Sunday, September 11, 2011

Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion by Janet Reitman

About every 50 pages of the 400-page Inside Scientology, I found myself thinking, “Has Tom Cruise lost his freaking mind?” You could write on the back of a matchbook what I knew about Scientology before I read this book, so I didn’t go into it with the burden of prejudice but I sure as hell came out of it with one. Can you say CULT?  
Most religions have an element of crazy and cult (i.e., zealotry, exclusivity, the inevitable whacko splinter groups) so I’m not prejudiced against Scientology as much as I’m prejudiced against extremism. With the founder, L. Ron Hubbard’s very weird history (pictured), the code language, military-like uniforms worn by the officers of the organization, extreme secrecy and sketchy methodologies, Scientology takes the cuckoo cake.  
I don’t know if L. Ron was pissed because his therapist told him something he didn’t like or what, but the man had (he's dead) a serious hard-on against psychiatry and that seems to be the basis for Scientology, which is pretty ridiculous. Hubbard goes really sci-fi saying that we are all reincarnated and have lived on other planets. These are secrets revealed only to church members willing to pay for them, and gal howdy do they! The Church of Scientology charges the hound dog out of their members for just about every service provided, and coerces their members relentlessly to recruit other paying members, milking them for every penny they can and, as a result, the Church is mega-rich with incredible real estate holdings.

And conniving! OMG. The Church methodically pursued and still pursues celebrities simply because they know this will gain them heightened exposure, even to the point of building them their own church (pictured), and it works. Who remembers hearing anything about Scientology that wasn’t tied to a celebrity, other then Hubbard’s books? (Which, by the way, the church bought huge numbers of so it would reach “best seller” status and attract gullible, sorry, I mean interested readers.)

OK, inquiring minds want to know, so here’s the list of celebrities who have been faithful members of Scientology, unfaithful members, attended one “audit” (recruitment), or drove by a Church of Scientology (the Church claims them all): Gloria Swanson, Dave Brubeck, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Juliette Lewis, Jenna Elfman, Anne Archer, Lisa Marie Presley, Nancy Cartwright, Jason Lee, Isaac Hayes, Edgar Winter, Tom Cruise, Chick Corea, and Katie Holmes. By the way, the Church broke up Tom and Nicole (Kidman) because Nicole wouldn’t get crazy enough about Scientology to please the Church, so perhaps we’ll see what Katie is made of soon!

According to the author, Janet Reitman (pictured) who interviewed many former Church members, some of which were very high up in the organization, the Church has “compounds” where they imprison and torture “misbehaving” members. How the leadership has managed to stay out of jail is a particularly bizarre aspect of the whole mess.

Supposedly this book was written to provide an unbiased view of the Church of Scientology, but if this is balanced, either Reitman simply couldn’t find much positive about the Church to present, or this “religion” is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen or heard of, or both. I found the book informative, interesting, mesmerizing, unbelievable, believable, and entertaining as hell. So if you’ve a pretty high tolerance for documentary style writing and an interest in Scientology, you’ll probably dig it. I sure did.


  1. As they say, "You can't get past crazy." Thanks for sharing this SueAnn. I'd heard some of the interviews with the author of this book on the radio and was fascinated (or repulsed) by what I'd heard. Bravo to you for sharing this. We all have to be on the lookout for crazy cult-like organizations. They are everywhere.

  2. Thanks for sharing this, SueAnn. If there's anything you (or a friend) want to know about Scientology, don't hesitate to ask me. Formerly a member of this criminal organization (I refuse to call it a church) I left. Whatever you think about Scientology, it's WORSE than you think.

    All the best,
    Mark Plummer (aka 'Warrior')
    "Scientology: It's about deception."
    Sunshine disinfects - See