“Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” sheds new light on the religion

Tyler Goucher, Reporter

In the HBO documentary “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief”, Director Alex Gibney manages to give us an inside look at the controversial religion, which proved to be both interesting and deeply disturbing.

Throughout the course of the 2-hour long documentary, several ex-members are interviewed about their time spent as dedicated followers of the cult-like religion.

Paul Haggis, an award winning Writer/Director, talks about his time as a member of Scientology and how it took him over 20 years to realize just how corrupt and scandalous the leaders of the church were.

Jason Beghe, a seasoned actor, talks about how he went into the religion with a messed up head and came out even more messed up due to the mind games Scientology plays with its esteemed member’s heads.

Even some non-celebrity figures were interviewed in the documentary who were relatively high up in the organization who didn’t see the big picture of Scientology until they wasted years of their life and ridiculous amounts of money to find out they were pretty much studying the mind of a lunatic.

For a lot of ex-members, the story is very similar, in that they were so brainwashed for so long, that it took something very traumatic to snap them out of the spell they were put under by the extremely intelligent and manipulative L Ron Hubbard.

Hubbard was the founder of Scientology, but more important, he was an avid science fiction writer who wrote hundreds of short stories about fantastic ideas regarding mankind’s exploration to the stars and the idea that aliens inhabited the Earth long before we ever did. It’s interesting to think that a lot of what he wrote in his science fiction novels was transferred over to his book of Dianetics, which at the time was pretty much the “bible” of his soon-to-be religion, Scientology.

From the 1950’s to present day, the religion has grown in numbers and has gained a massive amount of celebrity members. The film depicts these members as the main reason why the religion has become such a controversial topic, and also why Scientology is worth billions of dollars. At one point, one of Hubbard’s ex-spouses says that he mentioned several times that “the only way to make real money in this world without the government taking it away from you, is to start a religion.”

And that’s exactly what he does, through many years of fighting the IRS to prove that they are a religious organization that should be tax exempt, the government finally caves and gives them what they want. Although the majority of the money goes toward building more churches and spreading the word of a science fiction writer, the leaders of the church still fight to make sure their public opinion is in a positive light. In fact, the film explains that Scientology, beyond any other religion, will go to considerable lengths to maintain a good public image. Now I thought I knew a lot about Scientology and the shady nature of it’s so-called religious philosophy, but this film really does dive a lot deeper than I expected. I won’t spoil the details because I believe this is an important film for everyone to watch, but I will say that I have a newfound disgust toward Scientology, it’s founder and some of their oh-so famous members. I give “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief”