Art History in “Going Clear” by Lawrence Wright

In this book, Lawrence Wright provided context to Scientology’s birth and how it acted as a reaction to psychiatry’s less than admirable practices at the time. Understanding that context, I felt sympathetic to the followers looking for answers.  I also found references to art and architecture. Amongst the seafaring misadventures and horrifying tales of (alleged) abuse, Wright offers descriptions of buildings that Hubbard visited/lived in. Kind of weird reading about strange religious practices occurring in a common form of American architecture. During this time, Hubbard imagines a woman that he describes in such a way that I am not sure if the Scientology leader intended to say came from Venus, or reference to the many depictions of the goddess Venus in sculpture or the divine woman found in Botticelli’s Birth of Venus.

Possibly what Hubbard saw?

Possibly what Hubbard saw?

Wright never goes into deep detail.

Lastly, Wright wrote about a building Hubbard lived in called Saint Hill Manor during the founder’s time in England.  By the way, when I looked up the house under the search terms “saint hill manor Lawrence wright”, I came across a Scientology website disagreeing with Wright over what building category Saint Hill Manor fell under and even its actual physical design.  In fact, it made up one small part of a website solely devoted to taking apart Wright’s book. I read some of their critique, but not the whole thing. Feel free to use those terms in your search engine of choice and decide for yourself over who’s telling the truth.  

On a final note:

Amusingly, Wright in the epilogue mused that Scientology needed better looking architecture if they wanted more followers.

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