Louis Theroux isn't the first who tried to find Scientology's positive side and failed - 2017-09-02
Louis Theroux's My Scientology Movie is now on Netflix, but Jon Atack reminds us that Theroux wasn't the first investigator who tried to find something positive to say about Scientology, and ended up in a very different place.
The first book I contributed to – back in the distant mists of history (c.1986) – was Stewart Lamont's Religion Inc. Not a bad title, and with some interesting content (though he describes me as a "young businessman," which came as a surprise). Lamont had made a favorable documentary for Yorkshire TV, and when we first met he told me that Scientology had been persecuted, and he wanted to put the record straight. I had enjoyed the documentary, because by offering an entirely uncritical view, Lamont had encouraged the Scientologist contributors to boast about their strange belief system.
I best remember a Sea Org executive dripping in braid and campaign medals. This alone made Scientology seem fatuous. Some good documentaries simply allow fools to express their folly: Lynne Allway's Meet the Mormons is another example of the softly-softly approach – nothing has horrified me more about the routine practices of the Latter-Day Saints (not to be confused with the LDS's own film of the same name!).