Lawrence Wright

  • Aired:  02/06/13
  •  | Views: 31,566

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author discusses his book, "Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief." (6:40)

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK, EVERYBODY.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, MY GUEST TONIGHT IS A STAFF WRITER FOR "THE NEW YORKER" WHOSE NEW JOKE IS CALLED "GOING

CLEAR." IF THEIR LAWYERS ARE AS LITIGIOUS AS THEY SAY, MY NEW BOOK COULD BE CALLED "GOING

BROKE." PLEASE WELCOME LAWRENCE WRIGHT!

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

ALL RIGHT.

YOU ARE A STAFF WRITER FOR THE NEW YORKER.

ONE OF YOUR PREVIOUS BOOKS IS CALLED THE LOOMING TOWER WHICH YOU WON A PULITZER PRIZE FOR.

CONGRATULATIONS.

>> THANK YOU.

>> Stephen: YOU HAVE A NEW BOOK HERE CALLED "GOING CLEAR: SCIENTOLOGY, HOLLYWOOD AND THE

PRISON OF BELIEF." WHAT DO YOU MEAN?

ARE YOU A SUB PRESSIVE PERSON YAMENT.

DO YOU BELIEVE IN KFW?

LY NOT HESITATE TO PUT MY OUTETHICS IN YOU?

>> I GUESS I'VE COME TO THE WRONG SHOW.

>> Stephen: DO YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING RIGHT NOW?

ARE YOU UPSET RIGHT NOW?

>> I'M UPSET.

>> Stephen: I WILL CONFRONT SHATTER SUPPRESSION.

>> I HAD NO IDEA YOU SPOKE THIS LANGUAGE.

>> Stephen: NOT ENTIRELY SURE WHAT I SAID BUT IT SOUNDS IMPRESSIVE.

[LAUGHTER]

WHY DID YOU WANT TO WRITE ABOUT SCIENTOLOGY?

WHY INVESTIGATE SOMEBODY'S ELZ'S RELIGION.

IF YOU WANT TO BELIEVE IT, BELIEVE IT, IF NOT, MOVE ON.

>> I'M FASCINATED BY RELIGION ESPECIALLY IN THIS COUNTRY WHERE YOU CAN BELIEVE ANYTHING YOU

WANT WHICH ISN'T TRUE IN A LOT OF PLACES.

>> Stephen: WHEN YOU SAY SCIENTOLOGY, HOLLYWOOD AND A PRISON OF BELIEF.

IS ALL BELIEF A PRISON?

>> IN THIS CASE I WAS ESPECIALLY THINKING HOW IN THE SEA ORG, THE CLERGY.

>> Stephen: IT'S THE HIGHEST LEVEL.

>> IT'S THE CLERGY IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH LIKE THE PRIEST AND NUNS.

THERE'S A LOT OF PHYSICAL ABUSES GOING ON AND INVOLUNTARY CONFINE THE.

I STUMBLED OVER A FEDERAL F.B.I.

INVESTIGATION AND THEY HAD APPARENTLY PLANNED TO BREAK IN TO THIS COMPOUND IN SOUTHERN

CALIFORNIA AND LIBERATE ALL THESE PEOPLE THAT WERE BEING HELD IN THIS REEDUCATION CAMP.

AND THEIR SOURCES TOLD THEM DON'T BOTHER.

IF YOU DID THAT, AND THESE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN BEEN THERE MONTHS AND YEARS, BUT THE

EX-SCIENTOLOGISTS SAID IF YOU DID THAT THEY WOULD SAY IT'S SUNSHINE AND SEASHELLS, THEY'LL

SAY THEY ARE HERE FOR OUR OWN GOOD.

THEY ARE NOT BEING HELD AGAINST THEIR WILL.

IT'S THEIR WILL THAT IS HOLDING THEM THERE.

THAT'S THE PRISON OF BELIEF.

[ APPLAUSE .

>> Stephen: ABUSE IS A STRONG ACCUSATION.

IS THERE ACTUAL EVIDENCE OF THIS ABUSE?

>> I'VE HL 12 PEOPLE TELL ME THEY'VE BEEN BEATEN BY DAVID MISCAVIGE.

>> Stephen: IF I FOUND OUT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ABUSED 12 PEOPLE, I WOULD BE OUT OF THERE,

I WOULD BE GONE IN MINUTES.

[LAUGHTER]

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

WHAT A CRAZY RELIGION.

[ LAUGHTER ]

>> NOW --

>> Stephen: NOW, YOU SAY THAT SEA ORG IS THE PRIESTLY CLASS, THE CLERICAL CLASS OF SCIENTOLOGY.

>> RIGHT.

>> Stephen: WHY IS IT SEA ORG?

>> IN THE MIDDLE 60s L. RON HUBBARD, THE FOUNDER WAS ON THE RUN AND HE HAD A SCIENTOLOGY NAVY.

THEY SAILED AROUND THE MEDITERRANEAN AND IN THE CARIBBEAN.

>> Stephen: IS THAT WHY HE DRESD LIKE THURSDAYTON HOWELL III?

[LAUGHTER]

THERE'S ONE THING I ADMIRE ABOUT HIM, LRH AS WE CALL HIM.

HE DID NOT BELIEVE IN PAYING TAXES AND NEITHER DO I.

[LAUGHTER]

HE GOT IN TROUBLE FOR NOT PAYING TAXES.

HOW DID HE GET OUT OF IT?

>> WELL, HE DIED.

[LAUGHTER]

>> Stephen: THAT'S THE ULTIMATE ESCAPE.

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

[ LAUGHTER ]

YES, BUT -- HIS SUCCESSOR DAVID MISCAVIGE BY 1993 SCIENTOLOGY OWED $1 BILLION IN BACK TAXES

AND THEY DIDN'T HAVE IT.

THEY HAD TO GET A TAX EXEMPTION.

THEY LAUNCHED A LAWSUIT AGAINST THE IRS.

THEY PUT PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS ON AGENTS TO SEE WHO DRANK TOO MUCH, WHO WAS FOOLG AROUND ON

THE ROAD.

WHATEVER THE MERIT OF THE CASE WAS, THOSE LAWSUITS WERE DROPPED.

>> Stephen: THEY GOT BE OFFICIALLY IN A RELIGION AND THEY DROPPED 24 LAWSUITS.

>> EXACTLY AND CALLED OFF THE PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS.

>> Stephen: ONE OF THE OTHER THINGS THAT APPEALS TO ME ABOUT SCIENTOLOGY IS THAT THEY ARE

INTO CELEBRITIES.

>> YES.

>> Stephen: I'M A CELEBRITY.

THEY'VE DONE GREAT THINGS FOR THEM.

TOM CRUISE HAS NOT AGED.

[ LAUGHTER ]

WOULD IT HELP ME.

IF I WENT TO HOLLYWOOD AND WENT TO THE CELEBRITY CENTER AND BECAME A SCIENTOLOGIST WOULD

THAT BE GOOD FOR MY CAREER?

CAN THEY DELIVER?

>> IT WOULD BE PUBLIC RELATIONS MARTYRDOM FOR MOST.

I THINK A LOT OF THEM ARE SUFFERING A MARTYRDOM FOR THEIR BELIEF.

IT'S THE MOST STIGMATIZED RELIGION FOR SURE.

THEY CONTINUE TO LEND THEIR CREDIBILITY TO THIS.

THAT WAS WHAT DREW ME IN.

I THOUGHT WHAT ARE THEY GETTING OUT OF IT.

I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE DO GET THINGS OUT OF SCIENTOLOGY.

I THINK PEOPLE WHO GO IN GET THERAPY, THEY CALL IT AUDITING.

PEOPLE WHO ARE HAVING PERSONAL PROBLEMS, THERE'S A MENU OF COURSES THAT YOU CAN TAKE THAT

MIGHT HELP YOU AND MANY PEOPLE SAY THEY HAVE BEEN HELPED.

SOME CELEBRITIES LIKE TOM CRUISE GET THINGS THAT OTHER PEOPLE IN THE CHURCH DON'T.

THE SEA ORG MEMBERS BUILT HIM A HANGAR FOR HIS AIRPLANES.

THEY HANDCRAFTED A LIMOUSINE FOR HIM THESE ARE PEOPLE PAID $50 A WEEK AND THEY ARE POLISHING HIS

LIGHT BULBS.

>> Stephen: MORE THAN I PAY MY INTERNS.

I SHOULD START A CULT.

[ LAUGHTER ]

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

OR FOR LEGAL REASONS, LET'S SAY, A RELIGION.

THANK YOU SO MUCH LAWRENCE WRIGHT, "GOING CLEAR." WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

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