“Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief ” the Alex Gibney documentary based on the well researched book of the same name by Lawrence Wright aired Sunday night on HBO.
Many of us at myTalk are interested in the inner workings of the church of Scientology, and specifically its intersection with Hollywood. One of the PR pillars of Scientology is the attempt to recruit celebrities who will then serve as examples of all the good Scientology can bring to your life. Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Anne Archer, and Elizabeth Moss are just a small handful of celebrities who are affiliated with the religion.
Having read the book, I anticipated many of the same stories and revelations to come to light in the documentary. My husband was watching alongside me and had not read the Lawrence Wright book that the documentary is based on. Having already heard so many of the stories I did not find the stories so shocking, but my husband’s reactions reminded me of how troubling what goes on behind the walls of the Church actually is.
The documentary follows accounts of many former members of Scientology who share similar stories of abuses they suffered and brainwashing they experienced. Some of the those interviewed had been high ranking members of the church’s corporate team, some had been members of the Sea Organization, the Church’s staff, and Paul Haggis, the Oscar Award winning director also shared his harrowing story of choosing to leave the church after having sunk hundreds of thousands of dollars into the organization. All the stories are similar and equally troubling, and each of them help you to understand better the complicated web of indoctrination that the church of Scientology depends on to survive, and the literal and figurative price that the system comes at on the part of the Scientologist.
If you have even the slightest interest in the Church of Scientology or why people are called to certain belief systems, “Going Clear” is a must watch. Get yourself an HBO Go account now. The benefit of the documentary is the ability to actually see the footage they discuss at length in the book. And in the absence of that aforementioned HBO Go account, the Lawrence Wright book the documentary is based on is a must read.