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Posted April 8, 2010
Nancy Many was one of the leaders of the International Church of Scientology, working for many years directly under the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, spearheading Scientology's international expansion and, at times, going undercover to investigate supposed enemies of Hubbard and his organization.
She was one of Scientology's privileged leaders until L. Ron Hubbard himself turned on her on a whim, punishing her for the ineffectiveness of one of her subordinates, and sent her into the notorious RPF, the euphemistically-named "Rehabilitation Project Force". There she worked twelve or more hours a day, seven days a week, eating scraps off the plates of Scientology executives and sleeping in a walled-off, fume-ridden section of a busy parking garage - all while she was pregnant with her first child.
She was finally able to escape the constrictions of Hubbard's pseudo-military Sea Organization, of which she had been a devoted member after having signed a billion-year contract, and gradually began to question what she was doing, whom she was doing it for, and the direction of her life.
Her first-hand account of the unceasing onslaught of Scientology's psychological attacks which brought her to a mental breakdown, and her slow climb out of a morass of abject fear, hallucination, and insanity, form a gripping story of the author's enduring courage to live, to be free and to restore her sanity.
Nancy Many's book reminds one of first-hand accounts of life during the Stalinist period in the Soviet Union, when fear stalked the living and paranoia, dread, hunger and unpredictable cruelty formed the daily conditions of life. Just as the Russian Revolution under Stalin was said to eat its own children, Scientology seems to devour its most willing adherents, spitting them out, broken and disillusioned, after years of service. And this is, supposedly, a church.
As a whole, Nancy Many's memoir of life in and after Scientology is a brilliant story of courage in the face of adversity. It is recommended not only for all who might be interested in Scientology, those who have left Scientology in confusion and fear, and also for students of religion and American society. A must read.
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Posted January 10, 2012
Having known Nancy briefly in the past, I decided to read her book. I had a VERY hard time staying interested in the story. I'm truly sorry she had a nervous breakdown, and I'm very happy she's doing fine today. But this book reads more like a journal entry than a compelling story. And at the risk of sounding cold and hard-hearted, if I had known this book would be endless pages dwelling on this person's emotional crisis, I would not have bought the book. Sorry, but I don't recommend it.
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Posted January 13, 2010
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