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“Going Clear”: Scientology Exposed

Lawrence Wright's enthralling, meticulously fact-checked account of the insular church and its celebrity members.

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Hubbard, as Wright acknowledges more than once, was a charmer, with a knack for manipulating people. He knew, somehow, that there is no behavior more likely to foster fascination and dependence than intermittent reinforcement, enveloping approval and assurances of future bliss shot through with unpredictable episodes of domination, insults and terror. That is the dynamic of the abusive family, a dynamic that prevails in Sea Org. and the hidden enclaves of Scientology. From what Wright reports, it looks like my curiosity about Hubbard’s earliest years will never be satisfied. But now I can make an educated guess.


Laura Miller is a senior writer for Salon. She is the author of "The Magician's Book: A Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia" and has a Web site,

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