Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Going Clear Book Report: Scientology Stuff

 Book Report: Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief

Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief, written by Lawrence Wright, opens the door to conversation, through research, about what exactly Tom Cruise and the other celebrity scientologists believe in and how abuse always tends to arise in these spiritual and/or religious communities. Throughout the storytelling of this book, Wright uncovered different scandals and secrets that Americans have been questioning for years about the belief system, and the founder himself, L. Ron Hubbard. The audience finds out about the strange and unusual practices this church has, especially how human beings are immortal, and how “auditing” is not what people think of. In addition to understanding the essential beliefs of scientology, Wright spends a large portion of the book exposing how Hubbard’s life was filled with lies, deception, and bullying, as one of the biggest claims was how he had been healed and cured of wounds and illnesses during his service in the military all because of his “enlightened mind”, while in real life, the medical records state that he only truly suffered from the common disease today: mild arthritis. While uncovering this web of lies, Hubbard went on to threaten suicide to bully his second wife into marrying him and kidnapping his own daughter and claiming he “hacked her into pieces” before returning a fully alive child. Hubbard, outside of his personal life, sent letters about his ideologies to the APA (American Psychological Association) claiming that “going clear” through his method of dianetics, would allow a truly separate brain with two halves, and to top it all off, there was a large section of the book dedicated to the church fighting the IRS, as many “cults” and other religions tend to have done over the course of history. 

My favorite part of this book was the tiny deep dive that was done by Wright to expose one of the most famous scientologists today, Tom Cruise. As many of us know, he has been a scientologist for a long time, but only came into the religion from his first wife, Mimi Rogers. Cruise’s second marriage with Nicole Kidman was very public, but so was their divorce. After many years of being asked what happened, Kidman has stated that his beliefs in Scientology was one of the reasons why she had divorced him, as she did not want to become a devoted member of the church. In the book, Wright explains how the leaders of the organization, such as Miscavige, infamously known for creating prison camps for Sea Org members, were concerned about Kidman having enough influence on Cruise to leave the church as her father was a psychologist. She was eventually filed as a “potential trouble source” and was seen a true threat to what the church saw as one of the biggest and essential stars in their organization. With such high concerns about her, Cruise continued to have his annual “auditing meetings”, where scientologist would connect with someone directly from the higher authority in the church, where daily reports were made on how the couple was doing with their lives, children, and intimacy, but this unfortunately led to Cruise overseeing her phone being tapped by authorities and starting to have their children turn against her. This was one of my favorite parts of this book since with him being such an iconic American actor, especially recently with the sequel of Top Gun coming out and making millions in the box office, it shed more light on how scandalous he is, especially where his church is concerned since it makes many people uncomfortable, since he has stood by his church, scandal after expose for years. 

This book relates to this class as it has been about studying and understanding the connections of pseudoscience and the paranormal to what we see in everyday life. In this specific instance, Wright showed that through the many investigations that were able to do about this church consider scientology to be a pseudoscience itself since its absolute and meta-empirical goals that are present through all core beliefs and the followers themselves. It truly is a pseudoscience since it can be seen, to those who are not in it, as a scam that is designed to drain believers financially, emotionally, mentally, physically, and especially spiritually; scientology, especially looking through a modern lens with the slow thinking process, shows that where science is perceived as having more authority than what a religion has can appear attractive than just standalone religion, which Hubbard claimed from the beginning.

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