The Web's Best Scientology Longreads

From Lawrence Wright’s epic 2011 essay in The New Yorker to the deep investigations by local newspapers, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism about the controversial church. Plus, read our handy glossary of Scientology's key terms.

Chris O'Meara / AP Photo

The Apostate (2011)Lawrence Wright, The New Yorker

Paul Haggis vs. the Church of Scientology.

What Is Scientology? (2012) Tony Ortega, The Village Voice

An in-depth but readable guide to what Scientologists believe, with links to Scientology reporter Tony Ortega’s hundreds of articles about the church.

The Cult of Greed (1991) Richard Behar, Time

“Ruined lives. Lost fortunes. Federal crimes.” In this 1991 cover story, Time magazine declared, “Scientology poses as a religion but really is a ruthless global scam.”

Attack the Attacker (1996) Joel Sappell and Richard W. Welkos, Los Angeles Times

The sixth part of a Los Angeles Times investigation, focusing on Scientology’s widely perceived policy of harassing critics and defectors. See an index of the entire series here.

The Money Machine (2009) Joe Childs and Thomas C. Tobin, St. Petersburg Times

The first part of an investigation into Scientology’s extreme pursuit of cash. Plus, see the whole series, and the entire archive of the Times’ numerous investigations of Scientology.

His Town (2012)Jason Sheeler, Texas Monthly

When Marty Rathbun became an outspoken defector from the Church of Scientology, a group of filmmakers began to disrupt life in his adopted hometown. But they weren’t counting on the response of his neighbors.