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Scientology: A to Xenu: An Insider's Guide to What Scientology is All About Paperback – December 24, 2015
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About the Author
Born and raised in California, Chris Shelton grew up in Scientology and spent 25 years actively working for it at its highest levels. Having escaped in 2013, he has been an outspoken critic and anti-cult advocate ever since. He has chronicled his recovery from Scientology on his blog, The Critical Thinker at Large, and on his YouTube channel.
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Top customer reviews
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It is hard to get outside myself and imagine what someone completely new to the subject might experience reading this book, but I think they would find it very valuable. There is even a brief section on how to help your friends or relatives that are trapped in the cult. If you read that, and follow up with reading some of the references you could help someone quite a lot.
Finally, why Scientology? Why not read about warm puppies or sunsets instead? Factually Scientology is a tiny footnote in the history of obscure religious excesses and would not be long for the world if the criminal justice system was a little more active. Next year it may be even less. But the flaws in the human psyche that made Scientology possible, and which also drive far more active and dangerous movements, are still with us and will probably always be with us. We can read about the silly things Scientologists believe and laugh, but belief in silly things is not what makes them dangerous. It is what they do, the damage they cause in their ignorance and fanaticism, the terrible cost in human lives and sanity, that makes them worthy of study.
Chris has done a good job of making it understandable, and showing how intelligent and successful people can get sucked in along with the hopeless losers.
Any religion or cult is messy and multifaceted, and Scientology ranks among the most confounding. No book of just 362 pages will tell the whole story, but Chris manages to build a comprehensible model of how this man Hubbard struggled to overcome his ample human foibles. The ‘Affirmations of L. Ron Hubbard’ in appendix 2 is a must read, as Hubbard penned his most inner anxieties, and the positive suggestions with which he hoped to purge anxieties.
Evidently this method was unsuccessful, as were the later techniques of Dianetics and the endless trail of new procedures under the banner of Scientology. Hubbard died with his anxieties intact, convinced they stemmed from the ‘body thetans’ that cluster upon all earthlings. We find out in the book that ridding oneself of body thetans is central to the secret upper level doctrines of Scientology.
So why would any reasonable person suspend reason and drink from the fountain of body thetan Kool-Aid? No simple answer here, but Chris does paint a picture of narcissistic affirmations to reward the faithful, and a vengeful totalitarian control structure to dissuade thoughts of leaving. This is what Scientology has evolved into. And since Hubbard died, the train of new procedures has been parked on the tracks, leaving the faithful with nowhere to go, and wondering if they will ever make it to the promised land of super powers. So, for now, they go to Scientology fundraisers and suck up the lavish admiration bestowed for writing checks. And Scientology assets accrue to billions, and the number of faithful shrink to less than 30,000.
The question that not even Chris can answer is, how does it end?
I do disagree with others leaving reviews that state this is just a written version of his videos. I think there was a lot of new material. Also, I think we absorb information better when introduced to some of the same material in a different medium. I hope Chris continues to do the great work that he's been doing. He's a bit of a "hero" to me and I turn to his material often when challenging myself to think more critically. We are all bound by some form of indoctrination that restricts our seeing things for what they really are. While the book has a lot to do with educating people on Scientology, it also says a lot to us outside of the cult. We all have our own mental prisons, but the real challenge for most is seeing the cage.
Most recent customer reviews
Clearly Chris knows all the ins and outs of this cult.Read more