Hollywood’s favorite cult isn’t going to be happy about this. Scientology’s most famous defector, Oscar-winning screenwriter and director Paul Haggis, is breaking his silence in an upcoming book. The Heretic of Hollywood: Paul Haggis vs. The Church of Scientology is being written by the well-respected Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright, and according to his agency is, “The most profound reckoning to date with this powerful and secretive organization.”
Haggis publicly renounced the Church of Scientology in 2009, after thirty five years as a member, but has stayed largely mum on the subject since. Not for much longer. The book will serve as both a chronicle of Haggis’ personal experiences and an in-depth investigation of the cult — including the human rights abuses of its members, which the authors allege includes violence, conditions approaching enslavement, and forced abortions.
Full description of the book from the Wylie Agency catalog after the jump.
The Heretic of Hollywood: Paul Haggis vs. The Church of Scientology (Delivery: June 2011)
The Academy Award winning writer and director, Paul Haggis (Million Dollar Baby, Crash), spent three decades in the Church of Scientology. Haggis was one of the church’s Hollywood trophies, along with Tom Cruise and John Travolta, whose paths cross with Haggis’s. His resignation from the church in August of 2009 was a crushing disappointment to the organization. This is the first time Haggis has spoken about his experience.
The roots of Scientology are explored in this book, particularly the life of its eccentric founder, L. Ron Hubbard, whose flashes of brilliance and insanity are woven into the fabric of this elaborate belief system. Through Haggis’s eyes, we discover the appeal of Scientology, especially to talented and ambitious members of the entertainment industry. Haggis conducted a personal investigation of the church, in which he was told about the wanton physical abuse on the part of its current leader, David Miscavige, of senior members of the organization. He was told that young volunteers in the Scientology clergy, called the Sea Org, are subjected to conditions approaching slavery or imprisonment, and that many female members have been forced to have abortions.
The most profound reckoning to date with this powerful and secretive organization, The Heretic of Hollywood is also a moving human story of the lure of extreme faith and the price of leaving it.