Remember this summer when TomKat got divorced and it came out that some of it was over scientology? I lost DAYS of my life to this. It’s kind of pathetic but I went into an obsession spiral, reading anything and everything I could get my hands on about scientology. I cannot help it, cults fascinate me. I even went so far as to read back entries of Tony Ortega’s column in the Village Voice, Runnin’ Scared for hours on end, just because my interest was completely gazed. THEN YOU GUYS Audible must have read my mind or something, because they had this sale on non-fiction audiobooks and Inside Scientology: The Story Of America’s Most Secretive Religion by Janet Reitman narrated by Stephen Hoye was on sale and I did not even have to take a second thought, I immediately plonked down money and downloaded the audiobook.
Inside Scientology by Janet Reitman has a premise that is exactly what you think it would be based upon the title. It explores the early inception of scientology, created in 1954 by L. Ron Hubbard all the way up to today. There are anecdotes from former members as well as investigation of the church’s biggest scandals from the policy of fair game to the Lisa McPherson case to the vast amounts of money adherents spend on auditing sessions. I was utterly fascinated by all of the new things I learned about scientology and it’s history.
Reitman’s Inside Scientology is meticulously researched. She explores church doctrine. She went to a few auditing sessions, which basically means you hold this device called an e-meter and talk, I guess, until you have a ‘win’ and your bad energy goes away. I thought her chapters on the beginning of scientology were well done. She covers L. Ron Hubbard’s early life and talks about how he wrote this pretend science book called Dianetics and when psychology rejected the methodology of Dianetics, he then goes on to found scientology with dianetics as a base. It kind of explains their hatred of the mental health profession. What I personally found most illuminating were the interviews of people who were involved in the early days of scientology, who basically stuck around thinking it was great and awesome, until the helm of leadership changed and it turned kind of dogmatic with Miscaviage at the top. She also talks a little bit about the celebrity obsession too, because you guys know there’s like centers within scientology that are only for celebs, not everyone is equal.
Basically, Inside Scientology confirmed a lot of my previously held opinions about scientology. As you can tell, I am not a fan. I don’t think that religions should charge you hundreds of dollars for sessions. Nor do I think you should be shunned by your family for leaving, but stalked by other members so that you come back or pay an outrageous fee. Nor do I find myself all that enamored by how litigious they seem to be, in my opinion. Heck, lol, I was kind of scared to write this review after reading the bits on fair game because what if they find me and sue me or whatever — FYI I live paycheck to paycheck, it’s not worth it to sue me.
The audiobook of Inside Scientology: The Story Of America’s Most Secretive Religion by Janet Reitman is narrated by Stephen Hoye. I thought the production values were suitable. Hoye’s voice comes across as clear and never tinny. Nor were there any sort of distracting tics, like loud breathing or static. I thought Hoye was the perfect narrator, because he sounds so serious. Although, the parts where it’s Reitman’s first person point of view felt a bit weird because Hoye is a male narrating a female’s perspective. That stated, I was glued during the 15 hours and 40 minutes of the audiobook, produced by Tantor audio. It’s definitely worth a listen if you are like me and have this weird obsessions with cults.
Disclosure: Purchased copy.
Other reviews of Inside Scientology: The Story Of America’s Most Secretive Religion by Janet Reitman:
Great Imaginations – “extremely interesting, overwhelming, and at times, very scary.”
Book Reviews From An Avid Reader – “a great book about a very secretive “religion.”
Bookishly Boisterous -“Man, those Scientologists are a kooky bunch.”