Review: ‘Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief’

Going Clear (HBO)

A chilling look at what constitutes a tax-exempt religion and how they spend that money to stalk, harass, and sue the rest of society into silent acceptance. Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief is a 2015 documentary about the history of Scientology, including some really damaging interviews with former high-ranking members. Directed by Alex Gibney and produced by HBO, it is based on Lawrence Wright’s book of a similar name.

Since receiving its tax-exempt status in 1993, the Church of Scientology has amassed billions of dollars and real estate holdings that would make Donald Trump jealous. The documentary lays out a laundry list of other activities the Church has spent its tax-exempt money on over the last two decades, including:

  • Stalking and harassing former Church members and private citizens — including BBC journalists
  • Wire tapping Nicole Kidman’s private residence
  • Paying Sea Org. members $0.49 an hour
  • Using Church funds and labor for Tom Cruise’s personal benefit
  • Imprisoning senior executives in “The Hole” and forcing them to fight each other
  • Operating websites whose only purpose is to discredit and defame private citizens
  • Hundreds if not thousands of lawsuits over the years
  • Producing a really embarrassing music video
  • Creating a fake girlfriend for Tom Cruise, which included a $20,000 wardrobe from Burberry as part of the Church’s “humanitarian effort”
  • Using Tom Cruise and other celebrities to influence politicians and “opinion leaders”

The documentary leaves you without a doubt that the 50,000 remaining members are not the ones being bettered by the Church’s massive resources.

Obviously, the Church denies all of these allegations and any other claims made in Going Clear, calling it propaganda (read the response). Which, is a good enough reason to watch it in my estimation. 

Tom Cruise’s Toys (Source: Gawker)
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