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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

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Performance
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  •  
    Bookworm 03-11-13
    Bookworm 03-11-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wow. Just wow."

    My only knowledge about Scientology was driving by their building in Los Angeles and seeing tabloid gossip.

    I had NO idea what a crazy group this was.

    The book takes you from the beginning of L Ron Hubbard's life to when he wrote science fiction, to when he decided to start a new "religion," to the rise of the "church," to Tom Cruise's marriage with Katie Holmes. (I wonder how the book would have addressed the breakup.) I didn't realize there was a Scientology group who rode the high seas and that there were different "bases" in the United States.

    Although their beliefs aren't much different than any other religion, the group is friggin' scary. They hold church members "prisoner" if they do not follow certain standards and they chase down members who leave.

    The book gives good examples of how normal people would get caught up in this craziness and crazy became normal.

    Highly recommended.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. Tenukas Connecticut 03-11-13
    L. Tenukas Connecticut 03-11-13 Member Since 2012

    LT

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    6
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    "Gripping story"

    This is a spellbinding book read by an excellent narrator. It was both frightening and fascinating and didn't want to put my iPod down. It was well researched and well written and I would highly recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill 03-09-13
    Bill 03-09-13
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    "This stuck with me"

    Thought it was going to be a mild ride through about a wacky cult/religion. I was completely overwhelmed by the history and present day activities of Scientology and its leaders. Completely engrossing and well told. Far darker than I expected. Just awesome.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt Z Penn State U. 03-07-13
    Matt Z Penn State U. 03-07-13 Member Since 2010

    Lots of books lots of time. I love all things Star Wars and fantasy. The Bartimaeus trilogy (or quad) maybe the perfect series. Jonathan Stroud and Douglas Adams are my heroes.

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    "One dead son, check."
    If you could sum up Going Clear in three words, what would they be?

    Making your own religion is a great way to make money.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Going Clear?

    The WALL of FIRE!!!!


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

    Great timing and delivery.


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

    Yes, I love religious thinking or nonreligious thinking. I love the idea of believing in wackiness.


    Any additional comments?

    Scientology is no more crazy than the Rapture. Remember kidies a cult is just a religion sans politician and social power.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary United States 03-05-13
    Mary United States 03-05-13 Member Since 2011
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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 2015
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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 2007

    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 2013
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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
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    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
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