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”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Oct 9, 2015
A manhole begins to spill over with floodwaters as high tide approaches at Dorchester Road at Sawmill Branch Canal in Summerville, S.C., Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015.  (AP)

Russia goes big in Syria. The US hits a hospital in Kunduz. Hillary flips on the TPP. An epic flood in South Carolina. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Oct 9, 2015
In this Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015, photo, Devlin D'Zmura, a tending news manager at DraftKings, a daily fantasy sports company, works on his laptop at the company's offices in Boston. (AP)

Fantasy football scandal, and the wild, booming betting world of fantasy sports.

Oct 8, 2015
US singer Patti Smith performs during the Way Out West music festival in Gothenburg, Sweden, Saturday, Aug.15, 2015.  (AP)

Iconic rocker, poet of punk, and National Book Award-winning author Patti Smith joins us to talk about her new memoir, “M Train”.

Oct 8, 2015
In this Aug. 2, 2012 file photo, local newspapers show stories about the controversial strategy to bail the government out of a financial hole, at a restaurant along Seven Mile Beach on the outskirts of George Town on the Cayman Islands. The Cayman Islands have lost some of their allure by abruptly proposing what amounts to an income tax on expatriate workers who have helped build the territory into one of the most famous or, for some people, notorious offshore banking centers that have tax advantages for foreign investment operations. (AP)

Trillions of dollars are now stashed in protected tax havens around the world, leaving societies’ bills to those at home. We’ll dig in.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Rep. Daniel Webster: ‘I’m Gonna Sell This Message’
Tuesday, Oct 6, 2015

When House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced his retirement and resignation from his position last month, it surprised both his Party and the Washington political establishment.

More »
Our Week In The Web: October 2, 2015
Friday, Oct 2, 2015

We say hello again to our email address (since so many of you did this week) and goodbye to the Log Lady.

More »
Interview With Sen. Bernie Sanders: ‘Count Me As A Radical’
Thursday, Oct 1, 2015

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is making waves in the 2016 Presidential race, and he joined us today from the US Capitol to explain how his campaign message is connecting with voters around the country.

More »