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Author Topic: Going clear: By Lawrence Wright is out.  (Read 11283 times)
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« Reply #30 on: March 18, 2013, 07:13:58 AM »

                                         Book review: A clear look at Scientology

HTRN NEWS

            “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief” (Alfred A. Knopf), by Lawrence Wright

Pulitzer Prize winner Lawrence Wright’s new book about Scientology, its origins, its evolution and its believers, is a powerful piece of reportage. It is detailed, intense and at times shocking.

But it’s not merely an indictment of one of the world’s newest faiths — Scientologists deny many parts of the book — it’s also a reminder of the dangers of combining faith with fear, and the foolishness of choosing to believe anything blindly.

“Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief” traces Scientology’s history through a variety of characters, the most important being L. Ron Hubbard, the seafaring world explorer and prolific science fiction writer who founded the religion. Also explored in depth are the present leader of the church, David Miscavige, who is described as a violent autocrat; Tom Cruise, the religion’s most famous adherent and prime example of Scientology’s fixation on Hollywood; and Paul Haggis, the filmmaker who has become a very prominent ex-Scientologist.

Using those characters and many others, the book by Wright, a staff writer for The New Yorker, delves into Scientology’s beliefs, from the existence 75 million years ago of Xenu, the tyrannical alien overlord of what was called the Galactic Confederacy, to the evils of the psychiatric profession, to the notion that human bodies are simply vessels for “thetans“ — immortal soul-like entities, some types of which need to be expelled through a (very expensive) process called auditing.

It goes on to describe how the church has evolved, amassing extraordinary wealth and numerous properties, as well as a foothold in Hollywood. It also describes the punishments that face Scientologists who, in ways big and small, deviate or question the faith, including assignment to manual labor in what appear to be re-education camps. And yet, the true believers stay of their own accord.

“Going Clear” is a carefully written account, detached and with little sense of outrage apparent from the author’s point of view. It’s clear, too, that it was given a thorough look by lawyers, in no small part because Scientologists have a history of aggressive litigiousness toward critics and others who question their church.

Page 2 available here...

http://www.htrnews.com/viewart/20130317/MAN05/303170187

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« Reply #31 on: March 25, 2013, 06:32:19 PM »

               Howard Stern doesn't hate Scientology 01-14-13


http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=I0nqxEkCQv0#!
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« Reply #32 on: April 05, 2013, 12:27:14 PM »

                         Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief

By Lawrence Wright - Knopf

                                              The Journal

(April 4, 2013)  Lawrence Wright’s new book on Scientology is not the first expose of the church, though it is the first by a Pulitzer prizewinner. Such a pedigree was still not enough to ensure its publication in the United Kingdom, where the book faced challenges from the fiercely litigious church....

http://www.northcoastjournal.com/arts/2013/04/04/going-clear-scientology-hollywood-prison-belief/
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« Reply #33 on: April 10, 2013, 08:13:49 PM »

                            Interview with Lawrence Wright

                               Texas Book Festival — San Antonio Edition

By Michael Barajas

Published: April 10, 2013

Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief
Moderator: Robert Rivard

In his newest book, Going Clear, Austin-based journalist Lawrence Wright profiles Scientology, a new American religion that, while ubiquitous among the Hollywood elite, has a long, strange dark side. Read the full Q&A below to learn more about Wright's work (read our review of Going Clear here), including his Pulitzer-Prize winning book about al-Qaeda, The Looming Tower. See him talk about Scientology, al-Qaeda, and the power of religion at the book festival this weekend. 11-11:45 a.m., Festival Room, Central Library.

Interview with Lawrence Wright
By Michael Barajas

Why the theme of religion and faith throughout your work?

....
http://sacurrent.com/arts/visualart/interview-with-lawrence-wright-1.1470600?localLinksEnabled=false
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« Reply #34 on: April 14, 2013, 07:59:43 AM »


                                           Understanding Scientology
A new book examines the controversial church.

Hugh Urban | April 13, 2013

    The last several years have been rough ones for the Church of Scientology. Since 2008, a number of high-ranking defectors have come forward and condemned the church’s current leadership, followed by a long list of books by ex-members that detail a shocking array of abuses within the church. Withering exposés of Scientology have appeared in The St. Petersburg Times and on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, while the faith’s innermost secrets were mercilessly ridiculed in a 2008 episode of South Park. Most recently, the church has been the focus of three major books: my own academic work, The Church of Scientology, and two journalistic accounts: Janet Reitman’s Inside Scientology and Lawrence Wright’s Going Clear.

Of these last two, Wright’s book is arguably the more balanced, thoughtful, and empathetic, offering not an “exposé” but rather an attempt to understand the effects of religious beliefs in people’s lives, exploring the allure, the benefits, and the perils of involvement in this complex new religion. Indeed, at certain points, Wright bends so far over backward to be fair to the church that he risks undermining the credibility of his own narrative.

Wright, a staff writer for The New Yorker, begins his account by focusing on one ex-Scientologist, movie director Paul Haggis. Wright uses Haggis’ case to introduce the initial appeal of Scientology, the church’s powerful role in Hollywood, and also Haggis’ progressive disillusionment with the contradictory, unsettling, and bizarre aspects of the movement.

Wright then offers a remarkably sensitive portrait of Scientology’s enigmatic founder, L. Ron Hubbard, telling in a compelling way how a penny-a-word pulp fiction author wrote a tremendously popular self-help book, Dianetics, then went on to create one of the most successful new religions of the 20th century. While the Church of Scientology presents Hubbard as the most important man who ever lived and critics denounce him as a madman and a charlatan, Wright offers a more complex and human portrait, trying to account for the tremendous influence this figure has had on millions of readers. In Wright’s narrative, Hubbard appears as neither a monster nor a saint but as a man who was often surprisingly insightful, yet also egotistical, manipulative, and abusive. Wright narrates particular pieces of this tale especially well, such as the suicide of Hubbard’s gay son, Quentin, after which Hubbard allegedly complained, “He’s done it to me again!”

The heart of Wright’s book is part two, “Hollywood,” which explores the church’s success among celebrities and entertainers, at once attracting stars with the promise of unleashing their unlimited creative potential and exploiting their star power for public relations and advertising. Wright details John Travolta’s early entry into the church in the 1970s and provides the fullest account to date of Tom Cruise’s intimate relationship with the church’s current head, David Miscavige. Not only does Miscavige regularly work out and ride motorcycles with the actor, but apparently he also ordered an elaborate search for a new girlfriend for him after he broke up with Penélope Cruz.

Wright remains poker-faced throughout the book, even when narrating the more astonishing allegations of violence, abuse, and just plain weird behavior. Thus he provides graphic yet calm descriptions of the church’s infamous disciplinary program, the Rehabilitation Project Force, where members have allegedly been crowded into pitch-black basements, dressed in black boiler suits and filthy rags, and deprived of food, sleep, and rest. And he calmly narrates what is surely one of the most surreal episodes in American religious history, when Miscavige allegedly forced his senior executives to play a brutally violent all-night game of musical chairs to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Wright works so hard to present a fair and balanced account of Scientology that in some places the reader may have trouble keeping a straight face. In his concluding remarks, Wright offers the following assessment of Hubbard’s work: “It would be better understood as a philosophy of human nature; seen in that light, Hubbard’s thought could be compared with that of other moral philosophies, such as Immanuel Kant and Soren Kierkegaard, although no one has ever approached the sweep of Hubbard’s work.” L. Ron Hubbard compared to Kant and Kierkegaard? Even for a sympathetic scholar of comparative religions like myself, these sorts of statements are difficult to take seriously. I suppose Hubbard’s work is greater in its sweep if we include his elaborate speculations about the past history of the universe and space-opera adventures on other planets going back 60 trillion years. Even so, I don’t see it being read in college philosophy classes any time soon.

A second problem with Wright’s book is methodological. Throughout his narrative, Wright relies heavily on the accounts of ex-Scientologists, whose versions of history he appears to accept largely at face value. Certainly the official accounts provided by the Church of Scientology need to be read skeptically and critically, and Wright rarely takes Hubbard’s or Miscavige’s versions of history at face value. But it is less clear that he has applied the same critical analysis to the accounts of ex-members, who surely also have agendas, axes to grind, and simply their own subjective views of events.

One final disappointment is Wright’s almost exclusive focus on the role of high-profile Hollywood figures in the church. As Wright sees it, “Scientology orients itself toward celebrity, and by doing so, the church awards famousness a spiritual value.” Obviously, this is what most general readers will want to hear about, and Wright does narrate this piece of Scientology’s tangled history in an engaging, thoughtful and entertaining way. Yet by continuing to focus our attention on the church’s comparatively tiny celebrity side, Wright perpetuates the most common stereotype of Scientology and also obscures the lived reality of the vast majority of ordinary Scientologists. What is it like to be a non-celebrity Scientologist in Cincinnati or Akron, someone who never “goes Clear” and neither knows nor cares about the Xenu story? What is it like to grow up as a child in the Sea Org, which Wright himself tells us is the true inner core of the church?

These and many others aspects of this complex movement remain to be explored and understood. We can only hope that another writer as thoughtful, even-handed, and eloquent as Wright takes up these other chapters in the long, strange story of Scientology.

http://reason.com/archives/2013/04/13/understanding-scientology

   

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« Reply #35 on: October 17, 2013, 07:17:29 AM »

                                     The paperback version of Going Clear will be hitting bookshelves on November 5. 2013

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« Reply #36 on: November 08, 2013, 09:01:09 PM »

                                         Lawrence Wright's book, "Going Clear' subject of full page ads..

Lawrence's book is getting alot of media attention this month, with full-page ads being taken out in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times & USA Today. It has appeared in yesterday & today's LA Times.

I love the new revised jacket of his book..

http://www.forum.exscn.net/showthread.php?33817-Lawrence-Wright-s-book-quot-Going-Clear-subject-of-full-page-ads

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/10/books/review/sherman-alexie-by-the-book.html?_r=0
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« Reply #37 on: November 21, 2013, 07:16:26 AM »

                                      The Church of Scientology will skip tonight’s National Book Awards
BY RON CHARLES
November 20 at 11:28 am

On Wednesday night, while New York theater goers laugh at “The Book of Mormon,” another American-grown religion will be enduring far more uncomfortable attention just a few miles away.
“Going Clear,” Lawrence Wright‘s devastating critique of the Church of Scientology, is one of five finalists for this year’s National Book Award in nonfiction....

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/style-blog/wp/2013/11/20/the-church-of-scientology-will-skip-tonights-national-book-awards/

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« Reply #38 on: November 23, 2013, 07:40:17 AM »

                                Scientology's worst nightmare: Why they made author Lawrence Wright look like a demon

http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/scientologys-worst-nightmare-why-they-made-author-lawrence-wright-look-like-a-demon/story-fnixwvgh-1226765972006


                         Religion Can be Healing—or Fatal: PW Talks with Lawrence Wright

By Marcia Z. Nelson Nov 22, 2013

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/authors/interviews/article/60127-religion-can-be-healing-or-fatal-pw-talks-with-lawrence-wright.html
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« Reply #39 on: December 04, 2013, 06:19:06 AM »

                                                                   Best Books Of 2013
Posted: Dec/02/2013


Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood & the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright: I've read a few books on Scientology, but this is the ultimate must-read. Wright delves into Scientology's past and present. The story focuses on on screenwriter Paul Haggis, but Wright has loads of information about other former Scientologists as well. Wright's thorough research and good writing make this longish book a complete breeze. Though the book is non-fiction, it reads like fiction (and some of the stuff that Wright discusses seems so fantastical that it seems like it couldn't possibly be real). If you only read one non-fiction book this year, this should be it.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/02/best-books-2013-_n_4344225.html?utm_hp_ref=books
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« Reply #40 on: April 04, 2014, 08:10:55 AM »

                                        Joel Grover story on NBC4, Scientology book win IRE awards

By Kevin Roderick | April 3, 2014

....Winning in the book category was Lawrence Wright's "Going Clear, Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief." Say the judges:

Wright's investigation of the Church of Scientology is groundbreaking in its examination of one of the most well known, but secretive, religion organizations in the world. He draws on previously secret documents-- including internal works of the church's founder L. Ron Hubbard--interviews with former and current members of the church and hundreds of court records to present a hard- hitting, but balanced view of church and its followers. The book shines a light on the church's harsh treatment of those who try to leave, but also highlights those, including some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, who have benefited from its teachings. The book also explores the complicated biography of the church's founder and its relationship with its most famous member, actor Tom Cruise. Despite threats from the church, which is known for its aggressive defense of its works and members, this work provides the best understanding of Scientology to date.....

http://www.laobserved.com/archive/2014/04/joel_grover_story_on_nbc4.php
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« Reply #41 on: April 14, 2014, 07:07:23 AM »

                                   Festival of Books: Jesus, L. Ron Hubbard and shopping for religions

                                                                     The LA Times.

http://www.latimes.com/books/jacketcopy/la-et-jc-reza-aslan-20140412,0,6591544.story#ixzz2ynLINhOy
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« Reply #42 on: April 15, 2014, 07:50:35 AM »

                                                Winners of Texas Institute of Letters competitions
Posted on April 13, 2014


.....Austin authors Lawrence Wright and John Taliaferro split the nonfiction Carr P. Collins prize of $5,000. Wright won for ” Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief.” Taliaferro won for “All the Great Prizes: The Life of John Hay from Lincoln to Roosevelt.”
,,,,,

http://blog.chron.com/bookish/2014/04/winners-of-texas-institute-of-letters-competitions/
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« Reply #43 on: June 11, 2014, 05:49:19 PM »

                                    HBO is working on a show called “God Save Texas”, about Texas politics


......................Wright might invite ire from an already-boiling Texas Tea Party mob by daring to suggest that Texas is anything other than a sovereign republic exempt from criticism, and also scrutiny, but he’s been there before. A profile he wrote of the writer-director Paul Haggis in The New Yorker, (which won the National Magazine Award in 2012) prompted a response website called How Lawrence Wright Got It So Wrong. “It” being Scientology, and “wrong” meaning that Scientology is a racket and a cult. Wright expanded the article into his latest book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief, which was published by Knopf in 2013.

As most political reporters, columnists, and journalists need access, most tend to write about political campaigns rather than what government agencies and the officials that run them actually do.

Running for office should never be a more compelling story than the story of doing the job, but we still have more pundits dithering over what may happen in 2016 than what is happening now, or what did happen last year. Lawrence Wright may be the best writer to tackle Texas politics for a few reasons.

 One, being immune to threats from a powerful entity like the Church of Scientology as noted above; two, his history of al-Qaeda, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (Knopf, 2006) was published to immediate acclaim, with eight weeks on The New York Times best seller list and being translated into twenty-five languages. It was nominated for the National Book Award and won the Lionel Gelber Award for nonfiction, the Los Angeles Times Award for History, the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, the New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism, and the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction. Time Magazine pronounced it one of the 100 best nonfiction books ever written. And third, he plays keyboards in a blues band in Austin, Who Do. Dude has been around. He can handle the thorny bramble of millennial Texas politics.

Wright is also a playwright. His one-man play, “My Trip to al-Qaeda,” premiered in 2006, and was made into an HBO documentary in 2010.

http://www.technologytell.com/entertainment/45553/hbo-working-show-called-god-save-texas-texas-politics/
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« Reply #44 on: July 16, 2014, 08:43:00 AM »

                                       Scientology revelations that will stick with you forever

                                                         The Dallas Morning news.


http://dallasmorningviewsblog.dallasnews.com/2014/07/scientology-revelations-that-will-stick-with-you-forever.html/
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