02 May 2012

Inside Scientology by Janet Reitman

I recently finished reading Janet Reitman's Inside Scientology.  I have to say, it was not nearly what I expected, but I say that in a good way.

There is a lot of press, not to mention a lot of depiction in fiction, of the Church of Scientology.  Not knowing any personally, at least that I'm aware of, I suppose I was curious what the deal was with them - beyond what has been shown in television.

Inside Scientology happened to be reviewed in something or another that I was reading, and so it wound its way onto the list of books to check out from the library, and now it finally got read.  I have to say I could not have been more pleased with the choice.  It is hard to imagine a more fair, unbiased look than the one presented by Janet Reitman.

In a story as sensationalized as that of the Church - from Tom Cruise's couch-jumping antics to the episode of South Park which lampooned the Operating Thetan III, or OT3, documents - it was nice to get an unbiased presentation of the facts, meticulously researched, and told without judgment, frequently in the words of current or former church members.

Most valuable to me, perhaps, were the final few chapters, where Reitman focused not on the powerful and widely-known members of the Church, but rather on its ordinary lay-people.  This was what I truly wanted to know: what it was like for the ordinary member of the Church.  Turns out it's not so different than anyone else, which is comforting.  The monolithic organization that the Church of Scientology is presented as can be quite frightening.  It's good to know that there are regular people populating it, too.

In a perhaps ironic pairing, the other book that came from the library was The Last Testament: A Memoir by God (with David Javerbaum).  I look forward to delving into that as well.  I could use some lighter fare.

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Books: Finished the above; working on The Last Testament.

Bottles: Tried Rio Real Reserva 2008, a Portugese wine.  Not the best, but drinkable.

Writing: 60% done with rewrite.  Hoping to finish by 17 May!

Guitar: Working on "On the Turning Away," plus some pentatonic exercises to build my speed, and a neat lick from the Foo Fighters' "The Pretender."