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Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the…
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Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief (original 2013; edition 2013)

by Lawrence Wright

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
1,206756,637 (4.1)1 / 98
Member:knittingmomof3
Title:Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief
Authors:Lawrence Wright
Info:Knopf (2013), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 448 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Non-Fiction, Sociology, History, Religion

Work details

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

  1. 00
    Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini (akblanchard)
    akblanchard: Both books deal with the Hollywood-Scientology connection.
  2. 00
    Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson by 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 by 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 by 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.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 74 (next | show all)
This book proves once again that truth is so much stranger than fiction....even science fiction. ( )
  Eye_Gee | May 8, 2017 |
3 1/2 stars: Good

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From the back cover: "... At the book's center, two men whom Wright brings 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 WW II era. And his successor, David Miscavige--tough and driven, with the unenviable task of preserving the church in the face of ongoing scandal and continual legal assaults. We learn about Scientology's esoteric cosmology; about the auditing process that detrmines an inductees 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 such stars are exploited to advance the church's goals. We meet young idealists who joined the Sea Org , the churches clergy, whose members 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 observation, 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 expose and uncovers the very essence of what makes Scientology the institution that it is.

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I read this immediately after reading a first hand account of Jonestown. This was interesting, a good read, but could have used a bit of an edit as well. The beginning portions about Hubbard's life and some of the tenets of Scientology itself, could have been edited out. Still, an interesting read.

Scientology does not "kidnap" its converts the same way as Jim Jones did, for example. Most of them work, and pay money into the "church". (and most are in Hollywood/ So Cal). However, Scientology still manipulates its members to stay, and the Sea Org members are living in near slave labor conditions, as part of their "billion year contract".

Details of Tom Cruises's various relationships, including with Nicole Kidman and Katie Holmes, was interesting in a titillating way. The church of course was involved in all the relationships, choosing someone for Cruise, and then excising them (Kidman particularly) when it suited them. ( )
  PokPok | Jan 7, 2017 |
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 religions evolution in the decades after his death.
( )
  blnq | Dec 27, 2016 |
this is nuts. ( )
  cookierooks | Nov 16, 2016 |
GOING CLEAR is a book everyone should read. In it, Lawrence Wright examines Scientology any way he could, by interviewing Scientologists and former Scientologists and by researching texts that others had written, even in spite of harassment these writers often received from the Scientologists. Some texts came straight from documents written by the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard.

This is where the book begins, with an explanation of the cult/religion and its beginnings. L. Ron Hubbard's own writings are used extensively here. I think they sound pretty silly, even unintelligible at times. But lots of people bought it and still do. Why? (There is evidence that the number of Scientologists is dwindling, which is disputed by the cult/religion.)

Next Wright attempts to explain the history of Scientology and experiences by particular Scientologists and former Scientologists. Because the cult/religion prizes celebrities, many of these were/are Hollywood stars, especially Tom Cruise.

My determination: This cult/religion isn't just silly. I find what Wright describes to be sickening, the physical abuse most of all.

I'm glad I read it, and you will be, too. Once you get through all the explanations of Scientology's silly beginnings, the book becomes unputdownable. ( )
  techeditor | Jun 2, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 74 (next | show all)
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.
added by lorax | editNew York Times, Michael Kinsley (Jan 17, 2013)
 
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Scientology plays an outsize role in the cast of new religions that have arisen in the twentieth century and survived into the twenty-first.
London, Ontario, is a middling manufacturing town halfway between Toronto and Detroit, once known for its cigars and breweries.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307700666, Hardcover)

A clear-sighted revelation, a deep penetration into the world of Scientology by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Looming Tower, the now-classic study of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attack. Based on more than two hundred personal interviews with current and former Scientologists—both famous and less well known—and years of archival research, Lawrence Wright uses his extraordinary investigative ability to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology.

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 science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, whose restless, expansive mind invented a new religion. And his successor, David Miscavige—tough and driven, with the unenviable task of preserving the church after the death of Hubbard.

We learn about Scientology’s complicated cosmology and special language. We see the ways in which the church pursues celebrities, such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta, and how such stars are used to advance the church’s goals. And we meet the young idealists who have joined the Sea Org, the church’s clergy, signing up with a billion-year contract.

In Going Clear, Wright examines what fundamentally makes a religion a religion, and whether Scientology is, in fact, deserving of this constitutional protection. Employing all his exceptional journalistic skills of observation, understanding, and shaping a story into a compelling narrative, Lawrence Wright has given us an evenhanded yet keenly incisive book that reveals the very essence of what makes Scientology the institution it is.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:34 -0400)

"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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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