Andrew Morton hits the talk shows today to promote his unauthorized biography of Tom Cruise, the actor and Scientology pin-up boy. Excerpts from the book are up on MSNBC but — more interesting — are the Church of Scientology's talking points. The release rebuts Morton's most sensational claims: that the Hollywood star is the number two of the church, or cult (whichever you prefer); that the church planted a field of flowers for Cruise and his new wife, Katie Holmes, to run through; or that Katie Holmes may have been impregnated with the sperm of L. Ron Hubbard, author of Dianetics and the bizarre religion's founder. Whom to believe?

On the one hand, the rebuttal is detailed, and categoric, and sounds way more sane than does Cruise in his indoctrination video for the bizarre modern religion. On the other hand, Morton is no Kitty Kelley. His claims about Lady Diana's marriage to Prince Charles, first dismissed, turned out to be almost wholly accurate. One weakness in Morton's case: the Scientologists claim Morton made no effort to check his facts with them. Even if the biographer didn't believe they'd provide any information, beyond blanket denials, it would have made sense to make at least a pro forma approach, if only to head off the Scientologists' inevitable public relations counter-attack. We'll see whether Morton has documentation.

In the most entertaining passage from the talking points, the Scientologists address the rumors about Katie Holmes impregnation by Hubbard sperm.

Further, and quite in addition to its vicious insult on parents and child, Morton's allegation could hardly be more offensive to the Church and its members concerning, as it does, the Founder of the religion and a man revered by millions world over. Finally, as distasteful as it is to have to say it, Mr. Hubbard's sperm was never frozen.