Blog: 'Going Clear' Muddies the Water - 2013-01-20
To true-believer Scientologists, Lawrence Wright's book Going Clear will be an extreme test of faith. To independent-minded Scientologists the book will be a test of how well they understand Scientology and correspondingly how well they differentiate the technology of Scientology from personage of its original author.
This is so because the majority of the book is little more than a compendium of greatest shots by L. Ron Hubbard's many erstwhile enemies. There is no balance, but for the occasional gratuitous, condescending nods to L. Ron Hubbard's power of imagination.
Having read a number of Wright's previous works, I anticipated much more from the Pulitzer prize winning author. I never wrote a review of Janet Reitman's Inside Scientology because I considered it a rather dry, overly academic history of Scientology. While it was more comprehensive and balanced than any previous outsider look at the subject, I found it to be rather turgid, impersonal and careful. It, like all books by outsiders who haven't experienced that which they write about, lacked the vital subjective component that truth requires. Note, some level of subjective experience is essence in covering a subject (religion/philosophy/spirituality) that is by academic and scientific standards wholly subjective. Having seen how Wright made the entire Middle East vs. Western culture divide personal, and understandable in his The Looming Tower – from both the Middle Eastern and Western perspective – I believed he might do the same for the sorely misunderstood subjects of L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology.