If you want to know where Scientology came from and where it is now, get this book. Tells the story from the beginning and gives a fair summary at the end.
A comprehensive, evidence-based case against the corrupt (and certainly violent and probably sociopathic) leader of Scientology. And a compassionate, empathetic look at the motivations of ordinary Scientologist. The author makes a well supported case that most Scientologists are good people following their religious beliefs. Many of them, especially those involved with Seaorg, are certainly exploited and probably abused. The founder, L. Ron Hubbard comes across as a sincere yet disturbed charlatan. The current leader, David Miscavage, has a dark and corrupt history full of and manipulation. control of the organization is troubling. It is also deeply troubling how many celebrities in Hollywood refuse to take a critical look at this organization.
The narration is competent and understandable but monotone in the extreme making the data heavy narrative sometimes slow going.
Wright paints a very ugly picture of Scientology, it's founder, L. Ron Hubbard and more than a few people associated with the cult. I found the book simultaneously fascinating and depressing, because despite some of the dark, disturbing places it goes, it's truly interesting and informative. The "Prison of Belief" is an appropriate phrase to include in the title because many of the people described in the book really seem to be prisoners of their own fanatical devotion to a strange religion founded by troubled former pulp science fiction writer. It's hard to believe Hubbard could inspire the devotion he inspired. It speaks to the desperation many of us have to understand the world and ourselves as well as to our ability to blind ourselves to what we don't want to see.
The book some of the celebrities associated with the cult in a very unflattering light and it left me feeling angry with them and angry at our own government for not only allowing some of what's been reported by former Scientologists to go on but for allowing an incredibly well-funded cult to bully their way to tax exemption. Money and fanatical devotion are powerful tools indeed!
I found the reading by Morton Sellers adequate but it certainly takes nothing away from this book. Recommended... but you may want some lighter reading afterwards.
Yes, from start to finish I found the book fascinating. From who L Ron Hubbard was to scientology itself up through the current regime of the Church; it was more interesting than I imagined it would be. The author tried to present the Church as fairly as possible, although at times that is a difficult thing to do. I would listen to it again.
Seller's gave one of the best performances I have heard who was not the actual author of the book.
I would have loved to have just sat and listened to the book from beginning to end, but since I listen during my daily commute that was not possible. I did however, listen both to and from work, which I typically do not do.
I don't know. I just listened to it. I'm sure I would enjoy the book equally, by reading it.
The fact that there are people wrongfully imprisoned for the sake of "saving the planet". It's Ludacris!
Spanky Taylor. Very well performed.
Yes. I was extremely surprised that this type of organization has lasted as long as it has and continues to tear families apart, exploit the lives of devoted followers, and the false imprisonment of both their liberty and beliefs.
Lawrence Wright not only enlightens the reader but also supports his findings on this controversial religion.
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
Without vilifying any one religion, Scientology, like all organized religions, is a belief system manufactured by man. Lawrence Wright, a Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist, writes an informative, titillating. and believable book about Scientology. After listening to “Going Clear”, the human failings of Scientology are stripped bare with a force as explosive as the abuse of parish children by Catholic’ priests. The many testimonials of Scientologists that say Scientology “improved their lives” infers some value in its teachings; however, like all organized religions, it is subject to human failings. No organized religion in recorded history has been without human failure.
Wright names the names of the most famous Scientologists with Tom Cruise and John Travolta at the top of the list. But, he also explains why lesser lights, like Kirstie Alley, Anne Archer, Greta Van Susteren, continue to follow the religion. What makes the story more interesting is why some of the early members are leaving; i.e. Paul Haggis, Bruce Hines, and possibly, Tommy Davis, a wealthy follower and former spokesman for Scientology.
Wright amplifies interest by revealing secrets of the religion, some of its leader’s alleged violence, and mysteries of disappearing members.
Where will Scientology be 100 years from now? Will Hubbard’s myths become a gospel of truth or will Scientology fall into the dustbin of history’s failed cults?
No. I wouldn't listen again because I heard and understood it well the first time. I listened to become better informed.
Knowing L. Ron Hubbard--his type, the nature of his charisma, his bombastic personality, his fertile imagination, his relative lack of integrity--helps a lot to understand scientology. Later Miscavige takes the ball and runs with it, adding his own tyrannical personality to the science fiction narrative doctrine of the "religion," its rituals and sacraments. I'm so glad I never succumbed to the pitch when I was younger and potentially more vulnerable.
It was well written, abundantly documented, and read with confidence by Morton Sellers. Lawrence Wright was able to penetrate further and more widely than many earlier journalists were able to do.
are you a life long resident of southern california ?
are you curious about john travolta and tom cruise ?
can science fiction and pseudo religion really intersect ?
well, lawrence wright has written a strong willed book for you
his previous book was about the rise of al-queda
i suspect that was good preparation for this current effort
scientology's mildly talented founder was layfette ronald hubbard
sadly, he died as a morbidly obese, chain smoker living in a trailer
sounds a little more like west virginia than transcendent world leader
mr. hubbard is clearly no match for mr. wright's keen, lawyerly insights
documenting and dissecting scientology's flaws comes easily to mr. wright
in the end, i was left wondering just who would find scientology appealing ?
insecure, narcissistic and not terribly bright people seem to be its' main target
i don't want to be unkind, but that covers about 1/2 of southern californians
scientology's appeal to struggling actors and celebrities is almost intuitive
in the years to come, i suspect there will be more and similar exposes
the campy and mercenary aspects of scientology will be too hard to pass up
as one reviewer said, mr. wright should be applauded for "...outing a bully..."
I always had a mild fascination with Scientology and cults in general (after reading the book, I think you'll agree that "cult" is not too strong of a word). Most of my understanding of the religion was through wikipedia articles and blogs. I found it interesting, but figured my impression was being somewhat skewed to be overly negative.
It is broken into 3 sections, as the title kinda implies. The first section is about the life of L. Ron Hubbard, the church's larger than life founder. I thought this was the most interesting section because every other minute there would be some insane anecdote that literally had me shouting to myself (Hubbard's dabbling in satanic rituals, the time he led a military ship on a hunt for a non-existent submarine, the fiasco of an alleged psychic that he trained being grilled by the media at a press conference). The next section shifts the focus to the church's recruitment of celebrities and an orchestrated coup to take control of the church after L. Ron passes. The last section focuses on members of the church trying to leave it behind. In particular, it focuses on famous director Paul Haggis.
The book is always fascinating. It never feels like a hatchet job either. The author often portrays many church members sympathetically and he does give the arguments others have made that Scientology can have a positive effect on peoples' lives and that it is no less valid than other religions.
I listen to a lot of audiobooks during my long commute and I'm usually reluctant to get one that is kinda long because I figure I'll get bored of it quickly. That wasn't the case with this. I was excited to sit in the car for 2 hours to listen to more.