Imagine being sucked into a group of people who welcome you like you’ve never been welcomed before. They convince you that if you give them all your money they will make your wildest dreams come true. They convince you to tell them all your secrets, you even allow them to implant false memories in your mind and pass them off as the truth, your inner most sacred thoughts on your past life. This process allows you to feel “clear.” As you move up the ranks of the organization you get your hands on “top secret” information about past “intergalactic civilizations” and you gain access to knowing the “truth.” But the “truth” is nothing more than a bad, drawn out science fiction story and you’ve committed your life to it. Sound confusing? I think so too.
This is the dream of L. Ron Hubbard and all of his followers are living it in the church of Scientology. Hubbard was a master manipulator and somehow he got away with it. All this and more is told in the HBO Documentary Going Clear. I had the opportunity to watch this documentary last night, and although it was a bit too long, the information brought forth in it is absolutely undeniable.
From what Going Clear presents, Hubbard was only looking for a get rich quick scheme. He ran with it, and ended up going crazy in the process. From tax evasion to slavery in prison camps, the documentary reveals the dirty ways in which the Church of Scientology keeps its power through brainwash and blackmail. The celebrity of the organization is what traps so many people. Celebrities like John Travolta, Kirstie Alley and Tom Cruise keep Scientology’s secrets. They go around and claim that the institution is the greatest belief system, the greatest thing to ever happen to them. And although it is believed that they are coaxed into making these types of statements, we will never really know until one of them tells the world. It would take a celebrity like one (or a few) of them to start the fall of Scientology.
What is so scary about Scientology, if what it stated in Going Clear is correct, is that everything that is shown (“auditing,” belief in “intergalactic civilizations,” worshiping of L. Ron Hubbard, violent beatings by Scientology leader David Misgavige, etc.) is known and perfectly accepted by Scientologists. It either doesn’t phase them or Scientology has so much “dirt” on your life and secrets that everyone is afraid to stand up and revolt.
As I stated before, Going Clear is a bit long but I would rank it as one of the most eye-opening documentaries along with Food Inc., Miss Representation, and PBS’ docu-series Latino Americans.