JOHN TRAVOLTA once threat­ened to turn his back on Scientology so that he could run off and marry his boyfriend.

That’s the outrageous claim made in an explosive new anti- Scientology book, “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief,” by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright.

In the shocking tell-all, Wright alleges that a young Travolta had grown disenchanted with the church in the early ’80s but was afraid that officials would expose him as gay if he tried to leave.

Travolta, then the most promi­nent member of Scientology, had al­legedly confessed his homosexuality during church-run “auditing,” or coun­seling sessions, according to the book’s author. And while the author states that the church was terrified their top member would be exposed as gay – long considered to be an “illness” by Scientologists – Wright believes they were prepared to destroy the actor’s rising career by outing him if he tried to defect.

Frustrated over being trapped, in one emotionally charged audit­ing session, Travolta threatened to walk away from the church and “marry” his male lover even though gay marriage was not legal at the time, former Scien­tology official Jesse Prince told Wright.

Prince claims that he was the church’s second highest-ranking official when he left it after 16 years in 1992.

“Because of my position, I knew specifically what was said in certain auditing sessions, and I can confirm that John Travolta once threatened that he was go­ing to marry his boyfriend,” Prince told The ENQUIRER.

“There’s no question (Scientology) had a lot on John’s gay activities and used it to keep him from leaving – and to keep him in line.

“At one point, John was ready to erupt and said he’d get married – that he didn’t care anymore and would turn his back on them.”

In the end, says another source, the church convinced Travolta that fol­lowing through on his threat would NOT be in his best interest. He remained in the organization and eventually wed fellow Scientologist Kelly Preston in 1991.

Despite marrying a woman, Travolta, 58, continues to be at the center of gay scandals. In September, his former pilot Doug Gotterba told The ENQUIRER that he’d shared a six-year affair with the actor. And last spring, two male masseurs filed sexual battery suits against Travolta in federal court.

Although Travolta’s attorney vehemently denied the claims, several more men have since come forward with similar allegations.

 Scientology responds to Wright:  Karin Pouw of The Church of Scientology International said author Lawrence Wright “produced a work of fiction that does little more than regurgitate six decades of false, bizarre allegations about the religion’s Founder, its leadership and its promi­nent members.” She branded Wright’s sources as “angry, bitter individuals consumed with vengeance” a decade after being thrown out of the Church. “They lack credibility, are admitted liars with enormous axes to grind but fulfilled Lawrence Wright’s agenda,” Pouw added, in a media statement.