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Inside Scientology Audiobook

Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion

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Audible Editor Reviews

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

Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"A detailed and readable examination of the life of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the church, and his successor, David Miscavige." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Matt Bakersfield, CA, United States 09-16-11
    Matt Bakersfield, CA, United States 09-16-11
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    "interesting"
    Any additional comments?

    An interesting listen. It's fascinating to hear how a religion can be founded by a pathological liar and loser and become such a huge success. Also fascinating what people are willing to believe in.

    The writer interviewed a lot of scientologists to write this book, and there's a pretty broad perspective here with lots of insider stories. It can be dry at times but I found it interesting overall.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Quella 04-03-17
    Quella 04-03-17 Member Since 2016

    A reader of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and non-fiction Christian books. A reviewer for Audiobookboom.com

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    "Clear at a cost"

    If you are looking for a book covering in detail what Scientology believes and its teachings, I would not recommend this be the first book on the subject you read. However, if you are looking for a historic outline of the organization, starting with its founder L. Ron Hubbard to near present time (2011), this book does an exceptional job telling that story. “Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion” by Janet Reitman, and well narrated by Stephen Hoye, is a high-level view of Scientology told not only from a reporter’s outside perspective, but the author herself was an involved for years within Scientology. The book includes stories not only from the author’s own experiences, but also current and former members of Scientology along with research uncovered along the way are also added.

    This organization would not have been able to thrive apart from the many social aspects that were taking happening at the time. As with most other start up religions, it would have faded away into obscurity apart from its timing. Right after World War II, we saw a rise of some of the great science fiction writers who wanted to show us the future post wartime. There was also the rise of modernism and not far afterwards post-modernism. Scientology holds to many of the traditional Eastern religions philosophies of the mind along with one’s ability to modify reality by believing or not believing something. If you are ill, simply believe you are well and it could be so, etc. So, because Scientology was in the right place at the right time, it survived where many others have failed.

    I was quite surprised to see how involved and driven Scientology is by what is discussed in the book. Recruitment was key and critical for its survival, even better if they could retain people who bore children in Scientology, it could grow from the inside out. This point of recruitment is driven into the reader’s minds starting on page one all the way to its end. The organization is focused on making money through sales of products, therapy sessions, and tithing. It developed itself like a franchise. The author even discussed how many of their business practices were taken from Mc Donald’s corporation. The desire of its followers was to become “clear”, or removed from the disruption of this life and world, but this came at a cost; both financially and time dedication. It was also interesting to see how Scientology adjusted over the years to market its belief system to people who are more influential of others; this started the move of bringing in the best of the best from Hollywood because they knew the influence such people had on a large portion of the population. Not only would this help to legitimize the “religion”, but it would also bring in large sums of money from the stars themselves and drive others to Scientology along with their money. The book somewhat, without outright saying it, shows Scientology to be a multi-level marketing program like Amway and others where those on the top all benefit from the work done by the lower ranks.

    What I found fascinating was the coup that occurred near the end of the founder’s life and how easy it was for a single person to take the reins of this multimillion-dollar organization. A large portion of the book is spent covering this event and future chapters show the impact it had overall. There were also chapters dedicated to specific people who were involved and their tragic outcomes; Natalie and Lisa are two examples.

    I wanted to say that although this book is a documentary, there are places where the author uses vulgar language when it is a part of a quote. Often when quoting Tom Cruise and other celebrities nearer the end of the book, yet there are a few other times they are sprinkled in. Just be aware if this book is being used for research purposes by younger readers. There are also some graphic depictions of death and suffering that may be quite intense for younger audiences. Apart from these two things, the writing was top notch and the book’s outline had a well-defined flow.

    As others have stated, and I’m not sure why, but I would have like to have had a female narrator for this book. Stephen Hoye did a fantastic job, but the writing style and knowing the author was female I somewhat expected it to be narrated by a female. After the first chapter or so, I got over this feeling and enjoyed the voice of Mr. Hoye. It should also be noted that he is no stranger to narration on Audible, he has nearly 300 titles narrated at the time of this review.

    In summary, this book is not a primer on Scientology but more a historical perspective of it. If you go into the book with this perspective, it is well worth the time spent and the knowledge gained. I would have liked to have had a few chapters dedicated to more beliefs and practices, but this was not part of the book’s scope. Although it is a bit dated, I still think the historical information is important for people not a part of Scientology to know and understand.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SBGlisson Port Orchard, WA United States 03-22-17
    SBGlisson Port Orchard, WA United States 03-22-17 Member Since 2013
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    "Absolutely terrific"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend - Great coverage of the subject, and well written.
    The book is well researched, and the author interviewed many former members directly to get a great level of direct insight.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jeanie 03-06-17
    jeanie 03-06-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Great read with lots of interesting information."

    This book gives a detailed history of the rise of scientology and it's founder. Every chapter is full of surprising information that keeps you hooked. The author did a great job to convey the information in an unbiased tone and let the reader decide with the facts. Great Read!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patti Chubbuck 10-12-16
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    "Informative"

    This book is well done but I cannot understand why Scientology still has tax exempt status and haven't been shut done for slavery.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    Brandon 08-14-16
    Brandon 08-14-16
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    "not just the what, the who, why & how"

    The narration was lively and engaged. I came into reading this with a deep understanding of the nuts and bolts of the "religion," but what this book revealed to me was an understanding of humanity of the thing: who Scientology adherents are and why and how they can be made to believe in something so ludicrous - which has implications reaching beyond the scope of this buzzard belief system...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    death 05-17-16
    death 05-17-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Not read in an interesting fashion"

    I couldn't get past a man reading a woman's writing, and he read it very dull non emotional. I've read 2 other Scientology books I loved but I couldn't get past the way this was read

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    Carolyn Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 03-24-15
    Carolyn Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 03-24-15 Member Since 2012

    I am a bilingual high school teacher. I mostly read non-fiction, especially history, but I am also a sucker for science-fiction and fantasy novels.

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    "In-Depth and Enlightening"

    This was a very educational look at the inner workings of Scientology, which most people think is just weird. In reality, it is actually much scarier and more dangerous to the people in it than you would think. This book gives a very detailed history and in-depth depiction of the cult and is seriously eye-opening. Truly engrossing and yet informative and detailed, after listening to this you will never see Scientologists as harmless weirdos ever again.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    Heather S Swanson Nebraska 08-15-14
    Heather S Swanson Nebraska 08-15-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Insightful"
    What did you love best about Inside Scientology?

    I enjoyed reading this more historical review of Scientology. I felt it provided some good insights to this 'so called religion' and revealed that it has little to do with true science. Very pleased I took time to listen to this. Good reader.


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

    yes.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ruth 08-01-14
    Ruth 08-01-14 Member Since 2017
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    "Astounding, informative, and terrifying"

    I really appreciate the author making every effort to write an objective book about a controversial subject. Reading this book makes you realize that even without nuance, the facts in this story are absolutely chilling. Anyone who has any interest in the Church of Scientology should absolutely read this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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