Fact-Checking A Church

Dan Duray details the long and arduous process Lawrence Wright and his team underwent to get the facts right in Going ClearIn 2010 the church sent flacks and lawyers to the New Yorker offices to dissuade the magazine from publishing the long profile that led to Wright’s book:

“[Tommy Davis, the church’s lead spokesman at the time] had a pie chart of the 971 questions we’d sent him,” Mr. Wright said, recalling the meeting during a recent interview at the Random House offices. “The pie chart showed that 59 percent of them were false.” He let that sink in. “They’re questions! How do they fall into the true-false category? It was bizarre to me.”

In an interview with CNN’s Belief Blog, Lawrence Wright looks to the future of the “religion”:

Personally, whatever people want to believe is fine with me. Why people gravitate to different expressions of faith is quite intriguing to me, and I don’t condemn them for what they choose to believe.

But the behavior of the church towards its critics, towards reporters, towards defectors, and especially towards members who are inside the clergy – in particular children who are recruited at appallingly young ages to sign these billion-year contracts and surrender their alternative lives to a life of poverty and isolation – those practices worry me considerably. And I think there’s an accounting the church of Scientology is going to have to face, if it wants to survive.

You can read an excerpt of the book here and highlights from Terry Gross’ interview with Wright here.