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Lawrence Wright's Going Clear: We Don't Think Scientology Is Going to Like This Book Much

Going_ClearNow that we’ve read Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief, we’re going to refrain from writing the sort of thing you’ve been seeing in some other publications. You know, the “Ten Most Explosive Things in Lawrence Wright’s New Book” sort of article.

For those of us who watch Scientology closely, and have for many years, most of those articles that have popped up in recent days seem to be gasping over things that have been known or written about for many years.

Look, the history of Scientology is very weird. And scary. And the abuses detailed by former members can be shocking. And so can the tales of Scientology’s appetite for retaliation.

We know this. And we would argue that for much of the public, the word was already out long before today’s publication of Wright’s book. (Look at the reaction, for example, when on Monday the Atlantic magazine ran a paid church advertorial at its website extolling the virtues of Scientology leader David Miscavige. Even though there was nothing really wrong with the Atlantic taking the church’s money for an ad, the public denunciation of the magazine was so swift and loud, the Atlantic caved and took it down.)

Larry Wright’s book carefully explains how the church got into its current mess, and the sheer amount of territory he covers in only 365 pages is astounding. Yes, there are stunning new details in every chapter, but Wright weaves together his story with such hypnotic flow and even-handedness, the new and the old fit together seamlessly.

Wright seems very conscious of that project. He’s generous to his sources, he doesn’t try to pretend that he’s coming to a story that hasn’t been worked over before, and he’s as fair as he can be to the church (although it would never acknowledge it).

For now, we’re going to lay down a few impressions after our first read through the book, and we will rely on our excellent and knowledgeable commenting community to help us highlight what are some of the surprises in its pages, from Spanky Taylor’s memories as John Travolta’s church handler, for example, to Stephen “Sarge” Pfauth’s account of helping Hubbard, at the end of his life, construct a sort of electrical “suicide machine.” If you spot something in Wright’s book that you haven’t read before, please point it out in the comments.

As in his previous New Yorker article, Wright uses screenwriter and film director Paul Haggis to anchor his narrative. Haggis is a great subject because he is such an intelligent and sensitive soul, and we naturally wonder, how does someone like that fall for the Scientology promise of immortality through Hubbard’s “technology”?

Wright explains what it was in Haggis’s background that helped make him ready to find Scientology attractive, and then Wright provides a fascinating description of Hubbard’s invention.

To some extent, Wright says, Scientology was a mapping of Hubbard’s own psyche.

“Scientology is the geography of his mind. Perhaps no individual in history has taken such copious internal soundings and described with so much logic and minute detail the inner workings of his own mentality,” he writes.

Ex-Scientologists have said something like that to us before, that they felt they had been “running Hubbard’s case” throughout their careers in the church. (In other words, that it wasn’t so much their own mental hangups they’d been forced to work on, but Hubbard’s.)

And Hubbard’s mental journey was a doozy. There have been excellent biographies of the man published in the past. Russell Miller’s Bare-Faced Messiah (1987) is still the most comprehensive for the Hubbard family’s overall development, and Jon Atack’s A Piece of Blue Sky (1990) is still a stunning achievement for considering both Hubbard and Scientology. Janet Reitman in 2011 brought to a much larger market her well-written history, Inside Scientology, but we remember thinking that she seemed to hold back in some ways which were curious. For example, it struck us that she was leaving out some of the most interesting details about Hubbard’s post-war association with rocket scientist and occultist Jack Parsons.

Wright dives into that material with gusto, and we’re not soon going to forget some of the images he describes. Of Parsons jerking off onto parchment as Hubbard takes notes, for example, which was apparently part of their nutty attempts to bring about a new age. Or something.

Wright also makes liberal use of a disturbing unpublished sort of memoir that Hubbard penned which he called “Affirmations.” It’s a disputed document, but Ohio State University professor Hugh Urban has pointed out that the church fought hard in Gerry Armstrong’s lawsuit to keep control of it, and why would they do that for a document that wasn’t genuine?

Wright also tracks down startling letters by or about Hubbard. In one he wrote to his good friend Robert Heinlein, in the period before he published Dianetics and was on the mend after his disastrous post-war period, he claims that his recovered sexual prowess has him up to “eight comes” a night. Between the letters and “Affirmations,” Hubbard’s legendary “charm” takes a serious beating in this book.

A question for our experts: Wright quotes from tapes that Hubbard’s second wife, Sara Northrup, made on her deathbed, which are in the possession of University of Alberta professor Stephen Kent. Have those been made public before Wright’s book? I can’t recall, but they provide more devastating information about Hubbard.

Much other information is not new, but Wright makes use of it in new ways. We might know about the Tone Scale, for example, Hubbard’s theory about mapping human emotions on a gradient. And we might also be aware of the disastrous way that Hubbard’s second marriage, to Northrup, turned out. But one of the strengths of Wright’s book is the way he puts these seemingly disparate elements in Scientology’s story into their proper context. Reading the Tone Scale knowing that when Hubbard wrote it he was in Cuba, having absconded with Alexis, the young daughter Hubbard had with Northrup, suddenly makes it more sinister and more understandable at the same time.

With all of this information, new and old, Wright, more strongly than anyone before him, assembles a damning portrayal of Hubbard as a man who was, most likely, simply insane.

We’ve noticed, however, that several reviewers have offered mild criticism about the amount of detail and the scope of the book. Oh, they have no idea. Wright actually moves through the historical material at a rapid pace. If you’re familiar with Miller and Atack and other books, you know just how much more there is to every period that Wright is describing. But he’s chosen the best material and he tells it in a fast-moving style.

The story of Scientology is not just the story of Hubbard, of course, and current leader David Miscavige comes into focus better than in anything published about him previously. Wright digs deep into the diminutive man’s early years in the church, and we learn that his predilection for violence started very early. Wright reports that as just a teenager in England, Miscavige had gotten in trouble for punching a young woman he was supposed to be counseling. “He beat up his PC!” may soon become a new Anonymous meme.

Joe Childs and Tom Tobin deserved a Pulitzer in 2009 when, for the St. Petersburg Times, they first brought to the world the story of high-ranking former executives who came forward to describe Miscavige’s physical assaults on his underlings (which the church vigorously denies). But Wright extends that history, showing that Miscavige was known for slugging people over many years.

But even with the bizarre nature of David Miscavige, the accounts of confinement and mental abuse of its former workers, and Scientology’s use of “Fair Game” retalitation against people it considers enemies which are all so well told in this book, Wright still seems to be running into, even in reviews which are generally positive, some resistance from the likes of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. To wit: why does this stuff matter?

Even Wright himself acknowledges that Scientology’s more outlandish beliefs — about the galactic overlord Xenu, for example — may be no crazier than tales of walking on water or visitions by angels. And the “prisoners” at Int Base, serving time in Scientology’s concentration camp, “the Hole”? They probably wouldn’t tell you they need rescuing. And the ex-Scientologists who were helping the FBI with its investigation in 2009 and 2010 told them raiding the base was probably a bad idea.

The IRS, meanwhile, seems to have no interest in revisiting its 1993 decision to grant Scientology tax-exempt status.

But Scientology is collapsing without government help, and it’s fascinating to watch. And maybe that’s the simple answer to the critics who shrug and wonder what the fuss is all about. For some of us, it’s stunning to see the way Scientology has used the First Amendment in such cynical ways, and has been able to frighten even the most powerful media companies into submission (ABC, we’re looking at you). And we’re not alone. There’s huge interest in Scientology, and that, maybe more than anything else, justifies its importance as a subject. Wright’s New Yorker story on Haggis, for example, wasn’t just the second-most read story on the magazine’s website for 2011 (behind only its detailed story on the killing of Osama Bin Laden), but it was also one of its most read stories for 2012. We are eagerly waiting to see how well Going Clear sells.

We have a feeling that its sales will be straight up and vertical.


Here’s Larry’s appearance this morning on the Today show…

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Hey look! ABC dared to use about 20 seconds of the hours of footage they shot last summer! Maybe there’s some hope for the Disney network yet!



Posted by Tony Ortega on January 17, 2013 at 10:20

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  • Oyster Bay

    My copy should be landing on my doorstep today, and I cannot wait to read it.

    • sugarplumfairy

      Amazon delivered yesterday.. It may already be in your mailbox..

      • Oyster Bay

        I should have ordered from Amazon. BN just sent my copy yesterday – totally lame.

  • Observer

    I’m just sitting back and enjoying the spectacle of the “church” getting a taste of its own medicine. The difference is that while the black PR it dished out on innocent people was lies, the black PR it’s getting is the truth. Again, my one regret is that LRH isn’t here to experience the outrage, disgust and ridicule he so richly deserved.

    Really looking forward to reading this book.

  • AnyOldName1

    Great review, Tony! Can’t wait to read it for myself.

  • This review.



  • John P.

    Between the letters and “Affirmations,” Hubbard’s legendary “charm” takes a serious beating in this book.

    I am looking forward to exploring this whole subject of Hubbard’s charisma when I read the book. This is something I have utterly failed to grasp in my time looking at Hubbard and the cult. I have absolutely no ability to envision Hubbard as any sort of charismatic personality. The lectures I’ve heard seem to be at best a random series of brain farts, ill prepared and oddly delivered. Even when I do my best to put out of my mind my biases as a critic of the cult and imagine myself as a naive twenty-something rookie member eager to learn from the great man, I still think I would have heard enough stuff that would have triggered alarm bells that I was in the presence of an inveterate con man. I’ve been in the presence of master storytellers — Apple’s late founder Steve Jobs was one of the best — and I just don’t get the Hubbard effect.

    Some say he was not charming but actually held sway over his audiences because he was a master hypnotist. But stage hypnotists only hypnotize a small percentage of their audience, not casting a “reality distortion field” over hundreds or thousands of people. So I don’t think Hubbard was a charlatan and failure at everything else he tried, but somehow was the best ever mass hypnotist in history.

    • Observer

      I don’t get it either. I find him morally, ethically, intellectually and physically repulsive. He may have been charming in person, but frankly I don’t see how.

      • Midwest Mom

        I’ll add the word “vulgar” to the mix along with JPC’s adjective “crude” and your adjective “repulsive”.

        Hubbard gives me the creeps, and listening to him speak instantly sets off bells and whistles that he is unbalanced.

        I think it’s similar to the circumstance of meeting someone for the first time and feeling extremely uncomfortable and turned off not only by by their physical looks, but also by their untrustworthy demeanor and uncouth manner. Someone else can say afterward, “I’m glad you met Al, isn’t he interesting?” “He’s an entrepreneur, a mountain climber and a big shot in the Silicon Valley! He’s interested in working with us and has a lot of contacts with the big guys in the tech industry.”

        You’re clearly perplexed, since you have an uneasy feeling about the guy and can’t wait to wash your hand after shaking hand with him. You can see right away that Al isn’t someone you care to get to know personally or professionally, and are astonished to see other people who not only laugh at his jokes but act genuinely impressed with his tall tales, believing everything the guy says.

        It’s simply the way we evaluate others. It’s why we question even close friends or family members about their choices in romantic relationships. You see a schmuck, but your sister sees “Prince Charming”.

        A lot of people who have commented on this site have said they were under the influence of drugs when they first became involved with Scientology, so I would have to believe that alone would effect your sense of judgement. As for people getting involved with Scientology, now? I have no logical explanation, except through matriculation by way of drug rehab centers. I would have to assume the WISE business funnel would be pretty low now, because of the internet’s help in exposing its unflattering reputation and Scientology connection.

        • Captain Howdy

          From my personal observation most of the people who ended up in scientology already had an interest in eastern mysticism, the occult, the paranormal. They were already primed for hubbard’s schtick.

          When you’re young everybody tells you heroin is bad, evil. The first few times you try it you usually puke your brains out for hours, but certain people keep on keepin on, Why ? It’s because it eventually makes you feel better than you ever felt in your life. Same thing with Scn? I wouldn’t know. I never “fell” for something I couldn’t feel. But I’m guessing it’s similar.

          • Midwest Mom

            I have never been in a situation where I was around anyone in possession of heroin or who used it, so I have been pretty lucky in that respect. You were in the music scene in San Francisco when punk rock was emerging, so it was such a different environment and circumstance of peer influence.

            I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to deal with a physical dependency as well as a mental dependency for something like Heroin. My only experience has been with prescription medication for my narcolepsy through the years. Some not so good, some better and the one I’m on now, the best, but it’s not a feeling of gaining a high that I seek – I just want to be normal and not fall asleep when I’m walking or skiing or watching my son play basketball or driving.

            I used to have fall down sleep attacks a lot, but now I don’t do it as much, which is nice, because it’s embarrassing! (It also instigates a reputation for “sleeping around” har har 🙂 )

            • Captain Howdy

              Pleasure and pain are what motivates everyone on the most basic level. People do things because they make them feel good, whether it be dope or scientology. Even after drug addiction becomes destructive, people keep doing it because it’s become their way of life and people fear change (and pain) more than anything.

              And believe it or not most of the junkies I’ve talked to told me the reason they did dope was because it made them feel “normal” not for the buzz. It made them feel the way they always imagined life should feel, even before they tried it. Unfortunately it’s an illusion just like the “tech” and it ends up costing you everything. Hey, if they made scientology and dope free just think of all the money and pain saved !

              And congrats you’re the first narcoleptic I’ve ever “met” and i’ve met them all, MM. Glad you’re doing better. I use to be an epileptic but that seems to have disappeared with age.

            • Midwest Mom

              You would not believe what other condition people get narcolepsy mixed up. It has made for some extremely awkward situations when people get the two mixed up, especially when I taught religion!

            • BuryTheNuts2

              Oops sorry.

            • BuryTheNuts2

              people fear change (and pain) more than anything.
              ^^ dead on Capt.

              And believe it or not most of the junkies I’ve talked to told me the reason they did dope was because it made them feel “normal” not for the buzz. It made them feel the way they always imagined life should feel, even before they tried it.
              ^^^ And this (usually)=self medicating

              Good post.

          • It really does seem to have a lot of parallels with drug/alcohol addiction. The displacing of responsibility, the escape from reality, the excuses. Certain personality types are probably much more likely to be taken in. They are no better nor worse than anyone else — they just need to take more care, the way someone with a family history of alcoholism needs to take care regarding alcohol. And the brain is still in a major state of flux in one’s early 20s, so it’s a prime time for someone or something to come along and shape it.

        • Gus_Cox

          “…couch jumping Hubbard hugger…”

          *That* is freakin’ funny!

      • villagedianne

        I once briefly worked for a WISE company that had a picture of Hubbard on the wall. I used to look up at that picture and think “That’s the guy they follow? Seriously?” There was a definite feeling of cognitive dissonance between their fulsome praise of Hubbard and and the creepy vibe I got from his picture.

    • Rick Mycroft

      If stage hypnotists put everyone into a trance, who would watch the show?

      • dbloch7986

        It’s called information overload and it is a very effective tactic when you are trying to reduce the critical thinking powers of large groups. It’s a very common and effective cult recruitment tactic, especially when coupled with the many other tactics that they use.

    • Bob

      It is easy to get if you start at the beginning. Dianetics.
      Having listened to hundreds of lectures it is clear that Hubbard had constructed a history of the universe beyond what any previous science fiction writer had done or he truly was drawing from his subjective history and the many people who tried Dianetics. And then Scientology. The lectures dovetail with each other very succinctly. He had a purpose. To teach people his version of what our history is as it relates to our unconscious mind(reactive mind) and how to get rid the aberrations in our mind. But you won’t get that if you randomly sample lectures. If you start at the beginning and start trekking through the material it becomes fascinating not random and nutty. I am not trying to defend it. But the fact is, there is great consistency in the subject if you study it in order.

      • “To teach people his version of what our history is as it relates to our unconscious mind(reactive mind) and how to get rid the aberrations in our mind.”


        • Bob

          In other words his method of helping people solve their mental problems through his research into what is in our unconscious. His version of therapy. Does that clarify that sentence?

          • Sort of ..but not really . Kind of sounds like Sarah Palin ….and also

            • Bob

              I assume you have not studied his works. What I wrote then would not make sense. Not sure how to put it more simply. He wrote millions of words on the subject of the mind and spirit. Whether you think he was a fake or messiah his writing and lectures were followed consistent threads. He gained followers because at the time the subject was new and so voluminous it somehow had to be true.

            • English is my first language…I read it often. I can even grasp the classics.( the works of The Bard even ) I think there is a reason why it does not make sense …because it does not make sense. It is not a lack of understanding or studying of his works , or creativity on my part. People twisted themselves up into knots to try to have it make sense …thinking there was something wrong with them , or they were missing something….( hey ..take another course ! you will get it then ..cha ching ) A person ..a writer for crying out loud ..should be able to get his/her message across pretty succinctly ….and the English language is not a code.

            • Bob

              Ok. Have you read many of Hubbard’s books or listened to many of his lectures? The point I was trying to make is that he is consistent. Not that he is right. If you have studied his material and you find it incomprehensible OK. He used so many words that are no longer in use that sometimes it is like reading a foreign language but they were used correctly.
              My point is that some people considered he made sense and he was so brilliant that they would follow him to the ends of the earth. Having been in that place at one time, Hubbard’s teachings did make sense and I was an indoctrinated follower. Not any more.
              What amazes me currently is how many Scions feel they must compulsively be on a course or doing there next step in Scientology. Living life is secondary to learning how to understand life through Hubbards books and lectures. At that rate you never really start to live or as you said you have to study more to reveal how to fix yourself.

            • I did not mean to sound that snotty ..i apologize. i just get frustrated. Growing up catholic ..all i heard was how we all needed to fix ourselves…born sick and commanded to be well .I see that with scientology as well and it seems to make people doubt their own inner voice..and their own instincts. I am glad that you are out . Mia culpa

            • Bob

              Kim, I appreciate it. But I did not feel that. I was just trying to understand your point of view.
              I was brought up religiously in a non-judgemental environement. I had a pretty decent code of ethics and level of honesty. I threw out the baby with the bath water when I got into Scientology. It did not resolve till I could got outside the whole convoluted machine. Tony’s blog and all the good interchanges have been very therapeutic for me. I don’t feel broken anymore.

            • Midwest Mom

              Kim, we had such different experiences growing up Catholic!

            • I’m glad yours was better ….the whole thing just pissed me off 😉

            • stillgrace

              Me, too, Kim. Big time. I think I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and was unfortunately exposed to some very toxic fanatics (read: untreated bi-polar disease) at a very tender, vulnerable age. Sometimes I wonder what I would be like if things had been different. But not often.

            • I just could not hide my credulity . My mother was pregnant with my little sister when i was going to CCD class to prepare for first communion. I asked her where babies came from and she sat down with me and explained the entire thing. Penis,vagina,eggs,sperm, the whole nine yards. The next week ..the nun was discussing how Mary came to be with child. I raised my hand ..she called on me ..and I proceeded to explain it to her . Penis,vagina,eggs,sperm . She called me insolent and had me stand facing the corner for the rest of the class. Aaahhh…good times . That was pretty much it for me 😉

            • stillgrace

              Ah yes, the famous corner at the back of the classroom. Spent some time there myself. Psycho-nazi-nun loved to make students cry as she ridiculed them in front of the rest of the class. I refused to cry, which only made things worse. Once I bit through the bottom of my lower lip, while refusing to cry.
              Disclaimer: not all Catholic school stories are as bad as mine.

            • A friend from high school told how he was kicked out of a Sunday school because when they started talking about the Blessed Virgin, he raised his hand and asked what “virgin” meant, honestly not knowing.

            • Ugh ..when my 10 year old asked my husband ~ “pop – what is a virgin?” he told her it was an airline . ( i have told that story here before but it still cracks me up ) Religion made me an atheist

            • Midwest Mom

              The word “toxic” which you used is a perfect description. I’ve had to deal with two women who were religious education teachers (both new ones) who were in need of treatment for bi-polar disorder, at two different parishes. One had a nervous breakdown in front of me when we were alone at the church and the other one had an episode in front of my class, in my classroom. (Is it me?)

              You are absolutely correct that untreated, you can not have someone with this type of condition in charge of children. In both situations, it was immediately necessary for the parish priest to remove the woman in question from teaching, and then came the difficult process of encouraging the families to seek medical evaluation (you never know if someone has a brain tumor, etc.) and fortunately,(long story, short) both resulted in positive outcomes for the women, their families, the parish and community at large, but the stress was overwhelming during the pre-diagnosis period. I was very grateful that our Diocese provided so much support during both instances, something which probably would not have been the case 50 years ago,

              One of the women moved out of the area and the other one will not look at me if I see her at the library or grocery store, but that’s okay. I’m just glad that her kids have their mom at her best, now. It must have been terrifying to have dealt with her manic rages at home.

            • ParticleMom

              You did a great thing stepping in, MM. I can say from personal experience that growing up with a poorly medicated bipolar mother keeps one constantly on eggshells. And it is rare that outsiders see the mood swings, let alone take action.

            • Midwest Mom

              So you’ve heard me singing at Mass, then? Sorry. Sometimes those high notes just sneak in there by accident. I do admit to laughing at my own singing in church, so I am a barrel of fun to sit near! 🙂 ha ha!

            • If i went to mass…i would be more than happy to sit next to you 😉 I might …however…burst into flames ..

            • Midwest Mom

              If that truly happened, my priest would probably say, “Well, hello there. Are you visiting from out of town or are you new to the community?” The altar boys would then spray you with fire extinguishers and then he would say you were brave to sit next to me, since I sing like I’m in a karaoke bar. (That’s a compliment ………..right?)

          • wise to cons

            The subject of
            Dianetics starts with Joseph Breuer who first used regression
            techniques in the circa 1880’s with a patient of his.This patient was
            later known as the story of Anna O in Psychology courses.Breuer then
            handed the research he did over to a friend of his named Freud and
            named the recalled experiences reminiscences.Later Hubbard with help from his co-authors
            Dr Winter and his editor Campbell came up with an existing term at the time called engrams.
            You can take it from there byGoogling versions of it.Then Hubbard got invloved with Jack Parsons and Crowleys stuff where you will find the Adept Procedure to recall”past lives” by Crowley.Then there is a lot of othermaterial Hubbard purloined for “his” dianetics based on
            what was abreaction therapy.Hubard also took much from A. Korzybski and S.I. Hayakawa in “his” study tech to name a fewwhile never ever giving credit to any on these persons. Go to for a very detailed factual history of the arrogant Hubbard’s plaguerisms.
            Of course he sci-fied it all to his liking making it up as he went along with his stock & trade in hypnonsis as an underlying mechanism.”Making it up as he went along” was his genius if you want to call it that.

            • BuryTheNuts2


            • Bob

              Yes, I read some of that. But in the old days he did give credit amd mention where he took from. I think that has all been deleted now. I have read some brilliant books written over 100 years ago that I am sure Hubbard pulled from. He also credited the Vedic Hymns.

      • Observer

        I understand what you’re saying, but quackery is quackery no matter how consistent. He knew it was quackery, too, because he refused to produce any information on the “research” he allegedly performed, and badmouthed anyone who wanted to test it scientifically and objectively.

        • Bob

          No doubt he could have followed accepted scientific procedure and that would have allowed him a much broader level of acceptance. But he truly believed what he wrote. From my observation over many years including direct contact he was sincere in his beliefs. Whether what he espoused has truth in it is irrelevant. He believed what he was saying.

          • Observer

            I agree with you up to a point. He knew for a fact that he hadn’t been almost run down by a freight train on Venus, and that he hadn’t used Dianetics to heal himself of the war wounds he never got.

            • Bob

              Yup. Correct. He was a mass of contradictions.

            • Observer

              Regardless, I’m glad you’re out, and I respect you for your calm, even responses when in disagreement with someone.

            • I did not mean to sound snotty …sorry about that.

            • Observer

              Wait … does this mean you can’t read my mind? 😉

              I wasn’t referring to this convo (and I didn’t think you sounded snotty at all). I’ve just seen Bob take some pretty hard hits over the past few weeks, and he never seems to get angry and is always cool as a cucumber in his answers. That just occurred to me as I was responding to him so I mentioned it.

            • Bob

              Thanks. I think like most people who comment on this site I want to see the exploitation and abuse of basically good people stopped.

          • Chocolate Velvet

            This reminds me of something I read the other day in R J Lifton’s book on the Aum cult:

            “This [the “spiritual mission” envisioned by the guru] should not be seen as simply a matter of calculation or fakery: intense personal conviction is essential to the guru’s success. But that conviction can be helped considerably by grandiose ambitions and manipulative inclinations…”

            It is a false dichotomy, that Hubbard was either a con man, or he sincerely believed what he sold. The reality is, the con would not have worked if he did not believe it, at least sometimes. “Con” is short for “confidence”. A “confidence artist” sells you something based solely on the the pursuasive power of his apparent confidence in what he is saying. That is a “confidence game”; that’s how it works.

            Yes, people are gullible. We are easily persuaded by the APPEARANCE of authority — ie, confidence — especially when it is clothed in long-winded and complex talk, calculations and numbers, and a smattering of random facts. This is what con artists, actors, and politicians trade on…

            • Bob

              Good point. I have mixed feelings on this as I have witnessed some pretty amazing results from applying what Hubbard wrote and seen some pretty disheartening failures. All my direct observations were that he was totally convinced that he was here to free us all.

            • Chocolate Velvet

              I get that, Bob.

              Of course, if Hubbard was good at what he did — and he was, he raked in millions upon millions of dollars and eluded prosecution his whole life — he would never have allowed you to observe anything else. He was very savvy about what worked, and he was very comfortable co-opting the innovations of others in the name of his “cause”. That’s narcissistic grandiosity: “oh, this is meant for ME to use, to achieve greatness. Thanks!”

              He would have reserved the worst in himself for people like his wife and kids, and those he had over a barrel via some confession or some illegal act they committed at his behest. People who accidentally observed his “feet of clay” would be run out immediately. To wit: Gerry Armstrong, Jon Atack, Kate Bornstein, etc, etc. That is why it is so important for these folks to tell their stories.

              As others have said, I’m glad something compelled you to say “enough”, and get away. As bad as it is for those who leave, I think it is worse to still be hooked into this cult.

            • Bob

              Thanks. I have to credit Tony and commenters for being a platform for much truth that was hidden for decades.

          • No, no doubt he COULDN’T have followed scientific procedure, because he had not a clue what that was, and would never allow himself to be taught. And how much self-delusion went into his rantings, and how much self-conscious con-artistry, is debatable, but it seems quite clear that both were operating.

      • 0tessa

        I get your point, but it could also be said that there was system in his madness.

      • sugarplumfairy

        Keep telling yourself that, Bob.. And keep paying for those lectures.. Or the revisions of the lectures.. Btw.. How many times have you been ordered to replace your own lrh library?? And at what cost??

        • Bob

          SPF- LOL. I guess you did not read the rest of my comments on today’s blog.

          • sugarplumfairy

            I’m glad you’re out, Bob.. And i hope youre healthy and happy.. but as long as you believe lrh was sincere, it means you haven’t accessed all available info.. I hope you keep investigating and reading..

            • Bob

              SPF, sorry it is hard to take what say seriously. I have accessed a huge amount of the available info and spent a fair amount in direct observation over many years. I have my own opinions of what is messed up about LRH, the philosophy of Scientology and the current corp. church as I know you do. I am glad to be rid of the dogma, lies and manipulation. At this point I am reforming my viewpoints on what is true or not.
              Keeping up with all the new developments and past revelations is a daily task for me. And you are correct, I have not accessed all available info. What conclusions I come to in the future may or may not agree with yours? We will see.

            • sugarplumfairy

              No problem, Bob.. I’m comfortable with not being taken seriously.. I’m thinking it’s my delivery.. or maybe my timing.. Anyway, I’ll work on it.. In the meantime, I’m enjoying reading your comments and will look forward to our future conclusions..

            • Bob

              SPF thanks. It’s just that you were kind of preaching to the choir. I spent so many years in denial of what I was looking at every day. It has been such a relief I tend to be insouciant about most things. But I get very pissed about obvious lying, fraud and abuses.

        • sugarplumfairy

          “…but the fact is, there is great consistency in the subject if you study it in order..”

          I just took this from scientology’s own website:

          “…Deviations from the original manuscripts were immediately discovered to be far more extensive than imagined: transcription and punctuation errors of every variety, chapters bound in wrong sequence or even in the middle of another chapter…”

          Yah, it sounds like the order of study makes a huge difference.. The fact is, you could read dianetics (and most everything else the psycotic conman said or wrote) backwards and it would make as much sense as it ever did..

      • Having listened to hundreds of lectures it is clear that Hubbard had constructed a history of the universe beyond what any previous science fiction writer had done

        That’s because previous science fiction writers were busy trying to write good stories. The job of a science fiction writer is not to construct a history of the universe. There are plenty of writers of speculative fiction who construct stories of other universes, alternate universes, and future universes. All of them are more compelling than Hubbard’s loghorrhea. And they only require a trip to your local library.

        You need some Ursula LeGuin and J.R.R. Tolkein. Hubbard was nothing.

        • Bob

          I have been an avid SF fan for decades. The only thing I know that is true for me is that their is an actual history of the universe. Someday I would like to know what it were really is.

    • I was one of those 20-somethings that you mention. I can tell you that only after one of my first auditing session where I addressed a long-standing upset that I had with my best friend, emerging feeling better about it than I had in months, and after a word-clearing session where I actually went from pissed off and angry, to very happy and utterly calm, did I then look up at Hubbard’s picture in the courseroom and say out loud “Who IS this guy???”

      When you are young and life doesn’t look very good to you, and something comes along that makes you feel better emotionally when nothing else was working, that relief has a profound effect on you. And the guy who thought it all up deserves a lot of praise and gratitude.

      Who could have possibly done this when so many other of my attempts at feeling better have failed?

      That’s where the charisma comes in. You begin to hang onto every word because you want the wins, and the better feelings inside to continue. You never want to go back to your old, no-help life. And since Hubbard tells you that you must listen very carefully and duplicate every single thing he says exactly in order to keep that old no-help life from coming back – you do it.

      You do it within an inch of your life.

      And then he’s got ya.


      • Chocolate Velvet

        Eloquent and effective explanation, Alanzo. I hope everyone who wonders about the question of “how?” reads this.

      • scnethics

        What he said ^^^.

      • villagedianne

        Agreed. There’s no successful cult that did not start out with something that resonated with people.

      • TheHoleDoesNotExist

        I’m reliving through the book so far the sense of adventure that all us “bohemian” types experienced. It was, as Larry recounts in the book, a time of “after drugs, Scientology”. That’s right. And for newer audiences, it might be hard to imagine a time of no cable TV, internet, Personal computers, cell phones. People were pretty active and outgoing. I never met Hubbard, but met plenty charismatic larger than life people in scientology, especially in the earlier decades. Reading this book today and some of the new to me parts, I found myself once again absolutely riveted and fascinated.

        Never met a sociopath without a hook and bait, some little way to get you high, “winning” as it is called in scientology. Anything these types did or gave you became much larger, better than it actually was and you somehow felt obligated for their “gift” and convinced you needed more and more. Hey, sounds like drugs to me!

        • “After drugs, Scientology”

          Yeah! I got in in the mid 80’s as a bohemian-type musician. And there were definitely still some of these “Big Beings” left. They had a swashbuckling kind of attitude, and big booming voices.

          Big smiles, big love, and big “spaces”.

          You got the sense from them that you were YOU. And the real you was bigger and more powerful than anyone ever permitted you to believe.

          They took delight in your uniqueness, and often giggled at how awesome you were, deep down inside. Even some Sea Org members in the LA area like Bill Skrifars, and Ken Shapiro from ASHO, did not seem like the pinheaded fanatics I ran into later.

          Maybe I was just new, and the love-bombing phase was still on for me. But I met some great people – very helpful and very understanding people – when I first got involved in Scientology.

          They were a huge reason that I stayed.


        • You’re right about the difference that the information and technology revolutions made. The United States that Hubbard inhabited before 1980 had three major television networks (4 if you count PBS). News mainly came from newspapers and weekly magazines (Time, Newsweek, etc.) Television news was almost nonexistent – Today (joined at some point by Good Morning America) in the morning, either a half-hour or an hour of local news around 5-6 pm, network news for a half-hour, wrapping up with a half hour of local news around 11 pm (10 Central). Recording was done on reel-to-reel tape (cassettes came in the late ’60’s and and home videotape in the ’70’s). It was easier for the CO$ to control the flow of information then and most likely even if it now possessed the staff it had in its heyday it couldn’t hold back the flow partially because the mindset is still that of the ’50’s through ’70’s.

    • jensting

      Dunno. I’ve met magnetic personalities who were very far from their best when standing up and lecturing but who could hold a room of 20 – 50 in a thrall. (More common is the type who can do both, I admit.) Hubbard had decades to hone his pitch and did all his $cientology work with a very selected audience. Narrowing the audience to those who loved him might have helped a bit…

      • John P.

        Not only did “narrowing the audience to those who loved him [help] a bit,” but so did the fact that he never took a question from the audience — ever, as far as I can tell — and the hours of expensive and painful sec checking that awaited anyone who attended a Hubbard lecture and didn’t walk out and announce, “well, that was absolutely the shizzle. My life is totally and forever transformed!”

        • Anononyourside

          Miscavige is not a hypnotic personality, perhaps Hubbard was in person, I don’t know, he does not come across well in video clips. Miscavige’s “pleasant” demeanor comes across as overly done, a charade. When he tries to rev up the audience, he comes across as a dangerous bully whose rants against psychiatry could well cause an unstable person to start killing psychiatrists the way such people have killed abortion doctors. Miscavige gives new meaning to the term “bully pulpit.” His ornate Romanesque sets and adoring crowds of people in the audience are too reminiscent of Hitler’s rallies for me, it’s as if Miscavige is trying to imitate the fascist leaders of the 1930s to make up for his lack of a hypnotic personality. The fact that celebrity, so-called “thought leaders,” support Miscavige and his “rallies,” will eventually destroy their careers.

          Is there one single person who posts to this blog who would continue to publicly support an organization, and not do your own investigation, after you learned it was violating child labor laws, covering up the sexual molestation of minors, seizing passports, keeping dozens, if not hundreds, of people in 3rd world type prison conditions, and using slave labor to provide you with “posh” service?

          I doubt it. Those of you who left the CoS because of the above have more courage in your little finger than the all of CoS celebrities combined.

    • Sid Snakey

      You have to remember he wasn’t personally recruiting raw meat. Scientologists were recruited via a book or course or body router or personality test. That first self-improvement course, the love-bombing, the sense of being part of something – those were the things that got people.

      Scientologists who DID meet Hubbard were already completely in awe of him – and so if he showed them any kind of nice attention (which he apparently did – he even C/S’d PC folders for a time) then they would have their beliefs reinforced. It was only if you spent prolonged periods of time in senior management that you got to see the other side.

      People who listened to the nutty ramblings and didn’t run away will have to answer for themselves – I guess once you’re in, you’re in.

    • Anononyourside

      John, from the books and articles I have read, it seems that many young people joined Scientology in the 70s and 80s because Hubbard offered answers at a time when thousands of young people wanted to make their lives meaningful. He said, without doubt, that he knew the meaning of life. In every single memoir that I have read by people who made the decision to join Scientology from the 60s to the early 80s, the author states that he/she joined because they wanted to save humanity and they thought that Hubbard gave them a way to do that.

      The 70s was a tumultuous time in the US and Europe. After the anti-war movement in the US and the student revolt in Europe during the late 60s and early 70s, thousands of young people felt betrayed because they wanted to save the world/ help humanity. Some young people got into drugs, many got into what became known as cults. There was very little discussion of cults at that time, that started towards the end of the 70s, especially after Jonestown. L Ron Hubbard and Lyndon LaRouche, in particular, preyed on the best and the brightest of the disillusioned young people, the ones who wanted to save humanity and change the world. It’s interesting how both men grabbed the leaders of the anti-war movement, thereby playing a large role in defusing, for the most part, the radical left. It’s also interesting how both Hubbard’s and LaRouche’s organizations have turned into money-grubbing, paranoid cults that abuse their members and use terror to keep them in line.

      • cultwife

        Yes, my ex-husband joined LaRouche in the mid-70s and is still “in.” LaRouche has no charisma; he’s the dullest of the dull. But my husband was an idealist, but feeling lost. He didn’t he fit in with other people. LaRouche’s org gave him a home, a place of safety, inspiration, a group of like-minded people (all flattering him on how intelligent he was to have joined in the first place), inspiration and concrete ways to achieve a dream. The charmless LaRouche — and listening to the guy is like having a termite munch through your brain — came up with the ideas that mesmerized my husband, and that made him charismatic believers. My ex’s blind faith in LaRouche has survived to this day, even though LaRouche suggested about ten years ago that members of my husband’s age commit suicide because he no longer finds them useful. I have nightmares that one day he’ll ORDER this.

        It’s interesting to me that for some people, “cult” has a purely religious connotation, and back in the day I would often compare LaRouche to the Jonestown group, which began with religion but by the time of the tragedy was mostly political. Now I compare Rouchedom to Scientology. A cult doesn’t need to claim to be a religion; all it needs is to claim it is the “way” or the one true cause.

        • Midwest Mom

          That suicide suggestion is despicable! Absolutely evil.

          • cultwife

            Thank you. We were disconnected at the time (still are), but thank God my ex had enough personal spine to reject it. I don’t know if that was true of others.

            • Midwest Mom

              It makes you wonder how many people went along with it. How sad is that? It’s beyond words, isn’t it?

          • BuryTheNuts2

            Just like “End of Cycle” in Scientology….

        • John P.

          The charmless LaRouche — and listening to the guy is like having a termite munch through your brain — came up with the ideas that mesmerized my husband, and that made him charismatic to believers.

          Loved the visual image of termites in your description of LaRouche. I looked up a recent video of ol’ Lyndon to see just how drab he is. You’re right — he’s pretty dismal.

          But on one level, at least, LaRouche comes out miles ahead of Hubbard: I don’t see Lyndon mispronouncing words like “galaxies,” which Hubbard consistently pronounced as “guh-LACK-sees,” a pronunciation that appears to be unique to him (i.e., not a regional variant).

          • cultwife

            Hilarious, and true!

        • Anononyourside

          “The charmless LaRouche — and listening to the guy is like having a termite munch through your brain.” That is most succinct description of the guy I have ever heard, I’m still laughing.
          I heard about his rant against the baby boomers, but did not know he told them to “commit suicide.” He’s a nasty Miscavige-type, who thinks the world is here to serve him. Only a psychopathic narcissist would tell anyone to kill themselves. I also heard he is now ranting against the young people in his organization because they are leaving in droves. They caught on to his madness a lot quicker, apparently, then the ones who joined in the 60s and 70 s and are still there. LaRouche is probably now telling the baby boomers, including your ex, how wonderful they are, otherwise he will have no one to raise money so he can live on his estate.

          LaRouche is 90 and is going senile, I hope your ex gets the courage to leave when LaRouche no longer runs that organization. Just like the people who leave the CoS after many years, there should some support to help him get restarted outside of the cult. There are a lot of people in that cult, unfortunately, with nowhere to go.

          I really hope that the Lawrence Wright book sparks the public awareness that it’s the leaders of cults like the CoS, or LaRouche’s organization, that are the problem, not the members who are being held in the cult through psychological or physical restraints.

          • cultwife

            Yes, LaRouche operates by shaming his followers. He turned against the baby boomers when the LYR (LaRouche Youth Movement) began, and now he is losing even those. If LaRouche has good genes, he could live another decade. (Not likely, I know, but my father’s family have all reached 99 or 100. It happens.) But even if he passed away sooner, my ex would be in his mid-60s and has a wife in the cult. The Larouche org is much more loosely structured than Sci, so I don’t think it can survive long without their leader. I hope my ex leaves, and that the people he deserted decades ago will find mercy in their hearts. He’ll need our help.

            So far as I know, there is no one like Miscavige scheming in the wings when LaRouche makes his final exit. I often wonder what would have happened to Scientology had DM not grabbed that position.

        • villagedianne

          Off topic, but I’d like to respond to this post with an idea from the world of Global Conspiracy. (Yes, I am a conspiracy theorist.) Basically the idea is that one of the reaons there are so many toxins in our environment, adulterated foods, dangerous medications, is so people will die soon after their productive years. Don’t want a lot of useless eaters enjoying a long retirement. Looks like LaRouche has taken a page from the New World Order playbook!

          • Midwest Mom

            Something tells me that the person who thought that one up was going through an epic case of hot flashes and misinterpreted Jessica Tandy’s line from the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes” when she said, “It’s the hormone’s, honey.”

            • villagedianne

              Actually, that scene in Fried Green Tomatoes at least proves the point about the existence of dangerous medications, whatever one may think is the motive behind them. In that scene Tandy goes on to recommend the now-discredited Hormore Replacement Therapy, which was shown to be a cause of cancer. The doctor who developed HRT, his own wife got breast cancer on it. When she died, he covered up the cause of her death.
              A lot of women took HRT because doctors recommended it. Just goes to show, cults are not the only way people can be bamboozled.

            • Captain Howdy

              That made me think of one of my favorite movie quotes:

              Alan Dershowitz: You are a very strange man.
              Claus von Bülow: You have no idea.

          • Captain Howdy

            There is no such thing as opposed to “conspiracist theorist” except “nut”.The only people who would have taken “conspiracy theory” seriously back in the day are the same people who would have joined scientology.

            • villagedianne

              Not necessarily. Being a conspiracy theorist is part of the reason I protest Scientology. Scientology is a perfect paradigm for global dictatorship, or what we conspiracy types call the New World Order. In Scientology, the oppression is not just top-down. Top down oppression breaks down eventually because people know they are oppressed. Better to have people police each other, and even police themselves and their own thoughts (as in, we won’t look at the entheta). When people police themselves in the name of an ideal, they don’t notice or mind so much that they are not free.
              COS is a near-perfect experiment in totalitarianism, and unfortunately has parallels in the wider society. Such as: Lets give up our freedom for more security!

            • Captain Howdy

              Hint ” Life is a tale told by an idiot, all sound and fury signifying nothing at all”

              or ” The main thing that I learned about conspiracy theory is that conspiracy theorists actually believe in a conspiracy because that is more comforting. The truth of the world is that it is chaotic. The truth is, that it is not the Jewish banking conspiracy or the grey aliens or the 12 foot reptiloids from another dimension that are in control. The truth is more frightening, nobody is in control. The world is rudderless.”
              – Alan Moore

            • villagedianne

              Yeah I’ve heard this all before, the “psychological” explainations about conspiracy theorists. None of these explainations about the psychology of conspiracy theorists can explain why WTC Building 7 fell. Or why the towers fell at nearly free-fall speed through the path of greatest resistance, or the failure or NORAD or the many other unanswered questions.
              If you want to fall back on the easy answer of our “psychology”, try looking into the psychology of those who believe what the media and government “authorities” tell us. There’s where the comfort level is.

        • Captain Howdy

          The “LaRouchians” have been replaced by the Paulestinians. Same mindset, same M.O (young folks doing the dirty work). L Ron Paul (and his offspring) are a bigger threat than L Ron Hubbard ever was.

      • A guy Chris that I knew, who lost some friends to this cult, knew LaRouche in the 60’s as “Lyn Marcus” (possibly his real name) when he was supposedly a Trotsyist and recruited the “Flying Squads” to go around and violently break up meetings of “Stalinists” (by which was meant, any leftists not like himself). Many suspected that he was actually an FBI agent provocateur, but Chris thought he might have been pursuing his own ends even then. A girl Chris knew ended up in a big Manhattan apartment where several people who had been, to use Scientology-speak, “RPFed” for whatever misdemeanors spent all their waking hours sorting through files and endlessly retyping propaganda tracts, until she managed to pry open one of the windows and throw out a paper airplane with a “help me” note that brought the cops. After that he disappeared for a couple years, to reappear in the early 70’s as “Larouche” with his new ideology centered around the giant British conspiracy (Queen Elizabeth is the head of all the drug cartels don’chaknow) and praising Saddam Hussein (who was probably his main funding at the time, who knows?) as his ideal virtuous revolutionary.

        • Anononyourside

          I wish the members of the CoS who are being RPFed could throw out paper airplanes and get law enforcement to help them. What will it take to get the government to act against Miscavige’s human trafficking? Blaming the Headley trial is such a poor excuse. Any law enforcement person or lawyer knows that you learn from cases and try a different track. The prohibition against inquiring into the acts of a church doesn’t mean that the CoS has the right to abuse underage members, or terrorize members who want to leave the church. No one in their right mind should allow a religion to molest children, seize passports to prevent foreign nationals from leaving, or imprison people against their will simply because the religion claims the acts are “ministerial.”

        • cultwife

          Yes, LaRouche was originally Lyn Marcus, and was very far to the left. He is thought to have a psychotic episode (IIRC, he locked himself in his apartment for weeks with a lot of firearms and “survivalist” foods) before he began those attacks on socialist meetings. In other words, he morphed to the far, far right, but paranoid, psychotic ultra-facism (did I leave anything out?) turns in on itself like a python swallowing its own tail, so it doesn’t really fit a traditional spectrum.

          I only wish my husband had been taken to a Manhattan apartment. Instead he was taken to an abandoned building where the group was squatting and not allowed to leave for days. When he came back to our place, it was obvious he’d been lying in dirty water.

      • V for Vacation

        It’s interesting – I’m in Generation X, and most of us are too cynical to have considered joining a self-help movement ;p, but I’ve known people who temporarily looked into or got into The Landmark Forum (originally est?), or The Secret, or even Kabbalah and Rosicrucians, when they felt lost or empty or overwhelmed. But CoS really seems to differentiate itself when it comes to brainwashing people into convincing them they can’t leave, or using blackmail and other social/familial/financial manipulations to prevent them leaving. The hooks seem to go pretty deep pretty fast. It’s impressive, in a sinister and repugnant way.

    • I was one of the disillusioned hippies who got interested in scn. Actually, my mom was “doing” it — she went to St. Hill for the Clearing Course and while she was gone I started taking courses and getting auditing at the Phoenix franchise (where Heber Jentzsch would occasionally show up and play his guitar). I’ll admit I was still pretty drug-addled even though I wasn’t taking or smoking anything at that time — I had spent the previous year enjoying lsd and pot and some other stuff. I was also depressed about some childhood issues. I loved getting lost in the courses and the auditing. I was not getting more aware or “happier”…I was truly getting lost, which was exactly what I needed and wanted. I WANTED someone to give me all the answers so I wouldn’t have to think.

      At the early stages, one did not listen to hubtard lectures, one read books and took courses. I remember listening to lectures when I was on the cc at St. Hill. I didn’t understand a word he said and didn’t care. Mostly I slept through them. At that time there wasn’t word clearing (1967). The original clearing course is just as crazy and incomprehensible as zenu. While I was at SH I saw posters for the Sea Org. They were like the US Military posters — Uncle Sam wants YOU! I decided hubtard had a better plan than I could ever come up with, so I joined. I worked for him as his steward for about 3 months. He was charismatic and human and kind to me. That said, the year I spent on the ship was the worst nightmare of my life. I wanted to get away within the first week, but it took me a year to finally leave the ship. I’ve read so many people’s remarks about how they would never have gotten involved because hubtard was so nuts in his writing and speaking. Sometimes nuts is what you’re looking for and hubtard fills the bill perfectly. What can I say?

      • Me too, nobs, re being a Hippie. My Grandfather was a Doctor and I think in the back of my mind I figured I could do *that*…I liked his gig. BUT…going to college for 4 years, Med School, etc, etc…Dianetics and “Clearing people” seemed MUCH easier, and more fun. Sadly, I did not get out w/ in one year. I stayed on the mind control train for 30 years!
        What I just read that I’d never heard before was what you wrote, Tony, from Larry’s book was about Hubbard’s death and the “electrical “suicide machine”. I’ve heard many stories about his death…but that’s a new one I look forward to reading more about.

        • You seem to have fully recovered. I sometimes feel like I’ll never get done. Thanks a bazillion, Tory. I love your videos and I admire all you do to keep the heat on ol’ Davey.

    • 0tessa

      I saw some videos of lectures and also listened to a couple of taped lectures. There is indeed something funny with the way he looks and talks. Listening, I got the feeling he was not really talking to me or the audience but was talking to himself, or, to somebody invisible to the audience. I compared it with the way I once listened to psychiatric patients telling their ‘story of the universe’. You don’t feeling like they are talking to you. They don’t have a real contact with the person they talk to.
      Looking at the videos, I found his affinity fake. He smiled a lot, but there was something artificial about it. Like a con man, trying to sell something.
      Conclusion: he doesn’t sound right.

    • Captain Howdy

      Supposedly the first time Charlie Chaplin saw a news reel of Hitler he fell out of his chair in laughter. Charlie Manson is 5’2′ and looks like ..Charlie Manson. Go figure.

    • Chocolate Velvet

      R J Lifton addresses the question of charisma quite well in his book about the Aum cult.  Maybe this will clarify:

      “In the cult, the guru becomes a crucible for life-power.  … One’s previously deadened life now has vigor and purpose … borrowed from the guru.  That life-power becomes bound up with larger spiritual forces, that is, with a fierce sense of immortality. … At the heart of charisma is the leader’s ability to instill and sustain feelings of vitality and immortality, feelings that reach into each disciple’s often wounded, always questing self, while propelling that self beyond itself.”

      To take one example from the world of finance, why did people continue to invest with Bernie Madoff, even when it was obvious that something about him did not jibe?  Why were his critics attacked and shouted down (sometimes with virulent accusations like anti-semitism), by the people he was bilking?  Why were some people so desperately eager to be invited into the “cult of Madoff”?  Because poverty is scary, and most people have a hard time understanding and mastering money (like life).  They are looking to “know the right people”, who can give them the easy answers they are sure must be out there.  You could say Madoff’s charisma was due to his function as a touchstone of “life-power and immortality” in a financial sense.   

      I know very little about finance, so maybe this is a reach… Same song, different verse, perhaps?

    • dbloch7986

      If you think about it, a very small percentage of people actually fall for it. Many of them run away. There are only a few thousand public in the cult at best, including the children of those who were already cult members when they were born. I would estimate that accounts for at least a third of the people in the cult.

      I think the only reason it seems so big is because it creates a large public image for itself.

    • Jgg2012

      I think he was a cargo cult phenomenon. If you knew he was phony, you wouldn’t fall for him at all.

  • Puppetmama

    Book on my kindle now. Now, I just need time to read it.

  • EnthralledObserver

    It surely sounds spectacular… must get myself a copy.

  • Ze Moo

    As my first encounter with LRon was through Dianetics, I never saw his supposed wit and intelligence. It is such a poorly written book that I could never respect the author. Lrons gift, if he really had one, was the ability to turn the fad of emeter auditing into a hypnotic or self-hypnotic ‘sacrament’ that is the basis of all scamatology today.

    Lron turned that sacrament slowly into a mind control cult whose only purpose was to ‘make money’. Money that was be his and his alone. That he willed his ill-gotten gains to his archive project and its promise of eternal fame for himself just shows he drank his own kool-aid deeply at the end of his life. Miscavige is just the current beneficiary of a scam that has long outlived any usefulness. Too bad ‘usefulness’ isn’t a Lron preceptic, the loyal minions would desert in a New York minute if they had to live in the real world. As the public becomes more educated about scams in general, scientology will die out and become just another fad that has 20 members who meet in basements and discuss the ‘good old days’.

  • I really wonder how this book will resonate with the “indies” . So far ..most of the bad stuff has landed on DM’s doorstep and they have pretty much let Hubbard off the hook . How do you rationalize jerking off onto parchment while Hubbard is taking notes ? ” Hey ..who among us has not done THAT before ?” …..

    • Hermesacat

      The jerking off onto parchment is Crowleyan sex magic(k) as taught in Uncle Al’s O.T.O. (Ordo Templi Orientis). There are 11 degrees attainable in the O.T.O. Three of them are about using sex energy to
      attain magical ends. Parsons would have been practicing VIII degree in the episode Wright recounts, as it’s about using masturbation. IX degree is heterosexual partners. And since Crowley liked men & women both, he naturally HAD to add an (optional) XI degree for homosexual magick for those OTO members so inclined. Crowley didn’t invent sex magick or the OTO. The OTO was a quasi-Masonic German order teaching sex magic long before Crowley got involved with it & became head. Various types of sexual yoga &/or magic are found within Hinduism,Taoism, & some forms of shamanism, for instance. So, sex magic isn’t a concept unique to Parsons, Crowley, & the O.T.O. It’s made appearances in various religions & geographical locations over a few thousands years, at least.

      Hubbard taking notes while Parsons JO-ed sounds eccentric, but since no one was getting hurt in the process as far as we know, it sounds fairly innocuous, if weird. I consider many of Hubbard’s other activities to be far more sinister than this small episode, beating up wives being but one example.

      • That is so romantic ~Silly me …i just thought it was a guy jerking off in front of another guy and spooging all over parchment paper .

        • stillgrace

          I love your sarcasm, Kim. I will grant Hermesacat that this it is far less sinister than beating up his second wife (and all the other horrible things he did to her, including denying she ever existed).
          However, on the “eeeewwwwwwwwwwww” factor tone scale, that has to rank right up there.

          I actually ran into a couple that embraced OTO in San Francisco during my seeking years. I remember it well. They were in a Tarot class with me given by Mary K. Greer. They showed me some pictures once. I stopped sitting next to them.

          • Yeah …”eeewww” is the first thing i thought. My guess is that he beat his wife in private …as opposed to beating something else in public.

            • BuryTheNuts2

              I would guess so too.
              If he hits his staff, he likely is going to hit his wife or girlfriend or communicator or whatever you want to call his..uh…parchment.
              Where is Shelley…damn it.

            • Observer

              Yeah, I think he has a serious MU on the phrase “I’d hit that.”

          • Captain Howdy

            Did you meet them at the occult store on divisadero ? lol

            • stillgrace

              No, it wasn’t in that store. It’s been many years. I unfortunately can’t forget the pictures, and I can’t remember the address. I think it was when Greer was actually living (visiting?) in the city. I remember a two-story townhouse. The downstairs living room was turned into a classroom arrangement. Good class, it lasted about 4 weeks or so.

              I think you and I may have spent some of our youth on the same stomping grounds. I remember the redwoods, too!

        • Hermesacat

          As for what “Indies” might think about it (assuming they even bother to read Wright’s book, which many of them may not once they hear it’s full of “Hubbard bashing”), there’s an easy out for them anyway re. Hubbard’s documented involvement with Parsons & OTO occultism. They can just choose to believe Hubbard’s own claim he was infiltrating the OTO on behalf of Naval Intelligence & helped “break up black magic in America”, as L. Ron put it.

          Interestingly, I read recently Parsons’ widow, Marjorie Cameron ended up convinced Hubbard WAS in fact acting as a spy for U.S. intelligence. She also said Hubbard & Parsons got along well, & were friends. Since Hubbard went on to act as a con man, running off with $10,000 of Parsons’ money & stealing his girlfriend, it was a case of “with friends like Ron, who needs enemies?”

          The whole story of Hubbard, Parsons & the OTO may serve to demonstrate some of Hubbard’s worst character traits. e.g. He didn’t hesitate to con & betray friends. We know L.Ron was in fact a big admirer of Crowley & his teachings. The fact he’d betray the head of the California OTO group (his supposed pal) personally, & possibly further betray the group by spying on it for the gov’t, suggests Hubbard was remarkably hypocritical, unscrupulous, disloyal, & treacherous.

          As far as I know though, no one’s yet found any gov’t documents backing up Hubbard’s claim of working as a spy on behalf of the gov’t against the OTO. You’d think some documented evidence might have come to light by now if it was true, unless files are still “classified” for some reason.

          • Well…who among us has not jerked ourselves off in order to save the country ? I mean really …if we stop …the terrorists win …amiright??

          • Anononyourside

            It may be true, there are many records of projects, I imagine, that were tossed to avoid embarrassment to the government in the post-war world. Before computers, it wasn’t hard to destroy records.

            • I have difficulty imagining anybody thinking Hubbard would be a useful agent for them. I have no difficulty at all imagining Hubbard thinking of himself as a secret agent and writing unsolicited letters to somebody in the government (later in life he did write some unsolicited letters to J. Edgar denouncing various “communists”).

            • BuryTheNuts2

              Hubbard could not be a spy. He couldn’t STFU long enough and his own ego was so big he would have outed himself. No way. But Marjorie Cameron was a piece of work too. She may have said and even believed that. She was in till “the end” with the occult stuff.

      • Midwest Mom

        My brain has been forever scarred by this information. I now need to regroup my thoughts with some snow shoveling to be followed by hot chocolate and oatmeal raisin cookies.

        • sugarplumfairy

          i wanna live at your house..

          • Midwest Mom

            It is -13 with wind chill out there. My face is frozen. I look like I had a visit from the Botox fairy.

      • BuryTheNuts2

        What do you all think Crowleys book of poems “White Stains” is in reference to?

        Sorry, that should have been to Kim.

        • LOL…something new to add to my reading list.

        • Hermesacat

          Hey, it gets worse. One of the poems in the book you mention, “White Stains” ( a book of porno poems) is entitled “With Dog and Dame”. Folks can use their imagination to guess that one’s theme!

        • Captain Howdy
      • Captain Howdy

        The only sexual magick crowley had came from an opium pipe or a syringe loaded with smack that let him keep it up all night. In street parlance it’s called ‘dope dick”.

    • Observer

      ” Hey ..who among us has not done THAT before ?” …..

      This meat body or whole track? lol

      • jensting

        whole track, all I’m getting is causing a planet to disappear…

    • Honestly, watching another guy jerking off while taking notes — who cares? There’s nothing wrong with that. If it’s what floats your boat, whatever. It’s not like locking a 4-year old in a chain locker, or any of the other horrible things Hubbard did. Like telling other people that masturbation meant they were aberrated. What a hypocrite.

      • Hey ..i don’t mind the image of a couple of guys playing Spartacus long as Hubbard is not one of them . I can’t really let my mind go to locking up a four year old …i will go postal .

        • Yeah, Hubbard + sex is definitely a nauseating combination. And he was obsessed with it.

  • Anononyourside

    The book has been out less than 12 hours and it already is number 49 on Amazon’s print-book best seller list, and number 209 on Amazon’s Kindle book list. That’s an incredible start, I look forward to this book being a smash hit- best seller! The only problem is, with a best seller book that is read by tens of thousands of people, how does Miscavige track down and harrass each reader, book club and book reviewer that spreads the word about the book?

    I started reading the book when it hit my Kindle early this morning and couldn’t put it down. Lawrence Wright is a terrific writer.

    • That is great and I believe those numbers will sky rocket after the Rock Center show tonight.

    • BosonStark

      In lieu of being able to handle them, maybe the cult will declare anyone who reads the book, a Scientologist and count them among their imaginary millions?

      ABC’s headline this morning on the web was about the Scientology book by “Robert Lawrence Right.” Oy–my first thought was they have a clam on staff. They corrected it though. I think it took 30 minutes to do that.

  • Rick Mycroft

    I am disappointed that Random House is chickening out from publishing the book in Canada. Canadian copyright laws have nowhere near the abusive application that they do in the UK. Also, they knew that Scientology and their celebs would object, so why did they agree to publish it in the first place? (It almost sounds like a breach of contract, but I’m sure that there’s some fine print to cover that.)

    No problem, the market will just bypass old-style publishers with no guts.

    • Sid Snakey

      It’s not copyright law Rick, it’s defamation law. As a commonwealth country, Canada has adopted much of English defamation law, dating back several hundred years. The CofS has no doubt threatened the publishers, and the costs of defending such a legal attack could be high, with potentially unlimited damages being awarded. This law is recognised as being hopelessly out of data and in need of change.

      • Rick Mycroft

        Sorry, I meant defamation law. (Somehow with CoS, copyright law springs to mind.) While Common Law countries (not just Commonwealth) branch from a single base, their interpretations can vary quite widely, especially over time.

        Canada doesn’t doesn’t get the defamation tourist cases (“I’ll sue you in England!”) that the UK does, nor are the judgments awarded anything like the UK or US amounts.

    • Anononyourside

      I am sure booksellers in Canada will find a way to order books once it hits the NY Times best seller list.

  • sugarplumfairy

    Ok, here’s something new I learned about miscavitch from Wright’s book..

    “…He loves underwater photography, and when he returns from his annual trip on the Freewinds, he has the photography staff put the photos into slides so they can be appreciated by the entire gold base staff…”

    He makes everyone watch his vacation slides? I knew he was evil, but o. m. g…….

    • BuryTheNuts2

      Baaahaaahaa. Score….that was funny. You only do that to your friends…and only after getting them drunk enough.

    • John P.

      I bet that the staff at Gold Base really “appreciate” the slide show. Even if you are the most indoctrinated staff member ever, how would it feel to be sitting there in the audience worried about how you are going to afford new underwear (the elastic in yours went a few months ago) on your $50 per week salary, while “the boss” is bragging for hours about his vacation that didn’t cost $50 per week, but probably more like $50,000 per week given the private jets, dive boats on 24×7 call (as some Freewinds veterans have described), etc? Eventually, the cognitive dissonance of this would probably wear on even the most loyal staffer.

      • Semper Phi

        Not to mention that they are lucky if they get a few hours off each week to do their laundry, and if they want to take time off even to see their family, *they* have to get it approved well in advance and go through a sec check before they can go. No way Davey has to do any of that, and that’s gotta wear on them too.

        • sugarplumfairy

          It’s all so unfrkingbelievable.. No wonder people question the stories they hear about co$.. one of my fav lrh quotes, taken from Paulette Cooper’s book:

          Incredulity of our data and validity. This is our finest asset and gives us more protection than any other single thing. If certain parties thought we were real we would have infinitely more trouble … without a public incredulity we never would have gotten as far as we have. And now it’s too late to be stopped. The protection was accidental but it serves us very well indeed. Remember that the next time the ignorant scoff.
          — L. Ron Hubbard

          • That’s very scary. What’s also scary is that I likely read that at one time whilst a bubble-head and thought to myself, “yeah, that makes sense.” The peeling back of all the layers is difficult and distressing. Sometimes I wish I could completely forget that I was ever involved. It’s a long process, I know, and I appreciate that there are so many helpers along the way.

      • Rick Mycroft

        I’m sure that the slide shows made the staff happier when they were scrimping to contribute for Miscavige’s mandatory birthday “gift”.

        • Midwest Mom

          Perhaps it allows them time to catch up on their sleep. 🙂

          • That might actually be true. A while ago during a discussion of Battlefield Earth some ex-staffers said how much they enjoyed the assignment to puff up its box office by attending, over and over, precisely because it was a rare opportunity for prolonged shuteye.

    • Rick Mycroft

      The CoS drones made a big point of adding that to his Wikipedia article, but I think it got tossed out for lack of a Reliable Source.

    • Jefferson Hawkins

      Not only that, one year he had his underwater photography printed up into a hardcover coffee-table book. He produced probably half a dozen copies. And yes, anyone who did not appropriately ooh and ahh over his photos would be suspected of “disaffection.”

      • Koondog

        Jeff, I remember when we all got trotted down to the Cine conference room to ooh and ahh over his photos. Admittedly, many of them did look good–thanks to the darkroom work done by Jeff and Roberta in the F&E darkroom!

      • Speaking of underwater….just a funny story, and typical David Miscavige……while my then husband was on the Freewinds doing OT 8, apparently some other OT 8’s had found a nude beach and were enjoying the sun. Suddenly who came up out of the water, at the beach? David Miscavige, Ray Mittoff and other “Execs” now “In the Hole” for many years. They were not nude…they were in scuba geer. Naturally, VERY expensive scuba geer, too, paid for by who? THE MEMBERS!

    • James Bong

      lol that is truly the last word in the banality of evil

    • grundoon

      David Miscavige goes scuba diving while everyone else is working, takes underwater photos, and requires all the Int Base staff to endure his slide show (put together for him by Gold AV staff). Miscavige also imposes his narcissistic vacation slide show on another captive audience: all the OT VIIIs on board for the Maiden Voyage event. (Most Scientologists never get even this much in exchange for their IAS donations which pay for Miscavige’s tropical junkets, including the $1500/day dive boat on 24-hour call.) (Data from Mike Rinder and anon OT VIIIs posting at

  • BuryTheNuts2

    BAM…Chapter two and Snake Thompson and the blatant rip off of Freud as a partial foundation for Dianetics.
    Strike One.

  • stillgrace

    Over at Marty’s place, he posted this today:

    “I have a feeling that Rock Center’s segment tonight on Scientology from the viewpoints of Paul Haggis and Lawrence Wright is going to be rather interesting. You may not agree with all you see and hear, but I suggest you ought to see and hear it.”

    • I really respect that he did that.

      I wrote a post on his blog telling him this, but it disappeared. I hope he un-bans me again and posts it.


      • stillgrace

        I hope he unbans you, too. I know what you have to say has value.

        • BuryTheNuts2

          So does Marty, but Alanzo is a threat to Marty.

      • BuryTheNuts2

        And as a special deal for Alanzo….We have the incredible new product “Ban-a-way”.
        For only $19.95 you get not one,…but two; 12 oz. aerosol cans of “Ban-a-way” to spray directly onto your post before you hit the submit button.
        This will fool the evil Moderator who is banning all of your non-sequitur’s, anecdotes and acerbic wit …as well as general commentary…into believing that all that you wrote is: “Go Marty, you Rock”

        The post is then released (along with Martin Luther’s ego) and in just a few minutes the “Ban-a-way” evaporates exposing the REAL post.

        But wait…If you call now, we will even throw in some of those left over sham wow’s to wipe off your screen from any over spray.

        • really funny

        • Midwest Mom

          Bury, what if Marty is using Ban deodorant and Ban- lon clothing? Will Alanzo be able to break through both?

          • BuryTheNuts2

            Shhh, that’s kryptonite.! No refunds!

    • Anononyourside

      Thanks for posting that. If people had the opportunity to meet the founders of the Mormon church, they probably wouldn’t like them, they were reported to have treated their wives and children badly, and were violent men. The Mormon religion is based on the writings of these men. Whatever I think about Joseph Smith, I won’t judge the Mormon religion. I would have condemned the Mormon church for its racism and its anti women stands, but I understand that the church has changed. Whatever I may think of Hubbard, I don’t feel comfortable attacking or mocking or making judgments about the Scientology religion. I will make judgments about the Church of Scientology because its actions against people are vile, and Miscavige is a dangerous sociopathic psychopath who uses religion to con people. This isn’t the 19th century and no one has the right in the 21st century to beat people, imprison them, torture them, destroy families and harm children. The religion isn’t doing that, the church and Miscavige are. If we mock the religion, we open the door to mocking all religions, and I’m sure no one wants that.

    • V for Vacation

      Always interesting. ;p. Well at least he’s recommending it. It’s a complicated fence he sits on.

  • Jefferson Hawkins

    I look forward to reading Larry’s book. It’s striking to me how invisible the Church is in all this. In an earlier era they would have trotted out Heber or Mike Rinder and you would have seen them sparring with reporters on the major talk shows. Even Miscavige ventured out for that ill-fated Nightline interview. Now, with Tommy Davis “retired” they appear to have run out of spokespeople. I suspect that “Karin Pouw” is just a name they put at the end of the long screeds they send to media, and that the real Karin Pouw has long since been RPFed or consigned to the Hole, but in any case, she’s a third-stringer who would get eaten alive by any reporter in a live interview. On the Today show they mention that they spoke to “three Scientologists” who denied everything. I can just guess who they were — Norman Starkey, Guillaume Lesevre, Marc Yager, or possibly Jenny Linson — all denizens of The Hole who have been completely cowed by Miscavige and are completely under his sway. None of them can appear on camera as it would be obvious to any viewer – as it was on AC360 – that they are mere husks – nervous, tongue-tied puppets who say what they are supposed to say and are incapable of having an intelligent conversation or an original thought. And I’m sure Miscavige keeps them on a very tight leash so none of them “blow.” So where are the Scientologists, those “masters of communication skills,” those “expert practitioners of Hubbard’s PR tech,” those masters of “TRs” and the “Tone Scale”? Nowhere to be seen. And Miscavige? Like all bullies, he is, at heart, a coward, petrified at the idea of having to appear in public and answer questions about his crimes. So he’ll keep pushing surrogates in front of the camera — except, apparently, he has now run out of them.

    • sugarplumfairy

      ,,,”none of them can appear on camera as it would be obvious…that they are mere husks…”

      So frking disturbing how good people are sucked in, turned into bullies and then repeatedly humiliated and cowed into submission.. This is the work of the “church” that cruise, travolta, preston, alley, archer and others continue to support and defend with their frking heads in the sand..

      Thank goodness for you and all the others with the guts to stand up and speak up..

    • villagedianne

      It’s not a new model of the decline of a group. Ayn Rand, in her zeal to make her philosophy as all-encompassing as communism, turned her group of followers into a cult in which she was the supreme arbiter of truth. So many of her followers were either banished by her or left rather than face her withering criticism, that in the end she was left with only third-rate intellects.
      I am not necessarily bashing Rand’s philosophy. This is a dynamic that can happen in any authoritarian group with a charismatic and grandiose leader, no matter what the philosophy or belief.

      • Well ..i had to read her in school . There were a bunch of people who thought she was just this great symbol of self reliance. Kind of sucked for them when they found out that she collected Social Security under her married name ..Ann O’Connor .

        • mook

          don’t forget that Ayn Rand named names to HUAC so she wouldn’t be blacklisted.

        • villagedianne

          Also she wrote some fiction that can be rather hard to plough through. Sound like anyone we know?

      • Jefferson Hawkins

        This is the essence of the recent decline of Scientology. Narcissism and sociopathy are not good leadership models. Miscavige has systematically gotten rid of anyone who was a power threat, which is to say, anyone who is smarter, more capable or more popular than he is (and that’s not a high bar). The people he keeps are those who he can effectively intimidate and control, and even those people are only tolerated by him in a very tightly controlled environment where their every movement, every thought, can be closely monitored and policed. Those who are still there are there because they have buckled under, again and again and again, until all thought of challenging Miscavige has been banished. The flip side is that the Church of Scientology has been stripped of anyone who could effectively halt it’s inevitable slide into oblivion.

        • We all watched the President of $cientology, Heber Jenntzsch, basically be “spiritually gutted” as we used to say, when we were still very much “in” and on board. It’s very telling that Heber’s son, Alexander (who tragically passed on some months ago–that’s an entirely other full story of this supposed “church” acting like TOTAL BULLIES____not allowing the mother to even see her son after he died, or have ANY of his ashes). Alexander tried to talk to his Dad and tell him to get out of “The Hole”. Heber’s response, as has been posted previously: “I’ve done so many bad deeds, I deserve to be in The Hole”. Classic Stockholm Syndrome. Why does it matter? Why did nailing Al Capone matter? Why did we send thousands of troups to stop Hitler? Why does any good person TRY to save victims from bullies? That is why. And Davey boy, as I’ve posted for 12 years now: “You can run…but you CANNOT hide”. Welcome to the Net and social networking…something you fail at daily now! Thank you to Tony and ALL who help expose this insidious CULT…and Larry..I cannot wait. You’ve done GREAT! Tory/Magoo

          • BuryTheNuts2

            I hope you never, ever stop talking until Davey is toast.
            You and your absolute tenacity has been an incredible force Tory.
            And you are such an awesome person all the slime they could throw at you could not stick. Because you a genuine and wonderful person.

            • Guest

              WOW…thank you “BuryTheNuts2” <<<<I **adore** that nick, too!
              We've come a lonnnnnnnnnnng way, baby, haven't we? !


            • Wow….thank you SO much, BuryTheNuts2! (I adore that nick, too. :))
              I am amazed to see the wonders of SO much support these days. Truly,
              it’s astounding and wonderful! When I think back to 2000 on, despite ALL the
              crap $cientology pitched at me “anonymously” (where *I* had opened up their
              “anonymous” accounts….years before Anonymous arrived)…I would not be here
              had it not been for ALLLLLLLLLLL the kind peeps who offered a kind word or hand.
              I still don’t have enough words to say how much that’s all meant to me, but let it suffice
              to say I’m quite sure I am alive AND still speaking out thanks to you ALL. Hugs, Tory/Magoo

            • MissCabbage

              Tory, it is an honor to be able to speak in the same forum as you. You a truly an inspiration. Your strength and tenacity, as well as the real passion with which you speak and fight, is nothing short of remarkable – 12 years is a long time to not only stay committed to educating people and fervently trying to right so many of these wrongs, but to stay committed so passionately takes immense courage, strength and heart. Same goes for you, too, Mr. Hawkins. Your insight and analyses have provided so much for us watchers, and inspire us to continue helping in bringing all of these atrocities to the forefront of the media, the people and hopefully the government, in order to hopefully, finally, we will start seeing some real consequences faced by the church and dear leader. I believe that with such strong, courageous and knowledgeable voices such as yourselves, outlets like the Bunker/Tony, Wright, Reitman, SP Times, and others providing a place to get this information out there, and the growing community of defectors and us “supportive watchers”, we might just make a real difference and, most importantly, save lives and families and bring justice to those who deserve it most. Never stop, Tory, Jeff, Tony and every single person who reads and comments on here. (….Bunker Party, anyone??)

            • i-Betty

              Bravo! I agree 😀

        • V for Vacation

          I guess the only exception would be Tom Cruise, and despite being otherwise thought of as likable, he was rapidly seen as being abusively arrogant or bizarrely insane, when he stepped out to preach for the CoS to Lauer etc years ago. All the other celebrities are viewed by the public as D list and eye-roll worthy, or sadly, Travolta.

    • sketto

      Yes, Miscavige is a true coward. And like a coward, I believe he has long had his escape plan in place, just as Hubbard did. He knows he’s a coward too, so he surely has an hiding place to sneak off to once the house of cards comes down.

      • Anononyourside

        I agree, he’s probably bought an estate somewhere without an extradition treaty and will run his empire from there, all the while blaming “bitter apostates” for “lying” and forcing him into hiding. Perhaps he will wear his Karen Pouw disguise to travel under the radar.

        • John P.

          Miscavige does have a “hidey hole,” according to my research. I’m not ready to disclose the location, until just before he uses it — otherwise he’ll have enough time to get another one. It turns out that the idea of a country as a safe haven because it does not have an extradition treaty with the US is less meaningful in a post-9/11 world than it ever was. The US has worked long and hard to reduce the number of safe havens that terrorists can legally run to.

          The other bit of good news is that banking secrecy laws aren’t what they used to be. The only real advantage of foreign banks these days is parking cash for a lower tax rate (not an issue here because the cult is tax-free) and for making it hard to seize money to settle a civil judgment. But the long arm of Uncle Sam can do a lot to seize assets for a criminal case.

          As I understand it, Miscavige’s hidey hole is covered by an extradition treaty and a financial crimes treaty with the US.

          • Not to speculate too much which could tip off DM – the fact that the potential “safe haven” is covered by an extradition treaty and a financial crimes treaty shows both his limited ability and/or interest to do basic research and probably a revulsion against anything too foreign. After all he would still want to be able to live in the luxury and sense of entitlement to which he’s become accustomed.

          • Jgg2012

            What about the high seas, a la Hubbard? Or a rogue nation like Iran or North Korea?

            • John P.

              Neither Iran nor North Korea are good candidates. Sure, they don’t have an extradition treaty. But the Iranians would immediately arrest him as an American spy. Not sure what the North Koreans would do. But remember that in addition to being insane and a major homophobe, Miscavige is also a racist and a xenophobe as well. He wouldn’t move anywhere the locals didn’t have a reasonable command of English.

            • Jgg2012

              Antactica? Or maybe the Falklands, given their disputed status, is a place that won’t try tp extradite someone because its unclear who has to approve the extradition.

          • Anononyourside

            Fabulous, so it is really true, ” he can run, but he cannot hide”!

    • InTheNameOfXenu

      David Miscavige = Chicken Shit

    • TheHoleDoesNotExist

      After the Great Atlantic episode and the exploding voices of the people and the media, the after silence is deafening. I saw it as a verdict from the court of public opinion. Tonight’s NBC Rock Center half hour report was another astounding shot heard round the world and only the lamest peeps of repetitive copy pasta denials is leaking out now, like a helium balloon letting out the last squeek before total deflation. I am a bit haunted these days about those still clinging to their master. I think they are fast running out of time mentally and physically and the lack of a live, visual spokesperson is signalling the green flag to media legal and producers. If ABC runs their footage, there just might be a flood.

    • AKS

      I also wonder about this: Is there a fear that putting one of these “nervous, tongue-tied puppets” on camera might result in them having an on-camera meltdown and imploring the reporter, staff and audience to help them?

  • Chocolate Velvet

    Yeah, this is a bit nutty, but… I already ordered a hard copy of this book and Amazon mailed it out yesterday. BUT, then I look on iBooks and discover there is an enhanced ebook, with sox, and videos. Including Lawrence Wright talking about why he wrote the book, and Jesse Prince talking about Yvonne Jentzch! So, yeah, I bought i. The vids are great . Mark me down for two, please, Mr Wright! 🙂

  • BuryTheNuts2

    What a perfect headline to make them look even more ridiculous.
    Some people should just stand there and smile and not speak. Ever.

    Disclaimer: Boy am I glad she did though!

    • sugarplumfairy

      Wow.. just read it.. erika christensen must be a truly great actress.. In all her performances tht I’ve seen, she’s appeared to be relately intelligent..

      • jensting

        what kind of religion requires someone to be completely silent about it in order to “respect it?”

        • BuryTheNuts2

          Religions who have XENU and the Marcabian’s.

      • villagedianne

        Nicole didn’t exactly defend Scientology. She said she respected Connor and Isabella’s beliefs, which is not really the same thing. I think we can speculate that there is a lot of pressure on her to keep mum. Not only for her childrens sake. Also remember what Paul Haggis said about seeing some dirt about himself in the papers in the next couple of years. Haggis said in this scenario, the info would come from COS, but in a way that it couldn’t be traced back to them.

    • SP ‘Onage

      She resembles the daughers of the Westboro Baptist Church…srsly.

    • I’ve herad of squirrels in Scientology, but rabbits? Where the hell did that come from?

  • cre8tivewmn

    I’ve been reading and following information on Scientology for several years now. I’m not a former member, I’m just interested in cults. I think this is a very interesting time in the anti-Scientology movement. I watched Nancy Many’s show on ID last night and will record Rock Center so I can enjoy it when I get home tonight.

    Having read quite a bit about Hubbard and the early church, I think Hubbards “charm” was reserved for new conquests (in small or large groups). He treated those he already controlled very poorly. Consider the original RPF (based on Navy punishments) or the treatment of his wives and children. Once he could, he turned over the job of “charming” to others.

    • Ze Moo

      Lron was a fairly good salesman. . It certainly wasn’t his writing. If you study sales and group dynamics, you see that Lron just employed techniques that came from Dale Carnegie’s ‘Win Friends and Influence People’ Dale died in the 50’s, but his philosophy lives on as a real self-help group. I think CO$ has always tried to copy Dale, they just got too greedy and power mad.

      • cre8tivewmn

        Guess they forgot the “win friends” (or at least keeping friends) part and concentrated on the “influence people” part.

  • Sherbet

    Off topic, but Nancy Many’s story made me wonder this, and other posters here have wondered the same thing, and I’m not sure there’s been any answer: Why has nobody (rather, has anybody) ever asked the CA police to make a “welfare check” on somebody who hasn’t been seen for a while and is presumably in the Hole? I don’t know the law, but I looked briefly on line, and it seems it doesn’t need to be a formal complaint, but a simple show of concern from a friend or relative. I’m not looking for SWAT guns a-blazin’ storming the facility. Just polite cops knocking on the door and asking to see, oh, Shelley, maybe, or Heber, or any other missing persons perhaps one of the exes could name. It would bring the police into the facility, not in a staged “haul Heber out for a photo op under cos’s own terms,” but for a surprise visit. Has such a thing ever happened? When it comes to scn, are the police reluctant to do anything except leave them alone?

    • BuryTheNuts2

      I believe the Hemet Police department has been asked to do them on occasion. Wasn’t that what prompted Heber to call his brother? To prove he was at INT because he “wanted” to be there.
      Anyone have any details on this?

      • Sherbet

        I really don’t remember the details about Heber. I thought the brother contacted Heber about Alexander’s death, and Heber responded that he’s fine and wanted to be left alone. Karen De La would know.

        Anonymous should ask for a welfare check for Shelly. Wouldn’t that be a hoot! I’d love to see live video of the police searching The Hole and finding Shelly cleaning a bathroom floor. The element of surprise is the key, though. Too bad Dog the Bounty Hunter doesn’t work for the Hemet Police. He loves rousting people out of hidey-holes.

        • stillgrace

          I remember reading about Heber’s brother’s request, and the subsequent reply. Although I don’t remember for sure, I think it was before Alexander’s death.

          They did produce Heber (at least in a photograph) for the memorial service held for Alexander by the cult. I found that photograph highly suspicious. If anyone remembers, It was a group photo of four people, all wearing black. It was of very poor quality, and my pixel examination revealed that it appeared the photo had been shooped, as all the blacks (side by side) were homogenous, with repeating patterns, and there was definitely something wrong with the continuity of one of the “arms around the shoulder.” Suspicious.

          There are many, many shades of black. As an experiment, I degraded the quality of a photo I took of my son’s prom. There were four teenagers, side by side, all wearing black. Despite massive degradation in the quality of this photo, when I looked at it pixel-wise, I could still readily identify the individual shades of black being worn by the teenagers. Suspicious.

          I have read that some people believe the Hemet/San Jacinto police are in the cult’s pocket, but I’m not convinced because of the help delivered to Marc Headley when he escaped. They stuck around until they made sure Marc was safe, even after Marc told them it was OK for them to leave.

    • I have also read over at ESMB a hat pack for getting people out of INT which starts off with making repeated requests to speak to the individual (keeping records of rejections) and then going to authorities. For some people it seems to work that if authorities get involved that Scientology wants to dump them as they are too much trouble. It seems this may be effective sometimes, but if the prisoner can convinve police they are there of there own accord (or like Shelly, issue a statement through legal representation) there is little police can do.

  • “For those of us who watch Scientology closely, and have for many years,
    most of those articles that have popped up in recent days seem to be
    gasping over things that have been known or written about for many
    years.” Thank you, Tony! I’ve been ranting and raving (to myself) about this exact phenomena. I mostly understand that the word gets out however the word gets out and that millions of people have never even heard of scientology. But still it chafes my but.

    • stillgrace

      It’s that “Welcome to the party, pal!” (John McClane) phenomenom. I know what you mean, and I just try to be patient. Word is spreading, for sure.

    • Artoo45

      I’ve been following the cult online and in print daily since 1999, but it was a bumbling, fair game incident that happened to me in 1977 that planted the seeds for my future fascination. I totally understand your frustration with trying to explain why this matters to people who just think it’s another religion or a bunch of harmless, loopy celebrities. It’s of enormous historical and psychological importance. This is one of the biggest con jobs of all time measured in man hours and dollars. Lives have been ruined and some lost altogether. For those of us who followed this cult and were looked at as a bit “off” when we told tales of xenu, and the RPF and Lisa McPherson, the last 5 years have been enormously satisfying. Turns out the stories on ARS and Operation Clambake all those years ago were true after all.

      • Anononyourside

        You have sparked my curiosity, what happened to you in 1977? If you don’t want to talk about it, and that would be understandable given how nasty the church is, please ignore my question,

        • Artoo45

          About a year after I came out to my parents (1977), I was about 18, I met a guy about my age and we started to date. I was out to my parents, who were very supportive of me, and they liked my new boyfriend because he was very spiritual and into yoga and meditation. Jim and I dated for a couple of months and he would stay over from time to time. One day I came home from work and my parents looked troubled. They said that Jim had called and that I’d better listen to the answering machine. The message I got was like being hit with a two-by-four. It was for my parents and in it he said that I was homosexual and “quite sick”. He said that Scientology could help me and them as well, and that it would be terrible if this “got out to the media.” Now, this was a suburb of San Diego. The media? And my parents knew we were dating! I was hurt, puzzled and furious. It would be some ten years later that I would run into Jim and he apologized to me and explained that his father was a mission holder in the cult and that he wasn’t out to his parents and when they found some card I’d given him in his room they freaked and made him make that phone call. He was never that into Scientology, but his parents were and ended up disconnecting from him. I got over the whole thing but always hated Hubbard and Scientology and the subject came up again for me when Richard Behar wrote The Cult Of Greed article in Time in 1991. The next time was in 99 when I was forced to do the Landmark Forum by an employer. I asked my Forum leader if Landmark was a cult and he told me to go online and look up Margaret Sanger and her standards of what was a cult. That led me to Clambake and ARS and the rest is history . . .

          • Oh. my. god. I’m once again stuck for words that say how my jaw has dropped and my blood pressure’s gone up and and and … trying to keep from putting my fist through the monitor in frustration.

            My daughter was “encouraged” by her employer (lululemon) to take a landmark forum course. I just about lost my mind, but instead I calmly asked her if she intended to take any MORE courses. When she said ‘no’, I relaxed.

            • Artoo45

              Oddly enough, the experience of going to the Forum was the beginning of the end of a terrible relationship and my new-age, magical-thinking years. Even though I was initially enthusiastic about my experience with the Forum (true believerdom dies hard), Landmark’s dreadful, hard-sell, push for us to recruit new members left me with my number one lesson from the Forum: never, ever go to a thing like the Forum. Needless to say, I don’t think that was the result they had in mind, but in a way, I’m very grateful for the experience, which, like Scientology’s lower level courses, is cribbed together from lots of different and semi-lucid self-help concepts.

          • Anononyourside

            Thank you sharing what must have been a very painful experience. You are fortunate to have such loving supportive parents. The Church of Scientology is a mean spirited, abuser, and Jim was very unlucky to have such parents. A very, very close friend of mine was locked out of his house when he was young and his father refused to have anything to do with him because he was gay. My friend spent years furious and hurt. The father wasn’t a Scientologist, just a mean, unloving, bigot. You must be very strong to have survived that incident so well.

            • Artoo45

              The incident would have been no more memorable than any other teenage break-up (the end of the world at the time, barely a memory by the time you’re thirty) if it weren’t for the bizarre, sinister strangeness of it all. I am grateful that it inoculated me to Hubbard’s con and other nonsense I would encounter. I’m also glad I found out why it had happened and hold no grudge against Jim, he didn’t have my family to fall back on, so add him to the long list of Hubbard’s victims.

  • LongNeckGoose

    I bought the book at 10 a.m. and was on page 74 at noon. I hadn’t known about the deathbed interview of Mrs. Hubbard #2 (or the marriage license issued for a prospective #3 who got cold feet the next day and cancelled it!). Wright also discovered some interesting details about Commander “Snake” Thompson. Russell Miller thought that this colorful character might have been one on Hubbard’s many inventions, but Wright tracked down a published paper by Thompson that shows a lot of similarity to Dianetics. Got to get back to my book now…

  • Sidney18511

    It seems that the cat is out if the bag. No longer will people see critics of Scientology as anti-religious bigots. People know its a scam and they are finding it fascinating that it has been going on for so long. If only one celebrity who is currently a member would announce they are walking away the house of cards would collapse. There is nothing this cult could say or do that can save them now. It’s about time.

    • Midwest Mom

      What about Leah Remini?

      • BuryTheNuts2

        I wish she would come out of there LOUDLY…She probably has the most credibility as far as her actual humanity being visible under her Scientology cloak. She could make a world of difference.

        • Midwest Mom

          Also, Derek said that she was nice to him when he met her, unlike some other Sci “celebs”. She doesn’t have any Sci front groups listed on her web site but has a lot of other charities listed, which tells a lot about her distancing herself from the Co$.

  • BosonStark

    In the vein of what John P wrote, I think more important than sounding insane to us in lectures, is my wish that the televised media would play a few clips of Hubbard talking about the Marcab Confederacy, almost being hit by a freight train on Venus, or Xenu–RATHER than quoting at length the cult’s statements about Wright or his book. Let’s see what the cult has to say about their own nutty Hubbard and his notions of the Marcab Confederacy? Let’s see them defend Hubbard and his craziness on issues of smoking, curing 70% of all diseases and, or raising a person’s IQ one point for every hour of auditing.

    The public needs to hear Hubbard himself, the man who founded Scientology and whose portrait they salute. This is what he sounds like. This is what members like Cruise and Travolta accept without blinking. Then, questions about whether it is a cult or not wouldn’t even be necessary. Then people would be more interested in reading Wright’s book for the reason he wrote it, to see how people or someone like Paul Haggis reaches a point where they believe in this stuff and don’t question it.

    But to answer John P in the way that I understand it, Scientology is not designed for universal appeal. It is designed to catch people at weak moments, and most of these people are young, vulnerable, experimental, and impressionable to a degree that most people aren’t.

    One mystery though, would be in Barefaced Messiah, where someone said of Hubbard that of the people who met Hubbard, like at a party or something, only one in ten could see through him immediately. The rest thought he was charming, fascinating, or colorful.

    Scientology is just like picking up a self help book all right. It’s one Haggis didn’t put down for 34 years.

    • Exactly! Playing his lectures would seal the deal. I think this is a great idea.

    • Sherbet

      BosonStark, your first paragraph — EXCELLENT idea!

      • BosonStark

        I like the Marcab lecture(s) in particular, because he talks about it being the truth, and he describes details as if he were a witness. It packs more crazy per line than just about anything he said. Here he describes the Marcabian race track. Can this nut leave atom bombs out of anything?

        They had turbine-generated cars that went about 275 miles an hour (443
        km/h). They ran with a high whine. I notice they’ve just now invented
        the motor again. And they had tracks that were booby-trapped with atom
        bombs, and they had side bypasses. The tracks were mined, and the
        grandstands were leaded-paned.

        • BuryTheNuts2

          This is nonsense…Imagine that.

        • Sherbet

          I’m laughing! Oh, boy, the world needs to hear this crap from lrh’s own mouth. Maybe that’s next, now that the media aren’t so afraid of retaliation. Get a wider (than YouTube) audience for those videos and audios, and see how cos can deny holy scripture spoken by the big kahuna.

        • Artoo45

          Where can I get clips of this lecture for my next song?

          • Valkov

            Artoo, I think some of that stuff is in the lectures of the State of Man Congress. Sorry, I don’t know of any place where there are selected clips available. But you may be able to find a free download of these lectures through the WWP site. They have done a lot to put Hubbard’s lectures into the public domain.

        • I am ure it is just an allegory …for like …a bad acid trip . This is comedy …he missed his calling. He could have been like the intergalactic Andy Kauffman

    • someone said of Hubbard that of the people who met Hubbard, like at a party or something, only one in ten could see through him immediately

      This reminds me of a girl who dated one of my friends for a while. Everyone else loved her — except for me and this guy’s best friend. We hated her at first sight, and couldn’t figure out why. When she was in the room, it was like there was a black smear on everything, psychologically. Neither of us were prone to hate anyone this much, let alone for no apparent reason. We were told we were jealous (I had dated the friend, and the friend was spending a ton of time with the new girl and ditching his best friend a lot), and we swallowed it.

      Then she gradually revealed herself to be the most self-centered, nasty person I have ever had the misfortune to know. Friend finally dumped her and took up with an awesome girl instead, and all was well.

  • DM beat up his PC!

  • SP ‘Onage

    Can anyone please give me some advise as to why downloads on my Tablet every time I view this page?

    • 0tessa

      I have the same problem on my laptop. I get a script failure and the only thing I can do is to restart.
      Not a virus I hope (planted by scientology …?).

      • SP ‘Onage

        I hope Tony checks it out cause this didn’t happen on the Haggis article, which also has a video.

  • 0tessa

    Irony of ironies. Scientology is being led (into the abyss, but nevertheless) by a psychiatric patient (psychopath), named David Miscavige. If the folks in Scientology had had but a little knowledge what psychiatry and psychology is about, they could have recognized him for what he is: a real psychopath with delusions of grandeur.
    They thought scientology could cure this patient, his ‘bank’ that is. But boy, were they mistaken!
    And now their movement is being destroyed as the result of it.
    This is one of life’s little tricks.
    A big lie casts a very long shadow indeed.

  • Jgg2012

    Erika Christiansen says Scientologists don’t woeship rabbits. Too bad. Rabbits are more peaceful and cost a lot less.

    • SP ‘Onage

      Doesn’t she look like one of the clan at Westboro Baptist Church? I think it’s her hair.

    • stillgrace

      I saw the article, but I’m not sure I get this. Rabbits? Who said anything about rabbits, besides Erika? Did I miss an important LRH lecture, or one of DM’s lame attempts at PR control?

      • Jgg2012

        No one said anything about rabbits. Erika just doesn’t know anything about Scientology’s critics.

        • Observer

          She’s living refutation of Scientology’s IQ-raising claims.

        • Midwest Mom

          My sources tell me that the rabbit community is horrified by any mention of them with relation to Scientology and blames John Travolta for his weird hair (hare) as the only explanation they can find plausible.

          I will also borrow Kim’s phrase that Erika “must be as dumb as a bag of rocks.”

          • Captain Howdy

            So far the response from my sources in the rabbit community have been somewhat impenetrable.


            • BuryTheNuts2

              OMG…You are so not right in such a remarkably freaking cool way Capt.
              Bows to you.

            • Midwest Mom

              Howdy, I’m glad that Bunny Rabbit from Captain Kangaroo isn’t around to see that, since it would freak him out. There would be ping pong balls everywhere!

      • BuryTheNuts2

        Somebody must have referenced Scientology rabbit holes….and there ya go…

      • Jgg2012

        Hindus worship and revere cows, but no one is protesting them.

    • Observer

      And, while they live in holes, they’ll never throw you in one.

    • Captain Howdy

      Well they do read from ‘Alice in Wonderland” when they’re doing their TR’s.

    • villagedianne

      Ehhh, What’s Up Doc?

  • Thanks every one This has been a Great read.More fun that a new porn web site.OT10

  • TheHoleDoesNotExist

    I’m usually a fast read, but these 365 pages are Big pages with small print hard copy. Oh yeah, there’s some surprises and new items. I’ve read Sara Northrup’s letters before, but not heard the tapes. I can understand why she didn’t want to speak before her deathbed. Hubbard was more sadistic than you think.

    So far Lawrence Wright has already asked the question, once he accumulated money, why did he bother, why did he keep writing. The answer seems clear to me. Hubbard was still obsessing trying to cure himself, with his ramblings, rum and beatings. Why does this stuff matter? I’ll take a stab and say that it points out a major flaw in our American way of emotionally approaching legal matters when it comes to both mental illness and religion. Our political leaders need to take the approach of Australian Sen Xenophon, basically that you can believe whatever you want, but you are not above the law. The mental illness issue needs to be addressed in both the back end, the funding for research, better equipped facilities covered by insurance, and letting doctors not police officers decide which type of facility mentally ill should be sent do. Without it, another Hubbard will come along with better marketing angles for the next generation of disillusioned teenagers and twenty-somethings.

    If only all the scientology “enforcers”, the lawyers, the OSA, the Ethics attack dogs, would read this. It is going to be a shock when they realize that their real purpose all along was to keep Hubbard out of jail, where he could no longer hurt others, as well as out of mental institutions, where he might have been helped. They didn’t help Hubbard, they helped his sordid and tortured deterioration. The “Guardian’s” office, now OSA, … the Guardian was the Controlling, dominant voice in his head, louder than the other voices. He called her the Guardian.

    I’ve already seen some other juicy bits, but not going to spoil it since it’s just come out. Tablet is charged, so back to the book.

    • Please DO share THDNE – some of us can only enjoy this through others comments and views!

      • If you’re in Canada or Britain and willing to wait for me to finish the book, I’ll mail it to you.

        • Thanks but am holding out for electronic…

  • dagobarbz

    “Hugh Urban has pointed out that the church fought hard in Gerry
    Armstrong’s lawsuit to keep control of it, and why would they do that
    for a document that wasn’t genuine?”

    Same argument goes for OTIII…the cult denied it was part of Scientology, never heard of Xenu, nope, HOWEVER they went to great lengths to attempt suppression by sending out C&D warnings for even trivialities like Hubbard’s hand-written OTIII. Since they went to that much trouble, it hadda be real. And what do you know, it was!

  • dwayners13

    After reading Bare Faced Messiah, Messiah or Madman & Tony’s stuff, I wondered what else could this book offer, however it sounds as though Wright not only adds new information & puts the older stuff in a new context. I was glad to hear that Miscavige was covered in more detail. The only dilemma I have is whose book do I read first, Wright’s, Sweeney’s or Jenna’s.

  • sharon brown

    UPS just dropped my copy off ! Lawrence’s stats are indeed going straight vertical , while Scientology’s totally downstat ! Sweeney & Vance’s books already gulped up in 2013! Each one unique & informative in heir own rights! So many books so little time! Which one next? lol

  • JustCallMeMary

    Waiting for the book to arrive. Thanks for some of the highlights. Had no idea Sara Northrup gave a deathbed interview! Can’t wait to read that part!

    I must say that in the TV interview, when Wright is asked if Scientology is a cult, he took the easy way out. Just because th IRS calls something a religion doesn’t mean it’s not a cult. I guess he was trying to appear objective but that was fail, if you ask me. Anyone who knows what constitutes a cult, and has done some basic research, knows Scientology cult. Paul Haggis may want to have another chat with the man, lol.

    But overall, I support Lawrence Wright, his book and his professional skills. And appreciate all he’s doing to get th facts out.

  • V for Vacation

    Thanks, Tony – This is exactly the kind of preview / review I’ve been looking for, since as you said, most of the other reviews out there aren’t too exciting for those of us who’ve been watching for so long. But the sheer number of reviews, and all of the attention Wright and this book are getting, are great! Can’t wait to start reading tonight.

  • Yeah, “no evidence” of children working liek dogs? Many of you already now that image of a child scrapping chewing gum of a sidewalk, but some may not. Google scientology tax exempt child abuse for the archived copy of Mike Gomez’s site available at R. Hill’s exceptional and information packed website xenu-directory

  • whingeybingey

    Yeah, thanks a lot IRS for legitimising the “religious” status of Scientology that even its founder denied.

  • A nice vignette from the Tampa Bay Times:

    Full piece –

    Travolta is portrayed in a more sympathetic light, particularly when Wright tells the story of a fundraising dinner at the actor’s home.

    When a guest refers to one of the waiters with a slur offensive to gay people, Travolta admonished the guest, saying such remarks were not tolerated in his home.

    “Haggis was flooded with admiration for the firm but graceful way that the star had handled the situation,” Wright says. That night, Wright reports, Travolta and Haggis repaired to the study and talked about the bigotry they had witnessed in the church.

    Haggis, the father of two lesbians, said one of them had been made to feel unwelcome at the church’s Celebrity Centre in Hollywood.

    Travolta said Hubbard’s writings on homosexuality had been misinterpreted.

    But Wright follows up by citing Hubbard writings that display the founder’s homophobia and also show he moderated his positions later. The passage illustrates Scientology’s “ambivalence” on the issue, as the author puts it. It also an example of the nuance that Wright brings to his work.

    • Midwest Mom

      How does Travolta not know about Quentin?

  • Anononyourside

    Going Clear, the print edition, is now number 20 on Amazon’s best seller list, and the Kindle edition is 79. After tonight, it might just be number 1 very soon.

  • TheHoleDoesNotExist

    Lawrence Wright’s book, “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Beliefs” is the most balanced and thorough layout of what could easily be titled “What Is Scientology”, except of course that title is already taken. I’ve read everything everywhere extensively over the last 3 years ever since two scientology Sea Org missionaries banged on my door, after so many years, looking like they just stepped out of an Auschwitz stage set. It took me an hour after I slammed the door to stop shaking, then jumped on the net and haven’t stopped.

    I am so happy that Larry has, in my opinion, found a way to explain to the incredulous why people have gotten involved in the first place and why some stay. He even explained in his patient, methodical Midwestern manner of his that religion and science fiction delineations often blur and blend and meld.

    His book will offer something for everyone except perhaps a few. Even I found in different incidents throughout Hubbard’s life and scientology’s history that there were pieces of the puzzle never before known to most or just incredible or important juicy bits. And for those who know little, this will be a book that will explain the confounding and sometimes too incredible to a wide audience. Oh, and I enjoyed his descriptions of the bohemian days of Hollywood, and the scientology artistic community. My favorite part was something I’d forgotten, Two Dollar Bill’s. Oh what a magical hole in the wall that tiny place was across Celebrity Center. You could stop by there on Friday nights, sometimes Saturdays, and hear stellar musicians, comedians, poets, authors crafting their trade in real time, the audience knowing their role as sounding boards. It was electric.

    I hope this reaches a wide array of readers that know little of Hubbard or scientology. Reading the full scope of what happens when an organization goes fanatic under the orders of mad men, funded by members who follow the celebrities like Travolta and Cruise, and reach that inevitable self destruct mode like any “end justifies the means” fundamentalists, might bring them to question “how can this happen in this century in America?”

    Because anyone who learns the truth and full history of scientology always asks that question, over and over. I hope that this book will create a groundswell of citizens and a wake up of political will to change the laws that govern non profits financial transparency as well as balancing any laws that protect crime and human rights abuses under the cloak of religion.

    Compelling, profound, and shocking. This is a winner on several levels. For me, personally, I laughed And cried, and there were a few astounding moments when I didn’t think I could be astounded any more. The remnants of scientology today are barreling towards the inevitable cliff, experiencing the inevitable cannabilsm of a decaying, rotten core. I am humbly grateful to him and his assistants and publisher for what I consider an important passage about a larger than life man who did indeed smashed his name into the history books, and out of a straight jacket. Oh, and all of his believers who helped him make it go right.

    • Beautifully said.

      I wish my copy would get here. *sigh*

  • Piece from The New Republic

    Nods to Wright’s, Urban’s and Reitmans books and the Tampa Bay Times reporting.

    It also suggests that the story of the suburbanite, non-enslaved scientologist is not being told.

    • I liked Oppenheimer’s review also, and his The Nation review of just Urban’s and Reitman’s books I thought was one of the best of those two books.

      I would like to go meet Oppenheimer and do a show and tell to him, of the Hubbard corpus, he seems like long range, like in 10-20 years, one who might have something interesting to say about Scientology in world religion history, if he keeps up his reading.

      We really don’t have any world religion scholars, who even yet care to delve deeply into Scientology and put it in world history of religion context.

      Like no Oxford Univ or Cambridge Univ world religion scholars.

      There’s been a whole lot more interesting things in world religion history.

      Hubbard’s “church” aspects, the wackiest of those church aspects, put in world religion context, is something all it’s own, a whole other level of discussion not even approached by any of the first 60 or so writings about Scientology and Hubbard.

      Oppenheimer is young, we’ll see how he develops as an academic of religion, or not.

      Careers in world religion, and the mystical group stuff, for academics, doesn’t necessarily even draw the interest of students today.

      I think Wright’s book is so far overwwhelmingly the best book in Hubbard/Dianetics/Scientology’s 60 years history. It’s readable, and takes the reader through all the important points.

      Back to Oppenheimer, Tony’s of course correct in his criticism of Oppenheimer, but when I as one who was totally taken in by the Hubbard bureaucracy system (the behind the scenes voluminously detailed rules and regulations and options to resiliently change directions that Hubbard gives the admin people/leaders/staff) I see how Scientology could even adapt to this whole 30 year Miscavige abusive era. And due to the fact that the green volumes and much of the Hubbard bureaucracy rules are there in the public domain, there’s always the option to do the long term changes, once Miscavige is gone.

      There are so many layers of bureaucracy options they movement has, were there people in the top positions to even be allowed to read and think of those options, and those options are the ones that could lead Scientology to internally reform, and there’s only a few people even discussing what I’ve been bringing up for years.

      It will take decades, to have this whole controversial decades long era of crazy crap to be washed out, for the major reform options to be taken.

      The staff writings by Hubbard, once you have a small group that is operating on the staff writings narrative, they’ll have their own history of their own, particularly the fads of which Hubbard staff policies one does NOT emphasize, which is a whole history I witnessed firsthand even during the 27 years I was in the movement.

      The totalitarian big rules that keep the big problems, like the excommunication/disconnection rule, in place, are the biggest movement guarantees to keeping the group within the nets of other rules.

      It needs to be laid out, because the Oppenheimers, the people at least willing to delve into the staff rules that govern the staff that to Oppenheimer look so innocently like other normal citizens in other groups, to even the apologist scholars like Melton, Melton knows and thinks the draconian totalitarian rules are what keeps the movement contained in its ever repeating controversies.

      There’s no theologians even discussing the reform of the key staff church policies that need to be reformed.

      Hubbard did leave a “think tank” and he gave that think tank a tiny tiny window of freedom to tweak the Hubbard rules.

      If Oppenheimer gets up to reading the Command Channels booklet, and gets the bug to actually learn the top two councils of the church of Scientology, and learn the history of the top management boeies that led up to Hubbard’s final administrative groupings, then good.

      We actually don’t have anyone asking, us people like me, no one asks me about the Hubbard final bureaucratic setups. And Wright made a tiny error, in the first part of his book, about the top management councils of the movement.

      Like Tony’s said, the details make his head creak.

      Well, that’s for dull theologian types to write, and then have journalists and good writers read the theologian’s writings, and then simplify and put these points into context.

      And then world religion history experts, the old 70 year old career world religion smarties at Oxford, might then, someday take note of this crazy Scientology crap, and put Scientology into some of the bigger history religion patterns.

      The big questions, like will Scientology survive as a religion, and how, will play out over the next 50 years.

      Career religion observers, I am sure, will appreciate Wright’s book.

      And we’ll see what Oppenheimer does later on in his career, as he keeps watch on Scientology, over the decades. Glad he’s at Yale, since it’s those types of institutions that have the smart cookies to rake an Oppenheimer over the coals on his superficialness.

  • Jgg2012

    “Going Clear” is now #7 on Amazon’s list. Interestingly, Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition is #2, unfortunately for Scientology.

  • MissCabbage

    Let me preface this by saying I have zero doubt that this is a fantastic book by an amazing author that absolutely (and finally) deserves all the attention it is and hopefully will continue to get. I am just wondering, as an avid Scientology watcher like most of you, who have been following everything from Lerma to the Truth Rundown to Squirrel Busters to Debbie Cook to the shitstorm that is 2012/2013, and have read several key books (Bare-Faced Messiah, Jefferson Hawkins, Amy Scobee, Janet Reitman, etc), is there enough “new” information and/or presentation of facts and stories to warrant a purchase of the book? Part of me just wants tot buy it to drive up book sales to piss off the church, but I ask those of you who have read it and are of similar “knowingness” (ha) on the subject, should I buy it? Thanks for any input. And as always, thanks Tony and everyone else who makes the bunker a second iHome.

  • I’m just 100 pages into the book, this Saturday morning, and already I think the title of the book is one that doesn’t fit. This book is far far more than its title.

    This is such a brilliant summation and interpretation of Hubbard, so far, and 3 or 4 major long thought general impressions and conclusions about Hubbard, which have been long the conclusion about hubbard, are even more better laid out, by Wright, compared to past authors. (The quoting of the best reviews by the best smartest cookie early 1950’s observers by Wright, reminds us what the early smart cookies in society thought of Hubbard and Dianetics, and why.)

    I’m really impressed. This books is beyond what I expected. It’s based on a lot of other writers’ hard won accumulated reporting and research, but being such a great writer, Wright summarizes the most important points, and the narrative of the story is such an engrossing pleasure to read.

    The deceased Martin Gardner would wholeheartedly approve of,this book. And I hope the New York Review of Books finds a reviewer who can do Wright’s book justice, and now with Urban’s and Janet’s books, my hope for 2013 is the NYRB reviewer who has at least read the whole long list of books now, the Carnegie Mellon Univ “Secret Library of Scientology” list, and the ones omitted, including Andrew Morton’s book on Cruise.

    I wish Martin Gardner were alive, to review Wright’s, Janet’s and Hugh’s books in the New York Review of Books.

    Oh well, I hope they find someone.

    I wonder if Robert Jay Lifton could do a review!

    Wright’s book is my all time favorite book on Hubbard, so far.

  • greybees

    Great book. A reader will be shocked at the violence and mental and physical abuse within this cult.

  • disqus_v4Me09CNP3

    Scientology is collapsing? It’s more than doubled in size throughout the world in only the last few years. I’ve read this in a few other “reviews”, too. Seems this statement is more a case of what people want to happen than what is actually happening.

  • Michieux

    Having never been a Scientologist, but having fallen prey to a similar scam decades ago, I understand why some are attracted to the cult. Having books such as Mr. Wright’s garnering so much interest, and hopefully readership, is the best antidote I can think of for this pestilent scam. Prospective Scientologists need to know that what they seek cannot be gained from others; and that there are other, more affordable, ways in which to arrive at maturity.

  • BostonFred

    The wonderful thing about the first amendment is that it means that people are free to study subjects that aren’t regulated by government. In this day and age of growing government corruption, this is a wonderful thing.