Our hearty congratulations to Gawker Media, whose sites are hosting the long-rumored but never-before-seen Tom Cruise Scientology testimonial video, seemingly prepared on the occasion of Cruise being awarded the Church's Freedom Medal of Valor. (We also offer a hearty "good luck," considering the storm of C&Ds soon to be delivered to Nick Denton by Church of Scientology lawyers.) In the video, Cruise reveals himself to be not only an aggressive and enthusiastic promoter of Scientology but aggressive and enthusiastic in general. As a probably-not-copyright-approved version of the Mission: Impossible theme plays in the background, Cruise declares, "Being a Scientologist, when you drive past an accident, it's not like anybody else … you know you have to do something about it." (This explains why for a while it seemed like you couldn't open the paper without reading something about Tom Cruise saving a woman from her submerged car, or a kitten from a fire, or whatever.)
This theory — that Scientologists in general, and Tom Cruise in particular, are put on earth to help people in trouble — is expanded on by Cruise to explain his relentless and energetic proselytizing. "Spectatorism is something we have no time for now," he says, getting more and more excited. "It's rough and tumble, it's wild and woolly, and it's a blast. It really is." Finally, as the music swells to a crescendo, Cruise issues forth a maniacal laugh — seriously, it happens with 50 seconds left in the video, and it's chilling — and says, "There's nothing part-of-the-way for me, it's just…" and then makes the sound of a rocket taking off into the sky.
We know nothing about Scientology, seriously — it may be a real religion, it may be a fool's game, most likely it's somewhere in between — but we're made nervous by anything that inspires this grotesque level of fervor in its adherents. At the end of the video, as flashy Scientology graphics twinkle on the screen, an unseen narrator praises Tom Cruise for introducing the Scientology message to over one billion "people of Earth." Watching this video, we find it hard to fathom that those people of Earth didn't run away screaming in the other direction as a rabid Tom Cruise, Scientologist, approached.