Recently I watched the documentary, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief. Ever since the book, Dianetics, The Modern Science of Mental Health, I'd been curious about what all the hoopla was about. Not so much to help me in anyway, just as a curious outsider. Occasionally I'd see a copy of the book in an used book store, thumb through it, and it just seemed like some weak, watered down mumbo jumbo self-help type book, as well as being boring, so never bought a copy. Also I had a distant friend (mostly a friend of a friend) many years ago when I was living in Austin, Texas who went to the Church of Scientology, also probably out of his own curiosity as well, and when he tried to quit going to the church found out it was harder to do than he expected. He eventually moved from the Austin area, mostly seeking job opportunities, but I bet he was glad to get away from the Scientologist there as well. From what I had heard from a mutual friend the members of the cult hounded him pretty badly.
For starters, it's a very good documentary, well worth watching if you are curious about Scientology. I never thought of Scientology as a religion, and certainly don't now, I see it as a scam. Has it helped some people in life, well, I guess it has, but at the same time how many has it had a negative effect upon their lives? I always wondered if it's such a bogus institution, how or why do people get involved with it, and once involved, and they see through the bullshit, why do they stay involved? For one, it's unfortunate, but some of those that get involved with Scientology get involved as children, by way of their parents. For some others, they might have just been curious, like I or my friend was. Some of the people in the film, like director Paul Haggis, got involved at a pretty early age of 22, he was lonely, seeking the love from a lady, and they said they could help him with that. And slowly over time got in over their head. Plus like I said, it's very much a peer pressure type cult.
One thing you find out pretty quickly at the beginning of Going Clear is that Scientologist use acronyms and have they have their own jargon.
Scientologist use acronyms to convey certain things like SP for Suppressive Person, which is someone that doesn't believe in the religion or criticizes Scientology in any way. Wog is someone outside of the cult of Scientology--sort of like a Muggle in the Potter Universe, ha. I think they use terminology like this as a way to disguise some of their beliefs, but also perhaps was designed by their founder L. Ron Hubbard as a psychology tool.
It's a film that's engrossing, yet boggles the mind at the same time at least for me. I'm sure the experiences with Scientology are different for each person as well. If you're rich and famous like Tom Cruise or John Travolta, you might get the red carpet treatment, however, if you're just a run-of-the-mill person, well, they just might use you more or less like a slave to fulfill whatever needs they have. All in all, it's a documentary that's worth watching. Several people that were in the film, like Paul Haggis, and the recent book by Leah Remini also give their own opinions and experiences with the cult.