This book on Scientology is penned by a capable author; he is not someone careless nor with an ax to grind against Scientology per se. I first heard of the Pulitzer Prize winning author for his earlier work Looming Tower. Here in this work, he does a thorough research of giving us the history of Scientology, its dynamics and beliefs. I must say after reading this book I can’t Scientology see in the same light again; it is much more frightening than I originally realized. Sure, I have heard of the hiring of Private Investigators to harass people, the record of embarrassing information among its members as blackmail to keep people in and beliefs in aliens the higher up the level you go…but keeping people imprisoned, actual physical violence and requiring their dedicated members of the SEA ORG sign a billion year contract? This takes things to another level. The author does a good job of interviewing people (two hundred I believe) and also what the church has to say or deny. In the beginning of the book when it went over the founder Ron Hubbard’s personal history, I thought it was interesting and fascinating with all of Hubbard’s tall tales, for instance his lies of being a decorated Naval officer who was wounded in combat. Hubbard has this thing with embellishment and lies even after he got out of the Navy during World War two including fronting as some kind of nuclear physicists if I remember correctly from the book. But by the time the book got to the part where Hubbard started the SEA ORG within Scientology and was out in his ship in the middle of the Ocean with no accountability—things go from ridiculous to dark. It’s a maddening history with incidents like the infamous Operation Snow White in which Scientology engages in a massive intelligence operation like Scientology is its own state. If Hubbard in power was bad, it got worst according to the book when the current chairman of the board took over. This is a story of physical abuse, imprisonment and slave labor among the dedicated members known as SEA ORG. It made me very emotional and sad with all the wickedness not only in its doctrinal teaching but actual physical harm Scientology has inflicted upon some members according to the book. I commend the author for his bravery in writing this book, and the scholarship he poured into it. I thoroughly enjoyed how toward the end of the book the author describes his interaction with authorities from the church in Scientology. This book is a must read if you have any curiosity of this religion.
Note: This has made me pray for those who are in the SEA ORG and general members to come to know the truth in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.