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
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
"A detailed and readable examination of the life of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the church, and his successor, David Miscavige." (Publishers Weekly)
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...
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.
I enjoyed reading this more historical review of Scientology. I felt it provided some good insights to this 'so called religion' and revealed that it has little to do with true science. Very pleased I took time to listen to this. Good reader.
I really appreciate the author making every effort to write an objective book about a controversial subject. Reading this book makes you realize that even without nuance, the facts in this story are absolutely chilling. Anyone who has any interest in the Church of Scientology should absolutely read this book.
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).
First book...not sure how to rate.
I cannot read a book due to my vision difficulties.
In the beginning, no it did not...but further on, it got my attention and it really had me on edge.
@natesrandomisms Believer (27yrs), Husband (15yrs), Dad (3yrs), Son (35yrs), Broken neck survivor.
This book does not sugar coat the reality. However, this book states the facts.
A deeper understanding as to the operations this organization.
An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.
Most of this information was new to me. I have heard of Scientology and even experienced some of their tactics to get me to join in the 70's, but I knew little of the beginnings and dirty dealings of this so called religion. This book was an eye opener to me. I was engrossed in this book for a lot of the time.
When the book gets into the death of Lisa McPherson, it's like an Ann Rule true crime book. I listened straight through that section, dreading what was going to happen to her. I won't forget that for along time.
Mr. Hoye was adequate. Not great.
When the woman whose husband had left Scientology finally is able to escape from the church by jumping over the wall and finding her husband waiting on the other side I almost cried. I can't remember all of their names but that whole section was a tear jerker.
I enjoyed this book and learned a lot about the beliefs and tactics of Scientology. It's hard for me to believe they get away with this kind of stuff. To me it's not a religion but a self help group out to make money and not pay taxes.
I didn't know much about scientology. I admit I thought they were weird and had heard the OT3 beliefs that I thought were crazy.
I didn't know the half of it. I walked out actually fealing sorry for them in many ways.
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
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.
Very informative listen. Narration is excellent throughout. Especially the narrator's statements of Tom Cruise. Glad I did not get involved.
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