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Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief (2013)

de Lawrence Wright

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaConverses / Mencions
1,8071107,549 (4.09)1 / 120
"Based on more 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; its vindictive treatment of critics; its phenomenal wealth; and its dramatic efforts to grow and prevail after the death of Hubbard"--From publisher description.… (més)
  1. 10
    Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology de Leah Remini (akblanchard)
    akblanchard: Both books deal with the Hollywood-Scientology connection.
  2. 10
    Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson de Jeff Guinn (akblanchard)
    akblanchard: Although he never joined the group, Manson dabbled in Scientology. It is interesting to draw parallels between Manson's treatment of his "Family" and life in the Scientology's Sea Org.
  3. 00
    Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion de Janet Reitman (sparemethecensor)
    sparemethecensor: Two similar journalistic exposes of Scientology, both of which take a surprisingly even-handed view of the group. I preferred Inside Scientology, although both are great primers on what is going on under David Miscavige's regime.
  4. 01
    Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America de Barbara Ehrenreich (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Although Wright missed it completely, Scientology seems to be yet another in a long line of American religions/self-help groups influenced by the Positive Thinking Movement. If you want a wider vision of how these groups function, I highly recommend Ehrenreich.… (més)
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» Mira també 120 mencions

Anglès (109)  Alemany (1)  Totes les llengües (110)
Es mostren 1-5 de 110 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Intriguing, horrifying, and bordering on unbelievable in regard to what this "religion" manages to get away with. The last time I felt this way was when I watched "Jesus Camp", which was a documentary that felt like a horror film. This book, too, feels eerie and disturbing.

It's all here: Paul Haggis' bold, public renunciation of Scientology, the stories of Travolta and Cruise (and other celebrities) and how their lives and careers were shaped by their engagement with Scientology, the rise of the volatile and power-hungry David Muscavige, and of course, the influence of L. Ron Hubbard, his creation of this belief system, and his own personal mythology, which is riddled with inconsistencies and contradictions.

"Going Clear" is equal parts engrossing and enraging. I watched the documentary before reading the book, and it gives a great overview (and some cinematic documentation) of key moments described in the book. The book and film go hand-in-hand nicely. Lawrence Wright did his homework, and got access in ways I couldn't imagine one doing given the clandestine elements of this religion, and their reputation for quieting (by coercion, force, or litigation) those who question them.
( )
  TommyHousworth | Feb 5, 2022 |
A very well written and thoroughly researched book about a well-known but not well understood religion. Scientology, whose most famous proponent is the actor Tom Cruise, is based on the voluminous and frankly strange (and even bizarre) writings of its founder L Ron Hubbard. It is divided into roughly two parts, a biography of the founder and then an account of the religion’s evolution in the decades after his death. If you are seriously thinking about starting a religion, this is a good primer. ( )
  blnq | Dec 26, 2021 |
meticulously researched. notes for nearly every assertion and a phenomenally detailed index. I'm sure there are good Scientologists out there with a genuine desire to help others, but the man at the top is a power-mad psychopath. it'll be interesting to follow the future of the organization after Miscavige leaves or is ousted, if the organization can even survive his leadership. ( )
  austinburns | Dec 16, 2021 |
Inside the Cult

Wright answers several questions in his fine, balanced, well researched and presented examination of Scientology, in particular, about its Hollywood connection, leaving the single biggest one for readers to decide for themselves.

Who was L. Ron Hubbard? What experiences led him to found his own religion (a categorization many would strongly dispute but won by doing something few can: bringing the IRS to its knees)? Why did people join and proselytize Hubbard's belief system? What do celebrities, among them Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Anne Archer, and others, find compelling about Scientology? What ideas comprise the beliefs of Scientologists? Why is Scientology secretive and what are those secrets? With Hubbard long dead, who currently leads Scientology? How has Scientology succeeded in surviving and amassing considerable wealth since the death of its founder? And, finally, the question Wright leaves readers to answer for themselves: is Scientology a religion, a religion in the making, or is it a cult, a very visible, wealthy, and pugnacious one at that?

You'll find much that's sensational in Going Clear, and much bearing the hallmarks common to religious cults, among them Jim Jones's People Temple, Moses David's (David Berg) Children of God (now The Family International), and Aleister Crowley's Ordo Templi Orientis (which Hubbard affiliated with after WWII), to cite a few.

You'll see these similarities on full display in Wright's book. These include a charismatic leader, proprietary knowledge without which salvation cannot be had, absolute devotion to the exclusion of family and past friends that promotes a binding insularity and captivity, to note just a handful. For comparison, and especially if cults interest you, you might want to try Tim Reiterman's biography of Jim Jones and the People's Temple march to tragedy, Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People. While different in approach and membership, you'll recognize how Scientology tacks to the cult course. Of course, as Wright develops in his epilogue, a movement may actually be a nascent religion in the making that appears alien and threatening to the reigning orthodoxy, as did Christianity and Mormonism, to cite an older and newer example. A further apt point made by Wright concerns how a religion's set of beliefs can appear absurd when an observer views them without the faith of the believers, something that can call into question the precepts of most any religion.

As for the sensational, these do not result from Wright's even writing. They spring from Hubbard and Scientology itself. Examples include Hubbard's manufactured naval history, the harsh punishment of members in the Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF), the original organization of Commodore's Messengers Organization employing pubescent girls, the low pay and miserable living conditions of members compared to the lavish furnishings of top leaders, the special treatment afforded celebrities, the aggressive stances against perceived church enemies that often included physical intimidation and endless and expensive legal suits (which serve to restrict unauthorized published information and which the church used to win their designation as a tax-exempt religious organization in the U.S.), and many more.

Recommended as an insightful exploration of a movement, its influence, and its claim to religious legitimacy. ( )
  write-review | Nov 4, 2021 |
Inside the Cult

Wright answers several questions in his fine, balanced, well researched and presented examination of Scientology, in particular, about its Hollywood connection, leaving the single biggest one for readers to decide for themselves.

Who was L. Ron Hubbard? What experiences led him to found his own religion (a categorization many would strongly dispute but won by doing something few can: bringing the IRS to its knees)? Why did people join and proselytize Hubbard's belief system? What do celebrities, among them Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Anne Archer, and others, find compelling about Scientology? What ideas comprise the beliefs of Scientologists? Why is Scientology secretive and what are those secrets? With Hubbard long dead, who currently leads Scientology? How has Scientology succeeded in surviving and amassing considerable wealth since the death of its founder? And, finally, the question Wright leaves readers to answer for themselves: is Scientology a religion, a religion in the making, or is it a cult, a very visible, wealthy, and pugnacious one at that?

You'll find much that's sensational in Going Clear, and much bearing the hallmarks common to religious cults, among them Jim Jones's People Temple, Moses David's (David Berg) Children of God (now The Family International), and Aleister Crowley's Ordo Templi Orientis (which Hubbard affiliated with after WWII), to cite a few.

You'll see these similarities on full display in Wright's book. These include a charismatic leader, proprietary knowledge without which salvation cannot be had, absolute devotion to the exclusion of family and past friends that promotes a binding insularity and captivity, to note just a handful. For comparison, and especially if cults interest you, you might want to try Tim Reiterman's biography of Jim Jones and the People's Temple march to tragedy, Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People. While different in approach and membership, you'll recognize how Scientology tacks to the cult course. Of course, as Wright develops in his epilogue, a movement may actually be a nascent religion in the making that appears alien and threatening to the reigning orthodoxy, as did Christianity and Mormonism, to cite an older and newer example. A further apt point made by Wright concerns how a religion's set of beliefs can appear absurd when an observer views them without the faith of the believers, something that can call into question the precepts of most any religion.

As for the sensational, these do not result from Wright's even writing. They spring from Hubbard and Scientology itself. Examples include Hubbard's manufactured naval history, the harsh punishment of members in the Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF), the original organization of Commodore's Messengers Organization employing pubescent girls, the low pay and miserable living conditions of members compared to the lavish furnishings of top leaders, the special treatment afforded celebrities, the aggressive stances against perceived church enemies that often included physical intimidation and endless and expensive legal suits (which serve to restrict unauthorized published information and which the church used to win their designation as a tax-exempt religious organization in the U.S.), and many more.

Recommended as an insightful exploration of a movement, its influence, and its claim to religious legitimacy. ( )
  write-review | Nov 4, 2021 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 110 (següent | mostra-les totes)
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. This makes the book’s indictment that much more powerful.
afegit per lorax | editaNew York Times, Michael Kinsley (Jan 17, 2013)
 
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"Based on more 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; its vindictive treatment of critics; its phenomenal wealth; and its dramatic efforts to grow and prevail after the death of Hubbard"--From publisher description.

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