This personal essay about Scientology will peel away the layers surrounding the mysterious organization founded by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard.
The film will mix in humor to tell a very serious story about a group which committed the single largest case of espionage against the U.S. government; whose founder went from writing pulp fiction for a penny a word to creating an organization that reaches into countries throughout the world; a group which followed Hubbard's orders to use the court system to destroy its enemies and to bring the IRS to its knees; and which, 20 years after his death, still mirrors the fantasies, neurosis and paranoia of its late founder.
To most people, Scientology is that Hollywood religion. And until recently, many thought that if Tom Cruise belonged to it, it couldnt be that bad. But through interviews with former long-time members, religious scholars, law enforcement, attorneys, politicians and others, well pull back the curtain and show what Scientology actually believes and how it behaves. We'll talk to former members about their experiences, including members of the Sea Org, the elite paramilitary organization inside of Scientology whose members sign a billion year service contract to work for Scientology, coming back lifetime after lifetime. Working 80-100 hours a week for little pay, these dedicated members keep the organization running and cater to the needs of the wealthy public Scientologists who flock to the main centers in Los Angeles and in the small Florida town of Clearwater, known as Scientologys mecca. Former Sea Org members will tell stories of both mental and physical abuse and how even an offhand remark can land them in trouble with management and get them sent to the Rehabilitation Project Force (the RPF) where they will be forced to do hard labor for months or years at a time, separated from loved ones until they are allowed back into the good graces of the group.
For decades, Scientology has relished their reputation of not being a turn the other cheek religion. They have fought back hard at anyone who dared speak out about them. Hubbard said anyone who attacked Scientology is a criminal. All one needed to do was dig up their crimes to silence them. He labeled his enemies Fair Game and said they could be lied to, tricked, sued or destroyed by any means by any Scientologist.
While this film will deal with serious issues, it will tell the story in an entertaining way, close to the spirit of a Michael Moore or Morgan Spurlock film. Much of the story is bizarre, incredible and over the top. Hubbard himself said their greatest defense is that no one would believe it. Yet, it's all documented. Hubbard was obsessive about keeping written orders on how precisely to acheive a goal, whether it was taking over the government or tucking in a bed sheet. His written words are sacred and are not to be altered. He is called Source. Rewriting Source is a high crime in Scientology. Yet we'll show how the current management struggles with updating his materials, whether to be more politically correct or in order to re-sell the materials to the group's shrinking membership.
We'll look at how Scientology attacks psychiatry through their front group, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, whose stated goal is to eradicate psychiatry completely, with the use of tax exempt religious donations. We'll look at how Scientology uses other front groups such as Narconon, Criminon and Applied Scholastics to recruit new members. Whether through drug rehab, business seminars or stress tests given to passers-by on the street, there are many ways to meet Scientology but they all are meant to move you onto the Bridge. The group's motto is Think for Yourself but the deeper one gets into the group, we'll see the more one's reality is stripped away and replaced by Hubbard's reality. The more indoctrinated you become, the more you find yourself thinking what Hubbard wants you to think.
We'll dissect what many call Hubbard's mind control factory. This film will explore Scientology's beliefs and actions and the nature of religious freedom in America. It will weave in public encounters I've had over the past decade with Scientologists. From L.A. to Clearwater, I've captured some amazing footage showing the way Scientologists are trained to react. Hubbard wrote that anyone who attacks Scientology is a criminal which is why so often they demand to know, "What are your crimes, Mark?"
The film will ask whether you can speak out against fraud and abuse in a group and still respect their religious beliefs; even though those extraordinary beliefs spring from a man who lied about virtually every well documented aspect of his life! Can a group shrouded in mystery maintain its power in the age of the internet? a device the futuristic founder of Scientology never imagined.
Click here to see excerpts from many of the interviews given so far for the movie.
Each year since 2008 has been worse for corporate Scientology. The release of the Tom Cruise videotape spawned the rise of Anonymous' Project Chanology. Former Scientologists Marc Headley, Nancy Many, Jefferson Hawkins and Amy Scobee released important books about their experiences. Former execs Marty Rathbun and Mike Rinder broke their silence to give reporters an inside view of the insanity within the management of Scientology which led to a wave of Scientologists fleeing the organization and withdrawing their support of David Miscavige's leadership.
After years of intimidation, the press feels free to once again write about Scientology and hardly a day goes by when there isn't an item exposing some aspect of the group. Janet Reitman and Hugh Urban published important new books on Scientology with a third book soon to appear from journalist Jeffrey Wright.
Now is the time for this film to get made and get seen. I'm confident we'll have a large audience ready to hear this important story.