I had to stop underlining the sentences in GOING CLEAR that made me gasp in horror because I would have ended up underlining the whole book.
Lawrence Wright’s clear-eyed, phenomenally researched takedown of Scientology is straight-up terrifying. And also undeniably funny.
Here are just a few of the most astounding/awful/hilarious quotes from the book, presented by Wright with very little editorializing.
1. “The last time he [L. Ron Hubbard] showed Excalibur to a publisher, he said, the reader brought the manuscript into the room, set it on the publisher’s desk, then jumped out the window.” [NOTE: I have wanted to do that once or twice in my career as an editor.]
2. “While he was in Miami, Hubbard contracted gonorrhea from a woman named Ginger.”
3. “The ceremony, likely aided by narcotics and hallucinogens, required Hubbard to channel the female deity of Babalon as Parsons performed the ‘invocation of wand with material basis on talisman’ — in other words, masturbating on a piece of parchment.”
4. “He [L. Ron Hubbard] claimed to be a contemporary of Machiavelli’s, and he was still upset that the author of The Prince stole his line ‘the end justifies the means.'”
5. “Roos survived his punishment, only to set a dismal precedent. After that, overboardings became routine, but mostly from the lower poop deck.”
6. “After roll call, Kent instructed everyone to point in the direction of ABC Studios and telepathically communicate the instruction: ‘We want John Travolta for the part.’ At the next meeting, Travolta revealed he had gotten the role of Vinnie Barbarino…”
7. “Hubbard finished writing his thousand-page opus, Battlefield Earth, in 1980. (Mitt Romney would name it as his favourite novel.)”
8. “David Mayo was sent to the RPF. He was made to run around a pole in the searing desert heat for twelve hours a day, until his teeth fell out.” [There are so many heinous persecutions detailed in this book — this is the smallest taste.]
9. “Jesse Prince says that when Hubbard was angry at someone he would command Miscavage to hit or spit on them, then report back when he had done so.”
10. “He [David Miscavage] surrounded Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman with an approving and completely deferential environment, as spotless and odourless as a fairy tale.”
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