I am currently reading the newly released book by Janet Reitman called ‘Inside Scientology’.
This book took 5 years to write and I can see why. Bringing together the extremely complex history and current activities of this organisation is a mammoth task, beautifully done. There are many excellent books now written by ex scientologists, (check my links) and this is not one of them. It gives an outside perspective that is understandable for both those who have experienced it and those who have not.
I find myself now looking at the whole subject, and in fact my own life in a new way and new pieces of the puzzle clicked into place. I didn’t go out and seek scientology as an answer to my life’s problems, yet I am also part of the story. Reading the chapters that cover the time period I was at Saint Hill I can relate to it in a different way now. I had no idea then that I was part of a (small) social revolution in the field of mental health or of the truth about Hubbard and his background. I also had no idea at the time of how new this all was as it seemed to me, with the hundreds of students at Saint Hill, that it was a long established activity.
Below is the blurb for the book, it’s available at Amazon and other booksellers and I highly recommend it.
THE STORY OF AMERICA’S MOST SECRETIVE RELIGION
For more than half a century, the Church of Scientology has been America’s most controversial religious movement; known for its appeal to celebrities like Tom Cruise, its requirement that believers pay as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars for salvation, and its storied history of harassing journalists and others through litigation and intimidation, even infiltrating the highest levels of the government to further its goals. It has been called a “cult” and even a “mafia” by its critics; to Scientologists it’s “the fastest growing religion in the world.” But what is Scientology? And what accounts for its remarkable staying power?
Inside Scientology is the unprecedented journalistic history of the Church of Scientology; one of the world’s most mysterious and least understood new religions, claiming millions of followers globally. With riveting detail, Janet Reitman, a contributing editor for Rolling Stone, chronicles the Church’s five-decade evolution: from its rise under the quixotic science fiction writer-turned guru L. Ron Hubbard, who founded Scientology in 1954; to its expansion under his successor, David Miscavige, an ambitious young acolyte who helped establish Scientology’s religious bona fides. Taking readers deep inside Scientology’s world, Reitman explores Scientology’s appeal across numerous generations, as it attached itself to pop psychology, New Age spiritualism, the recovery movement, and even modern business consulting. At the same time, Inside Scientology examines the climate of intense, crippling, and largely uncensored control at the heart of the organization, costing members their families, their life savings, their freedom, and in one unforgettable account, their lives.
Based on five years of research, access to confidential documents and hundreds of interviews with current and former Church members and executives, Inside Scientology is a gripping account of how a fringe movement of self-help enthusiasts became a commercially-driven spiritual enterprise, and an examination of the aspirations, avarice, and extremism that lies at the heart of one of America’s most infamous homegrown faiths. It is an utterly compelling work of nonfiction, and the defining work on an elusive community.