R raised a good point re my post from yesterday. Like Jonestown, there was is a promise in Scientology that I can, in fact,  apprehend– the sense of making a better world and a better self, as some of the interviewees said. But Im looking for a way into the Trump moment, or the Mussolini’s, or Brexit, the Golden Dawn. These have something cult like about them but are they analogous? Lime many, I am looking for purchase on this disaster. As if makes a difference to do so. I’d like to think it does. But I’m not sure about that either.

So the documentary left me short. It explained, but it didn’t help.

Hi Deborah,

I saw your blog post about Going Clear.

I was wondering if you’d come across Kate Bornstein’s A Queer and Pleasant Danger: The True Story of a Nice Jewish Boy Who Joins the Church of Scientology and Leaves Twelve Years Later to Become the Lovely Lady She is Today? (such a good title I had to reproduce it in full). I think it’s available as an ebook.

In it, Bornstein writes in depth about how the persuasion worked for her, why she found Scientology appealing and ended up being drawn deeply in even though (to the external world) it would appear that she was at least relatively well-adjusted in her life. She also writes a bit about what happens next. I’m not sure how much Bornstein’s story offers an insight into the journeys of others entering (and leaving) cults due to the very person nature of the narrative and its relation to her struggles with gender, but I do think you might find it of interest. I found it it a really good and very revealing read.

Thanks R.

I think I have read about bornstein’s book — a good review. I guess part of the problem with the film is that it didn’t address the persuasion for the people it interviewed. Nor really put their lives in wider context. And of course some of the people who escaped were brought in as children or born into it. There is a very good frontline documentary about Jonestown which does look at these questions and also the subject is covered quite sensitively in Tales of the City in one of the later books…

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