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Book Recommendation - Inside Scientology by Janet Reitman


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Recently finished Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion by Janet Reitman.

 

 

Quote
Scientology is known for its celebrity believers and its team of "volunteer ministers" at disaster sites such as the World Trade Center; its notably aggressive response to criticism or its attacks on psychiatry; its requirement that believers pay as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars to reach the highest levels of salvation. But for all its notoriety, Scientology has remained America's least understood new religion, even as it has been one of its most successful. Now Janet Reitman tells its riveting full story in the first objective modern history of Scientology, at last revealing the astonishing truth about life within the controversial religion for its members and ex-members. We watch the singular L. Ron Hubbard transform a self-help group into a worldwide spiritual corporation, at one point running the church from his personal fleet on the high seas before establishing its base in sleepy Clearwater, Florida. As he became increasingly paranoid and reclusive, a young acolyte named David Miscavige assumed control; after Hubbard's death in 1986 he quickly purged the ranks and began to transform the church once again. Miscavige has overseen some of the church's greatest triumphs – among them a controversial billion-dollar IRS tax exemption and Tom Cruise's emergence as a vocal advocate – but he also has created a climate of fear and intimidation, according to ex-members whose stories of abuse Reitman shares. Reitman is the first to examine his twenty-five-year reign and what it might mean for the future of the church. Based on five years of research, confidential documents, and extensive interviews with current and former Scientologists, this is an utterly compelling nonfiction account and the defining work on an elusive faith.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Inside-Scientology-Americas-Secretive-Religion/dp/0618883029

 

Very dense and very thorough. The author definitely categorizes Scientology as a fundamentalist religion, since any form of departure from the party line is severely punished, and members are not allowed to doubt the veracity of the theology or question whether what the founder said was true or not.

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I must second the recommendation. I believe Reitman has done a fabulous job here. This will be the go-to book for an overview of Scientology for some years to come.

Lawrence Wright (who wrote the definitive book about 9/11 called The Looming Tower, which won a Pulitzer) is shopping a book about Scientology right now. Apparently the "hook" will be about the disaffection of Oscar-winning screenwriter Paul Haggis, who was told in 2008 by the head of the San Diego org that Scientology supported Prop 8.

Here's the story about Paul Haggis in the New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011 ... act_wright

What's interesting about the Reitman book is that $cientology and its attorneys didn't publicly threaten to sue, as they have with other books about Scientology. But when it came to the Wright article about Haggis, the cult's got a website and a story in its Freedumb magazine and other crap to try and besmirch their names.

Lots of interesting stuff taking place in the Scientology space these days!

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I finished this several months ago and thought it was very well-written. I only had a basic amount of knowledge about Scientology, but felt like I understood it much better after this book. And wow. . . just wow.

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I'm going to check this out. I was skeptical that anything about Scientology that wasn't followed by a lawsuit wasn't accurate, but if it's good enough for Austin, I think it will be a good read.

Fun fact: L. Ron Hubbard attended (but didn't graduate) the George Washington University and studied civil engineering. There's an engineering fraternity on campus called Theta Tau. Thetans are supreme beings in Scientology. The GW students I knew who were also members of Theta Tau like the coincience. :)

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I finished this several months ago and thought it was very well-written. I only had a basic amount of knowledge about Scientology, but felt like I understood it much better after this book. And wow. . . just wow.

This was me after reading it. I only knew that Tom Cruise seems to be a big-wig in Scientology but religions have always intrigued me! Just Wow is all you can say!

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I'm going to check this out. I was skeptical that anything about Scientology that wasn't followed by a lawsuit wasn't accurate, but if it's good enough for Austin, I think it will be a good read.

Fun fact: L. Ron Hubbard attended (but didn't graduate) the George Washington University and studied civil engineering. There's an engineering fraternity on campus called Theta Tau. Thetans are supreme beings in Scientology. The GW students I knew who were also members of Theta Tau like the coincience. :)

That seems like high praise. Thank you.

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I read this last fall. I had next to no knowledge going in, and I found it thoroughly informative. I can't get over the Sea Org and all that jazz. I guess people who get attracted by Scientology are very, very different from me.

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I read this last fall. I had next to no knowledge going in, and I found it thoroughly informative. I can't get over the Sea Org and all that jazz. I guess people who get attracted by Scientology are very, very different from me.

What, you don't have a billion years to kill, for a good cause? :lol:

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