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Posted at 10:44 AM ET, 11/ 6/2006

Comment Box: Secrets of Scientology Weddings

By Liz Kelly

"Traditional" Scientology ceremony? What tradition? It's a fictional "belief system" whose sole purpose is to grub as much money as possible. Maybe they could have the traditional shakedown of everyone at the wedding, followed by the traditional threatening and blackmail of the guests who try to leave early. -- Skeptic comments on Morning Mix: Flavor Flav Expecting Seventh Child

Tom and Katie share a kiss in June 2005. (Reuters)

Having a passing interest in the subject myself, I've already devoted some time to finding out what exactly makes a wedding ceremony unique to Scientology. Despite all outward appearances, it has nothing to do with Giorgio Armani, Mussolini or John Travolta's private Boeing 707. A rather well-publicized example will take place on Nov. 18, though, when Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes tie the knot in Italy.

The official Scientology Web site contains this rather vague description of the wedding celebration:

Scientology wedding ceremonies have considerable meaning to all who attend. For example, a basic concept in the Scientology religion is that reality is created by agreement. The wedding is a gathering of family and friends who, during the ceremony, are asked to give their agreement to the union and its lasting happiness. This is not considered rhetorical or symbolic, but a tangible and important contribution to the future of the couple by the group to which they belong.

A Scientology minister performs Scientology wedding ceremonies. The ceremony has similar protocol to weddings in other churches, with the bridal procession, the traditional role of the father of the bride and best man, and the traditional seating of the respective families and friends. Above all, however, Scientology weddings are joyous celebrations of the new union.

More details, though, are available at the highly critical Secrets of Scientology Web site. The following information isn't confirmed, but reportedly are the earmarks a of a Scientology wedding ceremony.

-- There are five versions of the wedding ceremony: Traditional, Informal, Single Ring, Double Ring, and Concise Double Ring. Two versions are excerpted here from "The Background, Ministry, Ceremonies and Sermons of the Scientology Religion," including this gem of a passage from the exchange of vows:

Now, (groom's name),
girls need clothes
And food an
Tender happiness and frills
A pan, a comb,
perhaps a cat
All caprice if you will
But still
They need them.
Do you then
Do you?

-- The vows, written by L. Ron Hubbard himself, refer to the groom as "man" and the bride as "girl." While this may make sense for Tom and Katie considering the, ahem, age difference, it does seem to promote an ideal of male dominion in the marriage.

-- The groom must jump five times on a couch while the bride looks on vacantly, though impeccably dressed. Okay, I made this one up.

If anyone has more information, please add to the comments area.

By Liz Kelly  | November 6, 2006; 10:44 AM ET
Categories:  Celebrities, TomKat  
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