Inside Scientology

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Rolling Stone contributing editor Janet Reitman discusses the history of the Church of Scientology. Her book Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion tells the story of the religion, created in 1954 by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. Scientology's celebrity members and the teams of “volunteer ministers” around the world keep its profile high, but its criticism of psychiatry, requirement that believers pay tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars for salvation, and the Church's secrecy and use of litigation and intimidation have brought skepticism.


Janet Reitman
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Comments [16]

Ed from Larchmont

Scientology isn't strictly speaking a religion since it's not directed toward God nor toward truth. It's really a self-help and self-improvement program, a form of heresy that claims that man can perfect himself.

Jul. 06 2011 09:43 PM

How many people leaving comments on this page work for Scientology?
I bet it's a few of you.

Jul. 06 2011 05:27 PM

How many people leaving comments on this page work for Scientology?
I bet it's a few of you.

Jul. 06 2011 05:25 PM
Art, Montreal from Montreal

Ms. Reitman sounded incoherent during most of your interview. She seemed to be struggling with her head slightly above water and then, when Brian asked a pertinent question, her oral cavity submerged below the water line...the listening audience was left with a fishbowl gurgling, bubbling and gushing effect...the cumulative result was very little articulation and comprehension re: her so-called knowledge of Scientologee-gee-whiz!"

Jul. 06 2011 02:45 PM

Quite interesting for folk who likely profess belief in virgin births , rising from the dead , parting of seas, plagues of frogs, death of all male children etc, etc, etc to comment on pecularity of beliefs of anyone. All religious belief sets are fantastic. Doubt sincerely that you can cite any major religious group that has no history of persecution of apostates and unbelievers.

Jul. 06 2011 01:03 PM
Vinny from Manalapan, NJ

You seem a bit dogmatic, not unlike Church (pick one) Leaders.

Jul. 06 2011 12:56 PM
JD from Manhattan

Sadly this reporters knowledge on the subject that 4 years was spent upon is dazzlingly incorrect. The first time a reporter has to use the phrase "Allegedly" then follow it with a definite something is shaky. I am not a "Scientology Fan", but the old saying "Better to be silent and be thought a fool, then to speak and remove all doubt." Rolling Stone reporting is 1 notch above Internet rumors. I wonder how long the lawsuit will take after assuming Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman divorced due to her declining belief. I'm sure the becoming pregnant by her Co-Star was just a minor issue. (sigh) And can someone please tell the honorable Ms. Reitman giggling and gushing is cute when your 6 yr old is doing a book report- Not so much on air.

Jul. 06 2011 12:53 PM
Nick from UWS

This woman's acceptance of a "faith" as a serious subject for discussion shows that she does not have the level of critical thinking ability necessary to discuss it in the first place.

Jul. 06 2011 12:46 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

brian - i don't think there's any direct connection, but the coercive tactics are very similar!

Jul. 06 2011 12:40 PM
William from Manhattan

Has the law changed in Germany? The last time I was in Berlin (February), I saw Scientologists on a major square offering their free stress test and Dianetics book etc.

Jul. 06 2011 12:39 PM
Nick from UWS

It's really too bad that so many people are so naive and lost as to buy into this utter crapola. The thuggery of religion is mind boggling. Religion, all religion, is the worst thing that has ever happened to this world.

Judging by Janet Reitman's childish giggling, snickering and obvious nervousness and reluctance in talking about the negative aspects of this, it sounds as if she was teetering on being pulled in by the black hole herself.

Jul. 06 2011 12:38 PM
Brian from Brooklyn

Does Scientology have anything to do with Landmark Forum or est?

Jul. 06 2011 12:36 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

oh--so these "kids" in the church you think are so great break into government offices, too? and they believe in a mystical character named xenu while going to law school?

nope--nothing weird to see here. but i'm hoping the book is a bit more cogent than the author's ability to explain it.

Jul. 06 2011 12:34 PM

I've worked in the science fiction field since the 70s. One of the old masters of the genre I had the privilege of knowing was L. Sprague De Camp, who knew Hubbard well going back to the pulp magazine days.

Sprague told me that in the late 40s or early 50s, Hubbard told him and some other colleagues that he'd figured out that "The best way to make a lot of money is to found a religion." I think that speaks for itself.

Although he had some talent as a writer of pulp SF, to this day I consider L. Ron Hubbard science fiction's greatest embarrassment.

Jul. 06 2011 12:24 PM
Marsha from UWS

I did a couple years of Scientology and am no longer participating since 1997. I find this author no better than an tabloid writer. Scientology has many valuable aspects to it and can't be dismissed so readily. Her self admittedly cynical nature makes her an invalid objective writer. Too bad she didn't give it a chance. She might have been able to work through her cynicism.

Jul. 06 2011 12:22 PM
Tom from Toronto

The guest sounds a little flaky.

Jul. 06 2011 12:14 PM

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