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)
[unsert sarcastic response] - what a silly question
The Lisa McPherson story of course, but actually the story of the young woman raised in Scientology who is preparing to enter law school. Its a small bit and really not detailed much until the epilogue. But I would like to hear more about her.
Loved the CEO forcing his staff to play musical chairs to see who would lose their jobs.
Someone else thinks psychiatry and big pharma are dangerous.
What I did not get from the book was the essence of what attracts a cohort of generally intelligent group of people into such an insane and dysfunctional world. I liked this book because it confirmed my suspicions that LRHubbard was brilliant but schizophrenic. It also demonstrated the degree to which people will tolerate intolerable conditions to meet some undefined inner need. I want to know more about the actual religious doctirne. Who is Chthluthu? Can we channel Xenu at our next dinner party?I want ot know what hooks them, though. What keeps people there once they've walked through the door the first time. I want to know more about the educational theories that LRH was espousing. MAny of the children educated under the system seem well educated, though indoctrinated. I'd go visit an org but I doubt that I'd be welcome. I'm a psychiatrist.
I use my left foot to type my reviews.
I consider myself to be open minded and being a liberal when it comes to all types of religions. All Religion has a little brainwashing and most religions are fee-based, but spirituality is only free.
Scientology is something that I wanted to know about ever since I could remembered watching tv and seeing ads for L. Ron Hubbard and Dianetics. So, it's been in the back of my mind to look into as I got older. Since the recent news of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes break up and her reasoning on why she doesn't want their daughter to be in the church, it made me wanted to pickup this book even more.
Unlike other religions, that condone free will, Scientology is a bully religion, where one looses all rights after joining the organization. After listening to the tortures, deaths, and giving up your rights, I have no doubt that this is a cult for people who are not grounded into themselves.
I understand that there are commandments and rules for all to follow in order to reach the pinnacle peak to reach a supernatural being, but from what I read, this church doesn't have a God. It just seems like they use their followers in a form of slavery or bankrupt them financially and ex communicate them when they can't give anymore.
Chilling read. There are many parts in the book where I got the heebeegeebees because I couldn't believe the story, such as Lisa McPherson's death, and getting their members to sign a billion year contract to join Sea Org and Int Base, a camp, where they are being captive against their will.
Tanya Neujahr's escape from the Int Base to be with her husband, sounded something from World World's concentration camps for the Jews.
Being tax exempt is a form of a loop hole for the corporation to have a ponzi scheme, but unlike funding a bogus retirement fund, you can pay your way into their utopia.
It's very interesting, but unless I want to experience my actual birth from my mother's Cervix.... Some thoughts are meant to be in the past and never relived.
I like my horror, techno-thrillers, and science fiction. Which is why Jurassic Park and The Lost World are 2 of my favorite books ever!
I don't read enough non-fiction, but this book's subject matter intrigued me enough to drop a credit. This is supposed to be a no-frills, non-judgmental, 'just-the-facts-ma'am' education about what goes on in the Scientological community. If the information in this book IS true, it should make you aware of the dangerous potential of ALL organized religions' ability to brainwash you into their way of thinking. On the other hand, 'to each their own'.This book claims the Church of Scientology is within its rights to retaliate, in any way it can, to destroy the livelihood through any means available, including litigation and slander, of those who oppose its viewpoints. Attack Janet Reitman and I'll know she's telling the truth. Give a listen if you are curious about this 'religion'. It's out of this world.
I felt like I was listening to a textbook. It was so boring I had to stop listening & couldn't finish the story
I wanted this to be a sociological look at the growth of a science fiction story into an international religion, but it was more of a slow-paced biography of L. Ron Hubbard and dull hashing-out of the "secret" ideology (which was not very surprising or interesting). Really, the South Park episode was more informative on that point, and hilarious. I like books about cults, and books critical of religions, and I found this fairly boring. Sorry. I wanted to like it.
I want to preface my review by saying that I am not at all affiliated with Scientology. That said, I think this is a OK book, but written in a way to perpetuate existing perceptions of Scientology as a "freak" religion. I would have appreciated a more balanced treatment.
In its beginning, the Catholic faith was riddled with corrupt chuch officials (leading to an offshoot religion called Protestantism); in addition, the church embraced violence early in its formative years as a legitimate tool for establishing/maintaining power. And let's not forget the unchecked abuses of church priests during the 50s, 60s, and (maybe) 70s.
Christianity has had 2000 years to sort itself out (and it's still not perfect). How will Scientology look in 1000 years...in 2000 years?
Why didnt the author spend equal time showing us how people have benefited from Scientology?
I'm only familiar with the so-called famous "parishoners" (e.g. Tom Cruise, John Travolta, etc)...but these folks are successful people, and they claim that Scientology helped them.
Surely there are others out there who are not famous and who have also benefited, no?
The early failures within Scientology's organization are the failures of people who, not ideas or beliefs.
It sounds like Scientology's biggest issue is making sure its leaders behave responsibly.
It would have been nice to hear a balanced history of this organization and its beliefs.
I'm sorry but this book is so boring I can't even finish it. I normally will finish any book to make sure I'm not missing something but I just don't care enough about the people in the book to continue. By the time I got to part 2 I completely lost interest in the subject.
This book wsa like listening to someone disctribe paint drying. The story itself was fasinating in that it is hard to believe we as educated people could be fooled into believing in what is obviously fiction, but how the story is told is just plan boring.
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