The Church of Fear

  • by John Sweeney
  • Narrated by John Sweeney
  • 10 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Tom Cruise and John Travolta say the Church of Scientology is a force for good. Others disagree.
Award-winning journalist John Sweeney investigated the Church for more than half a decade. During that time he was intimidated, spied on, and followed, and the results were spectacular: Sweeney lost his temper with the Church's spokesman on camera, and his infamous 'exploding tomato' clip was seen by millions around the world.
In The Church of Fear, Sweeney tells the full story of his experiences for the first time and paints a devastating picture of this strange organisation, from former Scientologists who tell heartbreaking stories of families torn apart and lives ruined to its current followers who say it is the solution to many of mankind's problems.
This is the real story of the Church by the reporter who was brave enough to take it on.
John Sweeney is a reporter for BBC Panorama. He is the author of six previous books including the novel Elephant Moon.

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What the Critics Say

"A bold and swashbuckling reporter...let him shout: at least he shouts the truth." (Mail on Sunday)
"Gripping." (The Economist)
"A brave book." (Liverpool Daily Post)
"Blackly comic." (The Humanist)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Truly Bonkers

Any additional comments?

This is a great insight into a truly bonkers world. Although John Sweeney makes it clear that there was much more that could have gone into the book, due to the litigious nature of the church the content was restricted. For me, this actually worked really well as it made the book far more powerful and personal because everything was based on hard, in your face evidence.

And John, don't feel bad about exploding like a tomato, I thought you were really rather restrained!

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- David

Scientology is worse than a War Zone!

Would you consider the audio edition of The Church of Fear to be better than the print version?

Yes, the text was personal to the narrator, who was also the author, so you could tell how personal the whole situation became. How he and Scientology were at war with one another was good, though it was such a aristocratic war I couldn't help but laugh at how pompous they all were at times.


Who was your favorite character and why?

This is a personal account so I'd have to say Sweeney. Paranoid at times, angry at others he was also genuine and passionate, if a little dorky now and again. He knew his subject well and was able to highlight how he struggled during some interviews, what he had to deal with who can blame him, but he also used hindsight effectively to elevate his arguments later on. Just for the record, I think he won the war of words.


Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Yes. John Sweeney drew on research effectively he described the scenes vividly.


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There were some moments of shock for me. I could also understand why John became so angry.


Any additional comments?

The book is basically exploration of Scientology as a cult. It highlights how the system works, mind control, mental prisons etc it covers what scientologist believe, that is, if you can believe what they believe, it's a bit out there. It was a informative listen. Though I would like to have heard him interview Scientologists from a wider range of people. enjoyed this listen.

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- Dallas Winston 9

Book Details

  • Release Date: 19-05-2015
  • Publisher: Audible Studios