Audie Award Finalist, Non-Fiction, 2014
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, 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.
©2013 Jenna Miscavige Hill (P)2013 HarperCollinsPublishers
Yes, I found this book to be very interesting. The bizarreness that is Scientology can almost be read as a non fiction drama. Which you may assume it was if you had never heard of Scientology. Narration was great and the book kind of played out like a girls diary. The things she saw and her feelings towards those things. Some may think it is a way to poorly write a novel, but I found it to be the most effective way.
Jenna. She got her self into all the trouble that in turn showed us what a dysfunctional group this is.
The whole thing. From the Ranch to the Sea ORG. Fascinating read.
Yes. It was fascinating, if you have never read anything about Scientology this is a great book to start on. I'm always interested in things I don't either know about or do not understand. This exposes a lot of those questions.
This book is a childlike, innocent retelling of what happened to JMH as a child growing up within the confines of Scientology. The treatment of her was harsh, and simply wrong. I cannot conceive of how parents and adults in general could allow it. She has my utmost sympathy, and I'm happy for her that she now has a better life.
However, in the interests of giving an honest book review, I cannot rate this book highly. I understand that she was unable to gain much of an education, and one cannot blame her for that. But as a reader, I would've gained far more from the book if instead of merely recounting separate episodes and isolated events, there had been some analysis of these events, with hindsight, and insight into the basic tenets of Scientology. What was or is her view of these? How does she interpret the events of her life as a reflection of these beliefs?
Why, in her opinion, were things as they were? How do her parents feel now, about having subjected her to this?
I understand that she was brainwashed, but is that the only reason she did not
leave sooner when she had both the opportunity and her parents' support? Since her life to that point had been so bad, surely the painful reality of the past years would have overcome the brainwashing? I don't know.
I find the sequence of events, unsupported by any insightful discussion, too simplistic, childish and incohesive. After all, the book is entitled "Beyond Belief". What is the belief-structure of Scientology, and what caused these events to stretch the beliefs beyond their limits? A fuller account would have made a far better book, in my opinion. Or is the "Belief" being referred to as the reader's unwillingness or incapacity to understand?
I'm sorry, but for the above reasons I regret having wasted a credit on this book. I think that being "nice" needs to take a back seat when evaluating a book purely on its merits.
This fascinating account of being raised within the Scientology was a real eye-opener. It's a huge pyramid scheme that traps people in a life of servitude. Children working at hard manual labor, living in squalor, separated from parents and getting NO education. Unless one has connections within the cult, something special to contribute (like fame and connections) or lots of money, you are screwed. People are kept in place by guilt, intimidation and punishment.
Give it a shot. You'll be telling all you friends about it.
How on earth Scientology can be a religion is literally Beyond Belief. This is basically a prison for children. I'm so glad Jenna was able to escape this cult and live a normal life!
I listened to this after listening to Leah Remini's troublemaker. This is an even more in depth story of the cult culture of Scientology. The story of what Jenna Hill endured as a child is sad but her courage and insight is inspirational. I really enjoyed listening to this book. The reader is also good & makes listening easy & enjoyable. I would definitely recommend.
This book was so eye opening. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the authors account of her life in Scientology. The reading was amazing and it really drew me in!
I liked that the story wasn't written through the lens of emotional outbursts (although the author has every reason to feel emotionally unhinged after her life's experiences). It was so believable because it was so evenly laid out. Both the good, and the bad were discussed and explained.
Great work! Great read! Great listen! I listened to all 36 hours in two days time!
Liked everything about this book but the occasional vulgar language. Scientology is a scary organization.
As a previous reviewer mentioned, Jenna's experience is somewhat unique given her position in the church. However, her account of the abuses she endured--from the time she was a little child--is incredibly valuable. She exposes the corruption of the church and it's constant search for money and control at the expense of individuals and families. The narration is excellent. I highly recommend this to anyone looking to understand the draw of scientology and how the church works, including the famed celebrity centre. Jenna seems like an incredibly brave person who had her childhood and adolescence stolen from her.
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