An HBO documentary entitled "Going Clear" explores the religion of Scientology and offers an explanation as to why famous celebrities who are Scientologists, like John Travolta and Tom Cruise, will find it very hard to leave. The film will have a limited theatrical release on March 13 and will be shown on HBO on March 29.
The Church of Scientology currently has only about 50,000 members but is worth over a whopping $1.2 billion. Much of this wealth is credited to famous people who raise funds, recruit and provide the church access to the elite of society.
The film highlights abuses done by the church to some of its members who are separated from their families, do physical labor and earn meager wages. Actual people were interviewed during the making of the film and they shared their stories.
In the film, Spanky Taylor, one of Travolta's closest confidantes in the church, said she was part of a group punished by the church. She said the members of that group worked 30 hour shifts with little food and slept on the roof of the church. At that time, she was pregnant. When she eventually gave birth, her infant daughter was kept away from her and placed in the church's nursery, which she described as a "very dirty" facility. Taylor said she reached out to Travolta for help but he never responded.
Also according to the film, Cruise has turned a blind eye to harassment suffered by Sea Organization members, the clergy of Scientology who show their loyalty by signing billion dollar contracts but get paid 40 cents an hour for their services. The film says Cruise received extravagant presents from the church based on the sweat of the Sea Org members.
The question now is why are Travolta and Cruise, and others still in Scientology? The answer is simple. The church just has too much information on them that if they leave, these can be used to ruin them.
For Cruise, there were more revelations that Scientology broke him and Nicole Kidman apart when Cruise started distancing himself from the church. The church took to tapping Kidman's phone, even spoke to their adoptive children and talked them against their adoptive mother.
It is the hope of the filmmakers that the film will urge Travolta, Cruise and others to speak up. They are popular and people are joining the church because of them, the filmmakers said. They have the responsibility to be open as to what really goes on in the church, the added.
Representatives from Scientology deny the claims made in the film, calling them "ludicrous." Travolta and Cruise have not yet given any comment.
Let's see if they can still keep quiet when the film comes out on March 13 in theaters and on March 29 on HBO.