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.
"Gripping." (The Economist)
"A brave book." (Liverpool Daily Post)
"Blackly comic." (The Humanist)
Regular price: £18.99
Buy Now with 1 Credit
Buy Now for £18.99
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By David on 16-07-15
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!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
By Dallas Winston 9 on 08-02-17
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.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Audio Gra Gra on 29-05-16
The Church of Intimidation, Deviousness and Evil
I would recommend choosing the audiobook over the printed version of "The Church of Fear" as you can hear in the authors own voice his mix of outrage, paranoia and sense of seemingly impending insanity as he details his encounters with this sinister religious scam. John Sweeney is the BBC journalist who went viral on YouTube in 2007 after he lost his temper in a shouting match with scientology (I refuse to capitalise this evil organisation's name) representative Tommy Davis. "The Church of Fear" details the behind the scenes tale of the making of BBC's documentary on scientology.
Unlike other recent books on scientology, particularly Janet Reitman's "Inside scientology", where the authors make a decent stab at impartiality, John Sweeney's book is deliciously biased, and to be fair, he's completely justified to take this approach - the evidence he presents of intimidation, spying, threats, "legal" bullying and psychological warfare perpetrated by scientology to scuttle the BBC documentary left him in a state of paranoia, confusion and awe at his subject's cunning and deviousness.
If you already know about the evils of the people running scientology then there's nothing new here, but the account of someone who finds themselves caught in a maze of despicable, tawdry and sinister behaviour makes this account well worth the listen / read. It will leave you wondering at the appalling cowardice of US government organisations like the IRS who continue to refuse to put scientology in its place - which should be a bizarre footnote of history, but instead continues to function as an untaxed business / scam started by a bad science fiction writer who has proved that vulnerable people will literally fall for the craziest stuff imaginable.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
By Cheryl on 03-04-16
Scary look into cult
Great job John Sweeney! You braved a journey most would fear to make. A truth seeker does not a bigot make
2 of 2 people found this review helpful