Discussion Questions for Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief

This month our book club read Lawrence Wright's controversial book, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief.  One's personal beliefs can often spark heated debates and this book has certainly been an example of that, stirring up much conversation and media attention from critics, fans, church members, and more. Now you can start your own discussion with some of our helpful questions.


What was your biggest surprise in reading Going Clear?

Obviously, there were many skeptics of R.L. Hubbard and Scientology. Why, then, do you think Scientology was able to gain such a large following so quickly?

Is Scientology a religion?

How do you think Hubbard was effective and ineffective as a leader?

Does, Scientology, one’s pursuit of completing all OT Levels to become clear and participating in servitude, or RPF programs, if wavering from the “path” remind you of any other  popular belief systems?

Does this make you skeptical of any other beliefs, even your own personal beliefs? 

Scientology is strongly associated with celebrities and Hollywood fame. How does this make you feel about well known practicing celebrities like Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kristie Alley, Danny Masterson, Elizabeth Moss, Beck, and many others? 

Why, if at all, do you think the beliefs of Scientology and Hollywood mesh together?

Over the past few years many people have come forward to share their struggle with leaving, or attempting to leave, the church of Scientology. But changing faiths is common practice around the world. Why is Scientology particularly hard to leave? 

Do you think it is possible that Scientology and the “auditing technologies” have healing capabilities? 

Does R.L. Hubbard remind you of anyone else, living or deceased?

Further reading:

Filmmakers Discuss How the Church of Scientology Tapped Nicole Kidman’s Phone to End Her Marriage to Tom Cruise (Vanity Fair)

Danny Masterson Tells Us About His Life in the Church of Scientology (Paper Mag)

View the documentary

HBO 'Going Clear' Documentary airing 3/29