Scientology leader's niece to reveal 'strange and disturbing' details about life inside church in tell-all memoir

Mail, UK/September 25, 2012

A niece of controversial Scientology leader David Miscavige is planning a tell-all memoir about her life in the church and how she escaped its clutches.

Jenna Miscavige Hill, 28, daughter of David's older brother Ron, has been a frequent critic of the Church of Scientology since publicly breaking with it in 2005.

In 'Beyond Belief: My Secret Life inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape', she will reveal 'strange and disturbing' details about growing up in the church and will provide a firsthand account of Scientology's 'upper ranks', its publishers William Morrow say.

In 2000, when she was 16 years old, Ms Miscavige's parents left Scientology, disillusioned with its practices.

In the five years that followed, she has claimed that - because of the church's policy of 'disconnection' with relatives and friends who do not support the cult - all letters between them were intercepted and she was not allowed to answer the telephone for over a year.

'If you flunked your uniform inspection, sometimes if you were late ... you would be dumped with a five-gallon bucket of ice water,' she told investigative journalist Philip Recchia in 2008.

'We were also required to write down all transgressions ... similar to a sin in the Catholic religion.

'After writing them all down, we would receive a meter check on the Electropsychometer to make sure we weren't hiding anything, and you would have to keep writing until you came up clean. This is from the age of 5 until I was 12.'

The site was launched as support group offering 'non-judgmental support for those who are still in Scientology, discussion and debate for those who've already left, and a plethora of easy-to-understand references for the curious'.

Following the public split between the cult's most famous member, Tom Cruise, and wife Katie Holmes, Ms Miscavige Hill spoke out in support of Holmes and the couple's daughter Suri.

'My experience in growing up in Scientology is that it is both mentally and at times physically abusive,' she said in a statement released through the Ex-Scientology Kids website.

'I was allowed to see my parents only once a week at best - sometimes not for years.

'We got a lousy education from unqualified Teachers, forced labor, long hours, forced confessions, being held in rooms not to mention the mental anguish of trying to figure out all of the conflicting information they force upon you as a young child.

'While it is very unlikely that Suri Cruise would have the same upbringing as me (due to her parent's celebrity status), any organization that is capable of mistreating and neglecting the needs of children, regardless of their social status, and which has a long history of breaking up families is no place for an innocent child.

'The people in Scientology who are responsible for "PR" are experts at twisting the truth and intimidation tactics.

'As a mother myself, I offer my support to Katie and wish for her all of the strength she will need to do what is best for her and her daughter.'

She says, since leaving the church, she has been branded a 'suppressive person', which the church's website defines as someone 'who seeks to suppress other people in their vicinity'.

The Scientology website reads: 'A suppressive person will goof up or vilify any effort to help anybody and particularly knife with violence anything calculated to make human beings more powerful or more intelligent.

'The "suppressive person" is also known as the "anti-social personality". Within this category you would find 'Napoleon, Hitler, the unrepentant killer and the drug lord,' according to the website.

'Beyond Belief: My Secret Life inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape' will be published by HarperCollins Publishers imprint William Morrow, due out in January.

Inside the controversial 60-year old religion

Scientology has been dogged by controversy almost since the day it was created.

The belief was founded in 1952 by L Ron Hubbard who until then had been known for writing pulp and science fiction novels.

Followers believe that inside them are ancient alien beings known as thetans which have lived for thousands of years on other planets and were brought to Earth on a space ship that looks like a Douglas DC-8 plane.

Through a process called Dianetics they make themselves far better people, and even massively boost their IQ.

Such claims however have never been proved and instead Scientology has faced allegations it charges outrageous fees for its services and abuses its followers.

Among the most controversial aspects are 'audits' in which followers have to explain their inner secrets to a superior, including their sex lives.

There have also been reports of bizarre punishments and questions have been raised over what happened to the wife of its current leader David Miscavige, who has reportedly not been seen since 2007.

Those who join the higher order of Scientology, known as Sea Org, pledge their allegiance for one billion years - a vow supposedly made by children as young as 10.

Scientology courts Hollywood stars and famous followers include Tom Cruise and John Travolta but it is very rare that they speak about their beliefs.

Cruise's marriage to Katie Holmes was said to have ended over her refusal to allow their six-year-old daughter Suri to be indoctrinated.

She was also said to be concerned about the child being sent to the Scientology Gold Base in California where members are banned from having children, are paid just $50 a week and can be punished for simply looking at somebody the wrong way.

Scientology was also the basis of the current cinema hit The Master in which a drifter is taken in by the leader of a cult-like group.

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