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33 of 34 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 18 months ago by Jens Tingleff

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3.0 out of 5 stars Easy to read
Hard to believe that she could remember such clarity from such a young age. Ended up reading it as an enjoyable 'story' as opposed to a biog
Published 5 months ago by Net Grigg


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33 of 34 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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This review is from: Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape (Kindle Edition)
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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tragic tale beyond belief, 9 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape (Kindle Edition)
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 Out standing insite to a cold and calculating world., 30 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape (Kindle Edition)
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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable!, 10 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape (Kindle Edition)
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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An honest, truthful and revealing account, 8 Mar 2013
By 
Ms. Kayte Power (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape (Kindle Edition)
Considering the repercussions many ex scientologists are exposed to and also her personal links.This is a brave and open account
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, 29 Oct 2013
This review is from: Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape (Kindle Edition)
This book is excellent, gripping and very disturbing. Jenna speaks from the heart, and in detail, about the realities of growing up having your every movement, thought and emotion monitored. Read it, tell your friends, tell your kids, and their friends...and never be afraid to live your own life.
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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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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond belief, 3 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape (Kindle Edition)
And it truly is beyond belief that the author had to live through such cruel and sad times all in the name of scientology.not seeingher parents the confusion she felt .I would highly recommend this book it's a real eye opener.you go journey with the author and you feel her sadness.I wish jenna a truly wonderful future .
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read, 4 Jun 2013
By 
Mr. Stephen Redman (York England) - See all my reviews
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Scientology is an enigma to most of us, but this personal experience of the niece of the leader of Scientology is both eye opening as well as confirming all our worst fears.

It takes a little time to warm up, but very quickly this book becomes gripping and you don't want to put it down!

Perhaps the most interesting things about Jenna's story are the way she really believed what she was taught and that most of her life she didn't have any problem with the abuse that she suffered as a result. It is also very interesting the techniques that Scientology used to keep her and her family in the fold and the way they pursued them after they had left.

Perhaps the greatest warning of this book, is that it isn't fiction. This stuff really happens! Just like you wouldn't let your child go off into the woods by themselves, you shouldn't let them near weird religious cults like this one.

The techniques that Scientology used on Jenna have a lot in common with other cults and having been on the end of some of these myself I recognised them straight away. It is sheer horror the way they try to split up marriages when it suits them(and have a high success rate too!)

Jenna has been extremely brave to write this book, and you would be extremely wise to read it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read, 30 Jun 2014
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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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