Friday, May 8, 2015

Going Clear: The Book and the Film

Before I jump into this, it's worth noting that the book has a bunch of information that was not in the documentary. Prompting many (including me) to believe  it could have been better suited as a mini series like HBO's The Jinx.

Here is what the documentary left out that I wish was put in:
  -L. Ron Hubbard driving his son Quentin to suicide after setting all his levels back to zero
  -Pat and Annie Broeker being given leadership roles after L Ron's passing.
  -More information on Tommy Davis and Anne Archer
  -More information on the members who suffered from mental illness
  -Shelly Miscavage's disappearance

There's three main reasons why I find Scientology so interesting and this documentary answered all three well:

1) Why do people join such an organization?
2) What keeps them from leaving?
3) What happens to ex members once they leave?

There's a bait and switch that goes on. If you asked anyone in the church about Xenu the galactic overlord they would laugh at you. The thing of it is: this information is not disclosed until a person reached OT Level 3. Until a scientologist is spiritually and ethically prepared to handle such information, it is considered restricted. That's the deal. Once you are that committed, the information comes less as a shock to the system. You don't runaway laughing, you dig deeper.

But say you did decide to leave. What would they do to stop you? Well for one, all of the auditing sessions you take are recorded in books. All of your secrets are kept on file. So if you do defect, they can hold the secrets over your head. It's technically not blackmail because an exchange of money is not involved, but it does belong to another pattern that is already becoming familiar: abuse of trust.

The one story in the documentary that was the most heartbreaking was from Spanky Taylor. Spanky was a part of the Sea Org. An elite unit of Scientology that signs billion year contracts and do manual labor 7 days a week for little to no day. They are also not allowed to have children. A total shift in environment from the treatment Scientology grants celebrities like Tom Cruise. Spanky Taylor is just one of many stories that need to have light shed on to stop such abusive treatment from this organization.

After watching the documentary, I surfed youtube and found even more affected ex members of the church including the niece of David Miscavage and relatives of L. Ron Hubbard.

Ex members are stalked, harassed and made targets of several websites that attack their character. Many of these defectors still have family members in the church. What happens is that anyone who has negative thoughts regarding this belief system is labeled a Suppressive Person. Members are told to Disconnect from these people. Families are split apart. Mothers from daughters and fathers from sons. No contact whatsoever.

Scientology's backlash against the film isn't nearly as vocal as you'd think it would be. But it's there. The church has produced several videos smearing each interviewer in the documentary and tags them all as "embittered obsessed zealots".

Until then, this is your Suppressive Person signing off.


  1. Great post. I found this doc to be very interesting, and I'd like to check the book out now as well since there's so much info it seems they left out.

    1. Thank you Brittani! The book is really well researched.

  2. I really want to see this. This organization is so fascinating because of the secrecy. Great post!

  3. I think you'll really love it.

  4. I didn't know that stuff (from the book) had been left out of the doc, I guess you are right that it could have been a series then.