Going Clear

  • by Lawrence Wright
  • Narrated by Morton Sellers
  • 17 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A clear-sighted revelation, a deep penetration into the world of Scientology by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the The Looming Tower, the now-classic study of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attack. Based on more than 200 personal interviews with both current and former Scientologists - both famous and less well known - and years of archival research, Lawrence Wright uses his extraordinary investigative ability to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology.
At the book’s center, two men whom Wright brings vividly to life, showing how they have made Scientology what it is today: The darkly brilliant science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, whose restless, expansive mind invented a new religion. And his successor, David Miscavige - tough and driven, with the unenviable task of preserving the church after the death of Hubbard.
We learn about Scientology’s complicated cosmology and special language. We see the ways in which the church pursues celebrities, such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta, and how such stars are used to advance the church’s goals. And we meet the young idealists who have joined the Sea Org, the church’s clergy, signing up with a billion-year contract.
In Going Clear, Wright examines what fundamentally makes a religion a religion, and whether Scientology is, in fact, deserving of this constitutional protection. Employing all his exceptional journalistic skills of observation, understanding, and shaping a story into a compelling narrative, Lawrence Wright has given us an evenhanded yet keenly incisive book that reveals the very essence of what makes Scientology the institution it is.


What the Critics Say

“Brings a clear-eyed, investigative fearlessness to Scientology . . . a rollicking, if deeply creepy, narrative ride, evidence that truth can be stranger even than science fiction." (The Washington Post)
“A hotly compelling read. It’s a minutiae-packed book full of wild stories.” (The New York Times)
“An utterly necessary story. . . . A feat of reporting.” (The Wall Street Journal)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Shockingly Great

This was a great book. I really found myself unable to put this down. I somewhat expected a dry, one sided, hatchet job. Instead this was detailed story starting with the early life of the clearly troubled founder of Scientology and continuing to the present day. I fully enjoyed the reading of every footnote. I did not really expect to, but I learned a lot. The writing and the narration were both quite compelling.

I have not been a fan of Scientology since a friend of mine joined, and after a few years called me having just escaped penniless and only wearing his underwear out of a window after a many hour auditing session with several people pointing out body thetons on him that were visible to them but not visible to my friend. I agree many of the ideas of Scientology are no weirder than any other religion, and I always thought the basic idea of auditing sounded interesting and potentially useful, but there does seem to be a pattern of secrecy and intimidation not seen elsewhere. This book presents a pattern of paranoia, violence; control, and hypocrisy with an intensity that is truly shocking. I would recommend anyone thinking about Scientology to read this book first.
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- Michael "I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read."

I was there...

My story is long but in short I was in the Sea Org for about 8 years.

I was 20 yrs old. I read Dianetics and it made so much sense to me. A few months later I was on staff on a Church and a few weeks after that I joined the Sea Org. I then ended up in the RPF as well and eventually left. I wanted to make a difference and truly felt that this was the way to do it. Scientology was making a positive change in my life and my family as well.

I ended up in middle management. I got to work with pretty much all the celebs in Scientology, i.e. Tom Cruise, John Travolta, etc. The pressure to perform was immense. I knew Tommy Davis and worked with him as well.

The audio book delves into the earlier life of LRH. Things I didn't know about him were shocking but then again isn't the life of people who want to change the world weird or shocking as well?

"Because The People Who Are Crazy Enough To Think They Can Change The World, Are The Ones Who Do.” - Steve Jobs.

I never met David Miscavige or worked with him directly so I can't confirm him beating up people. Do I believe it? Yes, I do. The pressure where I was working was so intense I can only imagine what it must have been like for those in upper management or those that worked with Miscavige directly. Evidence of course is also the fact that many high level executives have since left the church and their stories match as well.

Many things in the audiobook rang true for me and took me back. For the most part I think the author captured what it's really like in Scientology especially in the Sea Org.

I was captivated by the overall story and the narrator did an excellent job as well.

To this day I truly believe Scientology works. I believe it has been ruined by bad management and an arrogant leader which is why I left. It's really sad. I think the author described this perfectly. He gives many examples of how Scientology has had positive changes in people's lives. But like I said, it comes down to the management which has to change.

Scientology works. I have see it first hand many times. Too bad people are being turned away from it because of the Church's arrogance and bad publicity it creates.

Listen to this audiobook. You will not be disappointed. Just keep in mind that Scientologists are some of the most honest, caring and hard working people ever. I met some great people there and think of them all the time.

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- Rob

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-17-2013
  • Publisher: Random House Audio