Dangerous Persuasions: A Scientologists Escape

A scientologists escape2015| Discovery ID | Dangerous Persuasions: A Scientologist’s Escape
View Online | Download as .mp4 | View in video window after the break

This programme is the second in the “Dangerous Persuasions” series which deals with Scientology. The first was, “My Eternal Contract“. Broadcast in 2013, this was a dramatisation of Nancy Many’s 2009 memoir “My Billion-Year Contract“, a book in which she describes her 27-year involvement with the Church of Scientology.

This programme treats the experience of Mark “Marty” Rathburn in very much the same style – it begins with his recruitment (which he presents as motivated by a desire to learn how to help his mentally ill brother).  It then covers his rise to the position of right-hand man to the present ‘leader’ of the Church, David Miscavige  – and his fall from grace (he is attacked by Miscavige, and then effectively imprisoned in a Scientology compound) . Finally it presents his dramatic escape on a motorcycle, by accelerating through a security gate as it is closed after a  car.

Subsequently, Rathburn has been the subject of extraordinary persecution by members of the Church of Scientology. One of the more blatant episodes is documented in the programme “Scientologists at War“which was broadcast in 2013. This persecution is presently the subject of a court case, in which Church of Scientology has argued that this behaviour is an expression of religious belief protected by the first amendment to the US constitution.

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Going Clear: Scientology and The Prison of Belief

Going_Clear_Poster2015 | Going Clear:Scientology and the Prison of Belief | Alex Gibney | HBO

View Online| Download as .mp4

The long wait is over, “Going Clear”  was broadcast in the US on the 29th of March 2015.

This film has been so keenly anticipated by activists because it promises to bring the story of the Church of Scientology into the mainstream, and could prove to be a game-changer.

Please, buy a copy when the film becomes available for download, or on DVD. The people who made this need our support.

A review will follow (after I’ve seen the film myself).

Important news about the availability of “Going Clear” in the UK follows after the break.

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“The Master” – An Imaginative Transformation of the History of Scientology

The Master2012 | The Master | Paul Thomas Anderson (Director and Writer)

Watch Online | Download as .mp4 (1.06Gb)

When Paul Anderson’s film, “The Master” was announced many critics were (understandably) hoping that it would be explicitly anti-Scientology, and follow historical events as closely as the studio’s lawyers would permit. However, an interview  with Anderson for Newsweek suggested that this was not the case:

“[…] I didn’t want it to be a biography. It’s not the L. Ron Hubbard story,” Anderson says. He was inspired by a quote he read that the period after wars was a particularly fertile time for spiritual movements to start. “That was a hook you could hang your hat on.”

Having said this, viewers who are familiar with Scientology will recognise the ‘Master’ of the title (a cult leader called Lancaster Dodd) and his organisation ‘The Cause’.  Also, many of the characters, relationships and events in the film parallel Dianetics and Scientology, not to mention crucial elements of the cult’s doctrines.

However, this is an ‘alternative universe’ version of Scientology which is used to explore a wide range of themes – e.g. family, misplaced loyalty, the trauma inflicted by war – and the film is all the better for this.

Paradoxically, “The Master” enables the viewer to understand Scientology by approaching it not through rigorous scholarship and detailed time-lines, but via an imaginative transformation which brings out its historical context. Scientology critics should not be disappointed that this was not a narrow docudrama condemning Scientology – they should embrace it for what it was – a masterpiece of imaginative cinematography which shows all modern gurus  in a very bad light.

View the film in a video window after the break. Continue reading

The Profit (2001) | Banned Film

The_Profit_movie_poster 2001 The Profit | Independent film | Director: Peter F Alexander | Download .mp4 file

Financed by an ex-Scientologist, and featuring cameo roles by prominent critics, this (relatively low-budget) independent feature film presents a fictional version of the history of the Church of Scientology by… changing the names of everything:

  • ‘L Ron Hubbard’ becomes ‘L Conrad Powers’
  • ‘The Church of Scientology’ becomes ‘The Church of Scientific Spiritualism’
  • The ‘e-meter’ becomes a ‘mind meter’

This is not a great film (for various reasons given below).  It deserves exposure, however, because of the astonishing way in which it was suppressed.

“The Profit” was to be released at the same time as the Church of Scientology was appearing in court, accused  of causing the wrongful death of Lisa McPherson . The Church claimed that release of the film may influence the jury in that case, and  should be delayed until the trial was over.

In 2002, US  Senior Circuit Judge Robert E. Beach agreed. However, he did not stop there. In an absolutely unprecedented move, he crossed out the proposed language limiting the scope of the injunction to the geographical jurisdiction of his court so that it applied worldwide.

The Lisa McPherson case effectively ended in 2005, and the injunction was lifted in 2007. However, in the intervening time, the company formed to make the film had derived no revenue from it,  and  the Church of Scientology had seized effective control of it. Unsurprisingly, it has never been released. Consequently, the “Disinformation Book of Lists”, and the British newspaper “The Times” characterise it as a ‘banned film’. Continue reading

The Bridge

The_Bridge_(2006_drama)_DVD_boxart2006 The Bridge | Brett Hanover

“The Bridge” is a 2006 drama film directed by film maker Brett Hanover

Although the story (following an individual’s recruitment, involvement and disillusionment with Scientology) is fictional the film explicitly uses Scientology terms throughout. It also includes clips from real, contemporary Scientology promotional and training videos. It was released as free use media to the Internet in September 2006 by the film maker.

The fact that the film accurately depicts the way people talk and behave within Scientology orgs provides some insight for outsiders – providing they have studied the cult sufficiently closely to understand what is going on.

The brochure of the Indie Memphis film festival stated that The Bridge was the “first feature film” about the Church Of Scientology.

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