Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief


We will begin the session now.

You will remain aware

of everything that goes on.


We're going to find

an incident in your life

You have

an exact record of.

Then by sending you through it

at the time it happened,

We're going

to reduce it.

We will reduce the pain.

Go to the beginning

of that incident.

Tell me what's happening.

Well, these things

get all so...

I joined in 198--

It was a bunch of young kids,

like i was young...

We were all very heated,

very excited about this.

Can you recall a time

when you were happy?

I think the first time i saw

hubbard, and i was in awe...

We did, because you thought

we were doing good.

I mean, so you had

some gratification.

I felt a tremendous amount

of relief.

I got the answers

for everything

Within the religion.

What are you most afraid of?

It was dark.

00 in the morning,

There's a knock

on the hotel-room door.

Stop! I'll say whatever

you want,

I'll write up anything

that you want.

I flipped out.

I started punching holes

in the walls.

Things didn't seem quite right.

And you just feel

so foolish at that point.

Do you have a secret

you're afraid i'll find out?

Yes. Yes.

Go to the beginning

of that incident.

Okay, all right.

Tell me about it.

I was 21 years old,

Living in london,

ontario, canada.

I wanted to be

a documentary filmmaker.

And someone had told me

About what they called--

they said, "there's this cult

"in new york

called scientology,"

Which i'd never heard of.

"and if you give them

all your money,

"they'll make anything

possible in your life."

And about six months later,

i was walking down the street.

This guy was there

selling books.

And i realized

they were all the same book--


Which again,

i had never heard of.

He handed me one

and asked me to look at it.

He was talking.

I wasn't really listening

to him.

I opened the cover

and it said--

Stamped on the inside page,

it said "church of scientology."

And i said,

"take me there."

All right.

All right, here we go.

I'm not a great multitasker.

You know, and if i feel

like doing something,

that's what i do.

And, uh,

i was into this sh*t,

And i was becoming

an auditor.

Like, i was in scientology

probably four months,

And i had done more

than john travolta had done,

And he'd been there

for 85 years or some sh*t.

My agents called, you know,

"you got an audition."

"eh, f*** it, i don't really--"

you know what i mean?

I was on--

i'm on a spiritual adventure,

And this was like, "whoa,

this is an interesting road."

You know?

So, uh,

what was the question?

So tell me,

how was it you first

got involved in scientology?

Well, i was introduced to it

by some friends.

I don't know if they said it

or if it was just talked about

By others that

they had super powers.

And i-- i was, like,

really young,

But i thought, "i'd like

to have super powers!"

But also i had done

so much...

Political-social work.

So this really looked like--

that it was a solution

To handling a lot

of the world's problems.

Instead of trying

to handle things en masse,

You could deal with it

person by person,

Make each person better,

and thus the world would

get better and surer.

Well, thank you very much,

And welcome

to our whole new world.

It's a world where

the operative phrase reads...

"exceeding all expectations,

"transcending all parameters,

"extending the boundaries

beyond any boundary,

"not to mention

godspeed, lightning speed,

"and a quantum leap

in sheer rapidity of progress

up the bridge."

We're out to make every life


And if by chance

it ever seems laborious

or a sacrifice,

Then you are looking

at the offramps instead

of the highway.

You are missing

the signpost up ahead,

The one that reads,

"next stop, infinity."

Probably my favorite concept

of scientology

Is a world

without criminality,

A world without war,

and a world without insanity.

And i know

of no other group

That their goals

are that clear.

Look, i don't--

you name me another philosophy,

Religion, or technology

That one of its main goals--

besides the three

i mentioned earlier--

Where joy

is the operative concept.

These are

the times now, people.

Okay? These are the times

we will all remember.

Were you there?

What did you do?

So what do you say?

Can we clean this place up?



Because we're counting on you.


All right?

To lrh!







Scientology is such a subject

of fascination for people.

How did you get engaged

in the story?

Well, i've always

been interested in religions

And why people believe

one idea rather than another.

I've studied jonestown,

radical islam.

They're oftentimes

good-hearted people--

Idealistic, but full of

a kind of crushing certainty

That eliminates doubt.

You know, my goal

wasn't to write an expos.

It was simply

to understand scientology,

Trying to understand

what people get out of it.

You know, why do they

go into it in the first place?

I was

interested in intelligent

and skeptical people

Who are drawn

into a belief system

And wind up acting

on those beliefs

In ways they never

thought they would.

The church of scientology

turned out to be

Two offices

above a woolworth's store.

He asked me,

"what's ruining your life?"

I said,

"oh, i'm in love.

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Alex Gibney

Philip Alexander "Alex" Gibney (born October 23, 1953) is an American documentary film director and producer. In 2010, Esquire magazine said Gibney "is becoming the most important documentarian of our time".His works as director include Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (winner of three Emmys in 2015), We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks, Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (the winner of three primetime Emmy awards), Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (nominated in 2005 for Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature); Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer (short-listed in 2011 for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature); Casino Jack and the United States of Money; and Taxi to the Dark Side (winner of the 2007 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature), focusing on a taxi driver in Afghanistan who was tortured and killed at Bagram Air Force Base in 2002. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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