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Beyond Belief
Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape | Jenna Miscavige Hill, Lisa Pulitzer
56 posts | 103 read | 93 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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AvidReaderandGeekGirl
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Mehso-so

3.5 stars- I thought for a memoir the narration was excellent. It was quite slow-moving, yet there was a lot going on. I was so glad in the end that the outcome was what it was. I never realized quite how bad Scientology was. I knew it was bad, but not this much of a total cult. The fact it has been declared a religion in the US is terrifying!

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AvidReaderandGeekGirl
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Started this one last night and so far horrifying!

#scientology #relgion #nonfic #nonfiction #audiobook #memoir

9 likes1 stack add
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JacintaMCarter
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Pickpick

#2021Book66
Out of all the books I've read about Scientology, I think this one made me the angriest. Hill doesn't hold back from describing all of the horrific ways the church leaders brainwash members, even children as young as four. As with every book like this, I'm glad Hill and her family were able to get out of the church and I hope that her story will help others to do the same.

mom2bugnbee Why are books about cults so fascinating to me? Even as they make me angry? Stacked! 1y
45 likes1 stack add1 comment
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WorldsOkayestStepMom
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Pickpick

I didn't know very much about Scientology, except that it cost a literal shit-ton of money to progress up the Bridge to the higher levels. This memoir tells in intimate detail, the way a child grows up in the cult. Jenna Hill is the niece of the current leader, Dave Miscavige, and her story is wild.

Reviewsbylola My knowledge of Scientology is pretty much limited to Tom Cruise and Leah Remini. 😂 2y
WorldsOkayestStepMom @Reviewsbylola this explains it in so much detail! 2y
46 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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ElizaMarie
Pickpick

Thank you again @KaylaD for giving this one to me! It‘s an amazing story. I just lent it out to a coworker :) #TBRCrew
@jessinikkip , @jb72 , @AkashaVampie , @AsYouWish , @AnansiGirl , @Catherine_Willoughby , @MissAimz_55 , @cortg , @Squidget , @Bookworm54 , @katy4peas

Cortg Ooh! I listened to this a couple months ago. Scientology intrigues me, not wanting to join but the why people join. I thought this was fascinating. 2y
ElizaMarie @Cortg exactly. I‘m terrified of cults. But they are so fascinating to me! 2y
katy4peas Agreed. There is something fascinating about them and human nature. I have Educated still on my TBR list. Have either of you read that one? @ElizaMarie @Cortg 2y
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ElizaMarie @katy4peas ooo no I haven‘t! I‘ll stack it now! 2y
ElizaMarie @katy4peas ooo found it on audio on Libby! I think I‘m gonna listen to this (start it tomorrow) I needed another commute book! 2y
jb72 I used to live near Clearwater where they have a hub. It‘s super weird down there. 2y
ElizaMarie @jb72 I can bet!! The way she described her home there! Sounds like so much work went into it 2y
KaylaD I‘ll have to get myself it to read!! And glad you liked it!!💜 2y
DieAReader Read & enjoyed this one: (edited) 2y
DieAReader I started this & need to get back to it. Needed a subject break so it‘s partially read lol 2y
ElizaMarie @Squidget ooo thanks for all the recommendations!! 2y
DieAReader @ElizaMarie My pleasure😉🥰 2y
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ElizaMarie
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Yay for another
#BookSpinBingo mark! I‘m l loving this challenge! I should have started this a long time ago!!!
@TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks haha well in fairness I just made up the Bingo part in July 😂 Glad it's helping you work through the TBR!! 2y
ElizaMarie @TheAromaofBooks ooo well then I was only a month late! Ha! I had seen people talk about #Bookspin and was curious I‘m glad you talked more about it! 2y
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TheAromaofBooks I started the original BookSpin challenge in January, so that part has been going for a while, but the bingo aspect is new. I like it because some people want to read more than just one or two books from their BookSpin list, so this is a fun way to read as much from the list as works for each person, 2y
ElizaMarie @TheAromaofBooks well... it‘s a great idea! I‘m a sucker for bingos too 2y
TheAromaofBooks Honestly, bingos have turned into my biggest Litsy addiction!! 2y
18 likes6 comments
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ElizaMarie
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I started this book earlier this week. I love love love it so far. The stories are so interesting. I don't know anything about Scientology but learning more about it so interesting! Cults terrify me but fascinate me as well! Thank you again @KaylaD for gifting me this in one of the swaps (don't remember which one)

SamAnne Another great book is Going Clear by Lawrence Wright. Was also turned into an HBO documentary. 2y
ElizaMarie @SamAnne Ooo thanks! I will look into it! 2y
27 likes2 comments
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Auntynanny
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Pickpick

This was a fascinating story. I don't there's much of a scientology presence in Canada, so it seems like most of what I've heard about the church is based on Southpark episodes. I had no idea about the way children were raised in the religion. I'm so glad I read this and I'm sure I'll be reading more on the subject in the future.

ElizaMarie I too have my Scientology knowledge based on South Park. I am in the middle of this one and WOW the stories ! Its fascinating!
2y
Auntynanny I agree! It was sooo interesting! 2y
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StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego
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Pickpick

I first became fascinated/ horrified with Scientology from watching Leah Remini's TV show. It definitely seems to be more of a money hungry cult than a religion. I just can't get enough of hearing stories from those who have left/ escaped the "church". ?

JenReadsAlot This was fascinating! 3y
peaknit I really enjoyed this too, a good straight forward perspective from a kid who grew up in it. 3y
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Cortg
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Pickpick

I find Scientology like a cult and it‘s fascinating to me that people actually follow along. This book was really interesting to learn about Jenna‘s first hand experience of being raised by Scientology (her uncle is the head of the church) and how her disillusionment finally came to be.

Cortg @Tove_Reads I haven‘t but I will check it out! Thanks for the recommendation 😀 3y
44 likes2 comments
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LibraryCin
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Pickpick

I knew nothing about Scientology before reading this. Wow, the manipulation – of kids, no less! I guess you brainwash from a young age... There is a lot of terminology that she has to define, and much of it I forgot, even as I read the words later, but mostly had the gist of them. Of course, I would like to read more now. I think I have one celebrity biography on the tbr, so hopefully I can get to that one sooner rather than later

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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. 3y
Suet624 @Megabooks yes! Exactly! 3y
57 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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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! 3y
6 likes1 comment
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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. 3y
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. 3y
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Kaylamburson Wow, I cant even imagine. Were you ever approached to join living there? @jb72 3y
jb72 @Kaylamburson Thankfully no. But I‘m not exactly their wholesome type. 3y
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 3y
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. 3y
Kaylamburson Eww lol. I'm sure there are many secret crazy things there. The whole thing is crazy. @jb72 3y
74 likes4 stack adds8 comments
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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 💕 3y
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!! 😁👍🏻 3y
101 likes3 stack adds3 comments
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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. 3y
54 likes1 stack add1 comment
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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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bibliobliss
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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 😂 4y
Gina Those Folio books... oh myyyyy 4y
Caroline2 @Gina Thanks! I do love a good folio book! 😍 4y
89 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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bibliobliss
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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 •

30 likes2 stack adds
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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?! 4y
Jillsandypants @rather_be_reading Yes! It‘s about 6 years old but I just found out about it. 4y
16 likes1 stack add2 comments
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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 💩!! 4y
ErinSueMreads I think it is a perfect choice! You can‘t cheat at a game that has so few rules 😂😂😂 4y
31 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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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. 4y
62 likes1 comment
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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 😳 4y
Mrs_Organized_Chaos This would be right up my alley. You should watch the show Extreme Beliefs and Cults on A&E. 4y
Jabberwocky @Mrs_Organized_Chaos ooooo that sounds great! @emilyhaldi The author is the current leader‘s niece, it was a great read 4y
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. 4y
54 likes4 comments
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Jabberwocky
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Honeymoon thangs. 📖😋🏖

readordierachel Too cute! 4y
Ddzmini Awe enjoy 😊 4y
JoScho ❤️❤️❤️ 4y
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CouronneDhiver Oh my gosh ... how adorable is that?! 😍 Have fun! 4y
KellyHunsakerReads You are beautiful and I want that dress! 4y
RebelReader You look so beautiful and your picnic looks delish! ❤️❤️❤️ 4y
saresmoore 😍♥️ 4y
BlameJennyJane 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼 #Perfection ! 4y
britt_brooke Lovely!! 4y
Jabberwocky Thank you all!!! Dress is from torrid and it was an amazing beach day! @Hunsakermountain 4y
ShelleyBooksie What a romantic set up! Congratulations on your nuptuials. 4y
Tamra Woot! 4y
BookishTrish Wow! 4y
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! 😘 4y
Jabberwocky @FantasyChick She said she loved me just the way I am, cult books and all 🤔🤔 4y
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 ❤️ 4y
BookishTrish Happy Honeymoon and much love to you both! 4y
TrishB Fab 💕 4y
MStew Congrats!! And beyond belief is a great book!!! 4y
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. 5y
RealBooks4ever @BarbaraTheBibliophage I describe Going Clear as a scathing take-down. Excellently written! 5y
BarbaraTheBibliophage I do want to read it! #TMBTLT (too many books too little time) 5y
15 likes3 comments
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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 5y
Jen2 She is his niece. 5y
peaknit I thought this was excellent and I learned so much about the strangeness of Scientology! (Strange to me that is:) (edited) 5y
aprilpohren This sounds very intriguing! 5y
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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. 😔 5y
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) 5y
41 likes2 comments
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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. 6y
45 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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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. 6y
Zoe_reads_books @britt_brooke I've heard Troublemaker is better. I'll have to check it out! 6y
21 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? 6y
3 likes1 stack add1 comment
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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:) 6y
saguarosally @peaknit I just want to see how much stranger it can get. 6y
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. 6y
25 likes3 stack adds3 comments
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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. 6y
britt_brooke @McShelfington That is scary. They seem to be very intense and narrow-minded. 6y
SuperPunkNinja @britt_brooke Yeah, after I read Going Clear I started going for walks around their building to look for escapees. 6y
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britt_brooke @McShelfington I want to 😂 but also 👏🏻👏🏻! 6y
Bks4Wrms “So, well done, LRH, you really got them.” This is great! 😂😂😂 (edited) 5y
britt_brooke @Bks4Wrms ☺️😆 Thanks! 5y
96 likes1 stack add6 comments
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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. 6y
britt_brooke @vivastory Always good to have a back up! 😉😉 6y
93 likes2 comments
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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. 6y
britt_brooke @Suzze Same here. I'm very much a mood reader. 6y
88 likes2 comments