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)
Living in L.A. all my life I've heard stories about Scientology and driven past its Hollywood Celebrity Center castle thousands of times. I've known journalist colleagues whose lives threatened during an investigation and heard of endless preemptive lawsuits when any articles were in the works.
This book admirably fills in the historic gaps among the legends -- most of which are true. Unlike the books by disgruntled former Scientologists, this is a journalistic account from a disinterested third party whose research and writing are first-rate. It's a "legitimate" history of L. Ron Hubbard's sci-fi self-help philosophy, not a tell-all by an ex-member or a puff-piece by the brilliant Scientology propaganda machine.
I have a much better understanding of the so-called religion, and if anything it's even scarier. What are these people thinking? As it attempts to go mainstream, the more light shed on Scientology the better.
When I was ten, eleven, twelve, I used to stop by the Scientology storefront in Hollywood occasionally and grab one of their questionnaires. I'd take it home, answer it, and bring it back in. They'd analyze it very quickly (as I recall) and sit me down with someone who would talk about what my answers revealed. It was my first exposure to personal analysis of any kind and was surprisingly useful and telling for me.
But I never went beyond that, never paid, never read a book, never considered believing.
Then, many years later, I realized I had a very dark view of the organization and I wanted to reconcile my various naievetes. This book, certainly slanted to the negative side of the story, provides some hints to the positive side, and gave me an excellent understanding of why I have seen the organization with such dark lenses. It also helped me better understand how I could explore the positive and effective areas of Hubbard's work.
I'd be skeptical in doing so. I don't feel there was much for surprising information introduced here.
David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell.
Disappointment. Claims of fees raised through self-improvement courses is no surprise to anyone who's passed a facility/org, the only tale of interest was the stalking of the IRS for tax exemption.
Cults and churches attract people in need of something and the rise in those identifying with spirituality goes to show that people are seeing through this.
I read "going clear" first, and this book is just as good. The information is interestingly told, and relies on both believers are former believers, as well as others outside the organization for their insights. While it becomes obvious what the author thinks about the subject, it is a clear and straightforward telling of events. I recommend this book highly.
It is amazing that even the IRS is afraid of this organization which is clearly a for profit business and not a religion. This is as much of a cult as the one that Jim Jones ran. This book tells it all.
I am a 30 year old over-the-road truck driver. I listen to A LOT of audiobooks!
This book presents a lot of facts, and it really makes you think. If you are looking for a book that explains excactly what Scientology IS, this isn't the book for you. If your looking for a book about what Scientolgists DO, this is your listen! The book gives a frightening account of what people with so much power and so little common sense can do.
This was a great book. I find cult religions endlessly fascinating and make no mistake THIS is a cult religion. It is well written and well read. If you have no interest in this subject matter then it is not worth it.
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This booked bored me in parts.
I don’t really care about the details of L Ron Hubbard's life, but I suppose if you’re going to tell the story of Scientology, you have to start from the start - I should have expected that.
I was also uninterested by the Sea Organization and reading about life on the boat was tedious, but once the story moved onto the death of Lisa McPherson, attracting celebrities, and “The Seduction of Tom Cruise” etc my interest perked up.
I guess I was looking for something more gossipy than educational.
The control that the scientologist members give to the leaders.
Great reader. Read with emotion
Yes. It was a book that I didn't want to end..
I love to multi-task with Audible!
I really don't see how a follow-up book could make the 1st book better. This story started great, shocking information on Scientology's founder, but fell flat mid way.I never did finish it. Sorry... but the 2nd half couldn't keep my attention.
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