Those who want an inside look at the world of Scientology now have a new avenue to do so, and it will not be through the eyes of a former member or curious outsider. Instead, the church just launched its own TV network along with several hours of original content about Scientology. Scientology is already a controversial religion to the rest of the world, so the fact that they are launching a TV channel seems like it will only inspire more controversy and curiosity. Here’s what you need to know about Scientology TV before you tune in.
The church claims this isn’t about recruiting
Scientology TV launched Monday night with a rare on-screen message from church leader David Miscavige, who claimed the purpose of the network is to educate, not to recruit.
“We’re not here to preach to you, to convince you or to convert you,” he said. “No, we simply want to show you, because after all, the first principle of Scientology is that it’s only true if it is true to you. So, take a look and then decide for yourself.”
Original programming goes further inside than we would have expected
After Miscavige’s message, an initial four hours of original content aired, beginning with the Scientology Network Launch Special, an hour-long special containing interviews with Scientologists and looks inside Scientology churches, something few nonmembers get to see. The launch special was followed by Meet a Scientologist, which profiled Deering Banjo Company founders Greg and Janet Deering; Destination Scientology, a special about the construction of a Scientology church in California; Voices for Humanity, a special about a pair of sibling Scientologists trying to end conflict in Colombia; and L. Ron Hubbard: In His Own Voice, the first episode of a three-part series featuring voice recordings of the founder of the Church of Scientology.
Other networks are already fighting back
Investigation Discovery competed with the launch of Scientology TV by airing an episode of Vanity Fair Confidential that explored the disappearance of Shelly Miscavige, David Miscavige’s wife.
The network isn’t widely available
For now, Scientology TV is only available on DirecTV, Apple TV and Roku. It’s unclear whether the church plans to expand where the network is offered or when or how quickly that might happen.
The Church of Scientology has used TV as an outreach tool before
For years, the church has purchased a yearly TV spot during the Super Bowl, which costs millions of dollars. This year’s Super Bowl marked their sixth consecutive year running an ad. The new network uses the same tagline as the church’s 2018 commercial: “Curious?”
This is a time of controversy for the church, which is facing down the multi-Emmy-winning documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief as well as former Scientologist Leah Remini’s hugely successful show Scientology and the Aftermath. The network has already had a controversial start, and we’re sure there’s more to come.