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The Church of Fear: Inside The Weird World of Scientology
 
 

The Church of Fear: Inside The Weird World of Scientology [Kindle Edition]

John Sweeney
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)

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'A bold and swashbuckling reporter...let him shout: at least he shouts the truth' MAIL ON SUNDAY 'Gripping' THE ECONOMIST 'A brave book' LIVERPOOL DAILY POST 'Blackly comic' THE NEW HUMANIST

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Tom Cruise and John Travolta say the Church of Scientology is a force for good. Others disagree. Award-winning journalist John Sweeney investigated the Church for more than half a decade. During that time he was intimidated, spied on and followed and the results were spectacular: Sweeney lost his temper with the Church's spokesman on camera and his infamous 'exploding tomato' clip was seen by millions around the world. In THE CHURCH OF FEAR Sweeney tells the full story of his experiences for the first time and paints a devastating picture of this strange organisation, from former Scientologists who tell heartbreaking stories of families torn apart and lives ruined to its current followers who say it is the solution to many of mankind's problems. This is the real story of the Church by the reporter who was brave enough to take it on.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A superb piece of journalism 27 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This really is a superb piece of journalism, detailing as it does the dark and disturbing world of former and existing members of quite possibly the world's most controversial religion. How do you define religion, and is the Church of Scientology justified in calling itself that - what about their critics who state it is really more of a cult and what exactly is a cult, how are such things defined and where do you draw the line - all these things and more are discussed in this deeply disturbing piece of writing.

John Sweeney is best known for his Panorama documentary which is loosely based around this book - this should perhaps be written the other way around, for this book was written as a companion to those who watched that programme and saw his infamous "tomato" episode, where the echelons of the "Church" deliberately goaded him into losing his rag. Their covert surveillance of John's team and everything that they do is by far the most sinister and the almost Godlike persona that the Church leader has leave me in doubt as what side of the fence I sit on when deciding whether this is a cult or not. If you though really want to know, you will have to read this book for yourself.

It is somewhat difficult for me to rate this book, because on the one hand, it is difficult read, but on the other it Is most definitely one of the best written from a journalistic viewpoint that I have read in a long while. Because it does tend to waffle in places, I would probably give it 4.
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62 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant investigative cult exposé 7 Jan 2013
By Betty
Format:Kindle Edition
Utterly compelling. Our own John Sweeney is practically revered in the United States for the investigations he has undertaken to expose the terrifying cult of Scientology which, because of America's enshrined sense of religious freedom, has been allowed to enter the mainstream with barely a whimper of protest. It's thanks to the courage of investigative reporters like Sweeney, Paulette Cooper, Tony Ortega, and others, and recent high profile articles in Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair magazines that the abuses of the 'church' are now so widely recognised. This is one truly scary (and powerful, and wealthy beyond imagining) cult, made famous by its policy of love-bombing (with a view to ensnaring) celebrities like Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, to name but a few.

In this book, Sweeney discusses the making of his original CoS documentary where he famously exploded in rage on-screen in response to intense psychological warfare from a church determined to crush his investigation and, subsequently, have him fired from the BBC. It's a testament to Sweeney that he refused to back down, despite admitting to being more afraid at that time than he had ever been when reporting from war zones around the globe, and the groundbreaking Panorama documentary, 'Scientology and Me' (and the follow-up, 'The Secrets of Scientology'), was the result.

Seriously fascinating stuff. Highly recommended to fans of secretive cult exposés, cracking investigative journalism, and free speech.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very reserved intelligent tomato. 23 Dec 2013
By Glen
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is really for those that watched and enjoyed the expose by Sweeney and Panorama a few years ago of the Church Of Scientology, in order to fully appreciate it.

It will have you shaking your head in disbelief that such an institution can freely exist in a modern society, and how so many people can be suckered into believing in its teachings when they are so obviously based on such abject fantasy.

Well worth the cover price being charged, and tenaciously written by the patient and amazingly reserved and not at all inexcusably exploding tomato he portrays himself as- John Sweeney.

A fine informative accompaniment to the programme.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars John Sweeney, Church of Fear 19 April 2014
By Deb
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As another reviewer mentioned, this is more or less an account of the author's experiences whilst gathering information and guestioning allegations made about Scientology by others, which would later be aired on tv. John Sweeney's style of writing took a while to get used to- I think he must write as he speaks- but I often chuckled at his sense of humour. As for the whole Scientology thing, well, what can you say? L. Ron Hubbard was clearly a crack-pot and con-man who fed on the vulnerabilities of others and bled them dry, both emotionally and financially. I feel disgusted that so many people spend possibly their whole lives like flies in a web, completely unable to escape and, if anything, it seems even more crazy since Hubbard's death. Unfortunately, having said this, it may now mean I am constantly followed and spied on by men in black suits! I hope this is not the case. I will let you know! (Good book. Four stars because of the writing style).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An informative yet disturbing read. 25 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For anybody who saw John Sweeney's Panorama meltdown whilst filming their Scientology investigation, this should be required reading. The build up to that incident, plus the post incident fallout, is all covered here along with a wealth of background information about this cult/religion (make your own decision once you've read the book). The primary feeling I have after finishing the book is admiration, not just for Sweeney but also for the Scientology 'defectors' he interviewed. The levels of intimidation and harassment they appear to have been subjected to by the 'church' really is disturbing.

The only reason this has a 4/5 review is that it doesn't appear to have been thoroughly proof read. There are quite a few spelling and grammatical errors that take the shine off an otherwise excellent book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A very interesting read.
This is a really interesting read. Some of the 1 star reviews are clearly from scientologists as nobody else could possibly think that scientology is anything other than a... Read more
Published 2 hours ago by c.v
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting book which would have been excellent with better...
An interesting book which would have been excellent with better editing. As the main critical review I read has already said, the author irritates by repeated use of certain... Read more
Published 4 hours ago by garygill
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Fascinating account of encounters with a dangerous bunch of nutjobs.
Published 6 days ago by Andrew
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing insight
Having seen the now infamous episode of Panorama that John Sweeney uncovered to Church of Scientology, it was great to read the full back-story, and an update to it. Read more
Published 23 days ago by S. Reynolds
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book, worth reading.
A very interesting book, honestly written, offering a very good insight into the church.
Published 28 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A great humanistic story
This book is less about scientology than it is about authoritarianism in general. It is about the maintenance of money and power through espionage, intimidation, lies, legal writs,... Read more
Published 2 months ago by TonyS
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
Good background to the infamous Panorama episode and subsequent events and details the extent to which this organisation goes to control criticism and public image. Read more
Published 3 months ago by PL
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating subject, poor writing
This book is a strange beast - the subject is fascinating but the writing is terrible. Although Sweeney may be a very good investigative journalist, and perhaps his other books are... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mr TT Fair
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 Stars for Bravery
I found this book fascinating but decided to give it 5 stars because of the bravery it took to write it. Read more
Published 4 months ago by R N McConnachie
5.0 out of 5 stars exploding tomatoes
A fascinating insight into Scientology and the events surrounding the production of two editions of Panorama back in 2007 and 2010.
Published 4 months ago by danofthewibble
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