Saturday, January 19, 2013

15 Scientology Revelations From Lawrence Wright’s ‘Going Clear’

The Book Beast -Jan 16, 2013 

From L. Ron Hubbard possibly forging his war documents to the church incarcerating hundreds of members in a pitch-black basement, here are the most startling revelations reported in Lawrence Wright’s new book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief.

Going Clear by Lawrence Wright
Author Lawrence Wright. (Kenny Braun/Knopf)
More Rastafarians Than Scientologists?
According to a former spokesperson for the church, there are only 30,000 members in an organization that church members are “forcefully encouraged” to join, the International Association of Scientologists. A survey called the Statistical Abstract of the United States estimates only 25,000 Americans call themselves Scientologists. “That’s less than half the number identifying themselves as Rastafarians.” (The Church of Scientology claims 8 million members worldwide—supposedly the number of people who have donated to the church. A recent ad claims 4.4 million new members every year.) The church has $1 billion in liquid assets, and in terms of cash reserves this figure eclipses the holdings of most major world religions. It claims to own about 12 million square feet of property around the world, with 26 of them in Hollywood, valued at $400 million. At its headquarters in Clearwater, Fla., it owns 68 largely tax-exempt pieces of land worth $168 million. The Sea Org is the church’s clergy, a navylike core estimated at around 3,000 to 5,000 members. Most of them join when they’re children, rendering services with barely any pay.

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