We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
 >   > 
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.
Regular Price:$35.00
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

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

4.4 (2058 )
5 star
 (1147)
4 star
 (643)
3 star
 (190)
2 star
 (48)
1 star
 (30)
Overall
4.4 (1791 )
5 star
 (1057)
4 star
 (512)
3 star
 (155)
2 star
 (39)
1 star
 (28)
Story
4.3 (1808 )
5 star
 (944)
4 star
 (598)
3 star
 (202)
2 star
 (37)
1 star
 (27)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Grace 02-24-14
    Grace 02-24-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    41
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    31
    28
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very Informative"

    Well researched, organized, balanced, and articulated book telling of the life of L Ron Hubbard, the founder of the Church of Scientology, his family, the genesis, evolution, and beliefs of the Church of Scientology, and the lives of many within the church including well known celebrities. The Epilogue is worth listening to/reading more than once.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jami E. Nettles Columbus, MS USA 01-30-13
    Jami E. Nettles Columbus, MS USA 01-30-13 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    560
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    168
    68
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    33
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Well researched and fascinating."

    Great job, thorough research. I was captivated with the bizarre Scientology history, which is so interesting, but also now feel like I have a much better synthesis of this cult. Wonderful read.

    14 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim TEMECULA, CA, United States 02-05-13
    Tim TEMECULA, CA, United States 02-05-13 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1039
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    55
    35
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    234
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Evil Genius....Scientology Unveiled"

    A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I worked on the same block as the London Headquarters of the Church of Scientology. Pretty much every day, often both too and from the subway station I was approached by cute young things seeking to inveigle me into taking a 'personality test' the first step into the religion. At the time I found this annoying but not actually sinister. Subsequently a couple of friends of mine did get involved peripherally with the organization and they told be horrifying, fascinating tales of how they were ruthlessly pursued for years after only a glancing encounter with the “Church.” Ever since then I have had something of a fascination with this mysterious and dangerous cult.

    This book gives a surprisingly even handed account of the life and times of the churches founder L Ron Hubbard, taking us from the it's foundation in the early fifties all the way to the couch-leaping massage-seeking antics of the Churches modern glitterati Tom Cruise and John Travolta. The story is a heady mixture or creepy cult and celebrity machine. It reveals a religion founded on fake science, fake psychology, the manipulation of the young and naive and that most addictive of all drugs… fame. The “Church” as painted in this well written and engaging book has overtones of Hitler’s Germany combined with Apple under Steve Jobs.

    It’s well sourced and thoroughly littered with footnotes from the “Church” which fiercely deny each and every well researched accusation and story. There are tales of hubris, violence, abuse which beggar belief. It exposed the weird practices and frankly ludicrous secrets of the organization, prompting the reader to ask over and again…”how could they get away with that?” Perhaps the strangest story is the account of how the Church took on the IRS and beat them at their own game.

    If you have ever pondered the weirdness which is Scientology this book will fill you in on the history and hagiography of what has to be the strangest and most successful invented religion since Mormonism. It’s a compelling, strange ride which will leave you shaking your head and maybe reaching for your rosary.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phillip Arlington, TX 02-14-13
    Phillip Arlington, TX 02-14-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    165
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    99
    34
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    35
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Stranger Than Fiction"

    I always knew Scientology had some strange beliefs. And just seeing the clips of Tom Cruise on Oprah and with Matt Lauer are enough to see that followers of the "Church" have some pretty strange ideas. But I had no idea how sordid a past Scientology has...and a present for that matter.

    If what Mr. Wright has written is true, and based on his thorough footnotes I'd say he is certainly on solid footing, then Scientology was founded by a paranoid delusional and currently run by a dictatorial madman. L. Ron Hubbard made so many outlandish claims about himself that had no basis in reality that it is dumbfounding that anyone would follow the religious tenets the man "discovered." And if his leadership weren't bad enough, the current leader, David Miscavige, is a maniacal tyrant who stoops to physically attacking any person he perceives may be questioning his authority.

    Scientology claims that those practitioners at its highest levels actually have the power to control matter, energy, space, and time. And at the same time they claim to be the only religion based entirely on true scientific principles. So guess what? Superheroes are no longer the realm of science fiction. You need only look to Tom Cruise and John Travolta to find men who can bend space and time to their will.

    Well researched and written, "Going Clear" offers a fascinating and jaw-dropping view inside one America's strangest religions. The book is both eye-opening and terrifying. To know that in America there is still an organization who can hold people against their will and force them into slave labor is unnerving. I recommend this book to anyone interested in modern religious study and definitely recommend it to anyone who may have a family member being drawn into this dreadful cult.

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leona 12-04-14
    Leona 12-04-14 Member Since 2013

    Workaholic who makes time for great books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    30
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "In depth disclosure of a mindless cult."
    What made the experience of listening to Going Clear the most enjoyable?

    The history of L Ron Hubbard, and the current COB was really interesting. It is amazing how lost the people who join Scientology are. They take abuse because they must think they deserve it. It is so obvious from the outside that LRH was making this up as he went along.


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

    I found myself anxious to finish because the facts keep coming, and when you think it couldn't get any worse, Miscavage shows you he has no shame.


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 10-18-14
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 10-18-14 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.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    211
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    701
    297
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    6
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "GOING CLEAR"

    Without vilifying any one religion, Scientology, like all organized religions, is a belief system manufactured by man. Lawrence Wright, a Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist, writes an informative, titillating. and believable book about Scientology. After listening to “Going Clear”, the human failings of Scientology are stripped bare with a force as explosive as the abuse of parish children by Catholic’ priests. The many testimonials of Scientologists that say Scientology “improved their lives” infers some value in its teachings; however, like all organized religions, it is subject to human failings. No organized religion in recorded history has been without human failure.

    Wright names the names of the most famous Scientologists with Tom Cruise and John Travolta at the top of the list. But, he also explains why lesser lights, like Kirstie Alley, Anne Archer, Greta Van Susteren, continue to follow the religion. What makes the story more interesting is why some of the early members are leaving; i.e. Paul Haggis, Bruce Hines, and possibly, Tommy Davis, a wealthy follower and former spokesman for Scientology.

    Wright amplifies interest by revealing secrets of the religion, some of its leader’s alleged violence, and mysteries of disappearing members.

    Where will Scientology be 100 years from now? Will Hubbard’s myths become a gospel of truth or will Scientology fall into the dustbin of history’s failed cults?

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mon San Francisco, Ca 10-06-14
    Mon San Francisco, Ca 10-06-14 Member Since 2010

    12 step program please. I am addicted to Audible! I love trashy sexy books, award winning novels and everything between. Bring it!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    227
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    327
    114
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    45
    22
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Further proof the Scientology is WHACK!"
    Where does Going Clear rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is one of the most informative audiobooks I've listened to. Lawrence Wright's book tries to explain Scientology's hold in Hollywood and why seemingly "normal" people get involved with the religion. He does a very good job telling this story by first taking you on Paul Haggis' journey, then introducing you to countless people, in many cases former high ranking officials, who have been abused in one way or another by the church. It's a page turner!


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There were enough moments of physical and emotional abuse that left me saddened. Sometime last year I read Jenna Miscavage's Beyond Belief and she also detailed lots of abuse so Lawrence Wright's expose wasn't surprising. However, what is surprising is how this abuse is sustained and ignored. It's ignored by the government and ignored by fellow Scientologists. I was left feeling disgusted. David Miscavage, and to some degree Tom Cruise should be in jail for sanctioning this unethical and abusive behavior.


    Any additional comments?

    Lawrence Wright writes with a sympathetic ear. I was impressed because he could have easily written a tongue and cheek expose and had a "told ya so" point of view, especially when story after story detailed similar endings. He doesn't do that, instead he tries to point out facts and patterns through the use of individual story telling. I felt sad then MAD for these folks. Most spent their entire lives, and life savings, sacrificed friendships and family, only to be dropped by the church when they asked too many questions, didn't agree with the church, or didn't follow orders. It's a terrible religion - there is no way around that. Obviously many people have found the teachings useful, but I'm sorry, the ends do not justify the means. Everyone should read/listen to this book. It's that good!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beach Lover San Diego, CA United States 08-21-14
    Beach Lover San Diego, CA United States 08-21-14 Listener Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    19
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Truth is stranger than fiction."
    Where does Going Clear rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Exceptionally well researched history of Scientology and it's founder. I knew almost nothing about L. Ron Hubbard's early years, and it is amazing that his ideas ever took hold among intelligent, well educated and wealthy individuals. Even more surprising is that people continue to "believe" in this cultish "religion" despite the lack of evidence, and despite verified evidence of enforced servitude of members and fraudulent claims about the universe. But... they have learned from the best... Christianity, Mormonism, Islam, etc.....


    Any additional comments?

    This book is very detailed, and may be offering more than some readers want. I would encourage readers, however, to stick with it. No where else will you receive such complete documentation of the evidence. Furthermore, as a student of comparative religions, I found it an enjoyable read... something often missing from nonfiction. I agree with the NY Times review that Wright tried to be "fair"... "just the facts, mam". For those of you interested in the Scientology we know today, you won't be disappointed with revelations about Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Paul Haggis, and other famous Scientologists.

    Essential reading for those skeptical of organized religion!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Art Oakland, CA, USA 08-08-14
    Art Oakland, CA, USA 08-08-14 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    51
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Clarifies a lot for me"
    Would you listen to Going Clear again? Why?

    No. I wouldn't listen again because I heard and understood it well the first time. I listened to become better informed.


    Any additional comments?

    Knowing L. Ron Hubbard--his type, the nature of his charisma, his bombastic personality, his fertile imagination, his relative lack of integrity--helps a lot to understand scientology. Later Miscavige takes the ball and runs with it, adding his own tyrannical personality to the science fiction narrative doctrine of the "religion," its rituals and sacraments. I'm so glad I never succumbed to the pitch when I was younger and potentially more vulnerable.

    It was well written, abundantly documented, and read with confidence by Morton Sellers. Lawrence Wright was able to penetrate further and more widely than many earlier journalists were able to do.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Raleigh greensboro, NC, United States 06-12-14
    Raleigh greensboro, NC, United States 06-12-14 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    163
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    76
    70
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    5
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "scientology is the answer to what question"

    are you a life long resident of southern california ?
    are you curious about john travolta and tom cruise ?
    can science fiction and pseudo religion really intersect ?

    well, lawrence wright has written a strong willed book for you
    his previous book was about the rise of al-queda
    i suspect that was good preparation for this current effort

    scientology's mildly talented founder was layfette ronald hubbard
    sadly, he died as a morbidly obese, chain smoker living in a trailer
    sounds a little more like west virginia than transcendent world leader

    mr. hubbard is clearly no match for mr. wright's keen, lawyerly insights
    documenting and dissecting scientology's flaws comes easily to mr. wright
    in the end, i was left wondering just who would find scientology appealing ?

    insecure, narcissistic and not terribly bright people seem to be its' main target
    i don't want to be unkind, but that covers about 1/2 of southern californians
    scientology's appeal to struggling actors and celebrities is almost intuitive

    in the years to come, i suspect there will be more and similar exposes
    the campy and mercenary aspects of scientology will be too hard to pass up
    as one reviewer said, mr. wright should be applauded for "...outing a bully..."







    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 11-20 of 151 results PREVIOUS12316NEXT

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.