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Beyond Belief
Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape | Jenna Miscavige Hill, Lisa Pulitzer
45 posts | 85 read | 82 to read
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 Orgthe 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.
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Suet624
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Pickpick

Let me just say that if not for audio, I never would have made it through this. There was too much mind-numbing detail. However, here‘s what I got from it: staff members (Sea Org) would either make very good prisoners or very good prison guards. The forced isolation, ongoing punishments and interrogations, forced labor, snitching, family separation, adherence to policy & rules are unreal. And get this: women in authority are addressed as ‘Mr.‘

Megabooks It kind of felt like accounts of totalitarian states to me. 3mo
Suet624 @Megabooks yes! Exactly! 3mo
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effani
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Pickpick

There aren't many surprises here if you've followed the topic at all, but the book was well written and the author has a unique and important perspective. I thought the audio version was well done as well.

BarbaraTheBibliophage I really liked this one! 3mo
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Kaylamburson
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Pickpick

I can't even believe the craziness surrounding this "religion". I was horrified and fascinated by Jenna's memoir about her experience in scientology and as the niece of the current leader. How do they get away with all the forced child labor and separation from their parents? After finishing it last night I found Remini's interviews about her experiences and went down a wormhole about the whereabouts of Shelly Miscavige. I want to read more!

Kaylamburson Thanks, @Megabooks ! Just stacked it. 4mo
jb72 It is scary. I used to live near Clearwater Florida where they have a big head quarters. The windows are blacked out or there‘s plastic hanging on the inside. They walk around like zombies. There is a guard posted at one of the delivery entrances. 4mo
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Kaylamburson Wow, I cant even imagine. Were you ever approached to join living there? @jb72 4mo
jb72 @Kaylamburson Thankfully no. But I‘m not exactly their wholesome type. 4mo
Kaylamburson So interesting. Some girl in NYC stopped me and I dont think it was for scientology but some other cult about Mother Mary. I was freaked out by it @jb72 4mo
jb72 @Kaylamburson it‘s such an odd location for the cult. I mean It‘s near the beach and that area is always crowded. It‘s like party time during parts of the year. One rumor is there‘s some sort of weird machine in one of the buildings that does who knows what. Plus Hubbard‘s sperm is supposed to be housed there too. 4mo
Kaylamburson Eww lol. I'm sure there are many secret crazy things there. The whole thing is crazy. @jb72 4mo
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Megabooks
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Pickpick

I read this as an ebook when it came out in 2013, but I picked up the #audiobook at a recent #audible sale. In the intervening years, I have read two non-memoir books about Scientology. All three books confirmed this “religion” and its leaders are seriously off the rails. It seems to be a money-making, publicity scheme. The child labor and forced separation of families were the worst, IMO, with Sea Org members being paid $45 a week a close 3rd.

Emilymdxn Sounds like a fascinating book! I watched that documentary that came out a few years ago about leaving Scientology and really loved it. Would love to read a book about it. Hope you‘re doing okay, sending love 💕 4mo
Megabooks @Emilymdxn Thanks! I‘ll tag the better of the two non-memoir books as well, but it‘s longer. I spoke with my therapist. While I‘m still upset, I‘m working through it. And you Brits have the BEST documentaries!! 😁👍🏻 4mo
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keys_on_fire
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Mehso-so

Pros: interesting inside account of the workings of Scientology by the niece of the current leader. Jenna is very detailed about her time there.

Cons: Jenna is VERY detailed about her time there. I feel like this book could have been made significantly shorter because there was a lot of repetition. Sometimes this helps emphasize the horrors, but ultimately I just found myself waiting impatiently for her to be ready to leave.

Caroline2 Yeah I found the same. Wayyy too much detail on her day to day life and the boring bureaucracy of the religion. 5mo
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keys_on_fire
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Starting this today, as it‘s due back at the library soon! I didn‘t get near as much reading done on the first leg of my vacation as I had planned!

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Readage
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Mehso-so

• 3/5 ⭐️ Now that I have a basic understanding of Scientology, I approached this one casually. It was a good book, but not particularly enlightening. The most rewarding part of these cult memoirs is, of course, the "a-ha" moment when the author finally realizes they're done with the insanity and they go on to live happy, fulfilling lives without the abuse and human rights violations so prevalent in cults. On audiobook, Hill's story comes alive •

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Mshookquilts
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Bailedbailed

I couldn‘t get into this. Seemed boringly detailed.

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WeeziesBooks
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Panpan

Book 37: I thought this one would be a page-turner, but it needed some heavy editing and an editor to tell her to stop slowing the book down with every detail of her day-to-day life. There were also parts that seemed heavily exaggerated in order to make her appear more badass... this just wasn‘t my cup of tea. But good for her for getting out of a cult that believes they are aliens from another planet. (The escape wasn‘t harrowing btw)

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Caroline2
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Mehso-so

Meh! This started off good but then got way too bogged down in the day-to-day coursework that these people have to do. It was like reading about someone filling out their tax rebate forms! 🙄 what a crazy religion/cult tho! 😧

Cathythoughts Oh dear 😂 7mo
Gina Those Folio books... oh myyyyy 7mo
Caroline2 @Gina Thanks! I do love a good folio book! 😍 7mo
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Readage
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• Have you read this book? It's been on the TBR for almost 3 years and I love a good cult memoir. Leah Remini's book was awesome, this one looks good as well. Please leave your thoughts on the book •

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Jillsandypants
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Pickpick

I am fascinated by cults. The disregard for basic human rights under the pretext of the church of Scientology is jaw-dropping. The narrator of the audiobook is very easy to listen to (although at times she seems a bit too chipper considering the negative experiences she is describing).

rather_be_reading she wrote a book?! 8mo
Jillsandypants @rather_be_reading Yes! It‘s about 6 years old but I just found out about it. 8mo
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KatieDid927
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David Miscavige is dangerous, violent and the leader of a cult worth billions of dollars... but he‘s also kind of a pathetic loser. He tries so hard to keep the evil he does hidden but it‘s all so obvious. He‘s just another a$@hole with a Napoleon complex. He‘s a crappy villain. #lovehate @ErinSueG @WhiskeyMistress

britt_brooke He‘s such a piece of 💩!! 10mo
ErinSueMreads I think it is a perfect choice! You can‘t cheat at a game that has so few rules 😂😂😂 10mo
KatieDid927 @ErinSueG 💃🏻 10mo
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ederdm27
Pickpick

I am really into the boom of Scientology controversy from watching Leah Remini's TV show and this book kept me turning the pages every day! Sometimes seems a little mediocrely written but it's coming from her entirely so it just makes it seem more authentic that it's coming from her since she isn't a professional writer. Nevertheless, awesome story!

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Egleason
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So close to reaching my reading goal for the year, cause I want to spend December rereading Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. 4 books away from 50 #readinggoals #novemberreads

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Pam.Kokomo
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Pickpick

Wow. Creepy.

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Insightsintobooks
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Heatherfeather Oh hello. Escape from cults? I'm there. 1y
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Jabberwocky
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Pickpick

I throughly enjoyed finishing this book up while waiting 5 hours for the ferry today. 🙄 apparently one of the major downsides to Vancouver island is that there‘s like two major highways and when there‘s an accident on one the whole island clogs up. Alas. I did enjoy the cult narrative and reading about Jenna‘s escape from #Scientology I always love cult stories though so 🤷🏻‍♀️⛴

emilyhaldi I'm fascinated by Scientology horror stories 😳 1y
Mrs_Organized_Chaos This would be right up my alley. You should watch the show Extreme Beliefs and Cults on A&E. 1y
Jabberwocky @Mrs_Organized_Chaos ooooo that sounds great! @emilyhaldi The author is the current leader‘s niece, it was a great read 1y
Dragon I was at work when I heard there was another crash on the Malahat. People were worried about getting home after work. It really does close down north south travel. 1y
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Jabberwocky
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Honeymoon thangs. 📖😋🏖

readordierachel Too cute! 1y
Ddzmini Awe enjoy 😊 1y
JoScho ❤️❤️❤️ 1y
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CouronneDhiver Oh my gosh ... how adorable is that?! 😍 Have fun! 1y
KellyHunsakerReads You are beautiful and I want that dress! 1y
RebelReader You look so beautiful and your picnic looks delish! ❤️❤️❤️ 1y
saresmoore 😍♥️ 1y
BlameJennyJane 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼 #Perfection ! 1y
britt_brooke Lovely!! 1y
Jabberwocky Thank you all!!! Dress is from torrid and it was an amazing beach day! @Hunsakermountain 1y
ShelleyBooksie What a romantic set up! Congratulations on your nuptuials. 1y
Tamra Woot! 1y
BookishTrish Wow! 1y
FantasyChick Is it wrong that I love that you're reading a true cult book on your honeymoon? Looks like you guys are having a fabulous time! 😘 1y
Jabberwocky @FantasyChick She said she loved me just the way I am, cult books and all 🤔🤔 1y
55 likes15 comments
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Jabberwocky
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A perfect way to end another perfect night of honeymooning- with wine and books in our enormous jetted tub. 🛀

CouronneDhiver ❤️ 1y
BookishTrish Happy Honeymoon and much love to you both! 1y
TrishB Fab 💕 1y
MStew Congrats!! And beyond belief is a great book!!! 1y
68 likes5 comments
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Macnjen
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Pickpick

Audiobook- well narrated, very interesting and pretty disturbing insight into her life growing up in Scientology. It‘s intriguing and well told.

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ElizabethAndino
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Mehso-so

My third read for the MMD reading challenge, a memoir. I really trudged through the first 80% of this though the last few chapters were much more engaging.

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Kboltz
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Pickpick

Listened to this on audible. I cannot understand how people are lead to believe to lead a life like this. How is scientology allowed to treat kids this way in this country? It‘s a cult and a shame that people need such beliefs. I still do not understand what their goal truly is other than to better themselves through auditing mumbo jumbo

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TeaRainBook
Pickpick

3.5/5 stars. Important story was told, but the writing quality is lacking, due to Hill‘s rather sketchy educational background. Still I‘m glad to have read her story.

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TeaRainBook

Starting this tonight

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RealBooks4ever
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Here are some pretty good books on Scientology, that mysteriously secretive religious cult... #Scientology #NoteworthyNovember

BarbaraTheBibliophage I haven't read Wright's book, but the other two sure are damning to the cult. 2y
RealBooks4ever @BarbaraTheBibliophage I describe Going Clear as a scathing take-down. Excellently written! 2y
BarbaraTheBibliophage I do want to read it! #TMBTLT (too many books too little time) 2y
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Jen2
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Pickpick

Interesting

AKinderman I'm assuming she's related to David? If so, that must be intriguing 2y
Jen2 She is his niece. 2y
peaknit I thought this was excellent and I learned so much about the strangeness of Scientology! (Strange to me that is:) (edited) 2y
aprilpohren This sounds very intriguing! 2y
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Sweettartlaura
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Pickpick

#24in48 review

I've read a few books on Scientology. This was my favorite. And doing it via Audible worked extra-well: the narrator sounds like a very young woman. And since this tells the story of Jenna Miscavige from her early childhood until she left Scientology, this really adds to the story.
Hearing how distorted her worldview was from growing up in this cult is both fascinating & distressing. It's scary how easy things become "normal."

EKonrad Check out Leah Remini's show on A&E if you haven't yet. Super fascinating look at the perils of Scientology. 😔 2y
Sweettartlaura @Ekonrad Not a big enough fan of hers to get through an hour of her, let alone a series ?. But I prefer this & Going Clear anyway - they're much more insider POVs, & thus much more intense. Jenna Miscavige Hill makes a point of talking about Scientology for celebs & "public" Scientologists... & Scientology for her ? (edited) 2y
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Sweettartlaura
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Starting this tonight.
The narrator makes this sound like a little girl is telling you this - quite effective so far.

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alovely26
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🙀🙀🙀🙀

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stacybmartin
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Today's #labsoundtrack is a deep dive into one of the weirdest religions out there. 'You're in a cult - call your dad!' #ssdgm #myfavoritemurder #cults

Gayan Get a job, buy your own shit, and stay out of the forest. #SSDGM This book was so interesting. 3y
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Zoe_reads_books
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Mehso-so

I'm fascinated by Scientology (and cults in general), so I thought this book was going to be really interesting. But it was just boring and felt flat. Even though Scientology is really creepy and pretty terrifying, I felt like there was no tension. Maybe it's because there was so much focus on the day to day activities of Jenna's life or maybe it was the audio book narrator.

britt_brooke I thought this one was boring, too. Have you read Troublemaker? It's largely about the celebrity side, but a great read. 3y
Zoe_reads_books @britt_brooke I've heard Troublemaker is better. I'll have to check it out! 3y
20 likes2 comments
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NAM99
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Pickpick

Not knowing much about Scientology, this book gave me background on the religion and told the impressive story of Jenna Miscavige Hill. It's hard to believe how young she was and all that she went through #roguebookbingo

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MoFendt
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Audiobook via the amazing Hoopla app which everybody needs to download now!!!!!! Just started listening to this a few minutes ago...

MoFendt Idk if it was the woman reading it or what but I just could not get into it!!!! It did make me want to listen to the audiobook version of Troublemaker by Leah Remini b/c I love her voice, I couldn't find it on Hoopla though!!! :( does anyone know if there is an audiobook available? 3y
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saguarosally
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So far it's between horrifying and weird. I hope it's just weird.

peaknit I agree, definitely weird but also horrifying. I cannot take Tom Cruise seriously after this, wait, I guess I never could:) 3y
saguarosally @peaknit I just want to see how much stranger it can get. 3y
peaknit I think learning what the higher levels are was as strange as I could imagine...and lie detecting soup cans? Can't wait to hear your final thoughts. I also read Leah Remini's autobiography on her own escape. Crazzzzy. 3y
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britt_brooke
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Mehso-so

"... Scientology is a system that makes it nearly impossible for you to think for yourself."

While this is an interesting glimpse into the insane atrocities faced by Scientology staff and their families, it gets too hung up on day to day details to the point that it's boring. 300 pages would've sufficed.

One thing is for sure: Scientology is an impressive science fiction story/experiment/delusion. So, well done, LRH, you really got them.

SuperPunkNinja I work in mental health and we're two buildings down from a huge Scientology building. we don't have a sign out b/c of them. Scary folks. 3y
britt_brooke @McShelfington That is scary. They seem to be very intense and narrow-minded. 3y
SuperPunkNinja @britt_brooke Yeah, after I read Going Clear I started going for walks around their building to look for escapees. 3y
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britt_brooke @McShelfington I want to 😂 but also 👏🏻👏🏻! 3y
Bks4Wrms “So, well done, LRH, you really got them.” This is great! 😂😂😂 (edited) 2y
britt_brooke @Bks4Wrms ☺️😆 Thanks! 2y
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britt_brooke
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Thanks for doing this excellent giveaway, @Liberty! #currentlyreading #booksfromsteinbeck 🐱

vivastory Need that boc mug. Can use it when my other Vonnegut mug is dirty. 3y
britt_brooke @vivastory Always good to have a back up! 😉😉 3y
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britt_brooke
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Day 1 #wanttoreadindec: The two books I'm #currentlyreading are the only 2 I know for sure I'm going to read in December. The rest, as usual, I'll play by ear. 👂🏻😉 #seasonsreadings2016

Suzze I pretty much always play my reading by ear. I never know which of my books will call loudest to me. 3y
britt_brooke @Suzze Same here. I'm very much a mood reader. 3y
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britt_brooke
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Scientology is weird. I've read a couple of other books about it, but it's been a while. Somehow I'd forgotten this tidbit.

LauraBeth I'm dying to watch the most recent A&E series! 3y
britt_brooke @LauraBeth I didn't know there was one! I swear, I live under a rock. I'm going to look for it, thanks! 3y
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Gayan I loved Leah Remini's book Troublemaker. I have this taped and will watch it tonight. 3y
RiotMom Scientology is so fascinating and strange! 3y
britt_brooke @Gayan Troublemaker was really good! 3y
britt_brooke @LauraBeth 😂😁 ... thanks for the link! 3y
Dolly Just finished/reviewed Leah Remini's book & it was pretty much as I expected. Strange and frightening. I am astounded that people have a need to wield power over others! 3y
britt_brooke @MicheleinPhilly Not yet, but I plan to! Have you read A Piece of Blue Sky? It's pretty good, too. 3y
britt_brooke @Dolly it's so insane, yet so fascinating. 3y
cathysaid I watched Leah Remini's show last night. It's quite interesting and A&E is doing a good job trying to show the responses from the Church. There are letters on the A&E website. 3y
MicheleinPhilly I had not heard of that one. Thanks! 3y
britt_brooke @cathysaid I need to watch it! 3y
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Simona
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I haven't read it yet, but it's high on my TBR pile, because of the recommendation @BarbaraTheBibliophage
After when I read Leah Remini - Troublemaker, I became curious about this strange and unusual religion.

#funfridayphoto with @Liberty

Notafraidofwords Have you watched the documentary...scary. 3y
BarbaraTheBibliophage This is well worth the challenges - it's hard to read about what's essentially child neglect. @ReadingEnvy just posted about similar books - there's a great list there! 3y
Simona @Notafraidofwords No, I haven't but I can imagine how scary must be. 3y
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Simona @BarbaraTheBibliophage Thank you, just added to my TBR! 3y
ReadingEnvy I read this right after watching Going Clear, phew. 3y
Simona What do you recommend - to read book first or to watch the documentary? 3y
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KrisConstantReader
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This one looks really good, ebook on sale right now.

Donna_sBookMinute Just put on hold at library last night. 3y
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Matilda
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🔔📚🔔 this one has been rec'd to me a lot so just snagged it for $1.99! (Amazon/B&N)

Kathrin You won't regret it... it's eye opening, much more than e.g. troublemaker. Troublemaker shows the celebrity side of the organization, but this book exposes the worker bee side. 3y
Matilda @Kathrin awesome! I really loved Troublemaker but couldn't finish misgraves dad's memoir bc I found him obnoxious so I think this will be a perfect fit. 3y
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Megabooks
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Ok. I took a radical step. I returned all my ebooks to the library. 😳😮 This is a huge moment!

I'm completely audiobooks until I get a South Carolina driver's license and can join the library and check out physical books here. And, I'm diving headfirst into #nonfictionnovember, obviously! I can't believe I've made such a big change!!! 📖

LauraBrook Wow, that's huge! Good for you, though, that's a great decision. Hope you can get your new library card soon! 3y
Jenshootsweddings Oooooh! What's that Nev/catfish book?! 3y
Megabooks @LauraBrook Thanks! I'm enjoying it. I have to get a DL before Thanksgiving, so I'll try it soon! 3y
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Megabooks @Jenshootsweddings It appears to be part stories of people getting catfished and part how not to get catfished. I thought it sounded fun! 3y
celtichik Good luck with the license! 3y
Jenshootsweddings I love Nev - that sounds good! 3y
68 likes6 comments
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bermudaonion
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Mehso-so

This memoir details some of the beliefs and abuses of the cult-like Church of Scientology. I thought it went into a little too much detail about the author's daily life at times. It's a good starting place for those curious about Scientology.

Megabooks Agreed! 4y
AFridayFriend I still want to read it! 4y
bermudaonion @AFridayFriend It's worth reading, especially if you don't know much about Scientology. 4y
SuziQoregon I'm just winding up listening to Inside Scientology. I'll probably check this one out too. 4y
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