Going Clear begins with the bizarre biography of L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology. Hubbard started his career as a science fiction writer; his bestselling novel, Dianetics, was published in 1950 and is the beginning and basis for the Church of Scientology. There are many strange stories outlining the peculiar beliefs behind the church. The narrative details creepy historical events, explains the lengthy litigation with the U.S. government on the issue of back taxes and whether the church can legally define itself as a religion and continues with present day gossip and how the church pursues celebrities to advance their goals and accumulate staggering amounts of money.
Going Clear offers a fascinating look behind an organization whose ambition and influence are often at odds with its strange practices. The author's examination of what makes a religion a religion and whether Scientology is deserving of the constitutional protection afforded to religions is possibly the most interesting aspect of the book. After a lengthy battle, Scientology achieved tax-exempt status from the IRS but after reading the extent of Scientology's unending harassment of IRS officials, the reader will have to come to his own conclusion about how and why this was decision made.
Reviewed by sw, 08/13. Other reviews by sw.