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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Borderline apology or cutting edge exploration of the distinction between cult and religion?
When I finished reading "Inside scientology" it took a bit of
reflection before I arrived at my view so far: that this book is
either borderline apologetic (in the guise of not being biased) or at
the very cutting edge of distinguishing between the actions of one
group of followers (the members in good standing of the scientology
organisation) and...
Published on 28 July 2011 by Jens Tingleff

versus
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not true
I was waiting for the real meat and potatoes of what goes on inside the mind of Scientology devotees. I got a little bit of that, but mostly it was too journalistic and not enough personal accounts. A lot of basic information and repeats of old smears, some of which have now been proven to be lies.
Published 2 months ago by Zero


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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Borderline apology or cutting edge exploration of the distinction between cult and religion?, 28 July 2011
By 
Jens Tingleff (Cambridge, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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When I finished reading "Inside scientology" it took a bit of
reflection before I arrived at my view so far: that this book is
either borderline apologetic (in the guise of not being biased) or at
the very cutting edge of distinguishing between the actions of one
group of followers (the members in good standing of the scientology
organisation) and all the others ("independent scientologists"). The
harmfulness of scientology the subject is obviously controversial. In
Germany, all scientology followers, organised or independents, are
restricted by law from taking government jobs. In California,
"ministerial exception" causes lawsuits against the organisation to
stop in the courts.

First, what I did not like. The word "cult." It is not used much in
this book, indeed it does not appear in the index. The Jim Jones
peoples temple is described as a cult, but there is no reflection on
what made the peoples temple different from the scientology sea
org. One big difference is, of course, that Jim Jones cannot sue
anyone. One book from only a few years ago about a multinational
organisation was never published in the UK - it is rumoured to be the
target of a "super injunction."

Also, while the description of the death of Lisa McPherson is
certainly admirably free of "bias" I wondered why this is the only
harrowing case that was described in such detail. This is - sadly -
far from the only court case from which one can quote devastating
details. Patrice Vic (Jugement Num 7388,Tribunal de Grande Instance de
Lyon, 1996) was a scientologist who was a victim, and Donald Anthony
Strawn - "Tony Strawn" (Pinellas County Criminal Court case
CRC94-12575CFANO) - is a (former) scientologist victimiser.

Then it grabbed me. What I felt was an absence of an overall opinion
about the organisation (I mean, what's the point of mentioning how
polite a few scientologist children are? The same point as mentioning
that Mussolini made the trains run on time??) could also be construed
as a subtle invitation to consider the latest developments regarding
the subject. The subject of scientology is no longer promoted
effectively by only one group, as it was previously. At the same time
that the scientology organisation is losing effectiveness (the mere
fact that this book is published demonstrates this) critics of
scientology (the subject and the organisation) and independent
scientologists are all expanding dramatically - not to say
"exponentially" - especially on the Internet. Reitman gives the
addresses of many websites that I like very much - as well as a few
scientology organisation websites and websites dedicated to
independent scientology.

People with my special interest - the scientology organisation rather
than the subject - could understandably be disappointed with this
book. It is IMHO equally possible that the future will prove that this
book was an important stepping stone in trying to describe, without
much bias, what is good and what is bad about scientology, the subject
as well as the organisation. I think you should buy this book and read
it to find out what you think of the distinction and why it matters,
if you think it matters at all.

My best answer to the question I put in the title is "you decide."
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well researched and fascinating, 15 Dec 2012
If you're interested in Scientology, this provides an in-depth and fascinating insight. The author originally wrote a piece on Scientology for Rolling Stone magazine and developed it into this book. It covers the early days of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, through to the current `Chairman of the Board', David Miscavige and everything in-between from tax evasion, criminality and its disturbing methods of keeping followers under control, through to its dubious reliance on Tom Cruise.

The book benefits from being more impartial than others that are written by ex-insiders with an axe to grind. She has clearly taken a lot of trouble over five years of research to give an objective view of Scientology, which must have been quite a challenge, given how secretive the organisation is and their dubious record for silencing those who publish negative coverage. I imagine one of the challenges of writing this book is not so much what to put in but what to leave out, as there's so much that is controversial, nuts and just plain wrong about Scientology. But I think she gets the balance right and I admire the clear-eyed take on what is a very slippery subject, along with the way she plays it straight, even though it's easy to ridicule the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard. I don't usually read non-fiction but found this very engrossing, mainly because (let's face it) Scientology is crazy bats**t.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars *****, 21 April 2014
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Intensively researched, well collated, colourfully depicted...

An objective but nonetheless damning insight.

(Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion - by Janet Reitman)
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not true, 4 Jun 2014
This review is from: Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion (Paperback)
I was waiting for the real meat and potatoes of what goes on inside the mind of Scientology devotees. I got a little bit of that, but mostly it was too journalistic and not enough personal accounts. A lot of basic information and repeats of old smears, some of which have now been proven to be lies.
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