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We are all familiar with Scientology in general terms as a weird, sinister quasi religion/cult. However the depressing and shocking detail offered by this book brings home the reality of the horror to a new level. What makes the story even stranger is that the author is the niece of the current leader of the "church" and a distant relative of the Sci Fi scam artist L Ron Hubbard who created this fake “religion.”
Her story starts at a very young age with her account of life in the concentration camp like setting of a Church communal compound in California. I have read stories of the lives or orphans raised by Priests in Ireland and if you thought that kind of abuse was a thing of the past this story will set you straight. The author becomes a member of the Sea Org the quasi priesthood of the organization. Even though she is effectively a member of the Scientology elite inner sanctum the persecution, abuse and maltreatment continues well into her adult years....indeed until she flees the "Church."
Her accounts are quite as disturbing as anything you may have read about the excesses of communism, fascism or Cambodia under Pol Pot. The methods of though control and exploitation are straight out of the 1984 playbook. The fact that this kind of abuse and insanity is alive and well and happening right now in a town about an hour from where I live is doubly horrifying.
The author is obviously inexperienced and stylistically it’s a little clumsy somewhat in the vein of Anne Frank’s diary, but that doesn't get in the way of the reality she describes. This is disturbing, sad and compelling reading about a corrupt, abusive organization which currently enjoys tax exemption as a religion from the IRS.
185 of 192 people found this review helpful
I was hesitant to read this book because Scientology really messed up someone close to me. I didn't want to ready anything about this dangerous organization, but my instincts said to do it, and I'm glad I did!
I wanted to put this book down a few times because what happened to Ms. Hill, and others in the story, was beyond absurd and disturbing. It pissed me off because I knew I couldn't do anything about it. But then I couldn't put the book down because I wanted to witness her evolution and what it would take for her to break free.
The intelligence, courage and strength Ms. Hill showed in the end was incredibly inspiring. I am certain this book will help many who have experienced pain, suffering and damage from Scientology. Hopefully it will educate others so that they don't find themselves prey to this organizations and others like it.
48 of 51 people found this review helpful
An engaging insight as to how someone, born into a belief system, struggled with what was dissonant between the faith and the realities she observed.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to Beyond Belief again? Why?
There's a lot of info to take in initially but it was a fascinating story
What did you like best about this story?
Get to see behind the curtain of the highest ranks and family of the leadership of the 'church' and how twisted and manipulative it is.
Which character – as performed by Sandy Rustin – was your favourite?
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Impossible to listen to in 1 go ... too much to take in ... but i found it easy to pickup and put down again
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
An amazing story of resilience of the human spirit. Sandy reads Jenna"s incredible story with such heart and really captures the innocence of that little girl abandoned to the ruthlessness that is Scientology today.
I cannot finish this book. It's so long winded and has taken hours from my life