March 1, 2013
Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief
Hobbes linked me an article about this book the week it was released, and I immediately downloaded it to my Kindle. It holds the same sort of morbid fascination for me that documentaries about Charles Manson or the Branch Davidians in Waco had; recovering from fundamentalism is a funny thing, and it makes you feel – or realize – that you’ve survived a cult. This book takes things to a whole new level. Scientology is a sales religion at its finest: find/create a need, sell a solution, and keep the solution price climbing. There’s an elaborate system of payment and punishment involved. Check out this segment of an interview with Anderson Cooper and author Lawrence Wright:
We all know about Tom Cruise’s love affair with Scientology, don’t we? He makes eloquent points in its favor before his career tanks and he seems to be completely mental. This clip discusses his personal diagnosis with dyslexia… and how false learning disability diagnoses are. He explains how Scientology enabled him to become a successful pilot, film producer, and – obviously – reader. “Education is the key,” he says.
The book touches on Tom Cruise’s involvement with the church, as well as the involvement of several other celebrities, the history of L. Ron Hubbard, and what his own family has to say about the church. Full of anecdotal accounts as well as solid research and clear, concise language, this book is amazing.
In a court case, the evidence shows a tape encouraging kids to drop out of schools. “This tape basically explains to my parents that you can’t blame me for wanting to drop out of school. It paints a picture of public education as being a harmful thing…” PLEASE LISTEN. “The psychologists spawned the technology of degrading all men to animals. HE IS IN CHARGE OF YOUR SCHOOLS TODAY!
A clear-sighted revelation, a deep penetration into the world of Scientology by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Looming Tower, the now-classic study of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attack. Based on more than two hundred personal interviews with 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.
You can read the first
chapter here, but it doesn’t even scratch the surface; this book is tabloid meets legitimate news reporting, and it’s absolutely riveting.
Or, you can buy your copy here.