Saturday, August 24, 2013

Inside Scientology Book Review

Waterspout; Source: Burningwell.orgScientology is an interesting religion and organization. But it is also a shy one, not wanting to divulge its private matters, which only adds to its mystique and interest. Over the years it has been subject to attack from disgruntled ex-parishioners and others.

On her book, Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion, Rolling Stone contributing editor, Janet Reitman lays bare the inner workings of the church basing her writing on documentary research for most of the early years and on interviews with current and former members of the church for more recent times.

Starting with the man, L Ron Hubbard, she follows him from his initial science fiction years, wanderings and then moves to Dianetics and the founding of the church. As the church itself grows in importance the focus of the book shifts more to the organization and by the the second half Reitman looks at it under its current head.  As she goes along, she introduces the lingo, tenets and workings church and how these change or evolve as needs arise. She also explains the technology of the church including the Bridge to Total Freedom from preclear to the OT levels.  The everyday experiences of regular members are also illustrated, along with those from the higher echelons and the superstars.

Controversial topics are covered head-on; so much so that the Lisa McPherson, which perhaps is the greatest scandal the church has faced, is given its own chapter and covered in detail. Others are also dealt and  placed within the larger context. In the acknowledgements section the author claims to have double checked all the facts and erred on the side of caution.

The result from her research is a book that places the religion under a pretty bad light. Of the total, I'd say there's a 3:1 proportion of unflattering assertions. These are not in-your-face or venom dripping; in fact these just surface as if on their own accord, but the high proportion makes one wonder if things in there can really be that bad. I don't know where truth lies on this subject but in the end Reitman pulls a verisimilar account.


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