Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape
I tend to read multiple books on similar subjects back to back. I followed Leah Remini's, Trouble Maker with this one. Although Leah's book focused more from a perspective primarily of her adult life and tribulations as a Scientologist, Hill's book takes you through the perspective of someone born into Scientology and the interworking of the "Sea Organization".
The book covers her time "at the ranch" where children were used for hard labor and were indoctrinated to put the church above all. At the gentle age of 7, Micavige-Hill signed a Billion Year Contract which is standard operating procedure for the religion. Not knowing the depth of such a decision, the ridiculousness of scale and more importantly, the lack of legality of the contract signed by a minor, she felt obligated to live true to it.
Soon enough, the indoctrination is clearly visible in the book. They remove the parents from her life and the church becomes the ward. Hard labor ensues and ratting on your peers becomes becomes the norm. The church controls every aspect of your life including your relationships with the opposite sex. It was disturbing to read the turmoil in her life as she grew up. The church robbed her of her innocence and her childhood.
Being the niece of David Miscavige did indeed help her in many ways, although she seemed to not realize it until later in her life, but it would turn out to be a double edged sword. She was expected to act a certain way. The Miscavige name was to be guarded and protected at all costs. Jenna seems to have inherited the same fire as her uncle, although she used it to get out.
Jenna's first love was destroyed by the church and when she was finally over him and met Dallas, she was determined to not allow the church to intervene in this relationship. Her parents, obviously Miscaviges themselves left the Seaorg but were allowed to keep communications with Jenna, probably because of the relation to David and to keep them from stirring the pot. Her parents had the foresight to give Jenna a credit card which eventually would save her and Dallas.
Jenna finally made the break from the church while Dallas was still on the fence, Jenna made him see the light and they both "blew" (term used in Scientology for someone escaping the church; yes you read that correctly "ESCAPE") from the church. The credit card given to Jenna was used to get to safety once they were out of the clutches of the church.
Today she has two kids and has left the Church of Scientology. Although Dallas remains open to believing in something, Jenna has chosen to believe in the now and making this life worth while. She is a brave woman. Throughout her ordeal you saw her buck the system even when she knew the stakes were high.
I wish her and her family continuous happiness; it is well deserved.