In a three-part series, Florida’s St. Petersburg Times has cracked open the inner sanctum of the ultra-private Church of Scientology. Among the revelations from four high-level defectors was a culture of violence in the church’s executive, including a game of musical chairs, overseen by leader David Miscavige, that descended into physical confrontation. The Church has denied the allegations, calling the defectors liars and apostates. The Times, which won a Pulitzer in 1979 for its Scientology writing, also includes the church’s detailed rebuttal, which included the four defectors’ “ethics files”—confessions, contrition and laments that the church keeps to document their failures.
Behind the curtain
A look into Scientology’s inner circle