Exhaustive, fascinating dive in the history of Scientology from the brainchild of disturbed novelist and serial grifter L Ron Hubbard to the leadership of disturbed control freak David Miscavige. I found this absorbing from start to finish and I’m still not sure if scientology was a con or a belief system from its creation or not.
I think, like many cults and conspiracies, it was (and remains) a bit of both. Yes, Hubbard needed the money, but there are lots of ways to get money. I expect early on, he was largely making it up, but as it went along, he began to get high on his own supply as it were. This is a theme in a number of books I read this year. It’s in the water, with Qanon grifters everywhere I am seeing everywhere the thin line between true believers and con artists all but disappearing. Scientology is an early example of this, and I thoroughly enjoyed this deep dive.