Scientology — Research Resources: Books

Books on Scientology

Information about Apologetics Index research resources This is a continuation of our older entry on books about Scientology — Newer resources will be posted here

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  • Blown for Good: Behind the Iron Curtain of Scientologyoffsite Marc Headley

    The International Base of Scientology. The 500 acre property located deep in the California desert. The local townspeople were told lectures and films were being made there. But is that all that was happening? It is the location of a multi-million dollar home for L. Ron Hubbard, built two decades after his death. It is the home of Scientology’s current leader, David Miscavige. So what really happens at the Int Base? Are the stories on the internet true? How does Scientology conduct management of its day to day operations? Could stories of armed guards, weapons, staff beatings, and razor wire fences be true? If so, how could a facility like this exist in modern day America? Hundreds of staff tried to escape over the years. Some succeeded but were never seen or heard of again, most failed. Why were people kept here? What was it that went on at the headquarters of Scientology? This is the story of what happened behind the Iron Curtain of Scientology.

    “…the Scientology cult, is I guarantee you, a thousand times more bizarre than you could have ever imagined.” The John & Ken Show, KFI AM 640

    “Headley’s book also provides stunning material that has rarely been collected in one place… a damning account of life working for Scientology leader David Miscavige at the secretive desert base…” Tony Ortega, The Village Voice
    – Source: Book description as cited by

  • The Complex: An Insider Exposes the Covert World of the Church of Scientology John Duignan

    For the first time ever, a former high-ranking member of the Church of Scientology is lifting the lid on life inside the world’s fastest growing cult. The Complex reveals the true story behind the religion that has ensnared a who s who list of celebrities such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta, and convinced thousands of ordinary people to join up.

    Duignan describes how two years ago he staged a dramatic escape from the elite paramilitary group at the core of the Church, the Sea Organisation, and how he narrowly evaded pursuit by Scientologists from the Office of Special Affairs. He looks back on the 22 years he served in the Church s secret army and describes the hours of sleep deprivation, brain-washing and intense auditing or religious counselling he endured, as he was moulded into a soldier of Scientology. He talks about the money-making-machine at the heart of the Church, the Scientology goal to Clear the Planet and Get Ethics In , the training programmes, the Rehabilitation Project Force and the punishments meted out to anyone who transgresses, including children. We follow his journey through the Church and the painful investigation that leads to his eventual realisation that there is something very wrong at Scientology s core.

    The beliefs of the Church of Scientology might sound like something from a science fiction book but The Complex reveals that the Church s growing power base is a shocking reality.
    – Source: Book description as cited by

  • Counterfeit Dreamsoffsite By Jefferson Hawkins, who also authored Leaving Scientology. An abbreviated version of the book is available at Jeff’s Counterfeit Dreams blogoffsite.

    Scientology presents a glittering public façade, with smiling celebrities, polished videos, slick TV ads and impressive buildings. It is an image that Jefferson Hawkins helped to craft in his 35 years as a top marketing executive for the Church of Scientology. Yet behind that façade is a hidden world of physical and mental abuse, sleep deprivation, labor camps, family disconnection and human rights abuses. It is a nightmare world that is carefully hidden from public view. Counterfeit Dreams is a must-read for anyone who wants to know the truth about today’s most controversial cult.

  • Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religionoffsite Janet Reitman. One of the most important books about Scientology to date. The book is an expanded version of Reitman’s extensive Inside Scientology article published in Rolling Stone.

    Whatever your opinion of Scientology, the truth is more extreme. Inside Scientology is journalist Janet Reitman’s incredible book-length follow-up to the Rolling Stone cover story of the same name, a 2007 finalist for the National Magazine Award.

    Founded by wayward science-fiction writer and historical revisionist par excellence L. Ron Hubbard, “America’s Most Secretive Religion” is perhaps best known for high-profile adherents like Tom Cruise and John Travolta, but its tenets, processes, and internal organization form a story as surprising and captivating as that of any investigative work released this year.

    Reitman’s extensive research–including hundreds of interviews with devotees and defectors alike–culminates in an expansive, page-turning survey of the origins, development, crises, beliefs, and scandals of this fascinating incorporated religion, all with a fair-minded approach that favors diligent curiosity over judgment at every turn.

    “It has been my goal to write the first objective modern history of the Church of Scientology,” Reitman writes in the book’s introduction, and to this end, Inside Scientology succeeds in spades. This book will remain the definitive study of the subject for a long time to come.
    – Source: Jason Kirk, Amazon Best Books of the Month July 2011

    These are tough times for Scientology, the deceptively presented and authoritarian-run religious corporation founded by L. Ron Hubbard in 1954 and led the past quarter century by the reclusive David Miscavige.

    For more than a decade, the Internet has proliferated with websites created by former members and other critics that reveal disturbing church practices and once-secret teachings. […]

    Recent years have also seen an unprecedented number of departures — and revelations — by Scientology officials.

    Now, the latest blow has arrived on bookshelves — “Inside Scientology: The Story of American’s Most Secretive Religion.”

    Janet Reitman, whose research began with a 2007 article in Rolling Stone, has crafted a scrupulously written and ultimately devastating portrait of Scientology. The book is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, so it has the distribution clout of a major publisher. […]

    Reitman explores several of the structures and policies Hubbard put into place. They include:

    • Emphasis on earning money. Through expensive courses and materials, “auditing,” a form of counseling done to followers and prospective converts by members without recognized accreditation, and expected contributions to spinoff organizations, it can cost individuals hundreds of thousands of dollars to climb “the Bridge to Freedom.”
    • Anti-psychiatry zealotry. Archaic characterizations date back to the bitter rejection Hubbard, a successful pulp fiction writer, faced after writing the self-help “Dianetics” in 1950, his “mental science” precursor to Scientology.
    • Security and surveillance. This includes a quasi-prison system, detailed dossiers and strong-armed pressuring of members, and an aggressive stance against critics backed by an army of high-priced attorneys.
    • Practice of “disconnection.” Members are pressured to sever ties with loved ones critical of Scientology, including spouses, parents and children.
    • Sea Organization. These core members are required to sign billion-year service contracts, often as children, work long hours for little pay and are often raised by the church after parents sign away guardianship rights.

    – Source: Mark Sommer, Book builds damaging case of Scientology as a fraud, Buffalo News, July 29, 2011

  • Leaving Scientology: A Practical Guide to Escape and Recoveryoffsite By Jefferson Hawkins, who was once the top marketing executive for the Church of Scientology. See also, Counterfeit Dreams

    Written for Scientologists, ex-Scientologists, and their families, this book is a guide to leaving the Church of Scientology and recovering one’s life. The author, Jefferson Hawkins, was a Church of Scientology staff member for over 30 years, and worked at the highest level of Scientology management. With intelligence and logic, he deconstructs the arguments, control mechanisms and lies used by the Church of Scientology to control their members. This book is vital reading for anyone re-evaluating their involvement with the Church of Scientology.

  • My Billion Year Contract: Memoir of a Former Scientologistoffsite Nancy Many

    To a young, teenage girl, Scientology seemed to be just what the author was looking for; a way to improve herself and attain spiritual enlightenment. But it was only after she joined Scientology’s elite inner circle, the Sea Organization, and signed a Billion Year contract that she discovered the dark world of fanaticism and abuse at the center of Scientology’s vast empire. For more than two decades she worked at all levels of the organization, from serving as a personal aide to the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, who placed her in charge of the religion s worldwide expansion to becoming the head of Celebrity Center, the organization that caters to it s celebrity members. Early in her Scientology career, she spent five years as a covert agent engaged in espionage activities for the Church s shadowy Guardian s Office. After leaving the Sea Org she spent an additional two years as an undercover operative for the reformed Guardian s Office, the Office of Special Affairs, which continued the same pattern of covert intelligence and dirty tricks against the Church s perceived enemies while using intense legal attacks and bolstered by hire private investigators. She personally experienced the Sea Organization s Rehabilitation Project Force; a labor camp where erring members are re-educated . When her loyalty came into question she was subjected to weeks of grueling interrogation, ending up in restraints after being rushed to a hospital by ambulance, unable to even recognize her husband. It is a shocking story of abuse, imprisonment, espionage, lies, mental torture and suicide- vital reading for anyone who wants to know what goes on behind Scientology s curtain.– Source: Book description as cited at

  • A Piece of Blue Sky: Scientology, Dianetics and L. Ron Hubbard Exposedoffsite Jon Atack

    A Piece of Blue Sky is not the latest expose of the Scientology scam. More recent dissections of brainwashing cults have touched on Scientology. But there has not been a later book sufficiently focused to justify including the word Scientology in the title, perhaps because Atack does such a thorough job of exposing this moneymaking scam posing as a religion, that there is little more to say.
    – Source: From a review by William R. Harwood at

    The full text of the book is available on several websites.

    Update: In February, 2013, Jon Atack released a vastly updated version of the book, now titled, Let’s sell these people A Piece of Blue Skyoffsite

  • A Queer and Pleasant Danger: The True Story of a Nice Jewish Boy who Joins the Church of Scientology and Leaves Twelve Years Later to Become the Lovely Lady She Is Todayoffsite Kindle editionoffsite By Kate Bornstein.

    “I identify as neither male nor female. . . . I’m neither straight nor gay,” wrote transgender performer and author Kate Bornstein in her seminal 1994 book Gender Outlaw. Born in 1948 on the Jersey Shore to a loving mother and a dad who was “a macho, macho man,” Bornstein left theater school in Massachusetts at the age of 22 on a spiritual journey that culminated in a 12-year stint in the Church of Scientology’s Sea Org, an elite group of members who were based on ships and functioned like a religious order. Bornstein was excommunicated from the Church in 1982 and branded a “subversive person.” In exile she’s found her voice as a liberated, post-op, transsexual lesbian icon—though, of course, Bornstein bucks labels like these every chance she gets.

    What the lengthy title of Bornstein’s new memoir, A Queer and Pleasant Danger: The True Story of a Nice Jewish Boy who Joins the Church of Scientology and Leaves Twelve Years Later to Become the Lovely Lady She Is Today (on sale May 1, 2012) doesn’t reveal is how scared she’s been to talk about her time in the Church, until now. Thanks to the TV show “South Park,” which satirized Scientology for mainstream audiences, and the hope that this story might someday reach Bornstein’s daughter, who’s still a member of the Church, she’s overcome her fear of retribution. Today, Bornstein says pretty much whatever she pleases about sex, gender, and Scientology—with fearless humor and a “fuck of a lot of love.”
    – Source: A Queer and Pleasant Danger: Kate Bornstein, Trans Scientology Survivoroffsite, Mother Jones, May 5, 2012

  • Scientology: The Religion of the Starsoffsite Ian Halperin. This book is slated for publication on Aug. 16, 2010, but can be pre-ordered at

    Author Ian Halperin goes undercover to reveal never-before-told secrets of the strange, science-fiction inspired church of the stars. Halperin infiltrates the Church of Scientology posing as a gay actor attracted by the church’s claim that it can cure homosexuality. Rebuffed until he claims that his uncle is a rich millionaire thinking of joining the church, he is given unprecedented access and allowed to video his entire experience. The results are explosive.
    – Source: Book description cited at

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This post was last updated: Nov. 1, 2013