I've been reading Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright, and I've had to grow accustomed to the feeling of my jaw sagging open in disbelief, because it happens approximately once per page that I read. Has anyone else read it?
I started highlighting all of the instances of batshit crazy physical and psychological abuse perpetrated by L. Ron Hubbard, David Miscavige, and Scientologist thugs, but the number of highlights in my copy has become ridiculous. Sometimes I have to highlight entire pages or series of pages.
Off the top of my head, here are a few that really astounded me:
- L. Ron Hubbard made multiple people every week jump into the ocean from the highest point of his ship—six stories up. Legs and arms were broken, though, miraculously, no one was killed
- L. Ron Hubbard punished children on his ship by making them sit in isolation in the small cagelike room where the anchor was stored. If the anchor moved, anyone sitting in the space could be mutilated or killed. Sometimes the children were made to sit there in isolation for days. A deaf girl was forced to sit there for three weeks, because he believed it would cure her affliction.
- L. Ron Hubbard made Scientologists push a small object around the splintery floor of his ship with their noses, screaming at them to go faster and faster, until the skin of their faces was ravaged and torn
- Scientologists made a man run in circles around a pole in the desert for twelve hours a day, every day, until his teeth fell out (what kind of person even realizes that is a thing that can be done to another human?)
- Miscavige beats the shit out of people on a regular basis, chokes people, flying tackles them, etc.
- Miscavige toyed with people in The Hole (essentially a prison where Scientologist executives are sent for punishment) by making them stay up all night long playing a demented game of Musical Chairs. Each loser is told they will be sent far, far away, to unpleasantly distant Scientology outposts, and that they will have to divorce their spouses and leave them behind. The executives scuffle and fight frantically with one another for hours, until only one remains as victor. The losers are given plane tickets and told to say goodbye to their lives and loved ones. In the morning, no one is actually sent anywhere, because it was all just some fucked up mind game.
I'm only halfway through the book.