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Based on five years of research, access to confidential documents, and extensive interviews with current and former Scientologists, Janet Reitman sheds some long-awaited light on the ever-elusive religion of the Church of Scientology.
Scientology, created in 1954 by pulp science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, claims to be the world’s fastest growing religion, with millions of members and huge financial holdings. Celebrity believers keep its profile high. Teams of volunteer ministers offer aid at disaster sites like Haiti and the World Trade Center.
But Scientology is also a very closed faith, harassing journalists and others through litigation and intimidation, even infiltrating high levels of the government to further its goals. Its attacks on psychiatry and its requirement that believers pay as much as tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars for salvation have drawn scrutiny and skepticism. Ex-members use the internet to share stories of harassment and abuse.
Reitman offers the first full journalistic history of the Church of Scientology in an even-handed account that establishes the truth about the controversial religion. She traces Scientology’s development from the birth of Dianetics to today, following its metamorphosis from a pseudoscientific self-help group to a global spiritual corporation with profound control over its followers and ex-followers. This is a defining book about a little-known world.