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)
I wouldn't recommend this audio book to anyone; the narration made a boring text even worse.
Perhaps. I would very carefully read reviews before I would purchase a similar book. I would especially avaoid this narrator.
I was disappointed, as I was looking forward to learning more about Scientology. However, I could not maintain my interest in this selection.
After watching s documentary on scientology I was curious to know more. I found this book very informative and a guide on what else to research in the field.
It's frightening how easy it is to take advantage of a populous that has not been taught proper critical thinking skills and skepticism. The rise of Scientology is just the most recent example of this.
After reading/listening to this book, you may have a bleak and judgmental (dare I say discriminatory?) attitude towards Scientologists. Please don't.
While the author delves into the darkest aspects of the founders and leaders of Scientology, in the end she reveals the human and relatable nature of its practitioners. She does a good job showing that they really are just like every other person you meet.
One critique on the performance. The narrator was too .. Simpering? ... Like those touchy-feely teachers that talk softly and condescendingly to children.
Still, he deserves 4 stars for sexy smoothness.
I couldn't put this book down. Really well written - threads of specific characters carry you through the history of Scientology to the present. Scary stuff.
very detailed account about the "religion" almost too much. The history part on how it started was fascinating but it quickly droned into the same thing minute after minute.
Incredibly extensive history of Scientology, exposes the dark history of the "religion". learned a lot about this group that I had only vague notions of before.
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.
Janet Reitman’s "Inside Scientology" suggests Scientology is a movement gone mad. Scientology began with L. Ron Hubbard, a charismatic leader whose self-examination led to a humanist’ interpretation of mind. (Mind is defined as an element of belief and thought about the world and one’s experience in it.)
Hubbard recognized there was money to be made from ideas revealed in his self-examination; particularly, if “Dianetics” (Hubbard’s book about those ideas) could be classified as a guide to a belief system he christened as Scientology in 1953.
Hubbard, like Vladimir Lenin, initiated an ideological organization that grew into something bigger than its ideas could hold. Reitman offers many titillating stories of famous Scientologists like Hubbard, Miscavige, John Travolta, and Tom Cruise. But, the most troubling aspect of Reitman’s reveal is that even if Scientology is not a legitimate religion, it is not humanly equipped to exclusively manage the human psyche. Scientology needs help from the outside world. After listening to "Inside Scientology", one doubts any religion or organization is capable of exclusive responsibility for the human psyche. Evidence mounts for the opinion that Scientology, under the leadership of Miscavige, is a movement going mad.
I knew very little about Scientology before I listened to Inside Scientology. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about Scientology and hearing the stories (some of them horror stories) of former Scientologists. Listening to the book prompted me to also do my own research (to fact check some of the book) and I learned even more.
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