Damian Thompson: What do Tom Cruise and Mitt Romney have in common? It's written in the stars ...
WE can take it for granted that Tom Cruise – whose divorce proceedings are already such a catastrophe for Scientology – will never talk in public about Xenu. The existence of this intergalactic emperor, who flourished c 75,000,000 BC, was top secret until the Church’s enemies took to the internet. Advice to journalists: if you ask Cruise about Xenu, the doors of Hollywood (where the Church wields immense influence) will slam in your face.
On the other hand, it’s safe to ask any Scientologist about Kolob. This is the star, or possibly planet, that is closest to the throne of God. Astronomers haven’t found it – yet – but it served as the inspiration for the planet Kobol in Battlestar Galactica.
Why is it safe to ask Cruise about Kolob? Because it’s Mormon, not Scientologist: it appears in The Book of Abraham, “translated” from Egyptian papyri by Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism. I use inverted commas because Smith couldn’t read Egyptian. The papyri were funerary texts.