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An intriguing look into the notoriously private world of Scientology and its history.
I guess you could say that Leah Remini’s autobiography about growing up in Scientology hooked me on this subject. (Read my review of Remini’s book here.)
Lawrence Wright’s Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief, however, tells an entirely different tale of Scientology.
Wright delves into the history of both Scientology and its founder, L. Ron Hubbard.
Confession– I found the early parts of the book detailing Hubbard’s childhood rather boring, but it’s a necessary piece of the puzzle I suppose.
Hubbard was certainly an intriguing man, I’ll give him that.
The historical background of how Scientology came to be only further reaffirmed my belief about the “religion,” which is that it is based on the rantings of a borderline insane person.
More interesting than the forming of Scientology, though, is the later years when celebrities are drawn into the mix.
It’s quite clear that Scientology is a money-making venture and gaining celebrity support is a huge part of achieving that. I just couldn’t believe the names that were actually fervent Scientology supporters.
This book is worth the purchase price for the parts about Tom Cruise alone– you will not believe the lengths that the church went to in order to keep Cruise happy and involved.
But there’s a darker side, too. You will read of horrible cases of abuse and neglect by church officials, including current head David Miscavige.
Interestingly, there is no mention whatsoever of Leah Remini in Wright’s book. That was startling to me because she very publicly left the church, although the timeline of her leaving is about the time this book was published, so maybe Wright wasn’t aware that Remini was leaving when penning his book.
Bottom line– if you’re fascinated by Scientology and looking for a book about it, I’d recommend Remini’s book first.
Then if you’re still interested and want to hear an even more detailed, composite picture of behind-the-scenes Scientology workings, definitely check out Going Clear, available on Amazon here.