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Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief (2013)

– tekijä: Lawrence Wright

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioKeskustelut / Maininnat
1,7591087,522 (4.09)1 / 120
"Based on more than two hundred 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 skills to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology: its origins in the imagination of science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard; its struggles to find acceptance as a legitimate (and legally acknowledged) religion; its vast, secret campaign to infiltrate the U.S. government; its vindictive treatment of critics; its phenomenal wealth; and its dramatic efforts to grow and prevail after the death of Hubbard"--From publisher description.… (lisätietoja)
  1. 10
    Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology (tekijä: Leah Remini) (akblanchard)
    akblanchard: Both books deal with the Hollywood-Scientology connection.
  2. 10
    Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson (tekijä: Jeff Guinn) (akblanchard)
    akblanchard: Although he never joined the group, Manson dabbled in Scientology. It is interesting to draw parallels between Manson's treatment of his "Family" and life in the Scientology's Sea Org.
  3. 00
    Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion (tekijä: Janet Reitman) (sparemethecensor)
    sparemethecensor: Two similar journalistic exposes of Scientology, both of which take a surprisingly even-handed view of the group. I preferred Inside Scientology, although both are great primers on what is going on under David Miscavige's regime.
  4. 01
    Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America (tekijä: Barbara Ehrenreich) (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Although Wright missed it completely, Scientology seems to be yet another in a long line of American religions/self-help groups influenced by the Positive Thinking Movement. If you want a wider vision of how these groups function, I highly recommend Ehrenreich.… (lisätietoja)
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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 107) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Inside the Cult

Wright answers several questions in his fine, balanced, well researched and presented examination of Scientology, in particular, about its Hollywood connection, leaving the single biggest one for readers to decide for themselves.

Who was L. Ron Hubbard? What experiences led him to found his own religion (a categorization many would strongly dispute but won by doing something few can: bringing the IRS to its knees)? Why did people join and proselytize Hubbard's belief system? What do celebrities, among them Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Anne Archer, and others, find compelling about Scientology? What ideas comprise the beliefs of Scientologists? Why is Scientology secretive and what are those secrets? With Hubbard long dead, who currently leads Scientology? How has Scientology succeeded in surviving and amassing considerable wealth since the death of its founder? And, finally, the question Wright leaves readers to answer for themselves: is Scientology a religion, a religion in the making, or is it a cult, a very visible, wealthy, and pugnacious one at that?

You'll find much that's sensational in Going Clear, and much bearing the hallmarks common to religious cults, among them Jim Jones's People Temple, Moses David's (David Berg) Children of God (now The Family International), and Aleister Crowley's Ordo Templi Orientis (which Hubbard affiliated with after WWII), to cite a few.

You'll see these similarities on full display in Wright's book. These include a charismatic leader, proprietary knowledge without which salvation cannot be had, absolute devotion to the exclusion of family and past friends that promotes a binding insularity and captivity, to note just a handful. For comparison, and especially if cults interest you, you might want to try Tim Reiterman's biography of Jim Jones and the People's Temple march to tragedy, Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People. While different in approach and membership, you'll recognize how Scientology tacks to the cult course. Of course, as Wright develops in his epilogue, a movement may actually be a nascent religion in the making that appears alien and threatening to the reigning orthodoxy, as did Christianity and Mormonism, to cite an older and newer example. A further apt point made by Wright concerns how a religion's set of beliefs can appear absurd when an observer views them without the faith of the believers, something that can call into question the precepts of most any religion.

As for the sensational, these do not result from Wright's even writing. They spring from Hubbard and Scientology itself. Examples include Hubbard's manufactured naval history, the harsh punishment of members in the Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF), the original organization of Commodore's Messengers Organization employing pubescent girls, the low pay and miserable living conditions of members compared to the lavish furnishings of top leaders, the special treatment afforded celebrities, the aggressive stances against perceived church enemies that often included physical intimidation and endless and expensive legal suits (which serve to restrict unauthorized published information and which the church used to win their designation as a tax-exempt religious organization in the U.S.), and many more.

Recommended as an insightful exploration of a movement, its influence, and its claim to religious legitimacy. ( )
  write-review | Nov 4, 2021 |
Inside the Cult

Wright answers several questions in his fine, balanced, well researched and presented examination of Scientology, in particular, about its Hollywood connection, leaving the single biggest one for readers to decide for themselves.

Who was L. Ron Hubbard? What experiences led him to found his own religion (a categorization many would strongly dispute but won by doing something few can: bringing the IRS to its knees)? Why did people join and proselytize Hubbard's belief system? What do celebrities, among them Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Anne Archer, and others, find compelling about Scientology? What ideas comprise the beliefs of Scientologists? Why is Scientology secretive and what are those secrets? With Hubbard long dead, who currently leads Scientology? How has Scientology succeeded in surviving and amassing considerable wealth since the death of its founder? And, finally, the question Wright leaves readers to answer for themselves: is Scientology a religion, a religion in the making, or is it a cult, a very visible, wealthy, and pugnacious one at that?

You'll find much that's sensational in Going Clear, and much bearing the hallmarks common to religious cults, among them Jim Jones's People Temple, Moses David's (David Berg) Children of God (now The Family International), and Aleister Crowley's Ordo Templi Orientis (which Hubbard affiliated with after WWII), to cite a few.

You'll see these similarities on full display in Wright's book. These include a charismatic leader, proprietary knowledge without which salvation cannot be had, absolute devotion to the exclusion of family and past friends that promotes a binding insularity and captivity, to note just a handful. For comparison, and especially if cults interest you, you might want to try Tim Reiterman's biography of Jim Jones and the People's Temple march to tragedy, Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People. While different in approach and membership, you'll recognize how Scientology tacks to the cult course. Of course, as Wright develops in his epilogue, a movement may actually be a nascent religion in the making that appears alien and threatening to the reigning orthodoxy, as did Christianity and Mormonism, to cite an older and newer example. A further apt point made by Wright concerns how a religion's set of beliefs can appear absurd when an observer views them without the faith of the believers, something that can call into question the precepts of most any religion.

As for the sensational, these do not result from Wright's even writing. They spring from Hubbard and Scientology itself. Examples include Hubbard's manufactured naval history, the harsh punishment of members in the Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF), the original organization of Commodore's Messengers Organization employing pubescent girls, the low pay and miserable living conditions of members compared to the lavish furnishings of top leaders, the special treatment afforded celebrities, the aggressive stances against perceived church enemies that often included physical intimidation and endless and expensive legal suits (which serve to restrict unauthorized published information and which the church used to win their designation as a tax-exempt religious organization in the U.S.), and many more.

Recommended as an insightful exploration of a movement, its influence, and its claim to religious legitimacy. ( )
  write-review | Nov 4, 2021 |
Prior to reading "Going Clear", by Lawrence Wright, I had only a feeble understanding of the "church" of Scientology, but knew only of some of the incredible beliefs associated with the founder, L. Ron Hubbard. This includes statements associated with Hubbard such as how he would visit outer space, or that in his Scientology doctrine, a galactic ruler from 75 million years ago called Xenu plotted with psychiatrists to gather billions of his citizens and brought them to Earth in DC-8 type aircraft, stacked them around volcanoes and blew them up with hydrogen bombs. Their souls then clustered together and stuck to the bodies of the living, bringing us up to our modern times.

In his book, Wright investigated Scientology, and does little to dissuade us from thinking of Scientology as an odd cult, and totally an invention of L. Ron Hubbard's vivid science-fiction imagination. And while Wright is able to demonstrate that L. Ron Hubbard (LRH) was something akin to a con man, and was caught in many lies over his life, none of that changes anything to his followers. Wright also points out that Scientology has been granted status as a Religion by the IRS after a long and bitter legal fight. Clearly, they've got a lot of good lawyers, gobs of money, and a proclivity for lawsuits to protect their interests.

While many question their status as a religion, no religion can PROVE that it's true. People question whether Mohammad actually rode into heaven on a winged horse, or if Jesus' disciples actually encountered their crucified savior after being raised from the dead. Others question the Catholic teaching of the virgin birth of Jesus, or the Mormon belief in Joseph Smith's claim of finding of mysterious gold plates which then "disappeared". Belief in the irrational is considered one definition of faith. Common belief in what others may consider to be absurd or disputed doctrines binds the believing community together, and sets up a defensive posture against the "outside" world, and that certainly appears to be true among Scientologists.

Whether as a religion or as a philosophy for living life, there is enough there in order to convince thousands of followers, including big-name celebrities like Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley and Juliette Lewis, to believe its message. As a belief system, it apparently can have a transformative impact on individual lives.

On the other hand, as the great-grandson of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard says, the Church of Scientology is one of the most “devious, systematic brainwashing systems that’s ever been invented.” And invented may be the operative term, since as Wright points out, L. Ron Hubbard had been quoted before Scientology as saying, "You don't get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion."

Wright does a good job under difficult research circumstances to detail the operation of Scientology, the control of its leaders, and how and why it recruits leaders from Hollywood or other influential people. And while Wright provided as many details as possible about leaders within Scientology, the gap in the book in my mind was the need for a better explanation as to HOW it managed to grow to where it is today. If LRH was a con-man prone to spinning easily disproved yarns, and a good sci-fi writer, how was he able to create this "religion", and enlist enough dedicated followers to grow his church and system? That's still something of a mystery to me.
( )
  rsutto22 | Jul 15, 2021 |
If you think you know about scientology, as I did, this book will still surprise and shock you. It is very well written and sourced. It is absolutely appalling that this abusive organization is allowed to persist without accountability.

A must-read. ( )
1 ääni SocProf9740 | Jul 11, 2021 |
This did an excellent job of not shaking my preconceived notions about Scientology. Indeed, it gave ample reinforcement.

The information in the book is excellent and interesting, but it's a bit of a slog to read. ( )
  arosoff | Jul 11, 2021 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 107) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
That crunching sound you hear is Lawrence Wright bending over backward to be fair to Scientology. Every deceptive comparison with Mormonism and other religions is given a respectful hearing. Every ludicrous bit of church dogma is served up deadpan. This makes the book’s indictment that much more powerful.
 
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Introduction
Scientology plays an outsize role in the cast of new religions that have arisen in the twentieth century and survived into the twenty-first.
London, Ontario, is a middling manufacturing town halfway between Toronto and Detroit, once known for its cigars and breweries.
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"Based on more than two hundred 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 skills to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology: its origins in the imagination of science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard; its struggles to find acceptance as a legitimate (and legally acknowledged) religion; its vast, secret campaign to infiltrate the U.S. government; its vindictive treatment of critics; its phenomenal wealth; and its dramatic efforts to grow and prevail after the death of Hubbard"--From publisher description.

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