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Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief | [Lawrence Wright]

Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief

A clear-sighted revelation, a deep penetration into the world of Scientology by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the The Looming Tower, the now-classic study of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attack. Based on more than 200 personal interviews with both current and former Scientologists - both famous and less well known - and years of archival research, Lawrence Wright uses his extraordinary investigative ability to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology.
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Publisher's Summary

A clear-sighted revelation, a deep penetration into the world of Scientology by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the The Looming Tower, the now-classic study of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attack. Based on more than 200 personal interviews with both current and former Scientologists - both famous and less well known - and years of archival research, Lawrence Wright uses his extraordinary investigative ability to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology.

At the book’s center, two men whom Wright brings vividly to life, showing how they have made Scientology what it is today: The darkly brilliant science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, whose restless, expansive mind invented a new religion. And his successor, David Miscavige - tough and driven, with the unenviable task of preserving the church after the death of Hubbard.

We learn about Scientology’s complicated cosmology and special language. We see the ways in which the church pursues celebrities, such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta, and how such stars are used to advance the church’s goals. And we meet the young idealists who have joined the Sea Org, the church’s clergy, signing up with a billion-year contract.

In Going Clear, Wright examines what fundamentally makes a religion a religion, and whether Scientology is, in fact, deserving of this constitutional protection. Employing all his exceptional journalistic skills of observation, understanding, and shaping a story into a compelling narrative, Lawrence Wright has given us an evenhanded yet keenly incisive book that reveals the very essence of what makes Scientology the institution it is.

©2013 Lawrence Wright (P)2013 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

“Brings a clear-eyed, investigative fearlessness to Scientology . . . a rollicking, if deeply creepy, narrative ride, evidence that truth can be stranger even than science fiction." (The Washington Post)

“A hotly compelling read. It’s a minutiae-packed book full of wild stories.” (The New York Times)

“An utterly necessary story. . . . A feat of reporting.” (The Wall Street Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (1325 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Mary United States 03-05-13
    Mary United States 03-05-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This one will stay with me"

    I thought I already knew Scientology having watched TV programs about it and read a few articles. But it is far more sinister than I realized. I was glued to this audiobook. The story was layed out beautifully and the picture painted is shocking. I watched a documentary obout the Catholic church covering up for pediphile priests at the same time I was listening to this book and I was struck by the similarity, organized religions so corrupt and dangerous. It is so important in this life to be an imdependent thinker and not look fopr some group to validate your existence because soon they will be doing just the opposite.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Tynes 03-05-13
    Karen Tynes 03-05-13 Member Since 2003
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    "Spellbinding Read!! Shocking!!"
    What made the experience of listening to Going Clear the most enjoyable?

    The content was so intense I couldnt put it down. It was written in a really easy manner to grasp. The content did not go over your head or double talked you. You actually felt like you were there experiencing the story first hand.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    That no holds barred was instituted-good, bad and ugly The story was presented without bias.


    Have you listened to any of Morton Sellers’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Cry!! Because i cant believe people actually opt for this type of lifestyle. Lives were ruined, children are dragged through this garbage -whole families were torn apart! And as for the celebrities-i dont think i will ever watch a Tom Cruise movie again!!


    Any additional comments?

    I read it because i enjoy learning about things i really know nothing about! This was a real eye opener. I could not put it down!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelli Birmingham, AL, United States 03-04-13
    Kelli Birmingham, AL, United States 03-04-13 Member Since 2002

    Listen on dog walks, commutes and around the house. Welcome virtually any genre but southern fiction holds a special place in my heart.

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    "Got Me Thinking and Talking about Scientology"

    Lawrence Wright's epilogue to Going Clear sums up my feelings about this book quite succinctly. No matter how shocked or horrified or disgusted or scared or baffled you are with the underpinnings of Scientology and the ongoing behaviors of its believers, just study any other religion and you will uncover religious principles, stories and directives lacking in any fact basis; human rights abuses; disgruntled former believers who now feel duped and disillusioned; and lots of financial resources sheltered from government taxation. What makes Scientology especially disturbing to me, though, is the emphasis on self-centeredness, narcissism, and individual gain at the exclusion of all others. Wright's book focuses on the celebrity Scientologists just like the religion itself focuses on the celebrity Scientologists. There are definitely the haves and the have-nots within this church. Out of curiousity, I tried to find the nearest Scientology center to me in Birmingham, Alabama, and was not so surprised to find that there is a Scientology Celebrity Centre in Nashville, Tennessee. There apparently are not enough celebrities in Alabama to warrant any other presence by the church. That is OK with me. This book got me thinking and talking - definitely worth a read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Constant Reader Bellevue, WA, United States 02-28-13
    Constant Reader Bellevue, WA, United States 02-28-13 Member Since 2001
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    "Couldn't stop listening"

    An extremely thorough, well researched and utterly engaging book. Well written and pulls you in from the first few minutes.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beth A Niece 02-26-13 Member Since 2004
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    "Compelling"
    If you could sum up Going Clear in three words, what would they be?

    This is a thorough and well documented account of the history of Scientology. I listened to the entire book in four days. I would highly recommend it!


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ben's Reviews Washington, D.C. 02-25-13
    Ben's Reviews Washington, D.C. 02-25-13
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    "Good book on fascinating topic"
    Where does Going Clear rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    High


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    It covers several different areas: L. Ron Hubbard's life, the development of Scientology under his watch, developments after his death, and celebrity interface. The author's tone remains professional and evenhanded covering a controversial topic such as religion.


    Have you listened to any of Morton Sellers’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    I highly suggest downloading the enhanced version. The audio is significantly clearer and and more understandable.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Angela COLLIERVILLE, TN, United States 02-24-13
    Angela COLLIERVILLE, TN, United States 02-24-13 Member Since 2008
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    "Gripping in a clinical way"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Going Clear to be better than the print version?

    Haven't read the print version, but I really liked the narration by Morton Sellers. It was very clinical, in that way Forensic Files or New Detectives was clinical.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Paul Haggis. He is this wonderfully, amazing yet screwed up guy. I loved the fact he didn't bow to anyone (including his church's leaders), but I felt terrible for his family struggles.


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

    The narration is dry and clinical, and I love that. Like I mentioned earlier, it feels much more documentary than infomercial.


    If you could give Going Clear a new subtitle, what would it be?

    Mission Impossible IV: Revenge of the Psychiatry


    Any additional comments?

    Fun Topic, Good Narration, Lots of "Wow, that's crazy" moments.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Timothy Chicago, IL, United States 02-11-13
    Timothy Chicago, IL, United States 02-11-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Engaging"

    Like the PBS televiosn documentary 'The Mormons' this book was fascinating from beginning to end.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    michael roswell, Georgia, United States 12-12-13
    michael roswell, Georgia, United States 12-12-13 Member Since 2002
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    "one of the top audible books I've listened to"

    this book left me with so many things to think about: the absurd danger of of ego, the evil effectiveness of repeating false(and bizzare) notions until no one questions whether they are true or not. I also found many similarities between the leaders of scientology and dictatorships like North Korea or Mao's China, and the soviet union. These guys seem to have the complete dictatorship package: fear, intimidation, ruthless execution of ideology and the Big Lie repetition.

    Perhaps the hardest thing to understand was the clear pattern of pathological lying throughout Hubbard's life, most were easy to verify as false:
    -he was a war hero(not)
    -science fiction scenarios explaining the founding of the human race going back billions of years. These scenarios were very similar to his science fiction books...(did his followers take note of this before plunging in?)
    -bigoted philosophical views on gays and jews which were eliminated later for PR reasons(yet the true feelings still seem to remain)

    The most obvious evidence his religion might not be all he proposed was Hubbard himself: -Hubbard was clearly and admittedly very unhealthy, overweight, palsied, stained teeth from constant chain smoking, heavy drinking and was witnessed having violent unexplainable outburst of rage.

    These are not the signs of someone who transcended disease and achieved "clear". He did not seem at all an example of what he proposed. He seemed by all accounts, a broken and sick man who never had a very good grasp of reality, and who progressively lost touch with it to the point of paranoia...

    the book seemed balanced and well researched and Wright seemed to bend over backwards to show balance by inserting the churches reaction to each assertion(which was always to deny) and cited where he got his research repeatedly...it seemed transparent and I would have not finished it if I felt he had some kind of agenda...I don't like to read those kind of books

    ...this was a chilling and great read with greater implications than just scientology and its followers..but about how we as humans fill our voids with strange and dangerous notions without checking the source out enough, and paying the price.(virtually every top tier leader has "escaped" or been purged, then trashed by the church).

    why do they still get recruits?

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amy Pittsburgh, PA, United States 05-29-13
    Amy Pittsburgh, PA, United States 05-29-13 Member Since 2007
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    "Not as much info as I hoped for"
    Any additional comments?

    I learned very little about the teachings of L.R. Hubbard and Scientology; and more about Tom Cruise than I was interested in. Narration was overblown, as if volume and pretension would make content more important.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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