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Church of Scientology Faces Harsh Criticism from Former High-Ranking Official

She is now being branded an "apostate."

The controversial Church of Scientology -- whose adherents include celebrities Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Kirstie Alley -- is coming under fire after an email blast from a former high-ranking church official revealed what she viewed as abuses of power by the church's leader, David Miscavige.

Debbie Cook, who a 17-year official at the church's Florida branch accused Miscavige of having the church engage in "continuous fundraising" and charged that they were spending too much money on constructing new church buildings.

ABC reports:

In the detailed email, Cook said she was still "completely dedicated" to the Scientology faith and was in good standing with church officials, and quoted dozens of excerpts from the church's texts by L. Ron Hubbard. She then contrasted Hubbard's written policies with her views of Miscavige's leadership of the church.

"This is one very important milestone right here," former church official Marty Rathbun told ABC News. "It's like a big breach in the dike, but it's not the only one."

Cook, whom the church has now labeled an "apostate" and heretic, condemned Miscavige for what she considers is the church's excessive fundraising and opulent Scientology centers. Cook believes such practices went against science fiction writer and "founder" L. Ron Hubbard's directives.

"Next time you are asked to donate outside of services, realize that you are engaged in fundraising and ask to see something in writing from L. Ron Hubbard that this is something he expects from you as a Scientologist," Cook wrote.

Watch the full ABC report below:

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