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

Going Clear Scientology Hollywood and the Prison of Belief A clear sighted revelation a deep penetration into the world of Scientology by the Pulitzer Prize winning author of the now classic study of al Qaeda s attack the Looming Tower Based on than tw

  • Title: Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief
  • Author: Lawrence Wright
  • ISBN: 9780307745309
  • Page: 249
  • Format: Paperback
  • A clear sighted revelation, a deep penetration into the world of Scientology by the Pulitzer Prize winning author of the now classic study of al Qaeda s 9 11 attack, the Looming Tower Based on 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 extrA clear sighted revelation, a deep penetration into the world of Scientology by the Pulitzer Prize winning author of the now classic study of al Qaeda s 9 11 attack, the Looming Tower Based on 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 and its dramatic efforts to grow and prevail after the death of Hubbard.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 L Ron Hubbard whose restless, expansive mind invented a new religion tailor made to prosper in the spiritually troubled post World War II era And his successor, David Miscavige tough and driven, with the unenviable task of preserving the church in the face of ongoing scandals and continual legal assaults.We learn about Scientology s esoteric cosmology about the auditing process that determines an inductee s state of being about the Bridge to Total Freedom, through which members gain eternal life We see the ways in which the church pursues celebrities, such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta, and how young idealists who joined the Sea Org, the church s clergy, whose members often enter as children, signing up with a billion year contract and working with little pay in poor conditions We meet men and women disconnected from friends and family by the church s policy of shunning critical voices And we discover, through many firsthand stories, the violence that has long permeated the inner sanctum of the church.In Going Clear, Wright examines what fundamentally makes a religion a religion, and whether Scientology is, in fact, deserving of the constitutional protections achieved in its victory over the IRS Employing all his exceptional journalistic skills of observations, understanding, and synthesis, and his ability to shape a story into a compelling narrative, Lawrence Wright has given us an evenhanded yet keenly incisive book that goes far beyond an immediate expos and uncovers the very essence of what makes Scientology the institution it is.

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    One thought on “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief”

    1. What a terrible and scurrilous attack on a noble and helpful religion! What a libel against its honest and self-effacing founder and prophet, L. Ron Hubbard! And upon its current and not at all insane leader, David Miscavige, who is by no means a sadistic tyrant! And upon Tom Cruise, who is not at all a megalomaniacal weirdo!Psst everyone gone? Is it safe? Okay, I really liked this book. It's a hard hitting exposé of Scientology that has to be read to be believed. That first paragraph above was [...]

    2. Not an untypical story of a modern cult: a paranoid narcissist with a few interesting ideas starts a religion, abuses his followers, and nearly implodes a couple of times before a sadomasochistic sociopath takes the reins, summoning dark order out of chaos. Narcissist recedes into background, sociopath assumes complete control, narcissist dies, and everything runs more smoothly and more evilly than before. Until all of a sudden it doesn't.This is a dreary book, for both these two--the narcissist [...]

    3. This is a vile viscous book which is a pack of lies!!!! And lawrence writght hates the first amendmant and free speech and religous freedom and -- heh heh heh. not really. lawrence wright is the living badass who's written all about religion & the 'prison of belief', most notable for his truly great pulitzer prize winning study of radical islam, the looming tower. i've written elsewhere in these hallowed halls of about the will to believe -- about how, atheist grouch and PTS/SP* that i am, [...]

    4. I have really mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I don't want to give it a bad rating, because I don't think it's a bad book, and I really appreciate all the time and effort Wright and hundreds of other people (seriously: read the acknowledgements) put into investigating Scientology. He is almost painfully even-handed, even if the rain-on-the-roof effect of the constant footnotes cementing the Wall of Denial "the church" is trying to put up around his findings ("Tom Cruise has neve [...]

    5. “This is not a church or a religious organization,” the labor minister, Norbert Blum, told Maclean’s magazine. “Scientology is a machine for manipulating human beings.”Yes, I already saw the HBO documentary 'Going Clear' based on this hefty tome by Lawrence Wright, and so it was obvious that I'd just have to read the book that made it possible. After all, for any dedicated reader the idea that 'a picture is worth a thousand words' simply means that there are thousands of words that sho [...]

    6. What a hoot! A religion started by a bad science-fiction writer. OMG, the greed, the debauchery, the paranoia, the totalitarian re-education camps, the power trips, the murders, the mayhem, the countless lives ruined, the advent of the petty sociopath David Miscavige. And I thought the history of the Roman Catholic church was scandalous. It is, but the Church of Scientology is giving that hoary institution a run for its money —and it's all about the money of course. The Roman Catholic Church h [...]

    7. I can't lie- I fell in love with Jesus at a young age.I was about 6 years old and my parents took me to see Jesus Christ Superstar. That was about the extent of my religious education.I was conflicted to who was more dreamyJesusor Judas????In the end Jesus won out- not because of his morals as a 6 year old I was attracted to both- but I am afraid I was just more attracted to JesusI mean seriously do you want to align yourself with the troubled man who hung himself from a tree- or the guy that at [...]

    8. Wright gets an extra star and my slack-jawed admiration for his willingness to face stalking, slander, harassment, and a potential avalanche of bankrupting litigation in order to write a book that his own UK publisher wouldn't even release for fear of the retaliatory powers of what I initially thought was just a bunch of kooky, celebrobsessed Fox Mulder types, but who are actually just a 100% fucking terrifying cult, cult, cult who sues or smears or snuffs out anyone and everyone who gets in the [...]

    9. This book is horrifying. I knew a bit about Scientology before I started reading, but was unprepared for how much craziness and violence there was in this cult religion.I listened to this on audio, and there were many times I actually gasped when some shocking detail was revealed. Such as when members were locked in a room for days with little to eat or drink, and they were forced to fight each other during a game of musical chairs. They were told that those who didn't get a chair would be kicke [...]

    10. Every organized religion has it's bat-shit-crazy parts. I don't belong to any religion myself because of this reason, but if a person gets something meaningful out of being a part of such an organization, I'm not one to judge them.But Scientology is not a religion. It's just not. It was formed by bat-shit-crazy L. Ron Hubbard to avoid paying taxes. That's it. This book is fascinating and terrifying. This 'church' has held people against their will for years and has somehow avoided being shut dow [...]

    11. Holy shit!Footnote: This book would be a fraction of the size without all of the legal disclaimers and denials from Tom Cruise’s lawyers and from the Church of Scientology. Maybe just a blanket statement at the beginning would’ve sufficed?!

    12. Right now I am reading every book I can about Scientology and about people escaping the religion. I find it super fascinating and have been learning so much! When I saw this book on Overdrive I had to listen to it. However, compared to most book about Scientology, I found this book to be kind of boring. I thought it had interesting material but the author dragged it out too long.The book talked about the inner workings of the Church of Scientology. He starts all the way with its origins by the s [...]

    13. I honestly don't understand how anyone could have listened to L. Ron Hubbard and thought, "Yeah, that guy knows what he's talking about." I'm almost done with this book but I think my favorite part just happened. A scientologist was offended by the notion of the leader, David Miscavige, being compared to Martin Luther King, Jr. The notion that someone would consider that to be an unfavorable association actually made me laugh out loud.Fascinating. Just fascinating.

    14. "Earth is an insane asylum, to which the other planets deport their lunatics."- Voltaire, in Memnon the PhilosopherI remember when I was first exposed to Scientology. A good friend of mine in HS suggested I read L. Ron Hubbard's Battlefield Earth*. I politely declined. Space opera just wasn't my thing. But I never forgot L. Ron Hubbard. Occasionally in used bookstores I'd see one of his other books: Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, The Way To Happiness, etc. Again, I would politel [...]

    15. Quick and Dirty Analysis (I know I can get long-winded) Good book, well-researched, that will tell you all you want to know (and possibly more) about the inner workings of Scientology. "Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing." - Ken Kesey I think a good litmus test for people, movements, groups etc is their ability to laugh at themselves. Yes, some things in life are very serious, but almost anything, when taken to an extreme, becomes humorously absurd. Consequently, one of the reas [...]

    16. This book was well researched,and very scary. I only knew bits and pieces about Scientology, mostly that they believe in aliens. Other than that I had no idea. Hubbard seemed to be suffering from some kind of psychotic illness. The biography part of just Ron Hubbard is unstable and strange. It's like reading how to be a psychotic con man 101. I always question how people suspend rational thought long enough to believe in any religion. I really liked Lawrence explaining that people who join these [...]

    17. "It is like history writ with lightning. My only regret is that it is all so terribly true."- Woodrow Wilson, on first viewing "The Birth of a Nation"In "Going Clear" Lawrence Wright does something that surprised me: he managed to make Scientology (or, at least, the people who run the Church) more repellant to me than they were going in, but he also manages to satisfactorily explain how such an organization could come to be and why people would follow it. This is a masterful feat.It's clear enou [...]

    18. The first part of this book is about L. Ron Hubbard, and his success in formulating a new religion, and carrying out his somewhat paranoid desires of domestic espionage. Reminds me a lot of Max Weber's treatment of 'institutional charisma', as well as a look at LRH's personal paranoia, yet staggering creativity, to create a theology from whole cloth. The second is an evenhanded look at the more sensational and deranged behavior of the church post 1989. David Miscavige's behavior is Maoist, with [...]

    19. Once in a while you pick up a book that just literally blows you away, and for me, Going Clear is one of these. From the first words through the last, I have to say I was completely mesmerized and well entrenched in this page turner of a book -- even missing a day on a Maui beach to finish it -- some of the stuff in here is so unbelievable that you just know it has to be real. If you're an ardent Scientologist, you probably won't want to read this book, but for anyone who's interested in looking [...]

    20. I suspect I'm like a lot of people - I thought of Scientology as some goofy, ridiculous, idiotic self-help system that sucked thousands of dollars out of people's pockets - albeit one with unjustifiable tax-exempt status. It's so much worse. The stories of abuse are pretty horrendous - back in the L. Ron Hubbard days, Sea Org members who needed to be punished for something would be "overboarded" from the large ship they lived on - the first person was dropped from a height of four stories but th [...]

    21. Harrowing, well-written and researched.Yet at two crucial points the narrative jumped to a head-scratching conclusion. First, you have a litany of L. Ron Hubbard's spiraling downward: poor health (physical and mental) and inability to make a living. Suddenly this person has written Dianetics. Same with how David Miscavige suddenly elbows aside LRH's chosen successors. Not enough info about how he did it and where he came from.The book's conclusion was unsatisfying. It trails off in Paul Haggis's [...]

    22. Going Clear is a hard book to rate. It is undoubtedly meticulously researched - the author undertook a massive investigation into its subject matter and spoke to over two hundred Scientologists, and received countless letters threatening legal action from lawyers representing the Church and its members - and contains much valuable facts and historical data regarding what is arguably the world's richest and most reclusive religion, but at the same time shies away from being a definite book on the [...]

    23. This 2013 National Book shortlist nominee for the Nonfiction Award is in many ways a classic of investigative journalism. There is practically nothing Wright left out about the ways and means the Church of Scientology was established and how it continues. Considering the Church is shrouded in secrecy and its documents confidential, this was a strenuous bit of digging. His thoughts at the end of the book are enlightening, especially the bit about art—how this church seems deficient in artworks, [...]

    24. This was a well researched book and I found it very fascinating and scary. I really don't understand the lure of Scientology but then again I am not in a position to. Am I nervous to leave a detailed reviewightly. But my review is short mostly because I am pressed for time, or so I tell myself.

    25. This is such a great book, I want to punch someone in the face.Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief is written in three parts as the name suggests, all equally gripping. I couldn’t put it down. Hard to dispute the content given the thorough research and great journalism by Pulitzer Prize winning author Lawrence Wright. Everyone’s buzzing about it. Just today I heard a report that Tom Cruise’s lawyer declared the book, “boring”. That's all you got? Well, it's [...]

    26. Dear Lawrence Wright,Sincerely,Me* * *I'm finding it impossible to organize the hundreds of thoughts I have about this book.The only regret I have is that it could have been far more comprehensiveif That Authoritarian Cult had a cooperative bone in its twisted little body. But cooperation and "shadowy, secretive cult" are incompatible concepts. If David Miscavige hates Wright's end product, he had it within his power to cooperate because, if anything, Wright shows a willingness to be fair and ev [...]

    27. Incredibly interesting tale of L Ron Hubbard and Scientology. Wright considers all viewpoints and tries to help the reader understand what made Hubbard tick and why so many people followed his teachings. The most abhorrent aspects of Scientology were its totalitarian hold on the lives of its followers. Conformity at all costs: separating families, incarcerating people for minor "infractions" including non-conformism, spying, and rounding up runaways to bring them back. Everyone knows that John T [...]

    28. Reading this I thought I'd learn more about Scientology's secret doctrine. Just what exactly do they teach at OT III (answer: it's crazy) Who was L Ron Hubbard (answer: a crazy person, to say the least) But this book is also a whole lot more. I was shocked to learn about many of the abuses perpetrated by church leaders against lower ranked Scientologists. Shocked to read about the level to which Tom Cruise and other celebrities are complicit in these abuses (especially Tom Cruise). I was left wi [...]

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