Former rugby star Joe Reaiche was recruited into Scientology when he was just 19 years of age. He was hungry for any opportunity to realize his full potential, and found himself seduced by the religion's promise to deliver on that desire. Reaiche dedicated himself fully to the religion, and eventually married and raised a family within the church. Intensely driven, he quickly climbed the ranks of the organization, but his ascension came at a profound cost, both literally and figuratively.
Reaiche began to question the church to which he had paid nearly a half a million dollars since first becoming a member. As a result, he was deemed a suppressive presence and quickly expelled. The most profound injury would occur shortly thereafter when the church prevented Reaiche from indulging in any form of communication with his own children. This is just one of the harrowing accounts depicted in Scientology: The Ex-Files, a revealing look behind the curtain of the religious organization that has courted unprecedented controversy in recent times.
Underneath its appealing facade of self-empowerment and celebrity endorsements, the film argues that Scientology actually represents a troubling culture of painstaking indoctrination, brainwash tactics and physical and psychological abuse. These sentiments are echoed by several of the film's compelling subjects, including Hana Eltringham Whitfield, one of the organization's earliest high ranking members, and Claire Headley, a former follower who has filed a lawsuit accusing the church of indulging in human trafficking, violating labor laws, and coercing forced abortions within its membership.
At the center of this controversy lies L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology who passed away in 1986. The enigmatic Hubbard is viewed by many as a mythological figure of salvation, yet others regard him as the ultimate cult-like conman. "The one man in the world who never believes he's mad is a madman," Hubbard sneers in an archived clip which opens the film. As portrayed in Scientology: The Ex-Files, the ever-resourceful Hubbard was likely the benefactor of a world gone mad and in search of meaning and stability. Whether he managed to father his religious empire through a genuine sense of enlightenment or sheerly by crooked imagination and moxie, Scientology unquestionably remains one of the most provocative and scandal-ridden religions in the world today.