Lawrence Wright is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and writer for The New Yorker magazine. His 2011 profile of former Scientologist and Oscar-winning screenwriter and director Paul Haggis led to the publication of Wright's new book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief. It was a finalist for the National Book Award and is now out in paperback.
In this expanded version of an interview that originally aired on January 28, 2013, Wright talks about the origin of the religion and its founder L. Ron Hubbard's philosophy. They also discuss the close link that the Church and its leader, David Miscavige, has with Hollywood. Tom Cruise and John Travolta are the two most high-profile members.
KCRW reached out to the Church of Scientology for comment. They sent a letter denouncing the contents of Wright's book. You can read that letter and hear the largely unedited version of the interview is at KCRW.com/Scientology.