‘Scientology doc ‘Going Clear’ rocking Hollywood’,
The article I will be discussing reviews the claims of a documentary called Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief. The film, by Alex Gibney, was recently shown at Sundance and seems to have sent shockwaves throughout the festival and the film community. This documentary showcases the brainwashing, torture, organized harassment and blackmail allegedly used by the Church of Scientology. The movie includes footage of church founder Ron Hubbard, church leader David Miscavige and celebrity Scientologists such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta. It includes interviews with several people formerly involved with Scientology, who speak out about abuses within the organization. Paul Haggis, a former member of Scientology spoke out loud and clear about his reasons for leaving. In the movie it was stated that founder Hubbard was way ahead of the game with his resolve to win over Hollywood, and that Hubbard knew that pitching his ideas to movie stars was a wise move. Stars that support Scientology have come under attack for staying silent on Scientology’s alleged physical and mental abuse of some of its members. Scientology has failed to acquire recognition as a religion in many countries and is officially viewed as a cult in others. In some places, the organization is banned altogether.
In America, Scientology has been recognized as a religion, and as such is deemed a non-profit and tax-exempt division. The Scientology community has strongly condemned the film. In an article in the daily mail (http://goo.gl/2RYQcI), the Church of Scientology lashes out at the documentary calling the information therein fabricated and ridiculous. While reading the article on the film Going Clear, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the film watched in class about the Unification Church and its Moonies. They were portrayed as dangerous, abusive, and forceful, but the truth of the matter was that many in the sect were perfectly happy. A number of those who were shown in the movie as “Moonies” claim that they did not face any problems, but others, just like those interviewed in the film mentioned above, shared their horror stories. Like the documentary about the Moonies, Going Clear has a very one-sided bias take on the religion. Much of the press does not approve of the religion and has only negative things to say about it, as they find it strange and alien. I believe that regardless of what an individual feels towards a sect, when presented one-sided information, they should always research both sides of the story in order to make a final opinion. The documentary Going Clear provided a very black and white view of Scientology, and although many may not agree with the religion, or even be opposed to it, it is imperative that we as individuals make sure to check the facts and take both sides of a story into account before making a decision on how we feel about something portrayed in the media.