Following Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, his investigation into sex abuse in the Catholic church, Academy® Award-winning director Alex Gibney (HBO’s Taxi to the Dark Side) turns his gaze to Scientology in Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, based on the book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright. Gibney profiles eight former members of the church of Scientology, whose most prominent adherents include A-list Hollywood celebrities, shining a light on how the church cultivates true believers, including their experiences and what they are willing to do in the name of religion.
Attacking my religion is gross!
It's not even a belief system! Instead, it helps one to look at people, the world and the universe in such a way that one can really decide for oneself what is going on.
Shocking tale of brainwashing
Scientology has done mankind a HUGE favour, by showing us, right before our eyes:
- how easy it is to create a religion
- how easy it is to control and brainwash a lot of very intelligent, good people (and change them).
The story starts at the very begging of scientology's creation, and continues through to present day. It opens the doors on Scientology and brainwashing generally. It is fascinating, shocking, at times sad, and genuinely gripping. Includes excellent interviews with many ex-scientlogists, and high quality footage of the inside of scientology’s headquarters.
This film sets a high standard for documentary making and is certainly re-watchable.
Where to begin?
The Waiting Room
This is well structured and paced 'talking heads' style doc that interviews many high profile ex Scientologists who bravely and honestly recount their traumatic experiences within the 'Church'. It builds layer upon layer of insight and the impact is both frightening and shocking in equal measure. How such an organisation can exist is not that surprising - people want help and they like mystery and a sense of exclusivity, although it becomes increasingly revealing when you learn the backstory of LRH and his admission about his monetary ambitions ahead of setting up his 'religion'. When you find out the total backstory of the religion itself is when the whole thing starts to spiral into profound incredulity. I sat there with my mouth wide open in a state of mild paralysis. Watch.
Hopefully the deathblow for scientology
This documentary gives the story of scientology, a fine example of why religions should not be tax exempt.