Documentary delves into group’s religious tax exemption status and why it is able to keep its hold on celebritiesPARK CITY, UTAH— Tom Cruise and John Travolta aren’t at the Sundance Film Festival, unless they’re in disguise...Sundance FilmFest: Church of Scientology is portrayed as a cash-grabbing and reputation-destroying outfit, one that holds members hostage both physically and mentally,
Church Of Scientology:
Started in the 1950s by sci-fi writer L. Ron Hubbard, who is seen explaining his theories in rare archival videos, Scientology is based on a belief system that would be comical if it weren’t taken as gospel by the faithful. Hubbard believed that the Earth is essentially a prison planet run by an intergalactic despot named Xenu, and so-called human beings are actually space aliens hatched in a cauldron of volcanoes and atomic bombs.
According to the film, full details of the group’s credo aren’t revealed to members until they’ve spent years and many thousands of dollars in fees moving up the ranks of the organization, which has billions of dollars in cash and real estate, in part thanks to the tax-free church status given to it in a controversial deal brokered with America’s Internal Revenue Service.
Hubbard’s ex-wife, Sara Northrup, who died in 1997, says in an archival audio interview that her former husband was a profiteer rather than a prophet: “I felt that he was stealing from people and that he was hoodwinking them.”