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Beyond Belief Audiobook

Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape

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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (3208 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Dustin 03-08-13
    Dustin 03-08-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "What a bizzare group of people"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Jenna. She got her self into all the trouble that in turn showed us what a dysfunctional group this is.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The whole thing. From the Ranch to the Sea ORG. Fascinating read.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    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.


    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vira Pretoria, South Africa 02-15-13
    Vira Pretoria, South Africa 02-15-13 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Needs more indepth discussion of Scientology"

    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.





    25 of 45 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 06-08-17 Member Since 2014
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    "loved it!!"

    This was an emotional and honest true account of this scary so called religion!. I learned so much and hope that someday this cult can be destroyed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sdamron 06-04-17
    sdamron 06-04-17 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting"

    I have always wanted to learn more about scientology. The author did a great job in describing some of the beliefs.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barb 05-24-17
    Barb 05-24-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Excellent"

    This book was very detailed and I really enjoyed the readers voice. It is an excellent accounting of her experience. I find this subject so fascinating. Thank you for sharing your story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    smartesusieq 05-21-17 Member Since 2017
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    "I always wondered"

    I am a hard read, so for me it felt a little slow at first. But my curiosity about the cult kept me very interested. I even found my self screaming at my phone, "SAY NO" and "GET OUT" and "What the neck?" but Jenna as obviously brainwashed. I was so rellious as a kid, they probably would have killed me and hidden my body. Good book, I am not an advocate for Government intervening in religion. But this is clearly a cult and they are human right violators a child abusers.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sadie 05-16-17
    Sadie 05-16-17
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    "Outstanding"

    Such an intriguing story. I want an update!! Jenna recounts her story in such a way that one becomes captivated. I would often think it's a fiction story then remember it's real and become angry!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KZ 05-10-17
    KZ 05-10-17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
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    Story
    "Thinking of trying scientology? Read this first!"

    The story is unbelievable. The fact that David Miscavige's own niece left the church, not only that but rebelled all along the way, tells you something about scientology. I've read a few other scientology books and they all tell pretty much the same story. Control, abuse, fleecing people of all their money. Jenna's story is pretty incredible. Starts off rather innocent as she was a child when she entered the church. She describes all kinds of experiences from the church courses, to auditing, to the hard labor, to her relations with David and Shelly Miscavige, her parents and siblings, her friends. She describes all this in great detail, and it becomes more and more shocking as she goes on.

    Narration could be better. But the story is just shocking. The brainwashing that goes on in scientology is astounding. The fact that this is still considered a religion with a tax exemption baffles me. You can tell thru listening to this book that Jenna lacks the education of a person outside of scientology, and that's quite sad. Good for her that she got out and she's able to experience life outside of that cult.

    Anyone who has ever thought of joining scientology should be made to read a couple of these books first.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    julie 04-29-17
    julie 04-29-17 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
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    "awesome truths"

    loved it, so hard to believe that such hardship is going on in the world

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anna NorCal, USA 04-28-17
    Anna NorCal, USA 04-28-17
    ratings
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    9
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    "Very Enlightening."

    Narrator was excellently nuanced. The story made me so angry. Glad she's okay now. I hope her story allows other survivors of scientology or other religious abuse to find healing and speak out.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Nigel
    Reading, United Kingdom
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "Fascinating"

    An engaging insight as to how someone, born into a belief system, struggled with what was dissonant between the faith and the realities she observed.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Jamie
    Nottingham, United Kingdom
    12/8/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enjoyable insight into the closest ranks"
    Would you listen to Beyond Belief again? Why?

    There's a lot of info to take in initially but it was a fascinating story


    What did you like best about this story?

    Get to see behind the curtain of the highest ranks and family of the leadership of the 'church' and how twisted and manipulative it is.


    Which character – as performed by Sandy Rustin – was your favourite?

    Lead character


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Impossible to listen to in 1 go ... too much to take in ... but i found it easy to pickup and put down again


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Sarah lane
    England
    4/10/15
    Overall
    "Repetitive.."

    I enjoyed the book at first, fascinating subject but I found it a bit too long.
    Jenna had a horrible childhood and
    so do many other children of scientology shockingly so.
    There was a lot of repetition about sessions ect.. had to skip a few of the last chapters because they were the same things over and over!
    The narration was superb though and it got me through the ironing nicely.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Countess_Dracul
    UK
    4/2/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The most riveting book I've listened to in ages!"

    An absolutely riveting book, and mind boggled that this actually happened to someone. The idea that no one stepped in to help is as shocking as what the "church" actually did.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Minna
    10/15/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Worth the listen"

    The narrator does a fair job narrating the book, but can at times come of sounding a bit childish.
    The story is mostly compelling, but still left me a bit disappointed, i dont know what i expected (probably more of an exposé) but the story is perhaps so centret around the "me" that the bigger picture gets neglected.
    Despite this complaint, its worth a listen for everyone interested, perplexed, intrigued by the harrowing scientology.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Emma Jones
    Brighton
    10/3/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting but annoying"

    Jenna Miscavige is uniquely placed to give an insight into the controversial and poorly understood world of Scientology and from reading this book my understanding increased hugely. I listened to the whole thing and did enjoy it overall.

    However, I am not sure how much was related to the narration and how much was from the underlying writing but the tone could become quite annoying. I felt like parts of it were her saying 'well I was just too pretty and too kind and everyone was so mean to me.' Of course this is an exaggeration and no doubt what she went through was far from a normal childhood but I do think the book could have benefitted from a bit of a wider perspective and less of a focus on little incidents that happened to her that are read in a tone of shock at how anyone could treat her like that. I think it actually detracts from the unusualness of what happens as she often comes across as any child would taking about the 'terrible' things their teachers or brothers and sisters did to them.

    I would recommend this book to anyone interested in Scientology but just be aware that it is, as I'm sure it was intended to be, very much a personal tale of what she went through rather than a well researched and written work on Scientology.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Matthew
    London, United Kingdom
    12/16/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The Emperors new clothes"
    What made the experience of listening to Beyond Belief the most enjoyable?

    The honesty.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Beyond Belief?

    All of it!


    Any additional comments?

    It is a worry that the US government gives such an organisation religious status.

    Surely they are perpetuating the myth and causing more suffering. Religion is simply a way to numb the brain for the pain which follows.

    You can apply pretty much all of the principles of what happened to this young girl/lady to all religions, but obviously at different levels.

    Religion is abuse. This is just one lens into one of the most abusive.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Laura
    Newbridge, Ireland
    12/30/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Incredible insight into life as a young scientolog"
    Would you listen to Beyond Belief again? Why?

    No. I never listen to books a second time.


    What other book might you compare Beyond Belief to, and why?

    None and feel no need to explain myself


    Which character – as performed by Sandy Rustin – was your favourite?

    Ridiculous question - did you listen to the book ?


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Many


    Any additional comments?

    Yes, as I was saying this book provides an excellent insight into the life of a young child growing up in the Church of Scientology. I was with the author all the way as the story is told in the first person right up to the last couple of chapters when her own credibility in her own words began to wane. Things like "I had to tell him the truth otherwise I would be deceiving him". This was given as the rationale for lying to someone else in the next breath. It all added up to the tagline "...and my harrowing escape.." being a large stretch when in actuality it would appear she stayed of her own volition (by her own words) because she was comfortable, everything was provided for her and the world out there was scary (even if her own parents were out there waiting for her). Several statements after that did not add up to a cohesive picture. "Had to sign a statement saying I would not publish" despite being out of the church with no apparent pressure on her, then published. Clearly she did not have to sign that statement as she stated at the time she had no intention of abiding by it. A few things like that went to the core of the author's credibility. Despite these this is a fascinating and interesting insight into the appalling practices of the so-called Church, the wrath that they visit on their own people, the sheer fairy stories they tell, the intimidation and car following and overall an excellent listen from Audible.

    2 of 8 people found this review helpful

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