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Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion | [Janet Reitman]

Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion

Scientology, created in 1954 by a prolific sci-fi writer named L. Ron Hubbard, claims to be the world's fastest-growing religion, with millions of members around the world and huge financial holdings. Its celebrity believers keep its profile high, and its teams of "volunteer ministers" offer aid at disaster sites such as Haiti and the World Trade Center. But Scientology is also a notably closed faith, harassing journalists and others through litigation and intimidation, even infiltrating the highest levels of government to further its goals.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Janet Reitman's Inside Scientology seeks to provide the first unbiased and holistic overview of the divisive faith that is Scientology. Reitman focuses on five key elements of the Scientology story: a history of the religion's rise, as well as the rise of its creator, L. Ron Hubbard; a detailed account of the vicious internal coup by current leader, David Miscavige; the sad and shocking story of the death of Scientologist Lisa McPherson; an outline of the controversial "celebrity strategy"; and multiple narratives detailing the current mass exodus from a corrupt and abusive church.

Narrator Stephen Hoye does an excellent job with the book, which presents many unique challenges. He successfully tackles a wide range of subject matter from Hubbard's sterile, futurist terminology to some of the more personal, emotionally gripping stories. Hoye serves as a calm voice of reason, guiding us through a potentially confusing world of Orgs, Tech, and more acroynms than a high-level business meeting.

The picture that emerges is a multifaceted one. Outsiders with cursory knowledge of the faith generally associate it with a crackpot Sci-Fi writer looking to make a buck, brainwashing techniques, salacious scandals, never-ending lawsuits, and a creation myth featuring aliens, volcanoes, and movie theaters. While Reitman doesn't exactly dispel these notions completely, she does provide rich historical background and a true look inside this mysterious faith. The truth about the religion, after all, is much more complex than what's presented on the surface.

The promises of Scientology range from the enriching (freedom from mental and emotion anguish) to the humanitarian (providing aid to developing countries and ways out of drug addiction) to the transcendent (immortal life, free of an earthy body). While people are drawn to the faith for all kinds of reasons, Reitman shows us that most Scientologists are just normal people trying to do good in the world and better themselves. Unfortunately, some of these people have been swept up in a devastating new movement within the upper ranks of the church, which has become increasingly obsessed with greed, domination, and power.

Perhaps the most artful facet of this book is that, in true journalistic style, Reitman does her best to simply present the facts and leave the conclusions to the listener. After all, like Hubbard used to say, "What's true is what is true for you." —Gina Pensiero

Publisher's Summary

Scientology, created in 1954 by a prolific sci-fi writer named L. Ron Hubbard, claims to be the world's fastest-growing religion, with millions of members around the world and huge financial holdings. Its celebrity believers keep its profile high, and its teams of "volunteer ministers" offer aid at disaster sites such as Haiti and the World Trade Center. But Scientology is also a notably closed faith, harassing journalists and others through litigation and intimidation, even infiltrating the highest levels of government to further its goals. Its attacks on psychiatry and its requirement that believers pay as much as tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars for salvation have drawn scrutiny and skepticism. And ex-members use the Internet to share stories of harassment and abuse.

Now Janet Reitman offers the first full journalistic history of the Church of Scientology, in an even-handed account that at last establishes the astonishing truth about the controversial religion. She traces Scientology's development from the birth of Dianetics to today, following its metamorphosis from a pseudoscientific self-help group to a worldwide spiritual corporation with profound control over its followers and even ex-followers.

Based on five years of research, unprecedented access to church officials, confidential documents, and extensive interviews with current and former Scientologists, this is the defining book about a little-known world.

©2011 Janet Reitman (P)2011 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"A detailed and readable examination of the life of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the church, and his successor, David Miscavige." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (1051 )
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  •  
    hlew Palos Park, IL, United States 03-15-12
    hlew Palos Park, IL, United States 03-15-12 Member Since 2011

    4 timer

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    "Good audible book"
    What did you love best about Inside Scientology?

    I found this an interesting book and interesting to get the Hubbard background.


    What other book might you compare Inside Scientology to and why?

    Under the banner of god, I think is the name of the book I would compare this to.


    What about Stephen Hoye’s performance did you like?

    I did like his reading.


    If you could give Inside Scientology a new subtitle, what would it be?

    What are you getting into exactly?


    Any additional comments?

    I was unsure about this but I am glad to have listened.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doug Austin, TX 11-17-11
    Doug Austin, TX 11-17-11 Member Since 2003
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    "Demagoguery, Peer Pressure, and Legal Blitzkrieg"

    You will ask yourself, "how is that even possible" roughly 1,000 times while listening. To me, this book is about a shocking tragedy, the sad story of how a group of militarized and highly strategic people preyed on ignorance and hope.

    If you read this book, you will absolutely find what you expected...the story of a science fiction writer who invented his own religion and turned that into a cash cow with increadible audacity. There are three main parts to the book, namely, the life of L. Ron Hubbard, a collection of life-stories about individual Scientologists, and finally, the dictatorship of Hubbard's successor, David Miscavige.

    The core beliefs are absurd. However, something will fascinate you about the effectiveness and level of organization this group employs. I couldn't help but wonder if Scientology was literally some front for the CIA or NSA...a great experiment to test the indocrination of human beings and the social rules that keep them in place.

    I'll warn you that the book is a bit flat. The material is sensitive, so the author restricts her writing so much that her personality, individualism, and opinions have been eliminated. In many ways, perhaps, the author did fall victim to Scientology after all...

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt Bakersfield, CA, United States 09-16-11
    Matt Bakersfield, CA, United States 09-16-11
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    "interesting"
    Any additional comments?

    An interesting listen. It's fascinating to hear how a religion can be founded by a pathological liar and loser and become such a huge success. Also fascinating what people are willing to believe in.

    The writer interviewed a lot of scientologists to write this book, and there's a pretty broad perspective here with lots of insider stories. It can be dry at times but I found it interesting overall.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Theresa Piazza STATEN ISLAND, NY USA 08-19-11
    Theresa Piazza STATEN ISLAND, NY USA 08-19-11 Member Since 2001

    miles111b

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    "Intriguing"

    Very informative listen. Narration is excellent throughout. Especially the narrator's statements of Tom Cruise. Glad I did not get involved.

    8 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kim Spokane, WA, United States 06-09-12
    Kim Spokane, WA, United States 06-09-12 Member Since 2009

    Addicted to audiobooks & podcasts. 5 Stars=I Loved It, 4 Stars=Enjoyed it Thoroughly, 3=Kinda Good, 2=Bad/Boring, 1=Complete Waste of Credit

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Save your credit"

    Ugh - I really should've just read a couple of articles on the internet instead of sitting through this for 7 hours. It wasn't bad but there was too much history and intricate detail - my curiosity was satisfied about 3 hours in. I have to say the author did a great job of giving a complete picture of the origin and current atmosphere of the "religion" if that's what you want to call it. No huge surprises in here.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Xanth 05-31-14
    Xanth 05-31-14 Member Since 2014

    Just got my kindle, it is addictive! Be happy to help find the right book. I am not into romance, unless it has a twist (murder or mystery).

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    "Wow, Interesting"
    Where does Inside Scientology rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    First book...not sure how to rate.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The detail


    What does Stephen Hoye bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I cannot read a book due to my vision difficulties.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    In the beginning, no it did not...but further on, it got my attention and it really had me on edge.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nathan North San Jose, CA, US 04-30-14
    Nathan North San Jose, CA, US 04-30-14 Member Since 2012

    @natesrandomisms Believer (27yrs), Husband (15yrs), Dad (3yrs), Son (35yrs), Broken neck survivor.

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    "Well worth the time!"
    What did you like best about this story?

    This book does not sugar coat the reality. However, this book states the facts.


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

    A deeper understanding as to the operations this organization.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DK COLCHESTER, VT, United States 04-06-14
    DK COLCHESTER, VT, United States 04-06-14 Member Since 2012

    HATE spoilers! Enjoy HOT, sexy books. No vampires, paranormal, teens 4 me. Running out this type Audible-so on2 lighter romance/mystery :-(

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    "Was Looking For A Story This Was More Documentary"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Probably not, as none of my friends have any curiosity in scientology.

    Prior to this I listened to Shattered Dreams: My Life As A Polygamist's Wife by Irene Spencer which gave one woman's firsthand account of another religion/cult that I know little about.

    I expected a story but this read as a newspaper article. Given that context I could not submerge into the material as I would have if told from a firsthand account.

    Scientology, created in 1954 by a prolific sci-fi writer named L. Ron Hubbard, claims to be the world's fastest-growing religion, with millions of members around the world and huge financial holdings. Its celebrity believers keep its profile high, and its teams of "volunteer ministers" offer aid at disaster sites such as Haiti and the World Trade Center. But Scientology is also a notably closed faith, harassing journalists and others through litigation and intimidation, even infiltrating the highest levels of government to further its goals. Its attacks on psychiatry and its requirement that believers pay as much as tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars for salvation have drawn scrutiny and skepticism. And ex-members use the Internet to share stories of harassment and abuse.

    Now Janet Reitman offers the first full journalistic history of the Church of Scientology, in an even-handed account that at last establishes the astonishing truth about the controversial religion. She traces Scientology's development from the birth of Dianetics to today, following its metamorphosis from a pseudoscientific self-help group to a worldwide spiritual corporation with profound control over its followers and even ex-followers.

    Based on five years of research, unprecedented access to church officials, confidential documents, and extensive interviews with current and former Scientologists, this is the defining book about a little-known world.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Janet Reitman again?

    No, her other writing is outside of my area of interest.


    What aspect of Stephen Hoye’s performance would you have changed?

    It was fine - a narrator really has to hit it out of the park to get an above average rating from me.


    Any additional comments?

    This is 13+ hours of the history of scientology. It is very dry and detail oriented. There are no central characters to gravitate towards making it difficult for me to invest in.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    valerie new milford, CT, United States 04-05-14
    valerie new milford, CT, United States 04-05-14 Member Since 2010

    British x pat. I miss my home, it's country side, it's humor, it's manners and it's satire. Most of all I miss it's eruditeness. I like to listen to the spoken word in 'English'. and prefer to read the likes of Shakespeare , Faulkner and Dickens myself, but love to listen to modern mystery and historical novels, even the silly Miss Marple. I love to hear the sounds of home.

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    "Fascinating...."
    What made the experience of listening to Inside Scientology the most enjoyable?

    Having been in a cult myself, I was impressed by the accuracy and understanding shown by the author.


    Any additional comments?

    Everything you ever wanted to know about scientology but were at loss for someone to ask.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam Motes Tampa 03-24-14
    Sam Motes Tampa 03-24-14 Member Since 2011

    Audible obsessed lifelong learner.

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    "Scientology exposed"

    Needham makes a compelling case why Big Data technologies like Hadoop are allowing more and more companies and researchers work at internet speed and scale. The super computer clustering capabilities at unbelievably low costs will change everything for companies struggling to keep up with the Von Newman centric computing paradigms that just can't keep up.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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