Former RTC executive Mariette Lindstein has been forging an astonishingly successful career as a writer since leaving the Sea Org.
She and her husband, Dan Koon, are long time friends. I originally brought Mariette to the International Base to become WDC Scientology (over all Class 5 orgs). She has forgiven me for this. Dan and I shared a lot of time compiling the What Is Scientology? book and various other things and back when life was not completely insane at Gold we would sneak a game of golf during CSP time on Sunday mornings on the otherwise virtually unused Golden Era golf course.
Mariette has published a bestselling and highly acclaimed trilogy of novels in her native Sweden — and subsequently in various other countries.
The first of the 3 books is now available in english on Amazon: The Cult on Fog Island
Mariette sent me an advanced copy.
Fog Island is compelling reading, and serves as a primer on how to avoid being sucked into a cult. But for those of you who have been there, it is the most remarkably accurate account of how what seems to be a well-meaning group, headed by a charismatic and positive figure descends into madness. This is the story of how to boil a frog described in harrowing and vivid detail. It describes perfectly the incremental surrender of your freedoms and free will until you are trapped in a prison you helped build but now cannot figure out how to escape from.
The characters have real depth, the description of events immerses you in the world they are experiencing and the pacing keeps you turning the pages for more. For anyone who spent time at scientology’s international base, the story is full of events and circumstances that are eerily familiar. And that is partly what makes this book so compelling. While it is fiction, it is written from first-hand experience and it shows. It makes it so believable. And so hard to ignore.
Just as The Master was a fictional recounting of the life of L. Ron Hubbard — this is a fictional recounting of life at the international headquarters of scientology under the reign of David Miscavige. The main protagonists of the book are not David Miscavige and Mariette Lindstein with different names. But the personality traits of a cult leader, and the virtues of a cult follower are universal — so you recognize the characters by their actions and attitudes towards others. Tall, dark and handsome is the antithesis of Miscavige (or Hubbard). Ruthless, egotistical, sadistic yet charming and charismatic defines every cult leader ever.
Plenty of people have experienced being involved in a cult — and how you get in and how your best instincts and desires to be better yourself and help others are played on by a sociopath. Few have been able to articulate it as Mariette does in this book.
Read it, you will not be disappointed. It should be required reading for courses on new religious movements…
But don’t just take my word for it. The Guardian called it one of the best thrillers this year.
And now it’s going to reach an even larger audience. Today, a deal was announced to turn the 3 books into a 3 season TV series.
Mariette – you go girl!
disco george says
A very belated thanks for the heads-up… I’m listening on Audible and am enthralled!
I actually ran more miles today than I planned because I was so engrossed in the story, which is about the best endorsement I can give, lol.
Mariette Lindstein says
Happy to hear that you like it and that it kept you running!!!
Mariette Lindstein says
Thank you everyone for your kind comments and interest in my book. And thank you so much Mike for the great review. I admire you all for your persistence in fighting the church. Here in Sweden the likelihood that someone gets pulled into Scientology is very small. They are shrinking rapidly. But then on the other hand they have front groups like Narconon and even a school. My missions has broadened to include cults and cult mentality in general. When I published my first book I got lots of response from readers. Few wrote that they had been cult members. Many wrote things like: “Your cult leader reminds me of my boss, help, what do I do? or “I am stuck in an abusive relationship and it reminds me of your book”, or: “I am being bullied.” So I write about cult mentality, group pressure and manipulation in general in my thrillers. I also lecture a lot in schools where my books are being used as study materials. Thanks again, Mike. You and Leah are doing a fantastic job. I know it is not easy and I admire your courage. Mariette
Great to hear your books are used in schools. Jon Atack and Chris S were speaking about school training. Perhaps you could let Jon of the Open Minds Foundation know how you are doing this vital service.
Well Mariette, according to dave you can only get a job flipping burgers when you leave int, so I am assuming you are a world famous author part time! Congratulations!
I just placed my order.
Just purchased…..Mike…your review is excellent. So happy for the film deal….more eyes to make the connections needed….and prayerfully, the red signs to watch for.
Still Limps After Scientology says
I am buying this book for me and everyone I know. I am excited to read it. Thank you for promoting this remarkable author and survivor of Scientology Mike
The show last night was outstanding.
CONGRATULATIONS! And best wishes for your continued success!!!
The newest episode blew my mind. Unbelievale and cringeworthy at the same time. There are so many levels to the depths scientology will go to. It’s beyond transparent the way they handle things. It’s wasting police time at its finest. I have read alot on Lisa McPherson and the aftermath of it all. I have watched interviews on the case with people saying quite openly that the church destroyed evidence while the investigation was ongoing…which is a crime in itslef outwith neglect and everything else they did to that poor girl. Why is nobody doing anything?!?! They can’t be committing crimes under the rules of tax exemption yet you, leah and so may other people have an abundance of evidence, witnesses and detailed accounts of events and acts that prove that’s all they are doing. Keep fighting Mike and Leah and well done to every contributer who has the balls to come on the show and show they’re not afraid of DM and his brainwashed minions. The walls are crumbling and I can’t wait till they eventually fall on top of him 🙂
Mariette must have taken one of those seminars that I’ve seen scientology advertise on achieving financial success. She figured out that leaving scientology and actually getting paid for her talents would lead to freedom – financial and otherwise. Good for her! She is an inspiration to all.
By the way, at the end of last night’s episode, I was immediately reminded of a law enacted by Nazi Germany in all of their occupied territories: “Jews cannot sit on park benches.” Looks like scientology has a lot in common with the so-called Third Reich: hatred, bigotry, and an incomprehensible fear of the power of park benches.
I have found a great number of similarities between these two cults of personality. Many of these similarities involve the leader and his shortcomings.
Thank goodness the membership is in serious decline. Otherwise I fear we might soon see death camps as well as some of the other terrible symptoms of both systems of madness.
Dr. Strabismus of Utrecht says
Phew! and there I was girding up my linguistic loins to learn Swedish… 😉
Oh, and what about some regular mass trespasses on Scientology’s putatively public parks in CW? Lots of SPs on benches might just encourage the cops to rethink how much time and money they waste enforcing Miscavige’s tatty old injunction.
Last night’s episode was fantastic! You guys just sitting in a park provoked the insanity of the church. Just keep doing that and show everyone see how crazy they are. The church is destroying itself by responding the way they do! You are just assisting them in doing so. Awesome!
Gordon Weir says
Last night you talked about how you talked to Bob Minton when Stacey called you for 2 hours to help persuade him Not to kill himself. You did something $cientologists are not known for. You showed compassion. All the more amazing that it was a man you sought to destroy. What were your thoughts during/after the conversation? I’m sure you would have been in deep shit if DM had gotten wind of it.
The same thing entered my mind, Gordon. Surely, that was an indication that Mike began a path of introspection about this cult. This, also, gives me hope that still-in’s are walking this same path and will reach the same conclusion as Mike did.
I ordered the book. I too am glad to see that it’s going to be a series. I will be glued to that for sure. Nice article, and great book review. 🙂
I very happy for her. I met her a few times while doing stuff for Billy. Very nice lady.
Ann Davis says
This is awesome news. I will definitely be reading them. The TV show is extremely exciting. Yay!!
I just went onto Amazon and bought a copy of “Fog Island.” Thanks for bringing this to my attention. But whoever put the book onto Amazon needs to write a good description of the book. There was really no info about the plot, etc. I have many DVDs and books on Amazon. A good description helps sales. You might pass that along, Mike.
Dan Koon says
Not sure what you are mentioning here. I looked at the book on Amazon this morning and what is there is the back cover copy plus a number of kudos. When you finish the book you might write me with a suggestion about what should be added. firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.
Dan Koon says
Wonderful review, Mike. And accurate. I remember fondly our golf outings on Sunday mornings with Lyman and Kurt, he of the terrible duck hook, and me of the terminal slice.
I wonder if there are any current estimates of how many people are at the top of the heap or in the inner circle of people getting special privileges and perks. DM is described as a micro manager but overseeing an international real estate corporation which also sells “goods and services” would seem to be more than a one man task. Maybe it just falls into the category of learning corporate management and DM has been at it for over 30 years.
Dissecting the management structure of the CoS would be a series of topics. One of the cable networks has a series called “American Greed”. An episode on the CoS would be interesting with Miscavige ranking up there with Bernie Madoff and the best of the best televangelists.
Richard, there is no management structure. There is DM and his minions that he recycles through the RPF. DM has zero executive skill and could not manage an ice dispenser stand in hell.
How could be that be true, Wynski? No management structure for an organization that has that much money and has the ability to control an entire town?
Whatever you’ve been smoking today, it sure sounds pretty strong.
Rose – That’s essentially my point. I would think there are co conspirators in the scam but who knows. The Corporation would appear to be bullet proof at this time but there may be chinks in the corporate armor.
Richard, I’m betting there are some chinks in the armour, and eventually someone will find them. No one is bullet proof. They have bullied and manipulated people for so long and have gotten away with it, that they now arrogantly believe they are bulletproof. I think they are in a rude awakening.
No Rose,not smoking just telling the truth. DM issues orders and people HAVE to comply. There is no other active executives (those who independently manage their own area) in the “management orgs”. ALL now only do what Dave orders.
Sorry if you cannot grasp that reality
So, you’re saying that while Dave couldn’t manage an ice stand in hell, Dave also runs the whole show?
Sounds like a contradiction to me.
YES ROSE! He is running the whole show into the ground at supersonic speed. Don’t you pay attention to all of Mike’s posts on here on how scientology is crashing and burning?
How is that a contradiction?
I want the expensive and powerful mind altering drugs your are taking on an hourly basis.
I’ll go out on a limb here and guess that the answer is ONE!
This book sounds great! I will pick up a copy!
Last night’s episode was riveting stuff, Mike. The Lisa story is so sad, along with those whose lives Scientology ruined. But there were some real stories of heroism like Bob’s, that hopefully inspire future heroes of resistance to the Cult of Scientology. His work is going on today every time his story is told.
It was both funny and sad to see the Clearwater PD sending so many officers to deal with a man sitting on a park bench. I wonder if the Clearwater Police care that they looked like Scientology’s private security force in the last two episodes? Or are so many in the employ of Scientology now that nobody wants to rock the boat?
Last night’s show was a fun fest! Wow, to go back in time and see for ourselves just how totally disgusting it is to see a handful of anti COS protestors being harassed verbally & nearly physically by a much larger group from COS. An “in your face” confrontation in order to get at least ONE of them angry enough to physically strike out so that “they” can look like the VICTIM.
What would be interesting is to know TODAY, just how many of those pro COS supporters are STILL IN, & how they are doing “moving up the bridge”. Do they have health care, retirement funds, money in their pockets for their daily needs? Do they have an education for themselves & their children (if they have any) so they can one day if need be, support themselves? Where are they living? They all will, like Mike Rinder etc, be up in their years by now, so” HEY folks, “how’s it going?” Did you receive your wake up call yet? So sad also but I noticed no names were noted as well for these Pro COS supporters. Would be nice to know who THEY are since they know who YOU are.
Lisa McPherson’s death was horrific, they basically dumped a dead body, a young woman who was suffering the torments of Hell on Earth & they seemingly did nothing to help her. Then they challenge the Medical Examiner to get her to change her opinion on manner of death so they can literally get away with not providing medical care to a truly ill woman. Once again it’s a win-win for them, they are deemed guiltless.
The best part of last night’s show was to see Leah, Mike, Mark sitting on that park bench with the “Local Police Force” talking to them but no one from COS coming OUT to “greet them” to have the Police tell them to leave the property due to trespassing. Wow, that was a huge smack in the chops for COS…..they would NOT DARE send anyone out to confront those so called “trespassers”….they didn’t have the balls to do it.
Seriously folks, who the HELL from COS would WANT to confront Leah…or Mike…or Mark…..their faces would be on A & E TV for ALL of us to see & remember. We sure as Hell remember “Muffins” Yingling….that’s a name to go down in the history books….haven’t seen or heard from her. No worries, there is always another COS attorney to be thrown under the bus at the will of the COB
I remember Clear Water in it’s hey day…a lovely town with shops and nice people…..it IS a ghost town at best….YES…it truly has become a “Scientology City”, at least they’ve got that right. No matter WHO tries to step up to the plate to “take Clear Water Back” they are always deemed an enemy of “the church” the VICTIM CARD plays well for COS as they continually use it to meet their own needs.
What can you expect when there is NO AGENCY willing to take “them” on….no agency that as was stated has the BALLS/GUTS to challenge “them”. It has been well documented that they will spend MILLIONS to get their way, to always WIN, even if it means they have to do a PAY OUT of $$ to shut the VICTIM UP & GO AWAY……
I can’t think of even ONE Governmental Agency that would willingly TAKE THEM ON…& face years in courts, lawsuits, being followed, photographed, have neighbors questioned, background checked, financial status checked, relatives/family members backgrounds checked, letters & lawsuits coming their way…..
WOW,. I better go lay down, my head is spinning……I just can’t think of ONE AGENCY strong enough…..can you?
Ann Davis says
No I can’t. Great comment Balletlady!
What was so sad was that when they finally drove Lisa McPherson to a hospital, they purposefully passed up the one that was only 5 miles away and instead went to one an hour’s drive away. And in that hour she died in the car on the way. I got this first hand from the Chaplain at Flag who told me he was in the car when Lisa died on the way to the hospital. Had they stopped at the first hospital, she would probably be alive today. So why did they pass it by? Because they knew she looked like there’d been abuse or at least neglect which might get the church in trouble. So they went where they knew there was a Scn doctor on duty who would sign of on all things and keep it on the down low. As always DM and the church was more interested in protecting the church than saving a parishoner’s life. She was someone who gave a ton of money to the church yet they did her in.
Balletlady….there is no agency in the US that follows the letter of any law. Strength has nothing to do with it….a better question would be….What US agency has the morality and integrity to enforce the law? Well…obviously,…not one.
@Teen… Amen to “What US agency has the morality and integrity to enforce the law”.
Reminds me of the old saying: “Let he without sin cast the first stone”….obviously these agencies KNOW what lengths “the organization” will go to in order to intimidate anyone who confronts them.
There isn’t a human alive who is totally guiltless, who has not done ,said, or taken something they shouldn’t have. That’s why “the organization” will be around for a good amount of time because there is apparently no one who can stop them from doing what they do to survive.
Johnny Tank (Forever Autumn) says
I read this book when it first came out in Swedish. It’s a fantastic trilogy, and I only wish y’all could have read it in Swedish – but for most, English will work just fine. I can absolutely recommend!
Mike Rinder says
Obviously, I cannot reach Swedish. But the translation is terrific. Extremely easy to read.
I must say I have been a bit irritated at Mariette that I could not get it in English before this, given the awards it has won and its popularity – and I don’t think I can learn Swedish. I have been asking every few months… I have been Patiently Waiting. And now I am thrilled, I just ordered it. At last! Thank you Mike, Mariette, and Dan! I will use it in my Book Club!
Dan Koon says
Don’t worry about not being able to learn Swedish. I’ve been here going on 8 years my Swedish still sucks big time.
I hope more than a few clams get to read this and see the eventual TV show. Myabe something will sink in. The cherch can’t very well label it as “entheta,” thus calling attention to itself.
I forget: Are Sea Org drones actually not allowed to watch television? Or is it just not made available (i.e. “no time for such frivolities)? Anyone?
Bruce Ploetz says
Hubbard forbade television for the Sea Org “because of the hypnotic nature” of the cathode ray TV screen. No idea if flat screens have this problem. Nobody but Hubbard is allowed to hypnotize the Sea Org.
Before the ban was announced, there was a lot of TV watching in the Big Blue Sea Org headquarters in LA. All those old tube TVs went in the dumpster, removing a source of income for me and a few others who knew how to repair them. 1980 or so.
Unless you are David Miscavige you won’t be watching TV for entertainment in the Sea Org. But you might be forced to watch the Scientology channel.
Ordinary public Scientologists probably watch TV when they have the odd moment, but you are supposed to spend just about all your spare time on Scientology. Even if they did manage to catch this show the subtle points about cult life at the Int Base will probably go right over their heads. Ordinary Scientologists have no idea what goes on in the Sea Org.
But we can still hope that some will see it and recognize the universal human truths about undue influence and modern day slavery. You don’t have to visit the Int Base to run into these issues.
Television and flashing images on screens can re-stimulate implants, according to Hubbard. It worked well to curtail the flock from searching out truth elsewhere,
Congratulations! I am happy things are going very well for you.Will definitely buy and read the books.
Simple, one disconnects from the real SP and…you flourish and prosper as the 1,000s that have left this cult have done too. Nothing like living your own life.
White Light says
This is such great news, and I can’t wait to get and read my own copy!
Thanks for sharing this Mike. I spent 4+ long years at the Int base in the early days and I still feel the impact of that experience. This has got me thinking that it would be good if there were some way for all Int base survivors to safely share their stories in solidarity and support.
Mike Rinder says
There are FB groups. You can always share your story here.
White Light says
Thanks Mike, I’m not on fb but maybe I’ll find another way. REALLY appreciate all that you do! Your work heals more people than you know.
White Light, I find ESMB to be a great resource for personal accounts, with plenty of support for ex-members. I hope you have told, or will tell. yours there, particularly because the interesting details end up essentially archived in a way that is useful for reference and research – I go there all the time looking for details on orgs and missions, but even when people have chosen not to name specifics, it’s still useful for instance when they contribute to threads like the ones about people who went PTS (psychotic) and add to the body of knowledge about the details and frequency of such phenomenon.
It occurs to me that there might also be an opportunity for someone to put together a book of multiple, shorter accounts of life in Scientology. That could include stories of some of the sort of people who I don’t think have ever written a full-length book, the local members who try to keep their normal lives going while dealing with the dysfunction, pressure and financial hardship of Scientology, like the ones from St. Louis who shared some harrowing accounts recently. Chuck Beatty, are you reading this?
Ann Davis says
That’s a really great idea Peacemaker!
White Light says
Thanks Peacemaker, great idea,I will look into that forum and seriously consider sharing there. I understand how important it is for everyone to tell their story. The more experiences that are shared, the greater chance the truth has of getting out.
Post your story on: http://www.forum.exscn.net/ (that’s ESMB)
White Light says
Thanks freebeeing that helps! 🙂
Steve Friedl says
I don’t see a Kindle version, which is surprising for a newly-released book. I’ve seen previous self-published book that simply didn’t like the print and kindle editions, which made it harder for people to find.
I hope she’s able to get it in e-format for those of us who read that way.
Mariette Lindstein says
There is a kindle version. It has been on the Amazon bestsellerlist, but it might take a while for it to me available in the US:
Thank you Mariette, and Congratulations! I just ordered it and told my family about it (except my family member who is a scientologist…) I can hardly wait to read “Cult on Fog Island,” and then the next two!
Mary Kahn says
I have been looking forward to this book for a long time and mine should be arriving soon. Congratulations to Mariette on the success of the book and YoHOOO on the deal for a three-part miniseries. I wonder if scientologists will be banned from reading (or watching) this work of “fiction.”
I am truly impressed to see the success of Mariette’s life after scientology. It’s inspiring.
Bryan C Lubeck says