Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion by Janet Reitman
BP 605 .S2 R45 2011
“Scientology is known for its celebrity believers and its team of “volunteer ministers” at disaster sites such as the World Trade Center; its notably aggressive response to criticism or its attacks on psychiatry; its requirement that believers pay as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars to reach the highest levels of salvation. But for all its notoriety, Scientology has remained America’s least understood new religion, even as it has been one of its most successful.
Now Janet Reitman tells its riveting full story in the first objective modern history of Scientology, at last revealing the astonishing truth about life within the controversial religion for its members and ex-members. We watch the singular L. Ron Hubbard transform a self-help group into a worldwide spiritual corporation, at one point running the church from his personal fleet on the high seas before establishing its base in sleepy Clearwater, Florida. As he became increasingly paranoid and reclusive a young acolyte named David Miscavige assumed control; after Hubbard’s death in 1986 he quickly purged the ranks and began to transform the church once again. Miscavige has overseen some of the church’s greatest triumphs – among them a controversial billion-dollar IRS tax exemption and Tom Cruise’s emergence as a vocal advocate – but he also has created a climate of fear and intimidation, according to ex-members whose stories of abuse Reitman shares. Reitman is the first to examine his twenty-five-year reign and what it might mean for the future of the church.
Based on five years of research, confidential documents, and extensive interviews with current and former Scientologists, this is an utterly compelling nonfiction account and the defining work on an elusive faith.” – publisher description