The Decline and Fall of Scientology? Skeptic Magazine Makes the Case
A colleague of mine once explained to me why he keeps away from Scientology stories at his publication (which will remain nameless).
He wasn’t concerned about the church’s reputation for litigiousness, and he wasn’t worried that a story about Scientology’s most recent controversies and excesses wouldn’t resonate with readers.
No, his reluctance was much more quotidian. “The problem I always have with Scientology stories is the massive backstory, which is an obstacle that fails the cost-benefit test,” he told me.
I completely understood where he was coming from. It isn’t easy dealing with the steamer trunks of baggage that come with explaining new developments in Scientology. Which is why I’m all the more impressed with the job Jim Lippard pulls off while he deals with all of the complex backstory in an upcoming issue of Skeptic magazine, and which editor Michael Shermer gave me an advance look at.
Keying off the publication of two books about Scientology published last year — Janet Reitman’s Inside Scientology and Hugh Urban’s The Church of Scientology — Lippard puts together a robust yet concise history of the church, and along the way makes the case that L. Ron Hubbard’s creation is in serious trouble.
For readers of this blog, especially those who have also read the Reitman and Urban books, Lippard’s richly packed look at Scientology’s history and controversies will likely be familiar material. But for those who have wanted a compact overview of where Scientology has been and where it is going, this is a handy guide.