Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (2015)

Table of Contents


Going Clear cover

Is “going clear” one of your goals? In our fall season, we continue to explore, along with our cinefile friends and follower groups, the nature of persuasion in our midst.

Our September movie investigates Scientology, a religious organization that has persuaded numbers of people to apply their rules, principles, creeds, and codes using a method called “Dianetics.”

Applying the ideas in Dianetics, The Modern Science of Mental Health (Hubbard, 2007), Scientologists believe that a person can attain a new state of mind called “Clear.”

According to the Scientology website,

thousands upon thousands of people have achieved the state of Clear, a living tribute to the workability of L. Ron Hubbard’s discoveries.

Clears” are self-confident, happy and generally successful in both careers and interpersonal relationships.

How are we to think about Scientology, a religious group that has suffered much criticism, yet appears to be expanding its presence around the world? Knowing some pros and cons of Scientology helps us understand more about the filmmakers’ intentions and perspectives as we watch it.

Will you be persuaded to join?


Gibney, A. [Director]. (2015). Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief [Motion Picture]. USA: HBO.

Hubbard, L. R. (2007). Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. Bridge Publications.

Wright, L. (2013). Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief. New York: Vintage Books.

From our last season:

Thirty-Eight Witnesses, by Abe Rosenthal The Witness is a 2015 documentary by director James D. Solomon about the murder of Kitty Genovese.
Symbionese Liberation symbol Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst describes events surrounding the 1974-75 kidnapping of newspaper heiress Patty Hearst by the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA).



We are in the proposal stages of our new book with 300+ pages of informative content on how movies communicate. We can’t wait for you to read it!

Persuasion or Propaganda?

Are you preparing yourself  . . . to think beyond the barrage of extreme and polarized opinions?

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