Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief - Review
ES Lifestyle newsletter
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. Open almost any page at random. That tape of L.
It is a strange feeling to pick up a newly released book in a second-hand book shop in New York, as I did last week. The book was dropped by its original publisher, Transworld, presumably under legal pressure from the famously litigious church, and is now being released by Silvertail. Hubbard was a charismatic and a startling fantasist. He claimed to have worked on films in which he was not credited. His obsession with naval culture fleeing lawsuits, he eventually took Scientology to sea on a fleet of boats seems to have given birth to a string of invented wartime stories. He claimed to have been crippled by battle wounds and healed himself with techniques that would later become central to Scientology, but those injuries are absent from his military and hospital records.
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Inside the Scientology Celebrity Centre: An Ex-Parishioner Reveals All
The book contains interviews with current and former Scientologists, the histories of founder L. Ron Hubbard and current leader David Miscavige , and analysis of the relationships of Tom Cruise and John Travolta to the organization. In an interview with The New York Times Wright said that "There are a lot of people out there who were very high up in the church and know a lot about it who have become outspoken I'm very lucky to come along at a time when a lot of these people are ready to talk". The title of the book, Going Clear , is in reference to a stage of spiritual development in Scientology. In Scientology parlance , " Clear " means a state of having freed oneself from "engrams", which members believe are "subconscious memories of past trauma". Scientologists go through therapy sessions called "auditing" as part of the process of becoming Clear.
According to Bridge Publications, itself an arm of the Church of Scientology, at least 80 million copies have been sold. That sounds possible, if you credit the church's claim that it has 8 million members. But then you have to reckon with more objective external estimates that the membership might be just 50,, while one assumes that the book sales are inflated by deliberate bulk-buying by church members. So what are you going to believe? Here's a quick experiment.