‘I auditioned to be Tom Cruise’s wife’

A Norwegian former member of the Church of Scientology cult has claimed that she auditioned to become the new wife of Mission Impossible star Tom Cruise.

'I auditioned to be Tom Cruise's wife'
Tom Cruise (L): Flickr and Anette Irene Johansen (R): Anette Irene Johansen
Anette Irene Johansen, from Fredrikstad, south of Oslo, was invited to the mysterious audition at the organisation's Copenhagen branch in 2005, when she had been in the church for three years, several working with tsunami victims in Sri Lanka. 
"They asked me so many questions about my life, my family background, everything I'd ever done in Scientology," she told Australia's Women's Day magazine.
"There was a lot of talk about Tom Cruise at that time – he had just been in Norway hosting the Nobel Peace Prize concert."
Before she left, she had to sign a waiver, promising not to mention anything about the audition.
Two weeks later, she got a call from a man in California who said he was from the 'international management' of Golden Era Productions, a media company run by the church. 
"He said it was about my audition and that he needed to ask some very private questions," she said. "He asked, 'Do you have any sexual perversions?'" 
The auditions were first revealed in Marc Headley's 2009 book, Blown for Good, but Johansen is the first interviewee to go public. 
According To Vanity Fair magazine, Nazanin Boniadi, who dated Cruise until January 2005, was auditioned in October 2004. 
Johansen says she is happy she was not accepted. 
"I think what happened to Katie is terrible. Even now it must be very difficult for her because she still has a child with him. Tom is totally cult-minded. I'm very happy that I was not matched up with him." 
The Church of Scientology denies such auditions ever took place. 
"We stand by our original statement from last year: There was no project, secret or otherwise, ever conducted by the Church to find a bride (via audition or otherwise) for any member of the Church," a spokesperson said. 

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Scientologists are ‘rearming’ in Copenhagen: researcher

Scientologists have opened a new, major church in Copenhagen, and its location in the Danish capital is no coincidence according to an expert researcher.

Scientologists are 'rearming' in Copenhagen: researcher
File photo: franky242/Depositphotos
The new church, strategically placed in Copenhagen's iconic Nytorv square, opened last weekend, reports Politiken.
According to the organisation itself, more than 2500 people attended the opening day celebrations. The Church of Scientology stated its new building in Denmark was “the next step in the growth of the church.”
Peter Birkelund Andersen, an associate professor of cross-cultural and regional studies at the University of Copenhagen, who has studied Scientology for many years, calls the move a “rearmament.”
“They went for a central location. And it's a deliberate move to open the church a stone's throw from (the pedestrian street) Strøget, with lots of passers-by which the Scientologists want to get in touch with,” Birkelund Andersen told Politiken.
“This is a sign that they are rearming for something they believe could become a new expansion,” he said.
Copenhagen is also the home to the Church of Scientology's European headquarters, with members from all over the world visiting the course centre on Jernbanegade. 
Apart from the new Nytorv church, there is one more church in Copenhagen, and one in Aarhus. But the new church stands out from the others, according to Birkelund Andersen, in that it invites passers-by to come inside from the street.
“I believe that to be a strategic choice, which gives you a good picture of what Scientology wants: to get more people inside and show that they have beautiful and newly-refurbished premises, compared to the yellow exhibition tents with folding tables at Strøget, for instance, where they have invited people until now,” he said.
According to Anette Refstrup, head communications at the Church of Scientology in Denmark, the organisation employs around 1000 people in the country, 170 of whom work at the new church in Nytorv.
She also stated that the Church, which is not recognised as a religious community in Denmark, sends out members' magazines to around 25,000 people in the country. But not all of these are active members.
“I would estimate that around 4000-5000 have been active lately,” Refstrup told Politiken.
But Birkelund Andersen thinks the figures are exaggerated, estimating Denmark has a total of 2000-4000 Scientologists.

“The Church of Scientology itself would say that they have a large and steady membership growth here in Denmark. They stress that there's a constant expansion. But I find that hard to see, even though it is true that there's recruitment happening all the time,” he told Politiken.