My book club read Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape by Jenna Miscavige Hill for our March book. This book was interesting to say the least. There were times I was horrified, aggravated, relieved, hopeful, disappointed….so many feelings went through me during this book. If you have ever been curious about Scientology, this is a fascinating book to read. Here is a summary of the book:
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, complete with family photographs from her time in the Church, 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.
One big complaint I had about the book is that there seemed to be too much detail from a single day or event for my liking. There were times I wanted to skip ahead and times when I just skimmed because it was the same “story” again. But overall, she did a good job giving her best recollection of the events from her childhood. And I know that she was trying to document all of the events, but I found myself a little bored at times.
Also there were A LOT of acronyms in the book and it was quite difficult to keep track of them all. I read this on my Kindle and when I got to the end, I found out there was a list of all the terms she used. That would have been useful while I was reading it. So if you don’t have a Kindle, you might benefit from reading a paper copy to reference this list.
Nonetheless, this was a captivating book and makes me so sad for the children in Scientology and I hope more Scientologists are able to make their way out like Jenna did.