"Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief" by Lawrence Wright

Discussion in 'Media' started by The Wrong Guy, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. failboat Member

    For more of Wright's promo blitz,
    • Listen to NPR's Morning Edition this morning:
    Hollywood Hot Shots, Scientology And A Story Worth The Risk In 'Going Clear'

    by NPR Staff
    February 06, 2013 2:52 AM
    Audio for this story from Morning Edition will be available at approximately 9:00 a.m. ET.

    In the 1970s, a young man named Paul Haggis was walking down a street in Ontario, Canada. He encountered a man peddling a book.
    "And he handed the book to Paul, and he said, 'You've got a mind — this is the owner's manual,' " journalist Lawrence Wright tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "And inside, there was a stamp saying 'Church of Scientology,' and Paul was intrigued, and he said, 'Take me there.' " Haggis soon became a member of the Church of Scientology — and he's a central character in Wright's new book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief.
    Haggis moved to Hollywood, where the church's deep penetration of the movie industry helped his career as a screenwriter. Eventually he went on to win Oscars for Crash and Million Dollar Baby.
    He also advanced in the church. He contributed to it, publicly defended it — and was finally allowed to read some of its deepest secrets. And he told Wright about a disturbing experience: He was admitted to a special, tightly secured room to read top-secret pages by L. Ron Hubbard, the science-fiction writer who founded the church. "And in there, he talks about Xenu, the galactic overlord who at one point had ruled the universe," Wright says. "It was a universe actually very similar to ours but very overcrowded, and Xenu had to 'depopulate' the universe, so he brought in a number of people, ostensibly for tax audits, and froze them."

    UPDATE: AUDIO NOW AVAILABLE, Complete article at link:

    • Watch Colbert Report tonight:
    Source -
    • Like Like x 4
  2. YouSeeNothing Member

    Just drove my daughter to school and on the way home this segment came on. Good interview, rehash of same stuff we've heard recently. Made me wonder why Xenu didn't just drop the people off on Earth and leave it at that. Earth could have been Xenu's Australia. :) Sorry, Aussiefags.
    • Funny Funny x 2
  3. moarxenu Member

    I am srsly lol'ing.
    • Funny Funny x 5
  4. Mr. Magoo Member

    I heart Stephen Colbert and I heart Lawrence Wright. Should be a winning combination. Setting my Tivo now!
  5. Anonymous Member

    Stephen is the leader of anonymous. This is why.
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. muldrake Member

    Part of the advantage of filing interrogatories is that if you later go to the expense of proving something for which you requested an admission, and the other side denied it, your expenses of proving it, including witnesses and attorney fees, are paid by the other side. This is to encourage settling these factual disputes early on in the case.

    Also, making a request for admission of something heinous like this means you intend to prove this at trial. In short, "make my day."
    • Like Like x 4
    • Funny Funny x 1
  7. The Wrong Guy Member

    Scientology Exposed - The Stranger

    The Exhaustively Researched Tell-All the World's Been Waiting For

    By Paul Constant

    The world has been waiting such a long time—decades!—for something like this book, and now that it's finally arrived, I'm pleased to report that it's just as good as we could've hoped. Lawrence Wright's Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief is a great journalistic achievement—a comprehensive history of L. Ron Hubbard and his Church of Scientology, from its inception in the late 1940s to today, constructed with what appears to be airtight reportage.

    That "airtight reportage" bit is important because, as the book details, the Church of Scientology has sued people who have dared to write about it. But the book incorporates pieces of Wright's New Yorker profile of screenwriter and director Paul Haggis, an outspoken former Scientologist, and that story remains unchallenged by the church's attorneys to this day. (The meeting between the church's legal and PR representatives, Wright, and a ragtag collection of the New Yorker's editors and fact-checkers is the book's climactic scene; that there have been no repercussions for Wright thus far make the scene, thankfully, a kind of anticlimax.)

    For nearly four hundred pages, Wright grabs hold of the church's most sacred beliefs and cheerfully dismantles them, beginning with the story of its founder, sci-fi author L. Ron Hubbard. From what I can tell, Scientology considers Hubbard to be the greatest man who ever lived, a cross between Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad, with some Indiana Jones and Captain America slathered on top, but Wright paints a much darker portrait. The Hubbard we're introduced to—who comes across as an egomaniacal compulsive liar, a man who beat one wife and abandoned a child he had with another woman—is pretty much the height of heresy for the church. Wright notes in the acknowledgments that it's been decades since any author has attempted a Hubbard biography, because former attempts have been discredited or suppressed by the church's lawyers.

    With the heart of the Scientology story turned inside out, Wright then lays the whole church bare. He loosely outlines the outlandish beliefs of the church, which slowly become revealed to inductees as they contribute more money and climb the ladder of self- improvement, as dictated by half-assed therapy sessions performed on the church's pseudoscientific "E-Meters." (If I had one wish for the book, it's that Wright would spend more time explaining the full science-fiction story of the church, with its "tyrannical overlord named Xenu" and its central myth, which begins "seventy-five million years ago in the Galactic Confederacy, which was composed of seventy-six planets and twenty-six stars.")

    But the Church of Scientology is obviously more interested in terrestrial stars. Wright explains the great lengths to which the church has gone to keep their most visible member, Tom Cruise, happy. Those close ties between the church and Cruise can't help but alter your perception of the movie star. I can't think of Cruise now without also picturing the terrible crimes for which Wright blames the church—blackmail, human rights violations like kidnapping people who tried to escape the church, and forcing people into inhumane work conditions that sound more like slavery than anything else. These are serious allegations, and certain precautions must be taken. Thus, the narrative is spiked throughout with short footnotes inserted for the sake of legal protection: "Cruise's attorney says that no Scientology executives set him up with girlfriends," "The church characterizes this as an attempt at extortion," and "The church denies that Miscavige has ever abused members of the church."

    Which brings us to the church's second (and present) leader, David Miscavige. Miscavige is the kind of blessing that is granted only once in a journalist's life—a stereotypical villain, a perfectly unbelievable figure in the flesh. (Hell, even his last name sounds like something terrible that happens to you by accident.) The Miscavige portrayed in Going Clear is an out-and-out monster. He physically abuses his subordinates, he makes sure that anyone who opposes him—including his wife—gets sent away to de facto prison camps, and the church's forced-work laborers, who earn pennies a day, are expected to buy extravagant birthday gifts for him. You won't find a more hate-worthy villain in a book this year.

    Source, and open comments:
    • Winner Winner x 4
    • Like Like x 3
  8. anoninoob Member

    Colbert Report:
  9. The Wrong Guy Member

    Stephen Colbert Mocks Scientology, Interviews 'Going Clear' Author - Hollywood Reporter

    Pulitzer Prize winner Lawrence Wright talks about Colbert’s newfound interest in joining the church because of its Super Bowl ad.

    By Aaron Couch

    Stephen Colbert had some trepidation about welcoming to his show Lawrence Wright, author of the new book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief.

    If their [the Church of Scientology] lawyers are as litigious as they say, my new book could be called Going Broke,” the Comedy Central host joked on Wednesday’s The Colbert Report. (The book contains portions critical of Scientology.)

    Ahead of the interview, Colbert said he normally doesn’t trust religions outside of his Catholicism but began to rethink that after seeing Scientology’s Super Bowl ad.

    “That’s the religious big time. I don’t know how the Catholic Church is going to compete,” Colbert said. “The Pope is going to have to get some Clydesdales.”

    “The Church of Scientology has had some recent public relations problems,” Colbert continued, before showing CNN segments accusing church head David Miscavige of cruel behavior.

    Colbert said his show asked Miscavige for comment and received in response a watermelon stabbed with a knife and featuring a Post-It note reading “You.”

    When Wright came out for his interview, Colbert asked him about the author’s allegations of abuse within the church. Wright claimed he’d interviewed 12 people who said they had suffered physical abuse while in the church.

    “Wow, if I heard the Catholic Church had abused 12 people, I’d be out of there,” Colbert said.

    Colbert said as a celebrity, one thing he admired about Scientology was the “great things” it had done for celebrities. “Tom Cruise has not aged,” Colbert said before asking if he should join the church.

    Wright said the climate has changed since celebrities such as Cruise joined, opining that today “it’s the most stigmatized religion in the country” and would cause public relations problems for Colbert should he join.

    Comments are open at
    • Like Like x 5
    • Funny Funny x 3
  10. DodoTheLaser Member

    • Winner Winner x 1
  11. DodoTheLaser Member

    More snips from the vid:









    • Winner Winner x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  12. failboat Member

    • Like Like x 2
  13. Anonymous Member

  14. Anonymous Member

    • Funny Funny x 3
  15. Anonymous Member

    Watched it this morning, lolololol'd and lolololol'd. Colbert doing sci speak to Wright was priceless. I'm going to send him a Guy Fawkes mask. I'd say we make him an honorary member, except we don't have members.
    • Funny Funny x 2
  16. Random guy Member

    I actually think he's got one already. He was our anonymous avatar for a while year-and-a-half ago, back when Aaron Barr ingeniously made anonymous enormously more popular and influential overnight.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. Yoda... Member

    For us lazy 900-year-old fuckers, somebody tube it?
  18. Anonymous Member

  19. Anonymous Member

    If you recall, a few years ago xenutv's YT account was closed because of a DMCA complaint against his posting a short clip of Colbert. The company that owns the copyright had hired people to file DMCA complaints against any account that violated their copyrights.
  20. Anonymous Member

    Yeah, but does he have one that is a gift from us? I think that would make it so much more lulzy.
  21. Anonymous Member

    only one: "suppressive personality" instead of suppressive person.
  22. The Wrong Guy Member

    Stephen Colbert Skewers Scientology in Interview With Going Clear Author Lawrence Wright | E! Online

    By Josh Grossberg

    Stephen Colbert is feeling Scientology big-time. Especially after the Church took out a Super Bowl ad.

    So it comes as no surprise Comedy Central's fake pundit had a little fun at Scientology's expense, especially in the wake of abuse allegations lodged by Pulitzer Prize winner Lawrence Wright, who appeared as a guest on The Colbert Report Wednesday night to discuss his new book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief.

    "If their lawyers are as litigious as they say, my new book could be called Going Broke," joked Colbert in his introduction.

    He then kicked off the interview by questioning the author on the meaning of the tome's subtitle skewering the religion's lingo.

    What do you mean by 'Prison of Belief?'" asked Colbert. "Are you a suppressive personality?...Are you upstats right now?"

    "I am upstats. My upstats are great," replied Wright.

    "'Cause I will confront shatter suppression," quipped the comedian.

    On a more serious note, Colbert, who calls himself "America's most prominent celebrity Catholic," later queried Wright on his allegations of abuse within the Church and by its head, David Miscavige.

    "If I found out the Catholic Church had abused 12 people, I would get outta there," deadpanned the funnyman in a not-so-subtle nod to the Vatican's own highly publicized abuse scandal. "I would be gone in a minute. What crazy religion."

    Wright went on to explain that celebrities today who are Scientologists are "suffering a kind of martyrdom for their beliefs because it's the most stigmatized religion in the country." And what intrigued the writer was what the stars are getting out of it.

    He then pointed to Scientology's poster child, Tom Cruise, whom he noted is coddled by the Church with extravagances that the regular folks don't receive—like having members build him a hangar for his private plane.

    "These are people who are paid $50 a week, and they're polishing his light bulbs," said Wright.

    "More than I pay my interns. I should start a cult," joked Colbert.

    Source, and open comments:
    • Like Like x 2
    • Winner Winner x 1
  23. The Wrong Guy Member

    The above article, written by Michael Kinsley, has generated three responses from angry cult members:
    • Like Like x 2
  24. OTeleventy Member

    E! Online is so full of fail. No shit he's a fake pundit. What, you gotta spell it out for all the foxtards?

    *Sorry foxtards.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  25. Makethemsweat Member

    I can't believe how far we've come from the Viacom freak-out over South Park to Colbert stabbing a watermelon. Scientology is neutered. Yay!

    And to The Wrong Guy, your thorough and detailed updates of everything interesting and useful... Very much appreciated.
    • Agree Agree x 6
    • Like Like x 2
  26. HellRazor Member

    Knopf U.S. investigating publishing Scientology tell-all in Canada

    moar in link above.
    • Like Like x 3
  27. jensting Member

    • Like Like x 4
    • Winner Winner x 3
  28. The Wrong Guy Member

    This is a duplicate post, also found here:

    The Church of Scientology: In search of answers | The Economist

    A provocative look at a young religion

    Feb 9th 2013 | From the print edition


    Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief. By Lawrence Wright. Knopf; 448 pages; $28.95. Buy from

    The Church of Fear: Inside the Weird World of Scientology. By John Sweeney. Silvertail Books; 336 pages; £12.99. Buy from

    What draws people to Scientology? Outsiders are as baffled as followers are devoted.

    Continued at
    • Like Like x 5
  29. fishypants Moderator

    Good review!

    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Like Like x 1
  30. anonsoldier Member

    Just finished reading it myself, then promptly posted on my personal Facebook demanding my friends and family all go and buy it. I own an eBook version but I'm going to get a physical copy as well to add to my (still growing) stack of books critical of the cult. And just think, so much of this recent wave of publishing started with John Duignan's book, "The Complex". Well done to all the people who came forward and told their tale, well done.
    • Like Like x 3
  31. The Wrong Guy Member

    'Clearly' chilling: Cult or religion, Scientology gets the Wright stuff |

    By Helen Bungert For NJ Press Media

    Last two paragraphs:

    Among many upsetting scenes, the meeting between the author and Tommy Cash, at the time chief spokesman for the Church of Scientology, is one of the most unsettling. Cash signed a billion-year contract with the Church when he was just a teenager, a common occurrence in the institution. He has come to defend his beliefs and to deny allegations of abuse. After the meeing, Cash mailed to the author a document called a “Notice of Separation from the U.S. Naval Services” issued to L. Ron Hubbard. It claims that Hubbard was awarded a Purple Heart with a Palm, which indicated that he had been wounded in action twice. But the Navy does not use the symbol of a palm for this purpose. And two of the other medals Hubbard supposedly won hadn’t been created at the time he was supposed to have won them.

    Cash could be lying — an inept, easily-discovered lie. The frightening part is that he sounds utterly sincere. When a system of thought — any system of thought — is closed to outside ideas and influences, and indoctrinates members from an early age, its adherents become unable to think logically, to separate fact from fiction. And that may be the scariest thought of all.

    • Like Like x 4
  32. Anonymous Member

    • Funny Funny x 1
  33. DodoTheLaser Member

    Why Tommy Davis is called Tommy Cash in that article? Is that satire?
    • Agree Agree x 1
  34. Anonymous Member

    Maybe the journalist was also doing a story on Pat Cash and mixed them up?
    Looking forward to the report on the Pat Davis charity match.
  35. DodoTheLaser Member

    I still don't get it. Tommy's last name is Davis, not Cash.
    Was it sarcasm? Or the author was scared to use Tommy's
    real surname for the legal reasons? I just wonder.

    I also want to make sure I am not in a parallel universe or dead
    and people are not telling me about that. Ok, goodbye.
    • Funny Funny x 4
  36. ^ Could be something to do with the author being called Helen Bunglealert?
    “Tommy is his own man. Sturdy. Vigorous. The voice is woven with sinew and sensitivity. Clear. Picturesque. Readily comprehensible. The career, without flim-flam, guile or saccharine supplication, is careening happily up the trail to the top and stardom.”
    • Funny Funny x 1
  37. RolandRB Member

    Have you noticed any "swelling"?
    • Funny Funny x 1
  38. The Wrong Guy Member

    The A.V. Club has reviewed Wright's book. Here are the last two paragraphs:

    In accessible, straightforward prose that does a fine job of rendering Scientology’s sometimes convoluted core concepts understandable, Wright captures its horrors and abuses, but also the seductive glamour. It’s a belief system with a sense of infinite possibilities in this world and the next, wedded to a life-affirming sense of community among true believers united in fighting for our planet’s salvation.

    In spite of its occasional excesses and redundancies, Going Clear is simultaneously a fearless, compelling, exhaustive work of muckraking journalism and a masterpiece of storytelling. It’s a ripping yarn about ego, money, abuse, faith, and the corrupting nature of power when wielded by the wrong people. It’s as lurid, pulpy, and preposterous-seeming as anything Hubbard or Haggis ever wrote, but it’s much better, because it has the benefit of being true.

    The whole review, and open comments, are here:,92334/
    • Winner Winner x 4
    • Like Like x 3
  39. DodoTheLaser Member

    Repeal, bitches.

    • Funny Funny x 3
  40. DeathHamster Member

    BTW, what heck are those flesh-tunnels running down Tom's forehead and up from his nose? Blood pressure set to overload?
    • Like Like x 3
    • Agree Agree x 1

Share This Page

Customize Theme Colors


Choose a color via Color picker or click the predefined style names!

Primary Color :

Secondary Color :
Predefined Skins