The brutally critical documentary Going Clear depicts Scientology as a powerful, brain-washing machine built on physical abuse and torture. And yet one of its most famous adherents – John Travolta – called the faith a beautiful religion that saved his life.
In an interview with Good Morning America — which was supposed to focus on his upcoming film, The Forger – but Travolta was inevitably asked about Scientology; he’s followed the religion for 40 years, ABC News reported.
So why, according to John, has Scientology taken such a bad rap lately? Because the new religion is misunderstood. And to fix that, he suggested people pick up one of L. Ron Hubbard’s books.
“People really need to take time and read a book. That’s my advice. (They) could read A New Slant on Life… Dianetics. And I think if you really read it, you’ll understand it, but unless you do, you’ll speculate. And I think that’s a mistake to do that.”
That’s not a bad point, but the Scientology documentary exposed a fairly touchy relationship between Travolta and the church, the Daily Mail added. They evidently keep a “black PR package” on the star in case he defects (and it includes every secret indulged during their famous “auditing,” or therapy, sessions); and refused to honor the actor’s request for his audits to be conducted off camera.
Despite these claims, John Travolta insists Scientology helped him through the death of his disabled son, Jett, and that the religion has been similarly supportive and life-affirming for others, the Hollywood Reporter added.
“Sometimes when something really works well, it becomes a target. Forty years for me, I’ve been a part, and I’ve loved every minute of it. My family has done so well with it. It’s been a beautiful thing for me. I’ve saved lives with it and saved my own life several times. Through my loss of my son, it helped me every step of the way for two years solid, and here I am.”
John said Going Clear offered one perspective on Scientology, and it was from people who were “disgruntled with their experiences,” added E! Online.
It’s not surprising that the church itself agrees. It has called the film a “bigoted propaganda piece” and produced one of its own to counter it — Get the Truth. Going Clear, by their estimation, “regurgitat(ed) stale, discredited allegations” by “perjurers, admitted liars and professional anti-Scientologists.”
And there may have been a few hurt feelings from Scientology practitioners, like Travolta. Take That 70s Show cast member Danny Masterson, who’s a second generation Scientologist.
“I wonder if Sundance would allow a documentary of, like, eight people who hate Judaism. But you know, my religion’s fair game, I guess, ’cause it’s new.’ “
For at least the near future, John Travolta will have to continue defending Scientology, a religion perhaps few outsiders could truly understand.
[Photo Courtesy Christopher Polk/Getty Images]