Being gay in Scientology: How Michelle LeClair got out

High-level official LeClair suppressed her sexuality for decades. Now that she's out, she's speaking up.

MILAN, ITALY - OCTOBER 31: A detailed view of the new Scientology Church is seen on the opening day on October 31, 2015 in Milan, Italy. The five-story, four-building, 258-windows, former headquarters of Philips and computer company Sun has been converted into a 10,000 square meter Scientology church and will be the largest of its kind in the world. (Photo by Awakening/Getty Images)
  • Michelle LeClair survived rape, violence, and surveillance, and is now speaking out against the Church of Scientology.
  • In her new memoir, Perfectly Clear, she details her harrowing story.
  • The church promotes a culture of submission and fear, she says, and is seeking new avenues to retain members.
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Scientology: It's the McDonald's of Religions

Scientology is the true religion of America's capitalist soul. "To me," says Louis Theroux, "Scientology is selling spiritual hamburgers."

What is the most quintessentially American religion? It would need to have celebrities, a Hollywood setting, big money, and a confusing swirl of innocence and the macabre. That's Scientology defined, says documentarian Louis Theroux. The church was founded by sci-fi writer L. Ron Hubbard around the same time that the first McDonald's opened, and there are enormous parallels in the business models of these two operations. Scientology is the embodiment of America's capitalist soul, with two seemingly at-odd goals: to spread the good word of Dianetics (Scientology's sacred text) as far as possible, but to only give its wisdom to those who are willing to pay for it. The top level of Scientology's ideology ladder is called the "Bridge to Total Freedom" — however it's anything but free, costing an individual a minimum of $250,000 to access. It begs the question: Do you want salvation with that? Louis Theroux's latest documentary is My Scientology Movie.

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