Milena Hyman

Written by Milena Hyman

Modified & Updated: 19 May 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith


Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief is a powerful and thought-provoking documentary that delves deep into the controversial religion of Scientology. Directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney, the film uncovers the dark and complex world of Scientology, revealing shocking secrets and exposing the manipulative tactics used by its leaders.

In this article, we will explore 41 fascinating facts about the documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief. From its inception to the impact it has had on the public’s perception of Scientology, we will dive into the intriguing details that make this film an eye-opening experience for viewers.

So, buckle up and get ready to explore the depths of this film as we uncover the truth behind the Scientology movement and the gripping tale presented in Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief.

Key Takeaways:

  • Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief is a revealing documentary that uncovers the secretive world of Scientology, shedding light on its controversial practices and influential celebrity members.
  • The film’s in-depth research, interviews with former members, and archival footage provide a captivating and thought-provoking exploration of Scientology, sparking public interest and scrutiny.
Table of Contents

The movie was released in 2015.

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 2015.

The film is based on the book by Lawrence Wright.

Lawrence Wright’s book, also titled “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief,” served as the primary source material for the documentary.

The movie exposes the inner workings of Scientology.

Going Clear pulls back the curtain on the practices and controversies surrounding the Church of Scientology, providing an in-depth look into its history and beliefs.

Alex Gibney won an Emmy for his direction.

Acknowledged for his exceptional work on Going Clear, Alex Gibney received the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special in 2015.

The film is filled with interviews from former Scientologists.

Going Clear features interviews with eight former high-ranking members of the Church, who share their personal experiences and insights into Scientology.

Tom Cruise and John Travolta are prominently featured.

The documentary sheds light on the involvement of high-profile celebrities such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta in the Church of Scientology.

The film reveals allegations of abuse within the Church.

Going Clear tackles the controversial topic of alleged physical and mental abuse experienced by former members of Scientology.

It explores the origins of Scientology.

The documentary provides a historical overview of the founding of the Church of Scientology by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard in the early 1950s.

Going Clear reveals the inner workings of Scientology’s Sea Organization.

The film discusses the Sea Org, a secretive organization within Scientology known for its stringent rules and demanding lifestyle.

The documentary examines the financial practices of the Church.

Going Clear exposes the alleged financial manipulation and exploitation of members within the Church of Scientology.

The film garnered widespread critical acclaim.

Going Clear received rave reviews from critics and holds an impressive 94% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Its release faced legal challenges.

The Church of Scientology launched a campaign against the film, attempting to discredit its claims and prevent its distribution.

The movie won three Emmy Awards.

In addition to Alex Gibney’s win, Going Clear also received Emmys for Outstanding Writing and Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming.

Going Clear was screened at the Sydney Film Festival.

The documentary had its international premiere at the Sydney Film Festival in June 2015.

The film was based on extensive research.

Director Alex Gibney and his team conducted in-depth research and interviews over a span of several years to gather the information presented in the documentary.

Going Clear received an Oscar nomination.

The film was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 88th Academy Awards.

The documentary addresses allegations of blackmail.

Going Clear investigates claims that the Church of Scientology has used information obtained through auditing sessions to blackmail its members.

The film questions the tax-exempt status of the Church of Scientology.

Going Clear raises concerns about whether the Church should maintain its tax-exempt status as a religious organization.

It highlights the disconnection policy within Scientology.

The documentary explores the practice of disconnection, in which members are encouraged to cut ties with friends and family who are critical of the Church.

The film provides insight into the celebrity culture within the Church.

Going Clear examines the special treatment and perks afforded to celebrity members of Scientology.

Going Clear recounts alleged instances of forced labor.

The documentary illustrates accounts of former members being subjected to unpaid or underpaid labor while part of the Church.

The film investigates the mysterious disappearance of Scientology leader David Miscavige’s wife.

Going Clear delves into the puzzling absence of Shelly Miscavige, wife of Church leader David Miscavige, and the speculation surrounding her whereabouts.

Going Clear sparked a renewed public interest in Scientology.

The documentary reignited public discussion and curiosity about the beliefs and practices of Scientology.

It was one of HBO’s most watched documentaries.

Going Clear garnered significant viewership and became one of HBO’s most-watched documentaries of all time.

The film’s release coincided with the publication of the book.

Going Clear was released around the same time as Lawrence Wright’s book, creating a powerful one-two punch that exposed the Church of Scientology to a wider audience.

The Church of Scientology released a public statement denouncing the film.

In response to the documentary, the Church issued a strongly worded statement refuting its claims and criticizing its makers.

Going Clear raises questions about the credibility of Scientology’s founder.

The documentary presents evidence challenging the credibility of L. Ron Hubbard and his autobiographical accounts.

It explores the use of coercive tactics within the Church.

Going Clear examines allegations of psychological manipulation, intimidation, and control exerted by the Church of Scientology on its members.

The documentary reveals the extent of surveillance conducted by the Church.

Going Clear uncovers the elaborate surveillance methods employed by the Church to monitor and control its members.

It features interviews with former high-ranking Church officials.

Going Clear includes firsthand accounts from former Scientology executives, shedding light on the inner workings of the organization.

The film addresses accusations of harassment against the Church.

Going Clear explores claims made by former members that they were subjected to harassment and intimidation tactics by the Church.

It reveals the influence of Scientology on Hollywood.

The documentary delves into the Church’s influence within the entertainment industry, particularly in relation to its prominent celebrity members.

Going Clear questions the validity of Scientology’s religious status.

The film poses the question of whether Scientology should be recognized as a religion or regarded as a business enterprise.

It provides a platform for former members to share their stories.

Going Clear gives a voice to those who have left the Church of Scientology, allowing them to share their experiences and shed light on its inner workings.

The film explores the concept of “auditing” in Scientology.

Going Clear explains the practice of auditing within Scientology, where members undergo intensive counseling sessions to address their past traumas.

It incorporates archival footage.

Going Clear features a wealth of archival footage, including interviews with L. Ron Hubbard and promotional materials from the early days of Scientology.

The documentary received a Peabody Award.

Going Clear was honored with a prestigious Peabody Award for its investigative journalism and thought-provoking exploration of the Church of Scientology.

It is considered a landmark documentary on Scientology.

Going Clear is widely regarded as one of the most comprehensive and revealing documentaries on the subject of Scientology.

The film faced legal challenges.

The Church of Scientology aggressively pursued legal action against the documentary, making it difficult for its distribution in some countries.

It received praise from renowned film critics.

Going Clear was lauded by critics for its meticulous research, compelling storytelling, and its ability to shed light on the secretive nature of Scientology.

The film played a role in expanding public awareness of Scientology.

Going Clear brought the controversial practices of the Church of Scientology into the mainstream consciousness, increasing public interest and scrutiny.

In conclusion, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief is a groundbreaking documentary that exposes the inner workings and controversies surrounding the Church of Scientology. Through interviews, archival footage, and extensive research, the film presents a compelling and thought-provoking exploration of this secretive organization. It sheds light on the experiences of former members and raises intriguing questions about the nature of Scientology and its impact on society. Whether you’re already familiar with Scientology or new to the subject, Going Clear is a must-watch documentary that will leave you questioning and wanting to learn more.


Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief is a gripping documentary that delves deep into the history and inner workings of the controversial Church of Scientology. Through its extensive research and interviews with former members, the film sheds light on the alleged abuses and manipulations within the organization.

With its thought-provoking content and compelling storytelling, Going Clear challenges viewers to question the role of belief systems in society and raises important ethical and moral dilemmas. The film serves as a reminder of the power of information and the need to critically analyze the messages we receive.

Overall, Going Clear is a must-watch for anyone interested in understanding the hidden world of Scientology and the impact it has on its followers.


Q: What is Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief about?A: Going Clear is a documentary that exposes the inner workings of the Church of Scientology and delves into its alleged abusive practices and the hold it has over its followers.

Q: Is Going Clear an unbiased documentary?A: The documentary presents a critical perspective of the Church of Scientology based on extensive research and interviews with former members. However, it is important to watch the film with an open mind and make your own informed judgments.

Q: Is it necessary to have prior knowledge about Scientology to understand the film?A: No, Going Clear provides a comprehensive overview of the Church of Scientology, its history, and its practices. It is accessible to both those familiar with the subject matter and those who are new to it.

Q: Does Going Clear offer a balanced view of Scientology?A: The documentary primarily focuses on the negative aspects of Scientology and the experiences of former members. While it does provide some historical context, it is important to seek out additional sources to gain a more balanced perspective on the subject.

Q: Is Going Clear suitable for all audiences?A: Due to its intense subject matter and discussions of sensitive topics, Going Clear is recommended for mature audiences. Viewer discretion is advised, especially for those who may find discussions of abuse and manipulation distressing.

Was this page helpful?

Our commitment to delivering trustworthy and engaging content is at the heart of what we do. Each fact on our site is contributed by real users like you, bringing a wealth of diverse insights and information. To ensure the highest standards of accuracy and reliability, our dedicated editors meticulously review each submission. This process guarantees that the facts we share are not only fascinating but also credible. Trust in our commitment to quality and authenticity as you explore and learn with us.