Netflix Documentary Delivers Chilling Investigation Into Powerful Institution

By Britta DeVore | Updated

Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Laura Prepon, Elisabeth Moss – what do all these celebrities have in common? They’re all members of the religious cult known as Scientology. The group has been around for decades but it’s proven to be incredibly difficult for those on the outside to get a full picture of what’s going on behind closed doors. That is, until Alex Gibney and HBO brought audiences the 2015 documentary feature, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief.

Now, not only can Max subscribers take a peek into one of the most guarded institutions in the world but the title is currently streaming on Netflix, giving subscribers access to the award-winning production.

Celebrities And Scientology

Going Clear 2015

Based on the 2013 novel penned by Lawrence Wright, who interviewed ex-Scientology members for his book, Going Clear pulls back the numerous layers of the religion that was created by L. Ron Hubbard. In particular, the documentary focuses on the celebrities tied to the organization and the allegations of abuse and exploitation that have stemmed from ex-members who have bravely escaped and spoken out. 

Ex-Scientologists Speak Up

Going Clear 2015

But these first-hand accounts aren’t just from any regular old members, the interviews include chats with the likes of Mike Rinder, the former head of the cult’s Office of Special Affairs, ex-second-in-command Mark Rathbun, Academy Award-winning film director Paul Haggis, and more. Through their words, these eager participants use their time in front of the camera in Going Clear to paint a damning picture of the verbal, mental, and physical abuse that those still trapped inside are forced to deal with. 

Scientology’s Imposing Influence

Going Clear 2015

If you’ve ever wondered how people get trapped in cults, Going Clear is the perfect way to uncover how the grooming process starts and is carried out without the person caught in the web any wiser – until it’s too late. For some, it’s the family they never had, while for others it’s the belief system first put forth by flim-flam man and sci-fi author, L. Ron Hubbard, that really hooked them in. And then there are those seeking stardom, who see success cases like Tom Cruise and John Travolta, and believe that if they join, the same fate will befall them. 

Intoxicating Power Is Never A Good Thing

Going Clear 2015

Once engulfed in the teachings of Hubbard, as Going Clear demonstrates, it’s nearly impossible for the new members to get out as their entire lives now center around their commitment to Scientology. It turns into a pyramid scheme-like situation where the victim pours money, labor, and mental and emotional energy into their every day inside the center until it seems like there’s no going back.

Very rarely do people rise through the ranks but when they do, as can be seen in the cases of Rinder and Rathbun, the power is intoxicating and it’s easy to become a monster. 

Going Clear Streaming On Netflix

Going Clear 2015

Going Clear perfectly demonstrates how, by this step in the process, breaking free is almost completely out of the question – just ask Nicole Kidman who was distanced from her relationship with Tom Cruise and their children after she left the group. Not only did the documentary win three Emmy Awards and nabbed a Peabody Award, but it was slammed by the Church of Scientology, which is really the icing on the cake. You can now stream Going Clear on Netflix.