Distortions in “Going Clear” regarding Ordo Templi Orientis

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief  [http://www.hbo.com/documentaries/going-clear#/] is a 2015 documentary film about Scientology directed by Alex Gibney, based on Lawrence Wright’s 2013 book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief. Produced by HBO, the film aired on HBO on March 29, 2015. We offer no comment on its overall content. We do note that Ordo Templi Orientis is mentioned early on in the documentary, in a biographical segment devoted to Scientology founder Lafayette Ronald Hubbard.  In the context of this two hour long documentary, this mention is the briefest of footnotes, but we do observe that these few moments are rife with misinformation, distortion, misinterpretation and (sadly, predictable) sensationalism. To wit:

Author Lawrence Wright, whose 2013 book, Going Clear, was the basis of this documentary, states that Jack Parsons was the “head honcho of this black magic cult, OTO or Ordo Templi Orientis.” Parsons was a member of OTO from 1941 to 1946 and for several years head of Pasadena, CA’s Agape Lodge; he answered to Karl Germer who in turn answered to the Master Therion.

Meanwhile, Aleister Crowley, who was OHO of OTO at this time had condemned any thaumaturgy not in pursuit of the Great Work [which some would characterize as attaining the mystical union of the Self and the All] as “black magick” rather than promote it within the Order. In fact, Crowley said: “I have been accused of being a ‘black magician.’ No more foolish statement was ever made about me. I despise the thing to such an extent that I can hardly believe in the existence of people so debased and idiotic as to practice it.”

Wright then claims that Jack Parsons and company were seeking a “goddess figure he could impregnate to create the anti-Christ,” and when Marjorie Cameron appeared, she willingly participated in sexual rituals to create this anti-Christ. This would be a jumbling of Parsons’ announcement that he himself was the Antichrist assuming the magical motto “Belarion, Antichrist” in 1949 and issuing “The Manifesto of the Antichrist” and the Babalon Working, which was intended to bring the Goddess Babalon into incarnation in human form – which he claimed was accomplished. His records make no mention of him impregnating Babalon — or Marjorie for that matter. He did report receiving a channelled text from Babalon he called The Book of  Babalon. The definite account of the life of Jack Parsons – including this particular period – would be George Pendle’s biography Strange Angel http://www.amazon.com/Strange-Angel-Otherworldly-Scientist-Whiteside/dp/0156031795].

This brief discussion voiced over footage from Kenneth Anger’s film Inauguration of The Pleasure Dome [https://vimeo.com/26491270]– released in 1954, years after Jack’s death — with Cameron as The Scarlet Woman and the goddess Kali and Samson de Brier as Aleister Crowley – ceremonially done up in lurid make-up, garishly lit, all looking as nefarious as possible. Exciting film-making if not a clear exposition of historical reality.



Frater Lux Ad Mundi


  1. In my opinion we should avoid linking to illicit websites. Parsons’ writings are protected by copyright, as are many of the bootleg texts on that website.

    • Dear Brother Jospeh
      Thanks for your input on this. Your mindfulness is much appreciated.
      The text of this particular post was reviewed and approved, after some revision, by The Executive before it was posted.
      Brother Howard

    • Dear Brother Joseph
      Cool. And I hope anytime you come across something you think might be worth of a post I hope you’ll bring it to our attention. We do tend to focus on books being published, DVDs being released, gallery exhibitions, musical performances etc. Certainly we’d be glad to announce the posting of the next Speech In silence when it’s ready.

    • thankee! “With us government is service and nothing else.”

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