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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A harrowing testimony about a childhood destroyed
I must state up front that I came to this book because I am critical of the scientology organisation.

At least I have a choice of books to read, entirely unlike the way that the author had no choice about belonging to the elite group of the scientology organisation, the "Sea Organisation." Before signing a contract for a duration of one billion years at the age...
Published on 6 Feb. 2013 by Jens Tingleff

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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but there are better places to start reading about scientology
I got this on audio book, having been meaning to read it for quite some time. Firstly, the reading was good - no problems there.

There is some interesting information in the book, and perhaps it gives a little more (though not much) insight into the workings of David Miscavige's mind. In the end though, despite the fact that what Jenna went through was awful,...
Published 8 months ago by Mike N


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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A harrowing testimony about a childhood destroyed, 6 Feb. 2013
By 
Jens Tingleff (Cambridge, UK) - See all my reviews
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I must state up front that I came to this book because I am critical of the scientology organisation.

At least I have a choice of books to read, entirely unlike the way that the author had no choice about belonging to the elite group of the scientology organisation, the "Sea Organisation." Before signing a contract for a duration of one billion years at the age of seven, she had been in the care of the organisation full time since she was five (seeing one or both of her parents for half a day most weekends, no more), in a "Ranch" for "Cadets" - a residentil facility off in the rugged countryside in California.

To me, the most important part of the book is the first part where the author describes what it was like to be treated as an adult and kept under a strict regime (from the age of five). Apart from half a day per week set aside for being with their parents, every one of the hours in their day was defined for the children (with hard physical labour accounting for the mornings). While the hard labour was bad enough, to me the worst part was the thought reform. The kids were policing themselves, denouncing bad actions / attitudes to the adults, with offenders accumulating demerits which had to worked off until normal status could be attained. Failure to comply could cause humiliation in front of the entire group. In this way, no rebellious child stayed rebellious for long. To an outsider this regime seems little different from re-education camps, but what makes the book chilling is that it all happened to a five year old and is told from that viewpoint. The organisation appears to have been shy about its treatment of the children, keeping them away from outside contractors and making sure that they were scrubbed and appeared to be carefree and happy on the rare occasions that their parents saw them.

When she was twelve years old, the author learned that the organisation was punishing her mother for having had an affair. The author was very disappointed in herself. She knew that she should stop loving her mother, but she just couldn't do it - no matter how much she wanted to hate her mother she just could not.

The second part of the book is the description of how the author went from the childrens' camp to the actual "Sea Organisation" (described by spokesman Tommy Davis as "a crew of tough sons of ....") at the age of twelve years old. This did not make her the youngest member. This story is disturbing in its own right, if not told as rarely as the story of "The Ranch" above. The author grew up wholely convinced that she wanted to do everything to help the elite group further the goals of scientology, finally going so far as to refuse - at the age of eighteen - to leave when her parents left (the parents stayed scientologists but left the Sea Organisation).

Happily, the author managed to escape and is today reunited with some of her family (most of her immediate family and her grandfather having left the organisation) and she has a lovely family married to the husband with whom she escaped. The website she started together with two other former child members is still going strong.

While there are many books published in many countries detailing the more or less harrowing details of life inside the scientology organisation, this one is interesting for being right up to date and for giving an intimate view inside the childrens' camps of scientology. It complements the broader but less intimate Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief and the much more scholarly The Church of Scientology: A History of a New Religion rather than replace them (and vice versa).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evil comes with many faces and Scientology is one of them, 12 Feb. 2014
The mental and physical abuse this girl suffered at the hands of the brainwashed evildoers convinced about the righteousness of their actions is scary. Thanks to having luck of relative resilience this girl made it through hellish childhood. The traumas she suffered at the hands of the cult could break and permanently destroy a less resilient person. The cult of Scientology is a very successful commercial enterprise disguised as a church. Their immense financial power keeps critics at bay with ruinously costly litigation. Any sane person can see this is an evil cult taking advantage of people's traumas to rip them off, in every conceivable way, and intimidate those who realized they were being conned. The only part of Scientological beliefs that resonates with me is their criticism of modern psychiatry. It is however exactly this weakness of medical sciences that allows the cult to exploit the vulnerable who are struggling with mental health and disappointed with what psychiatry offers. It is too bad these vulnerable people fall prey to the cunning manipulation at the hands of the cult, resulting in having their brains washed and, most importantly, their bank accounts emptied.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tragic tale beyond belief, 9 Feb. 2013
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This has been a very interesting read giving an insight in to a child and young adult who grew up in the Church of Scientology. Jenna life seems a mix of being blessed by being related to the leader of the church of scientology while at the same time cursed by it too. On the one hand she gets to experience life in the highest echelons of the church of scientology while on the other she's made to do hard labour for long hours. Recommended reading for anyone curious about the church of scientology.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From halfway through the book I enjoyed the book more but was horrified at the same ..., 1 Feb. 2015
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I found it a bit repetitive up to half way but realised it had to be from Jenna, to show how the Scientology beliefs /way was drummed into you. In Jenna's case from an early age working on the Ranch as an adult would without her family and missed out on a big part of her childhood. From halfway through the book I enjoyed the book more but was horrified at the same time what happened to Jenna and many others under the rule of this Church and the inhuman way followers were treated. And still are??
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Out standing insite to a cold and calculating world., 30 Oct. 2013
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A bit hard going at times but we'll worth the read. The title says it all but still the "church" continues. Evil comes in many guises.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Could not put this down!, 26 Nov. 2013
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What a gripping, insightful, shocking story of a young life stolen by this scary, power hungry money making 'religion', I'm glad I read it. I feel inspired by the strength of Jenna Hill. And now more than ever my mind boggles that Tom Cruise &Will Smith follow this organisation. Mugs!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable!, 10 Mar. 2013
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My curiosity and disbelief as to how Scientology worked was answered with this shocking story. I wish I could understand how any sane person could believe that this cult was any kind of good force. A fantastic read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRAVELY WRITTEN, a massive achievement, 11 Aug. 2014
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Terrific book bravely written. Any kind of spiritual, or other abuse follows the same patterns, and it is very interesting reading, whether you are trapped by your 'church' elders, or any kind of heirarchical system, where the power and ego gets a hold, this can bless you and give you the courage you need to take an honest look at the organisation you belong to, and assess your situation, and whether it is true. A great read. I was sorry when it came to the end. Thank you Jenna Miscavage Hill. You are an inspiration, and will help many.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read, 30 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape (Paperback)
I was engrossed from start to finish. Unbelievable at times yet written with such clarity that you believe every word. Very informative and interesting, a must read if you have an interest of learning what Scientology is all about, and a must read if you have a loved one who is toying with the idea of joining!

I feel much more informed about Scientology and I have a huge admiration for Jenna and the strength she has shown through such a hard life, and for her strength to see the light and get herself and family out of it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scientology - Run for your life (and sanity), 27 Dec. 2014
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Really enjoyed this book. I (like everyone else I suspect) have seen documentaries and read various articles on Scientology over the years. This really was an eye opener and the whole 'set-up' is a lot worse than I imagined. Scientology appears to be more about control, money and reeling in various celebs to network and hob nob with each other. I suspect there are lots of 'auditing' files in a locked safe somewhere to keep any 'wayward' celebs in line and keep the money coming in. I couldn't put this book down.
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