I have a confession to make – I’m addicted to reading about cults, especially Scientology. There’s something riveting in the stories coming out of the ‘religion’ by people who have escaped its clutches.
Here are six of the most popular titles on the topic – 3 of which I’ve read and loved, and 3 of which are on my short term reading list.
Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape
by Jenna Miscavige Hill
This is my favorite Scientology memoir so far. Jenna’s experience as niece of Scientology’s current leader – David Miscavige – is one of a kind. Raised in the church and becoming a member of the Sea Org at a young age, Jenna faced incredible abuse when she decided to challenge the church’s precepts. If you only ever read one book about Scientology, make it Jenna’s memoir.
Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief
A great overview on the origins and current practices of the church of Scientology, this book was my introduction to the religion/cult. It was also the basis for a critically acclaimed HBO documentary by the same title that is available for streaming on HBO Now. If you’re looking for a broad and complete intro to Scientology, this is the perfect place to start.
Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me
by Ron Miscavige and Dan Koon
I’m planning on tackling Ron Miscavige’s book during my trip home to Milan this August. Learning about Scientology has convinced me that David Miscavige is an equal parts mysterious and frightening figure, and I can’t wait to learn about his father’s take on his son’s meteoric ascent as new head of the church.
Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology
by Leah Remini
I just finished Leah Remini’s memoir – it was a quick read. Leah had a ‘normal’ experience being brought up in Scientology, until her rising fame as a sitcom star placed her in the same ranks as other Scientology celebrity members. I found her take on Tom Cruise’s status in the church and her account of Tom’s wedding with Katie Holmes particularly scandalous.
Blown For Good: Behind The Iron Curtain Of Scientology
by Marc Headley
Blown For Good is next on my Scientology reading list, after Ruthless. I’m expecting it to be just as absorbing as Jenna Miscavige’s memoir, as Marc Headley was also a Sea Org member and therefore subject to some of the most unbelievably abusive aspects of Scientology. His escape from a church compound on his motorcycle and the ensuing chase have the makings of a great action movie.
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Inside Scientology: The Story Of America’s Most Secret Religion
It’s been a few years since I read Going Clear, and I’m interested in tackling this other overview of Scientology by Janet Reitman for a refresher on the church’s origins and also potentially new information about its practices. With over 200 5-star reviews on Amazon, I’m expecting to be impressed.
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