Although, I did not expect a glowing portrayal of the "religion", I was surprised to read what I read. This book does not show L. Ron Hubbard in a positive light. Based on what I read, the man was a con artist and the world was his mark. I cannot see myself following a man's teaching that even at his zenith, was basically on the run from the law. His own followers said, "You tell yourself it's for a good cause ... but a part of you knows you're full of shit."
More shady than Hubbard himself was his protege, David Miscavige. The dictatorial manner in which he ran the Scientology organization was similar to those of third world countries. Imprisoning people based on his whim is insane. There is no doubt that this organization is a very powerful organization. Even writing this review makes me nervous as to a possible retaliation. Reitman goes into detail about Lisa McPherson, her life, her death and the subsequent media circus and legal war that ensued eventually leading to nervous breakdown of the prosecutor.
It is sad to hear about people who put their faith into someone or something that is created in a way to strip the person of all their money with the promise of some betterment. This holds true for Scientology as well as the televangelist that tell elderly folks "Send us your savings, and God will provide you even more". Shame on them. Quite frankly, the punishment and the way these people live is akin to the stories of North Korean (Escape from Camp 14 by: Blaine Harden) concentration camps. In these camps, prisoners are encouraged to turn on their families and friends regardless of what the penalty will be.
The book is interesting yet disturbing. I am not questioning the beliefs or lack thereof, or even if it in fact is a religion at all; but one things remain true, this organization has left a trail of financial destruction and mentally unstable corpses along the way. Ironically these actors that are Scientologist and are vociferously claiming about inequality, yet the organization they support and promote is predicated on charging enormous amounts of money usually destroying followers life savings. If it was so good and such a positive thing, why would it require so much money? Why would the organization have a navy, hotels etc? Again, the belief may or may not be effective, real or whatever else you think, but the oorganization itself does not seem one of good.
|Judy Norton Taylor
|Doug E. Fresh
|Michael D. Roberts
|Greta Van Susteren
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (July 5, 2011)