb the overpopulation of the confederate planets, Xenu enlisted psychiatrists to gather billions of citizens together under the ruse of income tax inspections, at which point he seized control of their souls using a mix of alcohol and glycol. The billions of kidnapped beings were loaded onto a spaceship about the size and shape of an old Douglas DC-8, then transported to Earth. Depositing them at the feet of volcanoes across the planet, the DC-8 dropped nuclear bombs into the craters and killed all the beings. Their souls, known as thetans, were dispersed in the explosion. Xenu captured them using a big magnet, implanted false information into them and then let them possess humans for some reason.
So where faith healing attempts to cure an ailing victim by channeling the divine power of a deity, a Scientology assist merely helps a suffering person focus his own mental and physical energies to overcome the pain through a suggestive process not unlike hypnosis.
Curtis Grayson, who was present during Travolta's assist, described the procedure.
"I personally take no stock in anything Scientology claims to offer, but this assist was remarkably effective," Grayson said. "After the man agreed to let John try the technique, John immediately began shaking him and yelling, 'There is no pain! It's all in your head. It's not in your ankle, it's in your head!' This screaming went on for about ten minutes. Then John pulled down the guy's pants and started poking him in the knees. Then John grabbed his thighs. Each time he touched the guy's body, John would ask what the guy felt. The man always responded with the body part John was groping. Finally, John lunged at the man's crotch and clutched his genitals. Then John started screaming again: 'Does your ankle hurt now!?' This went on for what seemed like hours. It was agonizing to watch. Finally, the guy broke into tears and said he felt a lot better. Travolta let him go. Then the poor guy climbed to his feet and made a beeline for the security guards at the front."
Attorneys for the victim have filed harassment charges against Travolta. The actor expressed shock and disappointment over the complaint.
"I'm saddened to hear of the suit," Travolta told reporters. "It seems like a huge lack of gratitude, but it was worth it in the end, knowing that I helped him. Honestly, I always chalk these kinds of reactions up to a loss of faith. These people have spent their whole lives believing in angels and messiahs and heaven. Then Scientologists show up and perform seemingly miraculous feats using basic scientific truths. It must rattle their foundations, and they don't want to admit that their entire belief systems are lies. It's very tragic."
Contributing research and reporting by G. Righter.
(c) 2012. See disclaimers.