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10 Things We Learned From The Scientology Documentary 'Going Clear' — Recently Aired on HBO

Left: Photo by Dominic Alves; Right: Photo by Joe Howell.
Left: Photo by Dominic Alves; Right: Photo by Joe Howell.
By Eric Thurm
...HBO aired Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, Alex Gibney's documentary exposé of the Church of Scientology and its founder, science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. While much of the information contained within the film isn't technically new (especially since the doc is based on executive producer Lawrence Wright's book of the same name), it does forcefully, brutally put faces to many of the stories, and assembles a meticulous, damning case against the church. The organization had taken aggressive action to counterattack (including a full-page ad in The New York Times) after the movie's premiere at Sundance last January, and now that the film has finally aired on the cable channel, they're likely to go on the offensive as a whole new audience begins to discuss some of the Scientology's more terrifying, disturbing practices. Here are 10 of Going Clear's biggest talking points.

  • L. Ron Hubbard's (the founder of Scientology) life was built on a series of lies and bullying
  • Hubbard sent letters about Dianetics to the American Psychological Association (even though Scientologists claim they don't believe in psychology.
  • Scientology's clergy formed as a response to investigations
  • The "secret" behind Scientology alienated many of the church's members
  • The church essentially went to war with the IRS over tax exemption
  • Scientology's win over the IRS allowed the church to rake in money
  • Members of Sea Org who criticize the church are "destressed" through torture
  • Scientology blackmails its members with private "audit" sessions
  • The church broke up Tom Cruise's marriage to Nicole Kidman
  • Miscavige (the current leader of Scientology) created a prison camp for Sea Org members

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