This book is the most recent in a line of critical books written by former church executives (see also "Blown For Good" by Mark Headley and "Scientology - Abuse At The Top" by Amy Scobee). All are worth reading and their cumulative effect is both consistent as it is damning. Regardless of what you might think of Scientology beliefs - even these authors now have differing opinions - the way this church is being run and the abuse within the upper management is shocking to learn.
Although Jeff's book is the most recent, it was originally published prior to all the other books I mentioned in a briefer version as a blog. That blog has been cited by many Scientologists as the eye-opening moment that led them to leave the church (although many still consider themselves Scientologists). Watch for current-church Scientologists posting very negative reviews of this book to keep you away. That is standard operating procedure for them.
The welcome surprise is that Jeff is a gifted writer. Highly recommended.
(For the insider perspective of another former staff member, see also "My Billion Year Contract" by Nancy Many.)
To those who have never been involved in Scientology, this books explains better than any other -- why they don't leave.
OR why it takes so many years to finally go.
Jeff Hawkins tells his 40 year journey deep within the highest management structure of scientology. Why he was so dedicated and what he hoped to accomplish by launching the most successful marketing campaign for the book - Dianetics.
He accomplished what really could NOT be done. To get a book back on the best seller list after 40 years.
His heartbreaking story is a must read. To have endured the degradation that was foisted on him and come out - ready to expose the existing church for what it is and not be bitter against everyone, is inspiring.
I read this in one long sitting and have already promised it to a friend.
For those of you old enough to remember, Dianetics, the Modern Science of Mental Health (the lead in book to the world of Scientology) catapulted back on to the New York Times Best-Seller list 30+ years after its initial publication. The man behind the marketing campaign that achieved that is the author of this book, Jefferson Hawkins. Mr. Hawkins got involved in Scientology at a young age, and dedicated his next "billion years" to the movement. His path through the organization led him to creating a Marketing Unit that actually worked. And while he did enjoy great success in that regard, this story is actually a bit of a tragedy, as his unit was systematically destroyed by a power hungry mad-man, current cult-leader David Miscavige. There have been quite a few "exodus" books concerning Scientology, of late. This one is extremely well written, informative and vaulable for documenting the changing dynamics within that particular organization.
How could you spend decades inside Scientology without losing your mind or becoming suspicious of the organization? What is day-to-day life really like for a Scientologist? By reading this book, you can get a great perspective from a man with no grudges and an eye for detail. It's such a good book that it quenched my thirst for stories about Scientology-- once you've read it, you feel like you really understand the organization and didn't just get another "deconvert" perspective.
When Jeff first published his Counterfeit Dreams blog, chapter by chapter, thousands around the world were watching and reading, gripped by the drama he communicated in his own thoughtful way. Many people have reported how they were changed by reading what Jeff had to say about his own personal odyssey in the Church of Scientology. Jeff helped me feel compassion for those caught between their own desire to help others and the machinations of an increasingly insane despot.
"Counterfeit Dreams" is a very worthwhile experience. I have read many accounts by former Scientologists (both in and out of the Sea Org), and this book reinforces the common threads of human rights abuse, manipulation, deception and greed. I found it an engrossing read, though disturbing - as expected.
Hawkins' story is particularly tragic because, throughout his 35 years of dedicated service, he was truly committed to the core beliefs of Scientology...that Scientology could help humanity, that they were "clearing the planet" of negativity and suffering. The irony is that the executive level of Scientology is a collection of cruel, deluded, power-hungry miscreants, led by the tyrannical and clearly insane David Miscavige. It's all about the money. It's all about the power. The Sea Org underlings are treated as slave labor, pawns to be worked almost to death, then tossed away on a whim. Individuals are beat down (mentally and physically), broken into submission. Hawkins gave everything he had to Scientology, and was repaid with only pain. He wanted to save people, wanted to spread the word...and spent 35 years fighting those in charge for the chance to do that. Such a shame.
It is easy for those of us on the outside to wonder why they all don't just "blow" (leave) the Sea Org and Scientology...but from Hawkins' and others' stories, we can see that many of them have no place to go outside the unreal world of Scientology. By the time they realize how they have been scammed, that Hubbard's philosophies are nothing but pulp science fiction nonsense, it's too late. Often their spouses, children, parents, friends, their entire existence - are tied up in Scientology. To leave is to be shunned, cast off, cut off. To leave is to be declared "suppressive".Read more ›