Review: In 'Inside Scientology,' Janet Reitman dissects web of players, events and comes to a conclusion - 2011-07-16
The Church of Scientology has survived for 60 years by shape-shifting its way into the minds of followers and bullying anyone who dares dissent. That combination of malleability and ruthlessness has fortified Scientology with a fortune in real estate and a portfolio of celebrity defenders.
In the new book Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion, journalist Janet Reitman argues that the Church of Scientology's reign may be in jeopardy unless it finds a way to reform. The church's abusive tendencies appear to be cannibalizing it from within.
Estimating the number of Scientologists is difficult. One 2008 survey by Trinity College put the number of Scientologists in the United States at 25,000. The International Association of Scientologists, Reitman writes, "to which virtually all dedicated Scientologists belong," has 40,000 members, according to reports. She writes, "At most, experts say, there are probably no more than a quarter of a million practicing Scientologists in the world today."