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David Whalen

rubberbandito

San Diego, CA USA | Member Since 2006

2
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 3 reviews
  • 4 ratings
  • 77 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2014
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  • Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Lauren Drain
    • Narrated By Lauren Drain
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (116)
    Performance
    (109)
    Story
    (110)

    You've likely heard of the Westboro Baptist Church. Perhaps you've seen their pickets on the news, the members holding signs with messages that are too offensive to copy here, protesting at events such as the funerals of soldiers, the 9-year old victim of the recent Tucson shooting, and Elizabeth Edwards, all in front of their grieving families. Since no organized religion will claim affiliation with the WBC, it's perhaps more accurate to think of them as a cult. Lauren Drain was thrust into that cult at the age of 15, and then spat back out again seven years later.

    Donald says: "Get Thee Behind Me Phelps"
    "An inquisitive conscience prevails!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This book brought me to tears at the end to know of all the brutality in the world wrought by people who are supposed to be known to be full of love and care. I can only think of two words for Steve Drain (I'm sorry Lauren, I am sure you still love him) but they are fool and idiot. What I see is perhaps Steve loved the fact that he could finally feel purpose and importance in his life, even if it was all negative, that he could be in front of cameras and feel he had some purpose now, instead of his aimless wondering when Lauren was child. I thought at the end of the book he would have left with her. But to now understand that he totally cut her out of his life and his family is simply sad. This girl is still your daughter, yet she is treated as if she murdered someone or worse.

    These WBC members truly are just a blimp. There would never have been any news about them if they did not cultivate it with ridiculous protests. Their form of religion appeals to just a handful of people and yet we are making such a big deal out of it. At times I wanted to stop reading the book since the story seemed so small and inconsequential, like making a mountain out of a mole hill. But I stuck with it, and now I see the book more a work for everyone who faces a deep and horrible sadness because of people they love, tearing themselves away because of a misunderstanding of faith. But even more than a misunderstanding, WBC members just use others: when Lauren's mom called to tell her they were claiming her as a dependent on their taxes, wow, what a joke, this family has grown used to using people, even in their own home.

    Last night I went online and found Louis Theroux's documentary The Most Hated Family in America and watched Part II, a great documentary. This Steve Drain was a total disgusting individual in the film. I hope he reads Lauren's book and this review and begins to feel his ridiculous red hot lunacy, it can be the first step to true repentance and change to a pure love of God. Also in that documentary I was very moved by Grace Phelps. I thought her photography was wonderful and loved her explanation for shooting the beautiful young Muslim during a protest against Muslims. When I saw her I just knew in my heart she would one day leave that church. So I started googling and sure enough, she left last month with her sister Megan. I know she and Megan are young, but I only hope that they can be strong. I saw the pictures of Grace, Lauren and Megan united recently, and felt much happiness to know they have each other, as it must be horrible to lose one's parents.

    I enjoyed the Epilogue when Lauren apologized to homosexuals, AIDs patients, the families of fallen soldiers and others for the pain she has caused at taunting them. And it was fascinating to hear of her reaction at the Vatican. I loved her book and am happy she took the time to write it. I related most especially to the part where 6 months in her apartment in Topeka she finally realized she had nothing, all her friends hated her and her family too, and she just had to move on. Something similar happened to me and it brings me much joy to know I am not alone.

    On a personal note, I am a devout catholic (but also a very flawed one). I came to the faith on my own at 21 years old after doing drugs, hitchhiking all over the US and Europe and being in jail. I did not know WBC hated us so much but I totally understand it now. Yes, satan and individual evil has entered the catholic church and is trying to destroy it with abusive priests preying on little children. WBC had it right! It is awful and disgusting. But for me, faith is so much more pure then the evil of the day, it is first and foremost an authentic love of God in spite of all contemporary evil. I desire to do the right thing in life. It stems, for me, from understanding that there is a first mover, a first creator of all things. Knowing this, I know this first creator has a plan for me, as he does for every living thing in creation. So I try to determine, the best I can (as this first creator does not speak to me), what that role is. So I seek to find the best understanding I can of his way. For me it was the catholic church, with the 2000 years of history and unbroken petrine tradition, as well as the authority on the canon of scripture that even WBC hold today to be the only word of God. I fully accept and understand that others do not see it. But to me the final authority of all is conscience. You have to obey your conscience, no matter what. Once you turn away from it, your eyes go red and you begin to enter yourself into hell. But if we obey those little voices that tell us what is truth, we will be fine when we die, whatever our faith. But we have to obey it no matter what: the loss of family, the loss of what we thought was our faith, the loss of friends, the loss of home, the loss of all. But we all have the duty to inform our conscience with reading and thinking.

    I think it was wonderful that Lauren kept asking questions as she read the bible in spite of being shut down by other members of the WBC. Her inquisitive mind was that small voice of conscience telling her to dig a little deeper until she finally began to see the light of truth. I wish her strength and success!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs)
    • By Jenna Miscavige Hill
    • Narrated By Sandy Rustin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (889)
    Performance
    (810)
    Story
    (812)

    Jenna Miscavige Hill, niece of Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige, was raised as a Scientologist but left the controversial religion in 2005. In Beyond Belief, she shares her true story of life inside the upper ranks of the sect, details her experiences as a member Sea Org - the church's highest ministry - speaks of her "disconnection" from family outside of the organization, and tells the story of her ultimate escape.

    Tim says: "The Despicable Truth Behind Scientology"
    "Gripping! great narrator!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Jenna


    Which scene was your favorite?

    many, perhaps when she shredded the documents or when she tried to run away as a child


    Any additional comments?

    I really loved this book. The narrator helps it enormously with such a sweet and pleasant voice. There are many cults out there. Some of the things in this book did not seem extreme like one reads in prison camp memoirs, but to take a child and allow others to raise the child and to prevent the children from a normal life, this is wrong. If an adult wants to make the choice to join the Sea Org fine, but to put a child in there and teach them all this stuff, like the staring at each other, the meter, etc, maddening. I do bet Jenna was a little hell fire for them as the note from Scientology says, but it takes a little hell fire to stand up and go forward and tell of what happened to her. Sadly, she states that she no longer believes in any afterlife after all the mess she went through. I can understand why. But I do hope that she still seeks out the great mystery of being alive, the first cause so to speak. I did not know much about Scientology before reading this book. My eyes are open now and I do think so many actors like it because it is almost perfect for them, the training is really about controlling temperament and pain etc, sort of the thing they do for a living, while on camera. Last night I watched the movie The Master to get more of an insight into the founder, L Ron Hubbard. I don't think the movie really did that well, but it was a pretty good film. I do want to learn more about this man though. His ideas in fact do seem that they could convince people and are to some extent attractive, it makes us feel so important to know we have been around for a many years, and all we have to do is remember our past, and to know we will be around for a billion more. But it is amazing to me the love and adoration we all have for such people like Tom Cruise, with such ideas, when any traditional faith, a God and a Heaven etc or so derided. I am a believer in Christianity and see it as a full world view and this Scientology as the sort of latest schism of the separation of mind and body, it has always been a problem since the very beginning. St Augustine grappled with this for example. A great read after this one would be St Augustine's Confessions.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Narco: Inside the Hunt for El Chapo, the World's Most-Wanted Drug Lord

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Malcolm Beith
    • Narrated By John Allen Nelson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (25)

    With El Chapo vulnerable as never before, Mexican and DEA authorities are closing in, and journalist Malcolm Beith, a Newsweek contributor who has spent years reporting on the drug wars, follows the chase with full access to senior officials and exclusive interviews with soldiers and drug traffickers in the region, including members of Guzman's cartel. The Last Narco combines fearless reporting with the story of El Chapo's legendary rise from a poor farming family to the "capo" of the world's largest drug empire.

    Jonathan kalkin says: "Informative yet unintentionally hilarious"
    "great book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Last Narco to be better than the print version?

    I almost did not buy this because some reviewers said it was just news stories rehashed to a book. This is ridiculous. There is so much info in this book, I learned so much. It was very well written and extremely detailed in research. This is a must read for anyone today as you learn that this Sinoloa cartel has reach worldwide. This book was absolutely fascinating. The only thing I wish the author included was a postscript to speak about how he was able to keep his life safe while his time researching, especially on his travels in Culiacan and around. He admits in one chapter he is a white man that sticks out easily and he admits that the narcos know whenever someone comes and goes inside Culiacan.


    What about John Allen Nelson’s performance did you like?

    Great, loved the accents. It was somewhat funny but very effective.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    The 5 planes and 2 helicopter entourage of Chapo during his wedding to 18 year old.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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