CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY INTERNATIONAL
Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief
Statement on Lawrence Wright’s book
Lawrence Wright’s book is so ludicrous it belongs in a supermarket tabloid. The book is an error-filled, unsubstantiated bigoted anti-Scientology book. The Church has produced a white paper to identify some of the more than 200 errors so far discovered in Mr. Wright’s book. British and Canadian publishers have already chosen not to print it, which speaks volumes about their confidence in its factual accuracy.
In a letter of October 14, 2011, a full 15 months before publication, the Church offered full cooperation to answer any questions so as to provide all information Mr. Wright would need to accurately represent the religion, the Church, its leadership and Founder. The Church repeated this request fifteen times, as many of the letters went entirely unanswered while others resulted in only about a dozen “fact-checks” consisting of obscure or mundane subjects out of context, such as:
- Did Mr. Miscavige ever experience difficulty sleeping while he was living in England? (When he was 12 years old.)
- Four questions devoted to Mr. Hubbard’s cigarettes in the ’50s and ’60s (Mr. Hubbard stopped smoking in later years.)
- Or, “Has the church ever addressed the subject of Aum Shinryko?” (No.)
When Mr. Wright’s bias was pointed out to him, he falsely accused the Church of bizarre actions based on not a single fact and went silent when asked to support his accusations.
Mr. Wright showed the Church he had no interest in the facts, only the lies and exaggerations being fed to him by angry, bitter sources with agendas based on hatred and revenge. The result is a biased work, more fiction than fact.
The lack of acceptance of the Church’s willingness to provide information was and is insulting. In the end, Mr. Wright declined the Church’s repeated offer to assist him in making his book accurate. Instead of seeking information from the Church, Mr. Wright continued to seek out a small group of bitter apostates, many of whom are self-confessed liars, removed for malfeasance and immoral conduct whose ever-morphing stories have been questioned for the past several years:
- Removed for malfeasance more than a decade ago, Marty Rathbun admitted lying to the media about the same allegations made in the book and admitted to a newspaper to suborning perjury and obstructing justice.
- Mike Rinder is also on record contradicting himself, asserting the very same allegation he alleges to Mr. Wright was “rubbish” to another media and when questioned on network television “If you lied before how do we know you’re telling the truth now?” Rinder responded, “You don’t.” He, too, was removed from the Church for malfeasance.
- Marc Headley provided three different versions of the same tabloid gossip story. He also made wild allegations in a federal lawsuit against the Church that a judge tossed out of court, but not before admitting under oath to twice selling stories to tabloids. The judge ordered the Headleys to pay $40,000 to the Church to cover its legal costs in defending against such a frivolous lawsuit.
These and other sources were practically held up as paragons of virtue.
The Church requested five times of the publisher and Mr. Wright that it be provided a manuscript to assist in accuracy. Only this week did Mr. Wright offer to send the book on Wednesday or Thursday (autographed). Once the Church was able to read some of the manuscript, the errors became visible and some are exhibited in this white paper such as:
- The book claims that a Scientologist who was a bank teller says he was told to comply with a robbery in order to pay off his debt to the Church (the robbers taking $4,000). Per his end notes, Mr. Wright attributes this story to Garry Scarff, someone with a major credibility problem. Scarff was never a Scientologist and is better known per published accounts as the person who “reinvented himself during the late 1980s as a surviving member of the Rev. Jim Jones’ Peoples Temple. He claimed to be a victim having allegedly lost his father, his fiancée and his eight-month-old son… However, by later admission, all of his Jonestown claims were fraudulent. Neither Scarff nor any member of his family were ever involved…” Mr. Scarff admitted he is an inveterate liar under oath (and coincidentally two of the above sources are well aware of these facts and more). As for the supposed bank robbery, there are no public records, no news accounts, no bank teller and no one has ever heard of this incident.
- Mr. Wright claims that L. Ron Hubbard wrote his parents out of Mr. Hubbard’s biography. A review of the 16-volume biographical encyclopedia (of which Mr. Wright is familiar and claims to have read in part) shows photographs of Mr. Hubbard’s parents and Mr. Hubbard’s own words about them.
- The most surprising was the claim that Mr. Wright interviewed something like 200 Scientologists – past and current. When the Church checked the list, only about a dozen are current Scientologists, none of whom were interviewed for the book.
This white paper represents a sampling of some of the more than 200 factual errors identified thus far, with some of the most egregious still to be detailed information. These represent errors, some large and others small, but all of them a result of reporting methods that lacked factual accuracy, avoided the Church and relied on individuals who display their disdain for their former religion and could hardly be qualified as reliable or “expert.”
So while Mr. Wright provided his apostate sources a free pass by failing to go beyond their pre-arranged corroboration to independently scrutinize their bizarre tales and allegations, he fails to mention that in the time he worked on this book, the Church experienced massive growth under Mr. Miscavige’s ecclesiastical leadership as reflected in:
- The opening of 30 new Churches around the world including 12 in 2012 alone—in Sacramento, Orange County, San Jose and Los Gatos, California; Phoenix, Arizona; Denver, Colorado; Greater Cincinnati, Ohio; Buffalo, New York; as well as in Germany, Italy and our first in the Middle East, in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Yet another inaccuracy is calling the Seattle Church “shuttered” when it has been in continuous service for more than fifty years and opened as an Ideal Organization in July 2010—as shown on our website for all these years www.scientology.org/david-miscavige/churchopenings/church-of-scientology-seattle.html)
- The completion of a 25-year program to restore and recover our Scripture making available more than 2,000 of Mr. Hubbard’s lectures to our parishioners along with corresponding written materials. This program was executed by Mr. Miscavige and now makes the original works of Mr. Hubbard available in full for the generations to come. (www.scientology.org/renaissance-for-scientology.html)
- The establishment of a new 185,000-sq.-ft. facility for the production of Church dissemination and humanitarian materials. This state-of-the-art printing facility enables the Church to produce and distribute dissemination and humanitarian items at a rate 10 times previous levels for virtually the same cost. www.scientology.org/disseminationcenter
- Producing films to disseminate the religion and advance our social programs, including our newest, Scientology: The Fundamentals of Thought, a feature length book-on-film. www.scientology.org/goldenera
- The acquisition of our soon to be Scientology religious television broadcast facility in Los Angeles.
And on top of ignoring all of the above, Mr. Wright avoided the thousands of Scientologists and non-Scientologists around the world who are involved in our humanitarian initiatives and social betterment programs reaching millions of people all over the world in the fields of drug abuse prevention and rehabilitation, education, criminal reform, human rights and morals education.
People all over the world embrace the Scientology religion because of the workability of L. Ron Hubbard’s discoveries about the mind, the spirit and life and the Church is set to service them all.
The only thing “clear” about Lawrence Wright’s book is that he is carrying water for a handful of angry, bitter individuals.