Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion

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“A masterful piece of reporting . . . Reitman tells a spellbinding story of a larger-than-life personality whose quirks, ticks and charisma shaped America’s newest homegrown religious movement.” — Washington Post

Scientology is known for its celebrity believers and its team of “volunteer ministers” at disaster sites such as the World Trade Center; its notably aggressive response to criticism or its attacks on psychiatry; its requirement that believers pay as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars to reach the highest levels of salvation. But for all its notoriety, Scientology has remained America’s least understood new religion, even as it has been one of its most successful.

Now Janet Reitman tells its riveting full story in the first objective modern history of Scientology, at last revealing the astonishing truth about life within the controversial religion for its members and ex-members. Based on five years of research, confidential documents, and extensive interviews with current and former Scientologists, this is an utterly compelling work of nonfiction and the defining work on an elusive faith.

“A meticulously researched history and revealing exposé, a frightening portrait of a religion that many find not just controversial, but dangerous.” — Boston Globe

“This book is fearless.” — Wall Street Journal

A New York Times Notable Book
Amazon.com Best Books of 2011, Nonfiction
San Francisco Chronicle Top Ten of 2011
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About the author

JANET REITMAN is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone. Her work has appeared in GQ, Men's Journal, the Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, and the Washington Post, among other publications. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University, and was a finalist for a National Magazine Award in 2007 for the story "Inside Scientology."

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Additional Information

Publisher
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Published on
Jul 5, 2011
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Pages
464
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ISBN
9780547549231
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Religious
Religion / Cults
Religion / History
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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To a young, teenage girl, Scientology seemed to be just what the author was looking for; a way to improve herself and attain spiritual enlightenment. But it was only after she joined Scientology’s elite inner circle, the Sea Organization, and signed a Billion Year contract that she discovered the dark world of fanaticism and abuse at the center of Scientology’s vast empire.

For more than two decades she worked at all levels of the organization, from serving as a personal aide to the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, who placed her in charge of the religion’s worldwide expansion to becoming the head of Celebrity Center, the organization that caters to it’s celebrity members.

Early in her Scientology career, she spent five years as a covert agent engaged in espionage activities for the Church’s shadowy Guardian’s Office. After leaving the Sea Org she spent an additional two years as an undercover operative for the “reformed” Guardian’s Office, the Office of Special Affairs, which continued the same pattern of covert intelligence and dirty tricks against the Church’s perceived enemies while using intense legal attacks and bolstered by hire private investigators. She personally experienced the Sea Organization’s Rehabilitation Project Force; a labor camp where erring members are “re-educated”.

When her loyalty came into question she was subjected to weeks of grueling interrogation, ending up in restraints after being rushed to a hospital by ambulance, unable to even recognize her husband.

It is a shocking story of abuse, imprisonment, espionage, lies, mental torture and suicide- vital reading for anyone who wants to know what goes on behind Scientology’s curtain.

NOW A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER You've likely heard of the Westboro Baptist Church. Perhaps you've seen their pickets on the news, the members holding signs with messages that are too offensive to copy here, protesting at events such as the funerals of soldiers, the 9-year old victim of the recent Tucson shooting, and Elizabeth Edwards, all in front of their grieving families. The WBC is fervently anti-gay, anti-Semitic, and anti- practically everything and everyone. And they aren't going anywhere: in March, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the WBC's right to picket funerals.

Since no organized religion will claim affiliation with the WBC, it's perhaps more accurate to think of them as a cult. Lauren Drain was thrust into that cult at the age of 15, and then spat back out again seven years later. BANISHED is the first look inside the organization, as well as a fascinating story of adaptation and perseverance.

Lauren spent her early years enjoying a normal life with her family in Florida. But when her formerly liberal and secular father set out to produce a documentary about the WBC, his detached interest gradually evolved into fascination, and he moved the entire family to Kansas to join the church and live on their compound. Over the next seven years, Lauren fully assimilated their extreme beliefs, and became a member of the church and an active and vocal picketer. But as she matured and began to challenge some of the church's tenets, she was unceremoniously cast out from the church and permanently cut off from her family and from everyone else she knew and loved. BANISHED is the story of Lauren's fight to find herself amidst dramatic changes in a world of extremists and a life in exile.
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