I'm back! And 2014: 8. Going Clear

I have returned!  There is no real reason why I couldn't have been blogging during my nine or so weeks off - except that it turns out that super major surgery reduces you to a piece of jello.  First I didn't want to read, and then I didn't want to write.  Seriously - I was in the hospital for two weeks, and I all read was one edition of Entertainment Weekly.  And if I am to be honest, all I really did was stare at Benedict Cumberbatch's face for two weeks (and Martin Freeman's!).  Good for my mental health, sure, but not much to blog about.  (I think Tumblr has the Cumberbatch thing covered).   

And then I came home, and was all weak and barfy (TMI?) for a while, and then I finally started reading again, and at that point have no excuse.  But the good news is I have lots of back log to talk about, so now that I'm back on the blogging train, it is ON.  So let's start!

"Scientology has played an outsized role in the case of new religions that have arisen in the twentieth century and survived into the twenty-first."

Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief, Lawrence Wright

So, this book is FANTASTIC.  If you have any interest in Hollywood, or religion, or gossip, or crazy shit*, you will love this book.  It's a history of L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology - it started with that great article in The New Yorker about Paul Haggis (director of Crash, among other things) who was a Scientologist for years, and then, in wake of their anti-gay behavior during the California Proposition 8 fight, started looking more carefully into the organization, and not liking what he found.  Ultimately, Haggis left the church, and became an outspoken critic of many of its practices.  The book is great - unlike many articles that get blown out into books, there really was a lot more to talk about, and all of it was fascinating.  

First, he talks about the creation of the religion,** and about L. Ron generally.  And that is fascinating and juicy.  And then, he tells you all about Sea Org - the organization where regular people sign billion year contracts to basically be slaves to the Scientology organization.  And then  he gets into the Hollywood part, where Tom Cruise et al are basically treated like Gods, and regular people must do everything for them.  And then he goes on about how the current leadership is so controlling and mysterious and all that.  And every single part is fascinating.  I cannot recommend this more highly, particularly if you are the kind of person who likes to read parts of books out loud to your spouse, and say "can you believe this?".  In fact, I did that enough that Jon started to read the book - which, given how few books he reads is high praise indeed!

And I didn't even get into the part where the Scientologists totally tried to destroy any reporter who talked about their inner secrets - including setting up one lady so much that she actually was indicted for crimes she didn't commit.  I can only imagine that Lawrence Wright has body guards now.  A great read.

*as alleged by the author.  Please do not sue me Church of Scientology, or murder my pets or ruin my life in any way.

** If I'm to be completely honest, my take-away from the book is that its a "religion", but again, please don't sue me Scientologists, what do I know.  My real take away was that the Church is really really into destroying its enemies.  Wright must have fact checked the hell out of this book before he published.  You can tell, because when ever there is something particularly juicy, there will be a footnote that says something like "Mr. Cruise's lawyers deny that this conversation ever took place."

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017