By Chet Yarbrough
By: Lawrence Wright
Narrated by: Morton Sellers
Without vilifying any one religion, Scientology, like all organized religions, is a belief system manufactured by man. Lawrence Wright, a Pulitzer
Prize-winning American journalist, writes an informative, titillating. and believable book about Scientology. After listening to “Going Clear”, the human failings of Scientology are stripped bare with a force as explosive as the abuse of parish children by Catholic’ priests. The many testimonials of Scientologists that say Scientology “improved their lives” infers some value in its teachings; however, like all organized religions, it is subject to human failings. No organized religion in recorded history has been without human failure.
Lawrence Wright exposes and dissects Scientology’s human flaws; i.e. the human flaws compelled by desire for money, power, and prestige. “Going Clear’s” publication may be a nail in Scientology’s coffin or a spur to reform. If Wright’s book is not appreciated (recognized as a serious examination of Scientology’s human failings), Scientology will continue to decline in membership and disappear like the Branch Davidians, Heaven’s Gate, and Jones’ People’s Temple; all failed religious’ cults.
The first amendment of the U.S. constitution guarantees freedom of religion and, since the time of Thomas Jefferson, Americans have associated that guarantee as co-equal with a belief in separation of church and state. The evocation of Scientology as a religion, and its current place in the world are examples of why church and state require separation.
L. Ron Hubbard was a prolific pulp fiction writer that gained some fame by becoming a science fiction author. He wrote a book titled “Dianetics” which, like the Bible to the Christian Church, became the foundation of Scientology. Hubbard’s myths make him Scientology’s equivalent of a prophet. However, Hubbard’s life is only mid-20th century history–so the truth and veracity of his myths are easily revealed, challenged, and demystified by Wright’s investigative reporting.
To a non-Scientologist, history shows Hubbard to be psychologically unbalanced but some of his teachings show a quality of human understanding that surpasses common knowledge. This “superior perception of reality” seduces followers into believing in something greater than them-selves; it gives direction and structure to drifting and unfocused minds. Hubbard’s “superior perception of reality” is grounded by a prescient understanding of human nature. Hubbard’s insight to human need reinforces feelings of, or potential for, well-being in his listeners. Hubbard successfully creates followers, and starts Scientology in 1952.
When Hubbard died, David Miscavige became the new leader of Scientology. Miscavige succeeded in getting the American Government to acknowledge that Scientology is a religion.
Wright shows how Hubbard’s vision grows into a religion because of Hubbard’s insight to human nature and his charismatic character. Scientology also grows because of the economic advantage created by David Miscavige and his followers when they convince the American government that Scientology is a religion, exempt from federal income taxes. Wright suggests that Scientology has a net worth in excess of one billion dollars.
Scientology’s great wealth is from real estate holdings and donations from followers. Donations come in the form of cash and services; i.e. a rigidly centralized hierarchy, presently headed by David Miscavige, recruits and exploits members of the church by offering psychic salvation and peace for troubled minds through ritualistic practices of the religion. Recruits come from different walks of life but Scientology’s greatest financial donations come from the entertainment industry–its actors and producers.
The world of Scientology duplicates and magnifies the social inequalities of western culture; i.e. Write explains that the organization and its followers are made up of haves and have-nots with those that can stand at the top of the hierarchy, with all of its privileges, and those at the bottom that work for the organization at $50/week or less. The bottom stays with the organization because the religion offers security, possible promotion, and psychic peace. The top stays because of power and prestige; i.e. they believe that adhering to the religion makes, and continues to make, them successful.
Wright names the names of the most famous Scientologists with Tom Cruise and John Travolta at the top of the list.
WIKIPEDIA LIST OF CURRENT & PAST MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=list%20of%20scientologists&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&ved=0CDIQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FList_of_Scientologists&ei=WXAAUYzADoqfrAHc14HACQ&usg=AFQjCNEFr08Z76RbCcrJKY4UbOgTg9L4VA&bvm=bv.41248874,d.aWM
But, he also explains why lesser lights, like Kirstie Alley, Anne Archer, Greta Van Susteren, continue to follow the religion. What makes the story more interesting is why some of the early members are leaving; i.e. Paul Haggis, Bruce Hines, and possibly, Tommy Davis, a wealthy follower and former spokesman for Scientology.
TOMMY DAVIS DISAPPEARANCE: http://www.youtube.com/embed/67Jx9KG0VeU” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>iframe>
Wright amplifies interest by revealing secrets of the religion, some of its leader’s alleged violence, and mysteries of disappearing members.
WE STAND TALL PROMOTION OF SCIENTOLOGY: <iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/XyNh1j3dsp8” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen> (SHOWS SHELLY MISCAVIGE @ 3 MIN. 54 SEC. WHO HAS DISAPPEARED-TWO OTHER OFFICERS HAVE LEFT SINCE THIS RECORDING.)
SCIENTOLOGY’S CRAZY FOLLOWERS: http://www.youtube.com/embed/pPol_m8wm8Y” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>
TOM CRUISE’S BELIEF IN SCIENTOLOGY: http://www.youtube.com/embed/UFBZ_uAbxS0” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>
Where will Scientology be 100 years from now? Will Hubbard’s myths become gospel truths or will Scientology join history’s trash heap? Will organized religion disappear completely; if so, what will replace it—surely not Atheism.