Katie Holmes

Afraid Tom Would Ship Suri To Radical Scientology Org

7/2/2012 8:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE
0701_katie_suri_tom_scientology_gettyThe final straw in Katie Holmes' decision to file for divorce was that she was convinced Tom Cruise was going to send 6-year-old Suri away to a hardcore Scientology organization known as Sea Organization ... sources connected with Katie tell TMZ.

Sea Org, as it is known, is where the highest levels of Scientology are taught -- and according to the Church website, it is composed of adults and minors who have committed their lives to the volunteer service of their religion. Our sources say Tom is a big fan.

Our sources say Katie and Tom had been arguing over Suri's indoctrination into Scientology -- and we're told the Sea Org was the flashpoint.

The Sea Org has been often compared to a boot camp and several ex-Scientologists (including Oscar winner Paul Haggis) have been outspoken against its military-like conditions. The Freewinds, the massive Scientology boat that was the location of Cruise's infamous birthday party in 2004, is entirely staffed by Sea Org members.

0701_freewinds_scientologyAccording to the official Scientology website, members of Sea Org sign "a one-billion-year pledge to symbolize their eternal commitment to the religion and it is still signed by all members today."

Katie herself has first-hand knowledge of the Sea Org. When Holmes and Cruise first hooked up in 2005, Jessica Feshbach, a prominent Scientologist who had been with the Sea Org since 1994, was transferred and became Katie's assistant/Scientology chaperone. Feshbach, in one of Katie's first interviews after getting together with Cruise, was described by a writer for W magazine as "cold-eyed" and "a third-wheel." 

In the end ... we're told Katie felt the only way to save Suri from being shipped off to Sea Org was to file for divorce and seek sole legal custody.