Thanks for the shout-out Nicole. The book sounds great but the response to it has generally been thoroughly disheartening. Like here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/20/books/review/going-clear-lawrence-wrights-book-on-scientology.html?hp&_r=0 where the reviewer starts with how Wright tries to be fair and then basically mocks him by insisting it is a lost cause to be fair to a crazy religion that's all about aliens. UGH.
I really respect Wright's journalism as well but I also find it a little disappointing that after a (by all accounts excellent and vital) account of Al-Qaeda and 9-11 he turned his considerable talents to a topic that, while scandalicious and compelling, concerns a very small group of people who really only harm each other.
In terms of whether or not we're looking at the beginning of the end for the church I think signs point to yes. More evidence here:
@yofi Thank you! and also: aren't you sick of this damn rain? (kidding, sort of).
I agree with you completely about religion-hating coming from so many otherwise compassionate and progressive people. I volunteer with an organization that tends to attract a lot of Christians (the kind that believe the best expression of their faith is in giving service where it is needed) and it's those people I think about when I hear someone trashing [all] organized religion.
You're right that we should all look at our own assumptions and biases but I think that we should also do our best to (gently) call out our friends/family/colleagues on theirs. I'm not great at this myself, but I try...
@whimseywisp You're very welcome! I'm absolutely hoping to write for the hairpin again, whether on this topic or another. Thanks so much for your support.
@Inconceivable! Thank you! The response from this loveliest of internet communities has meant a great deal to me. I'm sad that it's over too!
@whateverlolawants That's awesome! I have so hoped that this could serve as a resource for 'pinners and their friends to share with people curious about the church; delighted to hear it's already doing so.
@Flies in my eyes Thank you! I'll definitely consider writing for the 'pin again but probably not until I'm done with my dissertation...
@lizzle I second that. The 'Pin is my favorite place on the web.
@Tuna Surprise Awesome, I will definitely check out that essay. Thanks for reading and for doing your part to make the internet just a little bit nicer :)
@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose I love the name too! It was part of the reason I chose it as a pseudonym -- the other was that I have a few tiny star tattoos so it felt right ;)