Jenna Miscavige Hill, niece of Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige, was raised as a Scientologist but left the controversial religion in 2005. In Beyond Belief, she shares her true story of life inside the upper ranks of the sect, details her experiences as a member Sea Org—the church's highest ministry, speaks of her "disconnection" from family outside of the organization, and tells the story of her ultimate escape.
In this tell-all memoir, complete with family photographs from her time in the Church, Jenna Miscavige Hill, a prominent critic of Scientology who now helps others leave the organization, offers an insider's profile of the beliefs, rituals, and secrets of the religion that has captured the fascination of millions, including some of Hollywood's brightest stars such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta.
Hill s candid memories of growing up inside the Church of Scientology are notable not just for their detail but for the light they shed on an environment that fosters isolation, powerlessness, and privacy loss. The Church takes precedence over family to the extent that Hill whose parents were Church executives spent just one hour a day with them, decreasing as they moved up in the Church hierarchy. Although most of Hill s extended family has left Scientology, her uncle, David Miscavige, is currently head of the Church. Hill recalls she "didn t know what normal looked like," and that her life was "owned by the Church." In fact, after her engagement to a fellow Scientologist one that Church officials tried mightily to prevent her desire to have children motivated her to leave the Church. (As "thetans," many members "can t really be the parent" of another thetan). Those looking for a glimpse into the celebrity side of Scientology will be disappointed; Hill primarily relates how celebrities are treated differently from the rest. Some readers may have difficulty believing such insular Scientology communities can exist in this age of access, but memoirs like Hill s cast light on their internal practices.