Before Katie Holmes‘ devoutly Catholic parents officially sign their daughter over to the Church of Scientology, they might want to get in touch with Philip J. Spickler. One of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s original disciples, Spickler is the father of Mimi RogersTom Cruise‘s first wife and the person responsible for recruiting him into the cult in the mid-’80s.

Like his daughter—who, at her most pious, worked for the Church full-time—Spickler has since left Scientology. Unlike his daughter—who spent last week on the talk-show circuit spinning her ex’s increasingly unhinged behavior—he has quite a bit to say about the sect.

Of particular note to Martin and Kathleen Holmes might be Spickler’s firsthand account of L. Ron Hubbard’s virulent anti-Catholicism. Although Scientology publicly portrays itself as compatible with Christianity, in one of a series of emails he has written to friends and associates since his defection, Spickler writes that Hubbard “often referred to the Pope as ‘Dr. Pious,’ and the priests as his ‘witchwater boys.'”

In addition, Spickler writes, Hubbard ironically dismissed Catholicism as a “very successful operation to control the spirit, minds, and bodies of those who fell under its thrall before they attained an age where they could reason and discriminate and choose for themselves.”

Unfortunately, the ex-Scientologist could not be reached by press time for his perspective on the newly affianced couple, and a rep for Rogers—who traded her cult membership for a prominent seat on the celebrity poker circuit—did not return calls for comment.

Previously: A Nicole For Your Thoughts
$cientology Truth or Dare!
Cruise Encounters of the Third Kind
Katie Holmes’ Magical ‘Best Friend’
Reader’s Digest on Cruise Control
Ground Control to Major Tom


Vanity Fair staffers under the impression that they work for a high-minded publication are steamed over editor Graydon Carter’s reported choice of Paris Hilton for the September issue’s cover, we hear. “Graydon is obsessed—obsessed—with her and has been dying to put her on the cover for a long time,” says one Hollywood insider.

But top editors at the glossy—many of whom wanted Beyoncé for the coveted slot—feel Hilton isn’t VF cover material, and certainly not worthy of a fawning 5,000-word profile. A source who has seen a mock-up of the Hilton cover complains that “it makes Vanity Fair look like FHM” (or, even—gulp—Radar?).

“You can only print ‘That’s Hot’ so many times,” complains the source. Carter, who’s besotted with the porn-star-turned-fast-food-pitchwoman, couldn’t care less. “He invites her to the Oscar party every year and just nuzzles up to her,” the source notes. “He doesn’t care about Julia Roberts or Cameron Diaz—he thinks Paris is the fluffy epitome of what VF is all about. Graydon also loves the fact that she’s a skank and isn’t embarrassed about it.” Write what you know!