Two Necessary Additions To Your Crazy Cults Bookshelf

If you’re a friend of mine and have tried to make plans with me the last few weeks, you’ve likely failed, because i have been very busy planning my infiltration into the upper echelon of Scientology. And by “planning” I mean reading Going Clear by Lawrence Wright and Beyond Belief by Jenna Miscavige Hill, two new fascinating and in-depth books about the notorious cult/religion, and having extremely exciting dreams in which I am tasked by the authorities to help take down the religion. Both books are so fantastic, I couldn’t pick just one to recommend as a Crave, so I’m doing both, because I am the David Miscavige of The Frisky, only much taller.

So, Lawrence Wright is a journalist for The New Yorker, who wrote a fantastic piece for the magazine a few years ago about director Paul Haggis and his decision to leave Scientology after 30 years of devotion. Going Clear explains the background of L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology and the church’s various beliefs in a way that’s easy to grasp and interesting to read; his book also explores Scientology’s focus over the last two decades on recruiting celebrities, so there’s lots of juicy bits about Tom Cruise, John Travolta and others. It’s seriously a fantastic read and I couldn’t put it down.

So I was kind of devastated when I finished and wanted more. Jenna Miscavige Hill’s memoir of growing up inside the Church of Scientology (including signing a billion year contract with the Sea Org at age seven) offered a more personal look at the religion, particularly the inner workings of the church and its members’ mindset and beliefs. Miscavige Hill’s testimony is particularly interesting because she is the niece of current church leader David Miscavige, whom ex members accuse of various abuses. Miscavige Hill left the church at age 21 and has been tireless in her quest to get the truth out there. Her story is incredible and, given her familial connection to the church’s highest ranking member, essential to the fight against the Church of Scientology’s various human rights abuses.

[$15.98 (Beyond Belief) and $15.55 (Going Clear), Amazon]