Audio Book Extra
Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion
by Janet Reitman, Narrated by Stephen Hoye
I bought Inside Scientology from Audible for a couple different reasons.
1) I’ve always been a little curious about what exactly Scientology is. I’ve always played along with most people and kind of made fun of it, looked down a little on people who believe it, and thought it was this new cult that was sweeping the country. I knew none of this was good of me to do. I was raised to never judge a book based on its cover and to do the same with people, so why was I doing that all of a sudden with this religion? What made me superior to a Scientologist? And how could I answer any of these questions without doing the research to be able to form a valid opinion?
2) I know myself well enough that if I had I gotten the physical book for me to sit and read it I probably would have gotten bored with it, and set it down for it to be years before I returned to finish it. And I would have been correct with this hypothesis because even just listening to it I got bored and it would take days for me to get back to it. Not saying that this wasn’t a good book. Inside Scientology gave me a lot of information, and what I believe to be rather unbiased information, considering the drama that is currently going on around this religion. But there was a lot of background information and history, all pertinent information, but when you’re not really into that kind of thing, it becomes very monotonous. So, I did have some difficulty getting through this book.
So, putting all biased opinions aside, I listened to Inside Scientology to free my mind of a stereotype and to learn something new.
Janet Reitman is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone and a journalist for multiple publications. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. Inside Scientology is the outcome of her National Magazine Award-nominated story for Rolling Stone that she spent almost a year working on.
Scientology is a religious system based on the seeking of self-knowledge and spiritual fulfillment through graded courses of study and training. It was founded by American science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard in 1955. (Google Dictionary)
*The following synopsis is a direct quote from goodreads.com. I thought it was a perfect description of this book and didn’t think I could do any better.
Scientology, created in 1954 by pulp science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, claims to be the world’s fastest growing religion, with millions of members, and huge financial holdings. Celebrity believers keep its profile high. Teams of volunteer ministers offer aid at disaster sites like Haiti and the World Trade Center. But Scientology is also a very closed faith, harassing journalist and others through litigation and intimidation, even infiltrating high levels of the government to further its goals. Its attacks on psychiatry and its requirement that believers pay as much as tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars for salvation have drawn scrutiny and skepticism. Ex-members use the internet to share stories of harassment and abuse. Reitman offers the first full journalistic history of the Church of Scientology, in an evenhanded account that establishes the truth about the controversial religion. She traces Scientology’s development from the birth of Dianetics to today, following its metamorphosis from pseudoscientific self-help group to a global spiritual corporation with profound control over its followers and ex-followers. Based on five years of research, unprecedented and extensive interviews with current and former members, this is a defining book about a little-known world. (Goodreads, August 24, 2017)
The Review & Wrap-Up:x
First, I don’t believe that anyone can really call Scientology a religion. There isn’t a set dogma that Scientologists are worshiping (unless you count Scientology’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard, which there are definitely some people out there who do worship him.) The “god”, Xenu—the dictator of the “Galactic Confederacy” who 75 million years ago brought billions of his people to Earth on spaceships—, was a creation of L. Ron Hubbard’s own mind which Scientologists are only told about once they make it to the Eighth Dynamic. I know that most Scientologist could say the same about Christianity and any other religion out there, and I give them that, however Scientologists do not outright pray to a deity. This “story” is kept from them until they reach the Eighth Dynamic and officials of the Church of Scientology will widely deny or try to hide the Xenu story. How can you call yourself a religion if those in the religion don’t even know the history of their religion or pray to anyone? While I don’t personally call it a religion, based on the dictionary’s definition of “religion”, I can see how it is classified as one.
the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal
God or gods
-a particular system of faith and worship
-a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance
Second, I am happy that I listened to this book. It made me understand the Religion of Scientology a lot better. And even though I personally don’t believe that it is actually a religion, I do agree with some of their beliefs. To always strive to be a better person and to be spiritually intelligent are things that I think all people, no matter your religious beliefs, should be doing. It’s a struggle that a lot of people, especially Americans, have, and I’ll admit that I’m one of them. That’s one of the beautiful things of the Muslim faith (and Scientology) that I admire and even envy. To have the devout discipline that the Muslim faith has is awe-inspiring. I don’t think Scientology is quite as devout as the Muslim faith, but I could be wrong on that. I’m curious to know Scientology’s secrets and what I think of as “self-help” tips. I’m so curious that, who knows, I may pick up L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health to see if I can get any clues.
Last, I think Janet Reitman did a great job of not putting too must bias on the subject matter that she was writing about. Inside Scientology was exactly what I was looking for: informant, unbiased information about a topic I knew nothing. Not being a Scientologist herself, she did spend some time in the community (and therefore, according to Scientology is a Scientologist, but then again, so am I?) going through some auditing sessions of her own to get an inside scoop. She also interviewed as many people as she could who were a part of Scientology and no longer believe and/or were exiled from the religion, or were a part of Scientology and still do believe, but don’t believe the rules of the current leader of Scientology, David Miscavige. She did a great job researching her topic and did an even better job of telling the truth and history without putting the religion down or putting it high on a pedestal. You, the reader, get to decide for yourself how to think and feel about this religion.
From one wine-loving bookaholic to another, I hope I’ve helped you find your next fix.
Love this book? I don’t have a book to suggest here because this is the first book that I have read like this. However, if that ever changes I will make sure to post an update. If you have a book to suggest for those who loved this book, please comment down below!
Pair it with: Summer Water Rosé. This wine is a light crisp dry wine, with hints of peach, strawberry and grapefruit. Served chilled, this is the perfect drink for a hot summer day.
I chose this Rosé for two reasons:
- I think Rosés are misjudged just like Scientologists are. Most people think that Rosé isn’t real wine and that real wine-lovers don’t drink it. That’s a total misconception. Rosés are great wines, especially during the summer time, and a lot of wine sommeliers do drink them.
- I picked this one in particular because of its name. Scientologists don’t believe in drinking (even though many of them do, including the founder, L. Ron Hubbard) and so to call this wine “water” made me giggle a little.
Start a conversation: What have you been judgmental about before getting the facts? Once you did the research, did it change your opinion?
Have a book you’d like to suggest or one you’d like me to review? Please feel free to leave your comments down below.