Lisa Miller’s Jan. 20 review [“ There are fads and cults. Then there’s Scientology ,” Outlook] of Lawrence Wright’s book “ Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief ” decried bias against religious minorities, yet Wright’s book represents exactly that. Forty pages of endnotes may have impressed Miller, but what they refer to are a collection of stale, unfounded tabloid stories, decades-old false allegations and rank speculation mostly sourced to a handful of bitter individuals kicked out of the church a decade or more ago.
The Church of Scientology has identified more than 200 errors so far in the book, ranging from the wrong year for the marriage of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes to the erroneous claim that the church owns a bank and schools in Clearwater, Fla., a claim Wright could have at least attempted to verify via public records. Wright also regurgitates news clippings without mentioning that the claims were later recanted — some under oath — or tossed out during judicial proceedings. So much for “endnotes.”
Miller’s review also failed to note that Wright’s United Kingdom and Canadian publishers chose not to publish the book, which speaks to the quality of his facts, allegations and sources. If a book tells the truth, would any publisher worry?
Millions of Scientologists around the world embrace the religion. Their experiences of happier and more fulfilling lives fuel the church’s international expansion, and our humanitarian programs help thousands daily. Since Wright began his research, we have opened 30 churches worldwide, a dozen in 2012 alone, and a National Affairs Office a half-mile from The Post. Those facts were not in Mr. Wright’s book or his endnotes.
The writer is director of public affairs for the Church of Scientology.