Going Clear is such a momentous source of Nightmare Fuel — which, unlike the works of fiction coming before and after this page, actually happened — that it earned its own folder. This is work about an organization that is less a church and more a totalitarian microstate with all of the terrifying details (and Tear Jerker material in equal measure) laid out for all to see — the slave labour practices, the domestic abuse, the criminal neglect of children, the list goes on and on.
While Alex Gibney's documentary has its own horrific moments, it pales in comparison to the content of Lawrence Wright's book.
- Wright's suggestion that not only is Scientology a reflection of Hubbard's insanity, but you become more like Hubbard the deeper you get into the group.
- Submitted for your approval: L. Ron Hubbard, the future self-proclaimed savior of mankind, makes friends with a famous physicist and joins the physicist's black magic cult. Eventually the physicist gets it into his head to use Aleister Crowley's tomes to breed The Antichrist (and presumably let him do Antichrist-y things), and recruits Hubbard to help him make this bizarre plan a reality. He then meets a Cloud Cuckoolander follower of Crowley who lets him have ritualized sex with her, which Hubbard has the privilege of watching. Behold the ultimate Creepy Awesome scenario, with a very heavy emphasis on creepy.
- Hubbard's treatment of his second wife was pretty damn scary too. On top of the physical and emotional abuse, Hubbard kidnapped their daughter, took her to Cuba (where she was kept in a cage by her guardians), then phoned his wife to tell her that he had cut the child into little pieces and thrown them into the river.
- The "Affirmations of L. Ron Hubbard," the notes from his self-hypnosis, are just disturbing to read. To glimpse into Hubbard's mindset — of how he viewed people, the world, and himself — is to glimpse into the mind of someone who, were it not for his "church," would be considered a very sick man:* Material things are yours for the asking. Men are your slaves.* Your psychology is advanced and true and wonderful. It hypnotizes people. It predicts their emotions, for you are their ruler.* You have no fear if [lovers] conceive. What if they do? You do not care. Pour it into them and let fate decide.
- Some of the stories of punishments in the Rehabilitation Project Force and The Hole are so horrific that one would be reasonably tempted to think they were Uncanny Valley. To name a few:
- After Miscavige assumed control of Scientology, he forced one of his former rivals, David Mayo, to run around a pole in the searing desert for twelve hours a day until his teeth fell out.
- In The Hole, common punishments include standing in trashcans for extended periods of time while being verbally harassed by other prisoners, being forced to sit under an air conditioner turned on blast while soaked in water, and having confessions of Thought Crime forced out of you by other prisoners.
- MUSICAL. CHAIRS. Imagine you are a Scientology executive who has been confined to a tiny building at Gold Base. You have been subjected to abuses like those described above, and probably worse, for months or years. Then one day David Miscavige comes in and suggests playing a game of musical chairs — with the losers being shipped to remote outposts to perform menial labor without any hope of seeing your loved ones again. With this in mind, you and your co-workers are so overwhelmed by the desperation that you start beating each other up and tearing the chairs apart while Miscavige watches. And when the game is over and everyone is beaten up and traumatized, Miscavige reveals that he instigated this chaos for fun and decides "from the goodness of his heart" not to offload anybody after all.
- This is made even worse when Lawrence Wright points out that when presented with the choice of being banished from Gold Base or staying in the Hole, the captives chose the Hole. And Tom DeVocht explains that even if the police raided the Hole and offered the captives escape, they would choose to stay.
- Gold Base has bladed fences and other heavy security measures. For reasons the Church is very vague about, the blades on the fences go both ways.
- From the documentary specifically:
- The eerie archival footage of the above mentioned Cloud Cuckoolander, Marjorie Cameron (pictured above), with her loud, fake red hair, long eyelashes, pale skin, and unnaturally dark eyes.
- Also some of the archival photos. While Sara Northrup narrates about Hubbard's burgeoning god complex, there is an image of him in silhouette standing behind a podium.
- The Xenu segment, in which the documentary explains Scientology's creation myth is quite disturbing in its presentation. The segment consists of stock footage from life in the 1950s/60s mixed with acidic sci fi visuals and an extremely eerie minimalist score.
- The recreation of the musical chairs incident. The story is disturbing enough, but - much like the Xenu segment - the cinematography and filmmaking of the scene sells it. You will never see "Bohemian Rhapsody" the same ever again.
- On a meta level: Marty Rathbun was David Mascaviges right-hand man for years before leaving the Church and becoming a prominent whistleblower on the Churchs depravity and cruelty. In the documentary, he makes it a point several times to confirm truths the Church vehemently denied. And yet, in June 2017, it seems Rathbun snapped and turned against many other prominent critics of Scientology; Now, it seems that Marty has returned to the fold of the Church in the worst way. It goes to show just how Nightmare Fuel the Church truly is: having such a profound hold on an adherents mind that even after leaving the Church and exposing its corruption that you could still potentially fall prey to it once again.