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Going Clear Audiobook

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

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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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  •  
    doug 11-22-15
    doug 11-22-15
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    "Great!"

    OMG! At times laughed out loud. Other times couldn't believe what was happening in story. Very well researched. That L. Ron was a character. Definitely recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Sydney Kessell 11-18-15
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    "Interesting, but long"
    What made the experience of listening to Going Clear the most enjoyable?

    I enjoyed it but had to stop half way through. Just too long for the time period I had to listen.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Lawrence Wright? Why or why not?

    Yes


    What about Morton Sellers’s performance did you like?

    Good


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael R. 11-01-15
    Michael R. 11-01-15 Member Since 2016
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    "Excellent!"

    This was an amazing audio experience! I highly recommend! You learn in great detail the true nature of Scientology as told from those that were on the inside.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    dagwood1969 10-30-15
    dagwood1969 10-30-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Excellent!"

    This book made me seriously rethink my involvement in AA. The similarities were striking. I loved this book. It makes me consider daily how free my mind is and how easily it can can be influenced by others.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phillip A. Manning Batavia, OH 10-25-15
    Phillip A. Manning Batavia, OH 10-25-15 Member Since 2015
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    "A must read!"

    If you are at all interested in current cults in the world you must read this book! very well supported with fact, and attention the the blatant contradictions and lies fountained forth by this "church". if you are in the cult read this, if you are interested in cults read this, if you are interested in the world around you, READ THIS BOOK.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    smarmer Los Angeles, CA USA 09-03-15
    smarmer Los Angeles, CA USA 09-03-15 Member Since 2011

    smarmer

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    "Better than the HBO documentary"

    Both this book and the one by Janet Reitman are must reads for anyone curious about Scientology. Wright is an outstanding reporter whose earlier book, The Looming Tower, was a masterpiece.

    The narration is excellent and well captured the tone of the book's characters.

    After finishing I was still left wanting a fuller explanation of how non-damaged adults could remain in an organization that has so much underlying sadistic behavior toward underlings and how it succeeds in keeping its practices away from its naive members.

    After you finish this book and Reitman's, look up the Lisa McPhearson articles in the St Petersburg Times called The Truth Rundown.

    All in all an informative if disturbing book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bryan CAMBRIDGE, MA, United States 08-25-15
    Bryan CAMBRIDGE, MA, United States 08-25-15 Member Since 2012
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    "The Prison of Hubbard and Miscavige"

    On the reading, Morton Sellers gives a solid performance. He knows when to subtly emphasize a point, and subtly takes on the emotion of the speaker when necessary. This not the first performance of his I have heard, and I think his voice is better suited for non-fiction.

    In Going Clear, Lawrence Wright gives the full history of L. Ron Hubbard, David Miscavige, and the dogma they have forged known as Scientology. Call Scientology what you want - a religion, a cult, a self-help philosophy - it is all of those things. It is also based entirely on fiction - a science fiction its founder (L. Ron Hubbard - d. 1986) and his successor (David Miscavige) have forged together.

    The two of them have employed Scientology's clergy, the Sea Org, to protect this fiction from not only the public, but most of Scientology's own membership as well. For this, Sea Org members are not rewarded, but are instead subject to horrible punishment - all in the name of protecting the leaders and furthering the Church's aims. The Church's cult of personality is certainly reminiscent of the worst totalitarian regimes of the last 100 years.

    Wright systematically breaks down almost every single event in Hubbard's extraordinary life (that is, his life according to Scientology's official records anyway), showing that most of it was a lie. A lie, but an incredibly interesting lie. A lie that provides the foundation for ALL of Scientology's teachings. I found myself both horrified and fascinated at how a man like Hubbard - with MAJOR mental issues and a propensity to alienate those closest to him - attracted so many followers. In my opinion, we have much to learn about humanity from Hubbard's life story.

    Interwoven with the story of Scientology and its masters is the story of many current and former members - including Cruise and Travolta, whom Wright does not let off easy.

    Wright also delves into Miscavige's tenure as the leader of the Church. Several ex-Scientologists claim the reason they left is because of his policies, saying the group has gone awry from its original teachings. Wright makes clear that it was always this way - Miscavige is Hubbard's logical successor, employing similar Machiavellian leadership tactics. That being said, Wright has much sympathy for its former members - they have all endured much personal hardship to get out, and were kept completely in the dark about the Church's inner workings.

    It is impossible to know what lies ahead for the Church of Scientology. Public opinion has never been in its favor. It has always been subject to innumerable expository news stories, court challenges, and TV interviews with famous members. These will undoubtedly continue, and likely ramp up in the coming years. Somehow, they have endured for more than 60 years, with some second-generation members now having families. Though they have had some notable losses, they still have two very powerful spokesmen, and several others as well. This Wright makes clear - its true believers will never back down, and they will keep Hubbard's place set at the dinner table.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    alexandra boucher Piermont, NY United States 08-07-15
    alexandra boucher Piermont, NY United States 08-07-15 Member Since 2014

    felix

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    "beyond belief "

    I watched Alex Gibney's documentary before listening to this book and was fascinated and horrified in equal measure. this book is fantastic, well written and impeccably researched (not a surprise, since Wright regularly contributes to the New Yorker) and also not sensationalist. he definitely tries to bring a fair report about the chimerical life of L Ron Hubbard and the effect that scientology has had on its most ardent followers, both the celebrities and the "normal" people. very interesting and scary both. I highly recommend!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynda Rands 08-03-15
    Lynda Rands 08-03-15
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    "Personality, not narrative-driven"

    Lawrence Wright is an excellent author. His "Looming Tower" should be read by everyone with an interest in the Middle East and its problems. This book was not in the same league. As a mini-bio of L.Ron Hubbard, it was interesting. The rest of the book got sort of tiresome, due to the fact that the disaffected members of this cult seemed to have pretty much the same issues. The stuff about the Hollywood folks was mildly interesting, in terms of Entertainment Tonight kind of gossip.

    Mainly, this book struck me as a very good magazine article that was lengthened into a book and suffered from the additions.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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    judith 08-01-15
    judith 08-01-15
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    "Quite the surprise"

    I really enjoyed description of the accounts and personal relationship each person had with the church. Also that it was written as a storyteller and not a one-sided monologue. Really makes you think about your own spirituality too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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