Inside Scientology Janet Reitman Audiobook Review

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 The Story Of America's Most Secretive Religion Janet Reitman Audiobook Cover

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.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Ha! I knew you would read it eventually. I remember you commenting on my review a long time ago! I’m glad you liked it, April. Terrifying, isn’t it? It’s funny that you mention being nervous to post your review because you thought they would contact you, because I felt the same way. Nothing happened though. Still, this was fascinating to me. I don’t live far from Scientology headquarters (about an hour), and I plan on taking a day trip to see it at some point, even if it is to just drive through. I’ve heard they even have guards that patrol the streets. WACKY. Great review!

  2. It’s actually kind of scary that it can be called a religion, as most religions usually have some kind of higher being or spirit being prayed to. And I completely agree with the money issue, but that is, sadly, an issue with other religions as well, where the ‘church’ takes 20% of the faithfuls’ paycheck each month…
    Great review, and it’s always interesting to learn more about things like this.

  3. Great review! I have a book on scientology as well, but i’ve never gotten around to reading it. I’m not obsessed with cults, but just mildly curious. The thing that strikes me as weirdest is that the U.S. is the only country in the world that considers them a religion. Everywhere else they’re a charity group or just a social thing, like belonging to a writer’s league. Here is the only place people consider their beliefs to be an actual religious dogma. That says a lot. Thanks for the review. Very interesting! 😀

  4. Scientology scares the crap out of me and it makes me wonder about the the extent people are willing to go for meaning in their lives. Thanks for the review.

  5. I totally have a weird obsession with fringe religions (does Scientology count as a cult? I can never remember if it does or not; it’s definitely scary enough to!). The fact that Scientology has gotten as big as it has, and yet continues to be as scary as it is, blows my mind. It’s just so scary! How do people carry on joining it when they know they can never leave without losing contact with everyone they know?

  6. My first reaction to this was “lol whut.” But I do love that I never freaking know what you’ll have reviewed when I come here. Haha, always a surprise!

    Dude, the fact that scientology is as bad as it seems is SCARY, because it seems pretty damn cultish. Eek. also, fifteen hours and you were always super into it? That’s remarkable. I am always so leery of nonfiction.

  7. I think all religion is nutty, but i think these people take the cake. Then they smother themselve in it, “quietly”.

    when TomKat split I was doing a little cheer for her. I’m all for people believing in what they want. so I shouldn’t judge.

    I agree though that they shouldn’t have to spend mass amounts of money to be a part. Lol at them suing you and living paycheck to paycheck.

    *shudders* I think I dislike Scientology even more after reading your review. I dont know If I would ever be interested enough to read a book about it… but now I dont need to. you did it for me. lol. I’ll just stay away and live my agnostic life. ha!


  1. […] LOVING the audiobook of Inside Scientology by Janet Reitman and not taking any scary Scientology heat over that review (I was nervous, ha, […]