Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief

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A 2015 HBO documentary feature based on the 2013 Lawrence Wright book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief. The film deconstructs various claims made by the church and explores various stories by ex-members, it also explores the relationship that various A-list Hollywood celebrities have with the church, perhaps most notably Tom Cruise and John Travolta. The film was given a limited theater release a few weeks before being broadcast on HBO and was nominated for seven Emmy Awards, it won three of them.

The film can be broken into three distinct segments, one which examines how former Scientologists were recruited into the church, another scrutinizes the history of the church and its founder L. Ron Hubbard, and the third examines allegations of abuse of church members and inappropriate behavior of some of the church’s most senior officials.

The Church of Scientology launched a full scale attack on the producers of the film in an attempt to denounce the film, taking out full page advertisements in numerous national newspapers. The church has also been accused of harassment and threats towards those who chose to feature in the film as whistle-blowers, similar tactics were used against John Sweeney when he produced the documentaries Scientology and Me (2007) and The Secrets of Scientology (2010).

BOOK

The documentary was based on the US National Bestselling Lawrence Wright book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief, available to purchase in paperback, hardcover, and kindle formats. The book was a finalist for the National Book Award for Nonfiction.

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