It used to be that what happened within the walls of Scientology stayed in Scientology, and it was very difficult for anyone to get to the truth of what really went on.
Lately a lot of walls have been breaking down, with a number of recent articles, and a new book that's reportedly the most thoroughly researched on the subject yet. (Not to mention Paul Thomas Anderson's new movie, filming right now, is a fictionalized account of an L. Ron Hubbard style figure creating his own religion.)
Janet Reitman wrote an extensive article on Scientology in the March 2006 issue of Rolling Stone, and has now spin that article off into the book Inside Scientology, and it's already hit the best-seller lists.
According to her author bio, Reitman "is the first American journalist to publish a major book on Scientology, and the only writer to have charted its full history.
Reviews for the book have mostly been positive with the L.A. Times calling it "a well-researched and compelling read," GQ dubbed it "a serious, painstaking investigation," and The Village Voice wrote, "Reitman's book should soon become Scientology's biggest headache in years."
Lawrence Wright also penned a lengthy story on Scientology for the New Yorker, with the story focused around the defection from the church of screenwriter/director Paul Haggis (Crash, Million Dollar Baby), which will also reportedly be spun off into a book.
Out of fear of the litigation the church is known for, Wright told NPR the story had five fact checkers reviewing the story, and 971 questions were submitted to the Church for the story. (New Yorker editor David Remnick and Wright also did eight hours of fact-checking with church spokesperson Tommy Davis, and the four lawyers he brought in tow, for the story.)
If you can find it, Kim Masters did one of the best researched and fairest articles on Scientology and its connection to Hollywood for Radar Magazine. In her piece, Masters reported that a lot of ex-members have been getting together anonymously online, and perhaps this is what's helping to give a lot of people the courage to speak out.
I also remember very clearly the day the Tom Cruise Scientology video got leaked all over YouTube, and how quickly it was replaced as soon as one link got taken down. And it looks like the leaks and security breaches against Scientology are sure to keep on coming.