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Lawrence Wright’s Scientology Book Gets Some Thrashing from Cult Expert Steven Hassan

Well, not everyone loves Lawrence Wright’s book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief. The Church of Scientology isn’t very happy about it, but neither is Steven Hassan, who writes about cults and mind control. He wishes Larry had said more about undue influence in Scientology, and we’d like to hear what you think about that in the comments.

Hassan has produced a second edition of his book on helping people leave cults, and its title is Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults and Beliefs. You can learn more about it at Steve’s website.

And if you watch the short video above, Steve has another announcement that we thought you should hear about.

For us, Jon Atack’s 1990 book A Piece of Blue Sky remains one of the very best on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. Atack’s encyclopedic knowledge and coldly straightforward writing style affected us deeply when we read it some 15 years ago, and we were thrilled when he contacted us recently to let us know, as Hassan says in the video, that he’s putting out a new version of the book.

Jon Atack

Jon Atack


Atack is restoring some material that he was forced to expurgate for legal reasons in 1990. But more importantly, it’s great that the book may find a new audience. He’s having some issues with getting the book ready for people to download, but as soon as it is available, we’ll let you know.

Last week, Hassan posted a fascinating interview he did with Atack about a year ago. It’s nearly an hour long, but worth every minute. Give it a look and tell us here what you took away from it!

Please also see Jonny Jacobsen’s story about A Piece of Blue Sky‘s battle to get published originally and Atack’s plans for the new edition.

Also, we’ll just drop this hint that Atack and the Bunker are cooking up something special for all you Scientology watchers, but we’re going to have you wait a little longer before we make the big reveal.

Finally, as for Steve’s complaints about Wright’s book, we tend to side with Larry on this issue. As we explained on a recent appearance on Canada’s national nightly news, for a journalist it seems like a waste of time to argue over whether Scientology is a “cult.” (And you might have noticed, if you’ve been with us the last couple of years, we rarely ever use the “c-word”.) We’d rather raise questions about the way Scientology’s members and ex-members and critics are treated, and not get bogged down in debates about what to call the organization. Scientology calls itself a church, and so we do as well. But to us, that makes its very un-churchy behavior all the more noteworthy.


Posted by Tony Ortega on January 28, 2013 at 07:00


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