John Travolta and Tom Cruise have been two of the biggest proponents for the Church of Scientology over the years, and now a documentary about the church and the role it plays in the actors' lives has taken aim at revealing just how influential its leaders are.
In HBO's Going Clear: Scientology And The Prison Of Belief, former members tell horror stories about their time with the organization and reveal secrets that have, until now, never been spoken of except in inner circles. And while Cruise and Travolta declined to comment for the two-hour special, others have stepped in to shed some light on what allegedly goes on behind closed doors.
According to the doc--which is based on the book by Lawrence Wright--the church uses the huge Hollywood names attached to it in order to garner more followers and, by the same token, more money. Keeping those famous followers, according to one former member, is done by way of "audits", which consist of a member revealing their darkest secrets to higher officials within the church in order to cleanse their spirits. These audits are reportedly recorded, which would make it very difficult for a member to turn on the church later.
“I know this because I used to do it when I was the head of the office of special affairs. By exposing these secrets or threatening to expose them, they will cower the person into silence," said former member Mike Rinder.
The Church of Scientology released a statement about the documentary, saying it is "built on falsehoods invented by admitted liars" and calling out Rinder--whom they say was expelled from the church a decade ago--for being unable to hold a job after leaving the church.
This bigoted propaganda by Alex Gibney and Lawrence Wright is built on falsehoods invented by admitted liars. What Alex Gibney did was scrape the bottom of the barrel to assemble the most discreditable former members, expelled from the Church some as long as three decades ago, led by a wannabe guru that formed a small anti-Scientology hate group, and then presented them as “representative” of the religion and its members—all while ignoring every actual member of the religion and the glorious renaissance the Church of Scientology actually is experiencing today....Mike Rinder, one of his sources, is the type of deadbeat Mr. Gibney chose to use as a subject. Rinder’s only source of income is attacking the Church, in the media and in trying to drum up law suits to score a payday from the Church. Of course, he always loses. That is Rinder’s history. He was removed from his position in external affairs in the Church over a decade ago and he was expelled from the religion. He has admitted to lying and has a record of suborning perjury. Since his departure from the church, he has been unable to and unwilling to hold any honest job. Mr. Gibney covered up everything about him including that he is a wife beater and all around horrendous family man.