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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 (1268 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Leslie Newhall, CA, United States 04-14-13
    Leslie Newhall, CA, United States 04-14-13 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Couldn't stop listening..."

    wow. and....wow.

    This was a fascinating listen! Footnotes added an additional layer of interest, although the responses from Scientology spokespersons were almost comical in their consistent and collective amnesia. I live in Los Angeles where Scientology has its headquarters and Celebrity Center. I will never again look at this organization the same way again- as sort of wacky, but benign.

    Absolutely worth the credit!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer MANCHESTER, NH, United States 04-12-13
    Amazon Customer MANCHESTER, NH, United States 04-12-13 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "TRUTH REVEALED"
    Any additional comments?

    OT Vlll aka "Truth Revealed" is the highest level of Scientology.
    Read or listen to this book and save time and a half a million dollars.
    The stunning facts about Scientology will truly set you free.
    Hubbard says the suppressive person goes undetected for a very long time!
    David Miscavige is so busted and so is L. Ron Hubbard. Would be interesting to ask "COB" "What is your ruin?"

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leah 04-04-13
    Leah 04-04-13

    chicagomom

    ratings
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    24
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    Story
    "Amazing and shocking"
    What did you love best about Going Clear?

    This is a page turner - I sped up the reading to 1.25 to get through the book more quickly. There are some real jaw-dropper moments that blew my mind. Many of the anecdotes are appalling. But it is very, very thorough and well-researched. The narrator is excellent. This is one of the best non-fiction books I've read in a very long time.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Hearing about David Miscavige is like rubber necking on the highway. You want to look away but can't.


    What about Morton Sellers’s performance did you like?

    Emphatic voice, lovely tone, very listenable


    Any additional comments?

    I wanted to start a book club and found two other friends to listen to this as well. You do not want to experience this book without having another person to talk to - so much of it is really intense that it helps to share the moment with others.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Docintherock Denver, CO 04-04-13
    Docintherock Denver, CO 04-04-13 Member Since 2012

    Doc

    ratings
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    3
    3
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    Story
    "Wild Ride Through the World of Scientology!"

    Didn't know much about Scientology until I read this book. I saw the "South Park" episode about it and that was about it.

    This book seems well researched and it is entertaining. Not sure if everything this guy says is true. But it is a great book and a great read. I don't have a dog in the fight so I don't care one way or another about Scientology but this book was a very fun listen.

    This book covers Scientology from the beginning with LRH (L Ron Hubbard) to present day. Interesting stories about something called the "Sea Org" and also about many celebrities and writers that are practicing Scientologist.

    I would recommend this book to anyone studying religion or that wants to find out more about Scientology.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David West Valley City, ut, United States 04-02-13
    David West Valley City, ut, United States 04-02-13 Member Since 2012
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    3
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    "Fog of religion"
    Would you listen to Going Clear again? Why?

    After years of gathering information from a variety of sources, Lawrence Wright does a great job of shining a light on the belief system. The story unfolds to reveal the power that celebrity has lent to Scientology and the entitlement held by the celebrities and the upper echelons of Scientology.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan PUNTA GORDA, FL, United States 03-25-13
    Susan PUNTA GORDA, FL, United States 03-25-13 Member Since 2011

    Profesionl, hard working woman who travels weekly, enjoys life. My best Friends are Michael and Scooter. Nonfiction books are the best!

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    "WOW"
    Would you listen to Going Clear again? Why?

    Sure, I Guess It a was a book good


    What other book might you compare Going Clear to and why?

    This is the first book I have read on Scientology and it is so scarry, real! I will read more on the subject, but why? I can't believe how stupid and gulible people are.


    What about Morton Sellers’s performance did you like?

    Good voice!


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    That Scientology is all about the Money and so are Movie Stars!!!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Allen 03-24-13
    Allen 03-24-13

    Retired university lecturer. Photographer, writer, voice talent by avocation. Love reading, but sometimes audio is better

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Important Story - The telling gets a little long"

    This story of Scientology certainly needs to be told. The story of L.Ron Hubbard's invention of a religion is as fascinating as the story of Mormonism as detailed in Krakauer's Under the Banner of Heaven. LRH was quoted, as he contemplated a career, "religion, that's where the money is."

    If anything, Going Clear may be more alarming simply because of its appeal as a success system. Scientology seems only to claim itself as a religion when the tax man comes around. Other than that there is no prayer or actual scripture or claim of having a God, for that matter. Once a prospect signs the contract to be loyal for one billion years and starts investing the money to study the writings of a science fiction author, he/she is hooked.

    Hubbard's claims to have been a war hero during WW2 were so silly. Early on he bragged about his wounds and medals (he was never in battle or wounded and had medals that were not real (Purple Heart with palm cluster??) or even invented until after the war - gee, like no one could check these things.) His claim to having a four year college degree was just as silly.

    Well, all of this is for the reader/listener to think about. The list of celebrities in Scientology is interesting.

    The reader, Morton Sellers, seemed to be plodding through the book with little interest or enthusiasm. Given the subject matter, this is understandable, but it does make the book longer. He was clear and precise.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lauren F. Houston tulsa, ok 03-22-13
    Lauren F. Houston tulsa, ok 03-22-13 Member Since 2012
    ratings
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    4
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    "Scientology Gets Me Every Time"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I already have recommended this book to a few friends.
    It's a great look in to one of the big question marks in religions in my book.


    Any additional comments?

    I enjoy reading about religions, especially ones with cult like qualities... So books over Scientology fit the bill for me. This particular book was extremely well written. I had read some of his articles before so I was looking forward to his book. Not disappointed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amber Beverly hills, CA, United States 03-22-13
    Amber Beverly hills, CA, United States 03-22-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The book that Scientology doesn't want you to read"
    What did you love best about Going Clear?

    I really enjoyed the New Yorker piece on Paul Haggis and his decision to leave Scientology (by the same author) which was the precursor to this book. Going Clear did not disappoint. It is a very well written (and reasoned) account of Scientology and the individuals who have profited from it and those who have suffered terribly at their hands.

    While it's easy to ridicule some elements of Scientology, the author carefully avoid this - preferring to point out that pretty much all religions have supernatural themes and don't stand up to scientific rigour. Having said that, it's hard to walk away from this book without harbouring negative feelings towards the individuals that have used Scientology to exploit, harm, harangue and destroy others. This is the book that David Miscavige does not want you to read! Highly recommended.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. Garvin Minneapolis, MN 03-19-13
    B. Garvin Minneapolis, MN 03-19-13
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    "Well researched, simply told."
    Where does Going Clear rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I gained a deep knowledge of the history of Scientology without the open disdain. The story facts spoke for themselves. The performance was direct and without unnecessary inflection or acting.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The history of the church's founding and of LRH


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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