Tuesday, March 31, 2015
But Gibney created a beautifully focused and simplified narrative of the birth of Scientology, its growth and most obvious crimes by just using L. Ron Hubbard's own words, either spoken or written (and own record, like the documents that prove him to have been lying pretty much all his life), as well as those who followed his teachings but have broken free of the insane mindset his teachings induced when enforced with the cultish oppression and exploitation he came up with (like anything good that happens to you is thanks to Scientology, anything bad is your fault and just means you have to give up even more control of your mind and life to "the church" etc., or lying is always justified to defend Scientology and its leaders, or when someone questions the church or its leaders they must be attacked, harassed, humiliated, lied about, etc.).
Gibney creates a movie watching experience that had me angry, sad, (crushed is the word I used with my fellow film watcher) and yelling at the TV. His use of distinct and articulate characters with firsthand knowledge of Scientology (including several who had been among the top leaders of the cult for most of their lives) to explain the initial attraction and escalating brain washing that led to their accepting worse and worse conditions and outcomes and fear (to doubt the "church" or its leaders meant being ostracized and cut off from family and friends etc. the usual cult jive).
The most disturbing fact the movie exposes, and the only one I hadn't known before (one of the great things about this documentary is that despite my knowledge of almost everything the movie exposes the reality had never hit me so hard, before watching this flick) is that despite membership falling the church's wealth continues to grow. From tax records that probably only show a portion of its true holdings, it's over three billion (with a "b").
Three billion dollars wields a lot of power anywhere. Hopefully this film will lead to Scientology finally being taxed as a profit making business which exploits its workers (even the top leaders admitted the most they made was fifty dollars a week, and the people doing the heavy lifting wished they could make that much). Think of what that three billion could do for poor communities in this country. Scientology is just another corporation where the top few folks make millions and everyone else works far too much for far too little and the rest of us taxpayers pay the bill.