Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright.
Wow! After reading Mr. Wright’s exposé of L. Ron Hubbard’s “new religion” of Scientology, I want to make sure that I and my family never even read any of Mr. Hubbard’s multitudinous works of fiction, much less his supposed nonfiction best sellers such as Dianetics and Self Analysis, to name only a couple of the many, many books he wrote and published. (Mitt Romney said during his run for the presidency that his favorite novel was Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard. That’s a little disturbing on several levels.) Yes, I know that sounds a little paranoid, and the books themselves may or may not be harmlessly entertaining, but the information about the abusiveness of Scientology in Going Clear is just that disturbing. So disturbing that I’m looking for my ten foot pole.
Scientology doesn’t get many (any) kudos in this book by a Pulitzer prize winning author and journalist. Famous Scientologists come across as either well-meaning fools (John Travolta) or deluded jerks (Tom Cruise). Hubbard himself seems to have been a megalomaniac with delusions of grandeur and a sadistic streak. Then, of course, he did establish a religious empire with millions of dollars in assets and a lot (Scientology won’t say exactly how many, with estimates varying widely and wildly) of adherents.
I won’t go into the specific abuses and illegalities that Mr. Wright alleges against Hubbard and the Scientology organization. You can read the book for more corrupt and salacious details than you probably want to know. I will warn anyone who is even considering taking one of Scientology’s copious and expensive courses that he or she should read Wright’s book first. If even half of what Mr. Wright writes is right, then you will want to stay as far away from Scientology as possible.
Of course, Lawrence implies in the final chapters of his book that all religious faiths are much the same as Scientology in their irrationality and odd beliefs. He writes, ” . . . every religion features bizarre and uncanny elements.” Then he proceeds to compare Scientology to Christian Science, the Amish, Shakers, Buddhists, Pentecostals, and several other groups. He’s struggling to put Scientology into some sort of context, but there is very little precedent for an L. Ron Hubbard and his invention of a money-making pseudo-science that outlived its founder. To invoke one of those beliefs that Mr. Wright classifies as bizarre, I think Scientology is simply demonic.
Read the book and weep for those who are enmeshed in a belief system that defies belief. I especially felt moved to pray for those children who are raised and indoctrinated in Mr. Hubbard’s exploitative religion. I believe the only Power that can free them from such an insidious and insane cult is the power and sanity of Jesus Christ.
Famous Scientologists and former Scientologists. I was surprised to read (not in this book but online as I looked up information) that author Neil Gaiman was raised in a Scientology family. He has left the Church of Scientology as an adult, but prefers not to talk about it either negatively or positively, probably because he still has family members who are deeply involved in Scientology.
Other author connections with Scientology:
Science fiction author Robert Heinlein was close friends with L. Ron Hubbard in their early days in the 1940′s as aspiring writers of science fiction. In fact, Hubbard had an affair with Heinlein’s wife, after which they weren’t such good friends anymore.
L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future contest for new writers of science fiction and Illustrators of the Future contest are “prestigious and lucrative. They feature judges who are among the biggest names in the field, and they’ve helped launch the careers of important new artists.” These contests are administrated, sponsored, and funded by a subsidiary of The Church of Scientology. However, the judges and the authors who win the annual contests are, for the most part, not members of the Church of Scientology. (Scientology’s Writers of the Future Contest, Village Voice, by Tony Ortega)