Beyond Belief

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People believe anything if wrapped up in religious trappings and stylings.

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Yet, they keep on coming, and people keep on joining, despite the widely dispersed information of how they operate. Jenna Hill's book on coming of age within Scientology describes many of the same techniques and tactics, yet people still adore, defend and protect this church. I already know the book will be useless in discouraging 'believers', which is why the legal difficulty in closing these cults down. The enthralled members continue to join these religions and fight everyone who try to get them and their children to leave.

I recommend this book to interested readers. Apr 02, Grglstr rated it it was amazing. I've been interested in the high weirdness behind Scientology since first seeing the Dianetics advertisements in the '80s Volcanoes!

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Mountain climbing! My curiosity was further piqued when I came across Operation Clambake in the late 90s xenu. I became fascinated how Hubbard served the I've been interested in the high weirdness behind Scientology since first seeing the Dianetics advertisements in the '80s Volcanoes! I became fascinated how Hubbard served the role of the black sheep from the golden age of science fiction.

For an extra bit of weirdness, try the Jack Parson biography "Sex and Rockets," which features tales of how Hubbard took part as the in Parson's sexual black magic ceremonies, began a yacht-buying company with Parsons and, ultimately, ran off with Parson's mistress--a future Mrs. Hubbard--and yacht. You don't see that pamphlet at Scientology headquarters, I'd bet.

Anyway, I watched with armchair interest in all the developments of Scientology in the s, from Lisa McPherson's tragically preventable death to Tom Cruise's couch-jumping to Anonymous's global protests, etc. Jenna Miscavige Hill's tale is a small slice of what went on in behind the scenes in Scientology during the 90ss, outside all the furniture hopping and Guy Fawkes masks.

It is a tale of the power of brainwashing and groupthink, and the ability of Scientology to tear a family apart through coercion and control. It is odd to read the memoirs of a young person barely into adulthood, yet Hill's struggles are enthralling. I wept a bit on the train, which is awkward, I'm big white guy about her youth, separated from her parents and forced to work on Scientology's desert ranch.

I cringed along as she went through her awkward tweens and teens forced to accept responsibilities as an adult in her church. And I rallied with her as she met her husband and, together, they stood their ground.

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She is a remarkable young woman, and I wish her and her family all the best. This isn't an easy book to read. It is filled with all sorts of technical Scientology-speak, and you would think that Hill's co-author would have helped smooth it out. View all 5 comments. I am a bit ashamed to admit that I read this book, but I wanted to learn more about the insides of scientology and needed a "lighthearted" summer book. First of all, let me say that I simply could not get past Hill's atrocious writing.

Her ideas moved rapidly from one place to another and left me confused. I often had to read passages aloud to my husband because I simply did not understand them or simply could not believe an editor would approve it being published!

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Towards the end of the book I c I am a bit ashamed to admit that I read this book, but I wanted to learn more about the insides of scientology and needed a "lighthearted" summer book. Towards the end of the book I could understand how people felt she was rude and spoiled. The information about scientology was interesting and bizarre, but I wish Hill would have taken a few more years to really organize her thoughts and to make her message more clear about what her book was about.

Was it her memoir? An truth outing of the church? A way to get back at her parents? And finally and I was skeptical about this before I even got the book you CANNOT say my "harrowing escape" when you were flown, safely, home on a plane, with your family knowing where you are, and without any fear for your safety.

Prisoners who escape North Korea can say "harrowing escape," Hill certainly cannot. View 1 comment. Preface: I mean no disrespect via this review. Okay, so in college, I minored in comparative religious studies. So when first-hand accounts surface on the inner workings of these new-aged religions, I am all over it. This book was particularly intriguing because Jenna Miscavige is literally the niece of David, who is the head of the Church of Scientology. So I Preface: I mean no disrespect via this review.

So I wanted to know all the deets! And alllll the deets I got. What draws me to tell-alls about Scientology is that it's a life commitment. It's not just church on Sunday; it's a devotion of your physical being to serve in any capacity for life. And so to hear what it's like for children to be raised in this environment is somewhat hard to imagine. I think Jenna's story isn't unique in terms of what life on "base" is like. And that stirred a fair amount of emotions in me.

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The fact that seeing your parents is more of a privilege than an everyday occurrence broke my heart. Or that manual labor is deemed a suitable chore for a 6-year-old. It's these kinds of insights into the church that have onlookers questioning the priorities of the church. In fact, I reallllly liked the audiobook. View all 4 comments. May 10, Jenny Reading Envy rated it really liked it Shelves: cults-and-communes , biography-memoir , read Many of the names that come up in this memoir of growing up inside Scientology are the same, because the author is the niece of the current leader of the church.

It should be noted that her grandparents, parents, husband, and siblings have all also left the church. People who grow up in fundamentalist sects or cults are endlessly fascinating to me, perhaps because I I still haven't read Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief although I have seen the documentary based on it. Scientology borrows heavily from other religions and practices in ways that make sense at the beginning stages and serve to suck you in. The people running the organization have employed highly unethical practices to keep people in the membership, to hush people who leave, and to continue recruiting new members.

Ron Hubbard set out to create a religion after starting out as a science fiction author. Reading this book was like reading a surreal dystopia, a story I would not have believed could exist in our society. But it does! The book can be a little hard to read at times but only because Scientology deliberately obfuscates normal human interaction by having terminology and abbreviations for everything.

Jenna Miscavige Hill describes the methods used to teach young children these beliefs and they almost veer into torture and mind control territory. I believe everyone can choose their own religion. I understand the pull of Scientology, particularly if you want to belong and you feel misunderstood by the outside world. They understand and take advantage of the concept of closing off and pulling into a community.

So did every cult leader of any time ever. But when you are forced into a religion as a child, when you are not educated in a way that you have a choice, where your education consists more of religious teachings than a standard education, it veers into abuse. Most surprising in this book is the view of the family by the Church of Scientology - how divorces were forced if partners were in different levels in the organization, how children were separated from their parents and often not allowed to contact them, how family members were forced to cut ties from anyone deemed an SP "Suppressive Person.

I will say up front that I view Scientology much the same way I view organized religion as a whole, which is offensive to many.

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That is okay. To each their own. What makes Scientology so fascinating to me is that so many people are taken in by their beliefs and yet it is so separate from the rest of society. It seems most people are born into it, and indoctrinated from a very young age, so they don't know any better. I guess all religions are that way, really, but Scientology takes their beliefs I will say up front that I view Scientology much the same way I view organized religion as a whole, which is offensive to many. I guess all religions are that way, really, but Scientology takes their beliefs and they really just do their own thing.

Jenna Miscavige Hill describes this in great detail repetitive detail, but detail nonetheless. She is, of course, the niece of current chairman and buddy to Tom Cruise, David Miscavige. He took over the helm after L. Ron Hubbard died, and keeps all the little members in line.

Jenna didn't have a chance - her parents were Scientologists, most of her family were Scientologists, it's just a family cycle that Jenna was born into and before too long no, seriously, like at a very young age Jenna had signed a billion-year contract with the Sea Org, one of the orders of Scientology. They have their churches, and ranches, and facilities, and some unconventional beliefs. It's these beliefs that make regular people like you and me assuming you're not a Scientologist think the organization is full of whack-jobs - you hear some of these things and wonder which flavor Kool-Aid they're all drinking.

But most religions seem that way to people of different religions or people of no religions at all - that's right, you all look weird to me , right, so who are any of us to judge? Jenna's story is more sad to me than anything.

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  7. She led a sad and isolated childhood without even realizing until later that it had been a sad and isolated childhood. As she got older and started having thoughts of her own, she apparently became Public Enemy 1 in the Sea Org, regardless of her ties to David Miscavige. She began speaking up and speaking out, in her own way, and this made a lot of people incredibly nervous. Spoiler alert!

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    I mean, it's right there in the subtitle. But it wasn't quite the harrowing escape I was led to believe. Yes, she was dealt a shit hand, but so was my best friend throughout junior high who was raised as a Southern Baptist and couldn't read whatever popular fantasy books were making the rounds, and couldn't celebrate Halloween or even hand out candy or even come to the door to see me in my fucking clown costume that one year. She was also dealt a shit hand, so I have difficulty putting all my sympathy in Jenna's basket when it comes to bad upbringings in the name of religion.

    And, again, the escape itself There was screaming and yelling and spitting and apparently Jenna kicking down some doors while she was trying to find her boyfriend. But by the time they did leave, it was for lack of a better term accepted by the organization. No one left under the cover of night, crawling across the grass, ducking search lights, eating bugs, holding their breath until Tom Cruise passed by.