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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

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  •  
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 01-22-15
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 01-22-15 Member Since 2015

    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.

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    "A MOVEMENT GONE MAD"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Mitchell Madison, WI 01-13-15
    Daniel Mitchell Madison, WI 01-13-15 Member Since 2013

    danielmi

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    "Enjoyed learning the inner workings of Scientology"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jamestown Bill 01-09-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Interesting book"

    I was curious about the church. The book covers mostly the history and scandal surrounding Scientology. I found it interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mick Burbank, CA, United States 12-30-14
    Mick Burbank, CA, United States 12-30-14 Member Since 2013
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    "A must-listen for those interested"

    Reitman's book comes across as well-researched and thorough. There is enough in the background, history, and portrait of LRH to discredit Scientology as a cult movement without even getting to the so-called "church's" policies and practices. Reitman not only takes the listener behind the curtain, but deep into the holy of holies of this secretive and litigious organization.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DK 04-06-14
    DK 04-06-14 Member Since 2013

    HATE spoilers! Enjoy HOT, sexy books w/a plot. No vampires, paranormal, teens 4 me. Books outside HOT genre = books given to me to review

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    seeker 04-05-14
    seeker 04-05-14 Member Since 2010
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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 Listener Since 2009

    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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    David Toronto, ON, Canada 03-19-14
    David Toronto, ON, Canada 03-19-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Very creepy."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this interesting read.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It didn't seem to go out of its way to ridicule the subject. It seems like a fairly comprehensive history and benefits from testimonials given by various ex-members.


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

    This is the second book I listened to narrated by Stephen. It was a non-fiction as well. He has a good steady voice for this type of book. There was something distracting about his voice when I first started listening to him, but the distraction did not last long.


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

    Not in one sitting. It is a compelling book, but found I needed a break from time to time. The way people were treated was pretty creepy.


    Any additional comments?

    One of the parts of the book that really struck me was about a celebrity who was working his way up through the organization until he reached the part about Zorg. His response was something like "What's all this Science Fiction shit" and he stormed out. They went to work on him and eventually sucked him back in. Pretty persuasive.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen 01-24-14
    Stephen 01-24-14

    A Private investigator in Texas. I listen to Audiobooks during the long surveillance work.

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    "Will open your eyes about a very secret cult."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Inside Scientology to be better than the print version?

    I can't say.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Inside Scientology?

    When you see how they treated one of their own, causing her death. Also the cover up after.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Yes, I thought the narration was very good.


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

    The book makes you want to listen to find out what else these people would do.


    Any additional comments?

    this covers a subject that is mostly hidden, but we have all heard. I had no idea that this cult was this bad. The things that they do and have done should be stopped and they should be in prison. This book really brings home the threat that this group presents to us all.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LifetimeRoad 01-20-14
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    "Captivating"
    Would you listen to Inside Scientology again? Why?

    No. I was ignorant about Scientology , now I'm not.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    How desperate people are imprisoned by false teaching.


    What about Stephen Hoye’s performance did you like?

    Comfortable voice.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Seduction of the beautiful.


    Any additional comments?

    I hope that this is only the beginning to exposing this destructive cult. I'll be relieved when one day it crumbles into the dust.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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