Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Going Clear

Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright

I borrowed the ebook from the Free Library of Philadelphia.

My review:

I first heard of this book on Julie's Book Hooked Blog last month and placed a hold on it immediately.
I'm fascinated by religions and theology, and who isn't a little intrigued by the mysterious organization that claims communion with aliens and which boasts John Travolta and Tom Cruise as members?

Wright did his research thoroughly; footnotes are scrupulously appended to especially controversial claims. And there are a lot of controversial claims that the Church of Scientology doesn't like one little bit, including stories of horrific abuse of Sea Org members at the hand of church leadership.

Despite the research and cross-referencing, this account of L. Ron Hubbard's life and of the development of the church following his death is perfectly readable. Those who adhere to no religion will be chilled at how so many non-believers were drawn into the church by the "scientific" self-help programs that seem to work so well. Thoughtful readers who are devout in an established religion will find themselves asking uncomfortable questions about their own belief systems.

This would be a good book to recommend to readers who enjoy entertaining nonfiction.

Stars: 5

My eyebrows were halfway up my forehead for most of the time I was reading this book. The claims of abuse in the church are horrifying. Almost more chilling is the claim that so many people in the punishment sectors stay willingly, either because they truly believe or because they fear the repercussions of leaving. Most frightening of all is that so many others who did attempt to escape the church have been hunted down across the country when they fled and that those who have opposed the church have been calculatedly stalked and driven to ruin.

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