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324px-Going_Clear_PosterLUMPENPROLETARIATGoing Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (2015) is a must-see film, which forces us to question the nature of belief, i.e., faith, as a form of social organisation by which we may expect healthy outcomes for ourselves, our loved ones, our friends, and society.  Going Clear is based on Lawrence Wright‘s book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief (2013).  Produced by HBO, the film premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.  Going Clear has received widespread praise from critics and was nominated for seven Emmy Awards, winning three, including Best Documentary.  This mind-blowing documentary film is currently available on HBO Now (i.e., on demand), where I have just viewed it, as well as other digital media, such as Netflix DVD, Amazon, and whatnot.

Trailer:  “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” (2015)

I just finished watching Going Clear, thanks to the recommendation of a good friend with HBO access [1]; and now I recommend it to you.  You can add it to your list of things to see the next time you find yourself channel surfing for something interesting to watch.

Going Clear raises a number of questions.  If one religion has no evidence or proof behind its claims, but it is granted tax exemption and other state privileges, then what does the state do when a new religion is invented by a science fiction/pulp fiction novelist?  By what state criteria is a social grouping deemed a religion?  Must a government grant, for example, the Church of Scientology tax exemption because the church claims that alien “thetans” are possessing the “souls” of human beings and people have a right to their religious beliefs?  The US government, indeed, has granted the Church of Scientology tax exemption since its inception when the first Church of Scientology was opened in December of 1953.  Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s widow is quoted, famously, paraphrasing Hubbard:  If you want to get rich, start a religion.

L. Ron Hubbard (1911-1986), a George Washington University drop-out who was demoted from his military post for reckless conduct as a Navy captain, took a cue from the cult leader Aleistir Crowley (1875-1947) and a Crowley disciple named Jack Parsons (1914-1952), one of the founders of the jet propulsion laboratory.  Parsons even had a crater on the moon named after him for his accomplishments in his field.  But Parsons was also a boss in the German-based Ordo Templi Orientis, which followed the teachings of Crowley.  Hubbard saw how Crowley and Parsons were able to swindle people out of money by spinning tales of mythology and devising elaborate ceremonies designed to seduce sycophants into obedience.  Hubbard then developed a more accessible model than Crowley’s or Parsons’ models of fraud, by abandoning a narrow reliance on satanic imagery and instead opting for a pseudo-scientific framework for his best-selling book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health (1950).

By the 1950s, Hubbard had become a celebrity as a professional charlatan claiming to have found cure-all self-improvement discoveries, commanding hefty fees for speaking engagements.  Later, when the fad around Dianetics started to wane, Hubbard repackaged his Dianetics teachings into a full-blown religion in order to continue his revenue stream.  Various associates, including one of Hubbard’s ex-wives have reported that Hubbard often commented that starting a religion was a good way to make money.  Eventually, Hubbard had to go on the run from state authorities to avoid fines and years in prison, cruising around the world in his Church of Scientology sea vessels until ports around the Mediterranean began refusing Hubbard’s ships to dock in their ports.  Hubbard remained in hiding until his death, as the Church of Scientology grew, with tax emption being granted by the U.S. government, into a $3 billion dollar enterprise.

Going Clear exposes loads of evidence showing the Church of Scientology to be a predatory and exploitative institution narrowly devoted to enriching its executives and silencing its critics, amounting to a greedy and creepy cult-like atmosphere of paranoia, fear, and intimidation.  Ultimately, this film challenges us to question the willingness to have blind faith in our moral leaders; and it forces us to confront the dangers of accepting religious claims, however outlandish they may appear, simply on faith.  [2]

Messina

Actor Tom Cruise On the Church of Scientology

On the Church of Scientology, its Celebrity Centre in Florida, and recruiting celebrities and targeting celebrity defectors, such as Tom Cruise’s ex-wife Nicole Kidman.  A brief list of Celebrity Scientologists includes:  actors Tom Cruise (of course), Kirstie Alley, Jenna Elfman, Laura Prepon, Jason Lee (that figures), Priscilla Presley, Kelly Preston, John Travolta, Giovanni Ribisi, Juliette Lewis (no!), Michael Peña, as well as musicians Chick Corea, Sonny Bono, BeckDoug E. Fresh (ouch), Isaac Hayes (ouch), et al.

2005Matt Lauer vs. Tom Cruise

The Master (2012) is partly based on the Church of Scientology and its creator, L. Ron Hubbard

Scientology, the CIA, and Miviludes: Cults of Abuse

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  1. …as well as the fact that it’s directed by the excellent, and sociopolitically curious film director, Alex Gibney (b. 1953), who has directed acclaimed documentaries, such as We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks; Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (the winner of three primetime Emmy awards); Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (nominated in 2005 for Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature); Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer (short-listed in 2011 for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature); Casino Jack and the United States of Money; and Taxi to the Dark Side (winner of the 2007 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature), focusing on an innocent taxi driver in Afghanistan who was tortured and killed at Bagram Air Force Base in 2002.
  2. This article is under construction…pending full processing of this insane story, like the lyrics to the Bad Religion song, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

[Last modified 21:32 PST  16 OCT 2015]

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