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Alex Gibney’s “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” Reviewed

goingclear01.0.0There are two problems with blind faith

1 – The Blindness


2- The Faith

But if you want to marry yourself to organized religion, it isn’t my problem, and if the said religion abuses you, don’t come whining to me.

Sci Fi writer and Navy braggadocio L. Ron Hubbard wrote a self help book called “Dianetics” which went viral and then fell off fast and so he developed it into a cult called “Scientology” and spent the rest of his life being chased by the IRS over taxes. After his death in the mid-80s. Dave Miscavige took over the reigns, battled the IRS into submission and became the leader of Scientology. Increasingly paranoid, he stuck all his second in commands in “the hole” (their jail) , folks like Senior Executive Mark Rathbun and Mike Rinder, who got out and blew the whistle on the Church.

Hiding itself as a self help manual for the insecure, it forces you to face your deepest fears and brings em up again and again to get money off you as you climb “the bridge” to level eight where, as Hank Stuever summed up in his Washington Post review, “Those who reach “OTIII” status are allowed to read Hubbard’s handwritten secrets locked away in a briefcase, a moment in which they discover that the key to it all is an intergalactic overlord named Xenu and that Earth was once an exile planet and is now rife with escaped “thetan” spirits dwelling within modern humans.”

That isn’t why anyone leaves the church.

Mark and Mike left because they were pushed out,

Screenwriter Paul Haggis (he wrote “Casino Royale” and “Quantum Of Solace”) quit when they forced him to chose between “disconnect” with his daughters who are lesbians, the Church doesn’t like homosexuals,  and the church. AFTER 35 YEARS.

The leaders of Scientology, including those who quit, are not very nice folks and Scientologists use insecurities to better a crackpot theology that will never be major because, as former Village Voice editor Tony Ortega notes, you can’t have a religion that can’t be explained in more than a couple of words. Christianity: God gave us his only begotten son who died so we can go to heaven if we believe in him. Islam: God gave Muhammad The Bible Part Three. Scientology?

With the exit of three of his top men, Dave has found Scientology’s secrets under siege and have used dirty tricks to get back at the apostates and that is the heart of Alex Gibney’s case against Scientology and make the case he does. The two hours are a superb indictment of Scientology, cogent, powerful, and patient., Gibney builds an airtight case except… He could probably do the exact same thing with any organized religion.

Honestly, unless there is stuff I am not hearing, I’ve seen nastier divorces than this.I really thought there was stuff about Scientology that would shock me, hidden graveyards filled with non believers, sex and drug parties, wholesale corruption of the IRS, anything…. what I got was babies who need their nappies changed (no, I am being entirely serious).  And compared to the major religions? These guys are amateurs who play by the book. Compare Scientology to Islamic Jihadists? To The Ayatollahs in Iran, the Talibans, the Catholic Church of the 15th Century? The Rabbi’s who sided with the Romans against Jesus? Scientologists seem reasonable and to be perfectly honest, it seems to me they are being picked on.

It doesn’t matter if you share their faith, that you believe a man walked on water and they believe there are aliens attacking you. You say baptize, they say go clear… no difference to an agnostic Out to attack Scientology, if I was Dave I’d use this as a recruiting tool -there is nothing close to the nightmares I had assumed in this religion. Three former heads of the religion leave and rat em out and THIS IS IT???

Grade: B


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