The Secret World Of Scientology

Uncovering the secret inner world of Scientology with Pulitzer prize-winning author Lawrence Wright.

Members of the Church of Scientology walk past the new Flag Building, owned by the church, Aug. 28, 2007 in Clearwater, Fla. (AP)

Members of the Church of Scientology walk past the new Flag Building, owned by the church, Aug. 28, 2007 in Clearwater, Fla. (AP)

L. Ron Hubbard was a pulp fiction writer so prolific that he typed on an endless roll of butcher paper.  He poured out book after book of wild derring-do.  He created stories of cowboys and adventurers and science fiction – and then he kept right on going, to create a religion, Scientology.

With deathless souls, billion-year contracts, endless powers and – in Hollywood and beyond – a unique appeal.

To Tom Cruise.  To John Travolta.  And a dark side, too.  Shocking.  Secret

This hour, On Point:  Pulitzer prize-winning investigative journalist Lawrence Wright on the world and ways of Scientology.

-Tom Ashbrook


Lawrence Wright, staff writer at the New Yorker. His new book is “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief.” (@lawrence_wright)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Onion A.V. Club “Where Hubbard ruled through charm, seduction, and canny manipulation, David Miscavige, his successor as the head of Scientology, rules through terror and brute force. Miscavige comes off as a psychotic Dennis The Menace, a pint-sized bully with a history of physically attacking anyone who displeases him. (One of the book’s many tragic ironies is that the people who would benefit most from psychiatric treatment and medication, like the perpetually apoplectic, violent Miscavige, are also the least likely to seek it out).”

Esquire “Plenty of sane, accomplished, otherwise ordinary and intelligent people have at least dabbled in Scientology. Leonard Cohen did. So did Jerry Seinfeld. Even Mikhail Baryshnikov, the ballet legend, took courses. So what is the appeal? Why do reasonable people continue to tie themselves to a church with a reputation for ruthlessness?”

The Daily Beast “There were daily uniform and hygiene inspections, and any misbehavior—questioning of authority, lateness, or doing something ‘unethical’—earned a “chit,” a written demerit that went into a file for each child at the Ranch. She says little priority was put on education. Class was dubbed ‘Chinese school,’ as it was modeled after what L. Ron Hubbard reportedly observed classrooms to be like in China, and mainly involved repeating ‘everything we heard exactly as we heard it.’ A major part of class time was spent memorizing quotes by Hubbard”

Excerpt from “Going Clear”

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