The Church of Fear: Inside The Weird World of Scientology

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Tom Cruise and John Travolta say the Church of Scientology is a force for good. Others disagree. Award-winning journalist John Sweeney investigated the Church for more than half a decade. During that time he was intimidated, spied on and followed and the results were spectacular: Sweeney lost his temper with the Church's spokesman on camera and his infamous 'exploding tomato' clip was seen by millions around the world. In THE CHURCH OF FEAR Sweeney tells the full story of his experiences for the first time and paints a devastating picture of this strange organisation, from former Scientologists who tell heartbreaking stories of families torn apart and lives ruined to its current followers who say it is the solution to many of mankind's problems. This is the real story of the Church by the reporter who was brave enough to take it on.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 740 KB
  • Print Length: 370 pages
  • Publisher: Silvertail Books (7 Jan. 2013)
  • Sold by:  Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AQY300M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray: Enabled
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

Customer Reviews

Scientology v BBC

 on 8 May 2017
By A. King
John Sweeney famously lost it in filming a Panorama film about Scientology. This is his account of the making of the programme and the steps taken by Scientology to frustrate and block the film. It’s a useful beginning for anybody wanting to know about the cult but there are better books out there.

This read like a fine thriller where you wait with bated breath …

 on 1 June 2017
By Razor Eddie
This read like a fine thriller where you wait with bated breath for the clash between hero and villain. Although I knew a fair amount about the events, I thoroughly enjoyed John Sweeney’s writing style. Each chapter having it’s own little story. I understand Sweeney’s oft repeated phrase vis-à-vis apologising but, if it’s any consolation, it paved the way for later journalists to become more aware of what they face. As an expose of scientology in a wider context it does little but it sure makes me hope that J.S rolls up his sleeves and takes them on a third time.

Another great insight into the creepy cult (not religion) that is Scientology

 on 4 July 2017
By Kindle Customer
I have viewed both Panorama documentaries and often wondered what the back story was to it all. John Sweeney doesn’t disappoint informing the reader of all details in leading up to the exploding tomato incident and the aftermath. Journalists like Sweeney deserve a medal of honour for putting up with the fair gaming Scientology practice not the likes of Tom Cruise who willingly endorse this behaviour Well done John Sweeney

Fascinating read. (Watch out for exploding tomato’s!!!)

 on 24 March 2014
By Elvis Lives
Great read and an interesting insight into the strange world of Scientology. I like John Sweeney’s style of writing which is easy to follow. The documentary’s are with watching too, especially john’s exploding tomato scene!

An informative yet disturbing read.

6 people found this helpful.
 on 25 April 2014
By Momento.
For anybody who saw John Sweeney’s Panorama meltdown whilst filming their Scientology investigation, this should be required reading. The build up to that incident, plus the post incident fallout, is all covered here along with a wealth of background information about this cult/religion (make your own decision once you’ve read the book). The primary feeling I have after finishing the book is admiration, not just for Sweeney but also for the Scientology ‘defectors’ he interviewed. The levels of intimidation and harassment they appear to have been subjected to by the ‘church’ really is disturbing.

A great humanistic story

5 people found this helpful.
 on 17 June 2014
By Tony S
This book is less about scientology than it is about authoritarianism in general. It is about the maintenance of money and power through espionage, intimidation, lies, legal writs, and, ultimately, fear. In a remarkable series of first hand accounts, the book sets out how John Sweeney researched the church for a BBC documentary. It is really only half about what he discovered about the church. The parallel story is about how the church tracked him around the US and the UK and then drove him almost to madness. He is at turns funny, clever, brave, reckless, fearful, tearful, and dogged. He writes in a passionate and engaging way, very journalistic. This sometimes detracts from the central message of the book, which is that scientology is run based on fear. But the flip side is that his very humanity, his flaws and idiosyncrasies, make him believable as a critic.

Brilliant investigative cult exposé

74 people found this helpful.
 on 7 January 2013
By i-Betty
Utterly compelling. Our own John Sweeney is practically revered in the United States for the investigations he has undertaken to expose the terrifying cult of Scientology which, because of America’s enshrined sense of religious freedom, has been allowed to enter the mainstream with barely a whimper of protest. It’s thanks to the courage of investigative reporters like Sweeney, Paulette Cooper, Tony Ortega, and others, and recent high profile articles in Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair magazines that the abuses of the ‘church’ are now so widely recognised. This is one truly scary (and powerful, and wealthy beyond imagining) cult, made famous by its policy of love-bombing (with a view to ensnaring) celebrities like Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, to name but a few.

A superb piece of journalism

15 people found this helpful.
 on 27 April 2014
By Miss J. M. Austin
This really is a superb piece of journalism, detailing as it does the dark and disturbing world of former and existing members of quite possibly the world’s most controversial religion. How do you define religion, and is the Church of Scientology justified in calling itself that – what about their critics who state it is really more of a cult and what exactly is a cult, how are such things defined and where do you draw the line – all these things and more are discussed in this deeply disturbing piece of writing.

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