Jenna Miscavige Hill

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Jenna Miscavige Hill
Born (1984-02-01) February 1, 1984 (age 40)
Concord, New Hampshire, United States
NationalityAmerican
Notable worksBeyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape ISBN 9780062248473
SpouseDallas Hill
RelativesDavid Miscavige (uncle)
Ron Miscavige Jr. (father)
Ron Miscavige Sr. (grandfather)
Website

Jenna Miscavige Hill (born February 1, 1984) is an American former Scientologist. After leaving the Church of Scientology in 2005, she has become an outspoken critic of the organization. She had been a third-generation Scientologist, the granddaughter of Ron Miscavige Sr. (who also left the church in 2012), the daughter of Elizabeth "Bitty" Miscavige and Ron Miscavige Jr.[1] (who left in 2000) and the niece of current Scientology leader David Miscavige.[2][3] Her book Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape, recounting her experience growing up and living within the Scientology movement, was published by HarperCollins in 2013. She now runs a website which she co-founded with other ex-Scientologists which provides support and discussion for people either in the church or who have left.[4]

Early life[edit]

Jenna was born in Concord, New Hampshire on February 1, 1984.[5]: 7  Her mother was Elizabeth "Bitty" Blythe,[5]: 10  and her father was Ronald "Ronnie" Miscavige, Jr[5]: 8  the older brother of David Miscavige.[1] She has two brothers, Sterling and Justin.[6]

Her parents joined Scientology's Sea Org just before Jenna turned two years old.[5]: 1  From then on she spent most of her childhood apart from her parents and says she was only allowed to see them once a week.[7]

Life in the Sea Org[edit]

At age eight she signed her own billion-year contract with the Sea Org, effectively agreeing to follow their rules for life.[8][9] One requirement of the Sea Org was that families be separated and that "children over the age of six would be raised communally at locations close to Sea Org bases";[10] at age six she was moved to the Cadet Org (Sea Org for children[11]) school called "The Ranch". At the Ranch, Hill states that in addition to rote learning of the works of L. Ron Hubbard[9] she was expected to do heavy manual labor for 25 hours a week.[12][13] She described her experience from ages five to twelve thus: "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."[14]

After leaving the Ranch in 1997, she began training in the CMO, where Hill claims she was given repeated "security checks", investigations looking for confessions of misdemeanors (known as withholds) from past and present lives.[9] After several months, she was told that her parents had left the Sea Org and requested that she be allowed to leave too. Hill claims she was considered a potential risk to Scientology's public profile as David Miscavige's niece, and the confessions were taken to use against her later if she spoke out publicly.[9][1]

Hill was 16 when her father and mother left Scientology in 2000. Hill states that due to the Scientology-ordered practice of disconnection with relatives and friends who do not support Scientology or are hostile to it, letters from her parents were intercepted and she was not allowed to answer a telephone for a year.[15][16]

Leaving the church[edit]

Hill met her husband, Dallas Hill, also a Scientologist, in 2001. They married soon afterwards, and later had two children.[17] In 2004, they were sent to Australia on a church mission where they were finally able to access TV and internet and became aware of criticisms of Scientology.[18] One such website was Operation Clambake, dedicated to publishing critical articles and exposés of the Church of Scientology.[19] Shortly afterwards, the couple decided to leave the church. Jenna claims this was made difficult by the Scientology organization, which threatened Dallas with disconnection from his own family still within the church.[9][18][17] She further claims they were pressured to sign agreements which would entitle the church to claim $10,000 each time she spoke out publicly against the church, which she refused.[7] In 2005, they finally left the church.

Outspoken critic[edit]

In 2008, Hill first spoke publicly against the Church of Scientology's practice of disconnection in an open letter to Karin Pouw, the official Scientology spokesperson, in which she details how ex-members are prevented from communicating with family still in the church. The open letter was in response to Pouw's statement refuting allegations about disconnection made in the book Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography.[15] In the letter Hill wrote:

[Disconnection] is a widespread practice and if you dare deny it I have a list of all of [their] names together—these people's families are crying every day because they can't speak to their children who did nothing but leave the Church of their own free will. If I am in fact wrong and you want to prove me as such, then allow me and my family to be in contact with our family members that are still part of the Church such as my Grandpa, Ron Miscavige, and his wife, Becky. Allow the same of my friends. ... Why don't you take the high road for once and put that time towards repairing the families you have destroyed, starting with the family of David Miscavige himself – hell, if Scientology can’t keep his family together – then why on earth should anyone believe the Church helps bring families together![6]

Hill, along with Kendra Wiseman and Astra Woodcraft (both also raised in Scientology), founded exscientologykids.com in 2008—a website designed to provide a forum and information for people who have either left the church or those still within Scientology who are looking for information.[20]

She has been interviewed about her experiences within Scientology by a number of media outlets, including ABC's Nightline in April 2008,[21][22] and Piers Morgan Tonight in February 2013 discussing details of the church.

On February 8, 2013, while appearing on radio's Opie & Anthony Show, she stated that she first learned about the story of Xenu from watching the South Park episode "Trapped in the Closet".[23]

Memoir: Beyond Belief[edit]

External videos
video icon Jenna Miscavige Hill talking about her book (2013)

In 2013, Hill published her book Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape under the William Morrow imprint of HarperCollins.[24] Jointly written with Lisa Pulitzer, a former correspondent for The New York Times, the book recounts her experience of Scientology in detail.

Hill told James Naughtie, host of BBC Today programme, about her book and her life in Scientology's most secretive inner core, the Sea Org.[25]

Writer Catherine Wessinger called Miscavige Hill's writing an "informative, and critical, portrait of the Church of Scientology." [26]

Personal life[edit]

Jenna and Dallas Hill have two children.[17] In an August 28, 2023 interview, Jenna said she was getting a divorce.[27]

Jenna has rebuilt her relationship with her parents, Bitty and Ron Miscavige Jr, who left the church in 2000,[15] and her grandparents Becky and Ron Miscavige Sr. who left in 2012. In 2016 Ron Sr. wrote his own memoir, Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me; he passed away in 2021.[28] Jenna's two half-brothers, Justin "Miscavige" Tompkins and Sterling Tompkins (who are twins), have both left the church.[26][29]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Childs, Joe; Tobin, Thomas C. "Niece of Scientology leader describes rocky youth in church". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
  2. ^ Braiker, Brian (February 8, 2008). "The Passion of 'Anonymous'". Newsweek. Retrieved March 8, 2008.
  3. ^ Sarno, David (March 3, 2008). "Scientology taking hits online". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on March 12, 2008. Retrieved March 8, 2008.
  4. ^ "Who we are". Ex-Scientology Kids. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d Hill, Jenna Miscavige. Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape. William Morrow and Company. ISBN 9780062248473. OL 25424774M.
  6. ^ a b Bunker, Mark (January 25, 2008). "Scientology Breaks Up David Miscavige's Family". Xenu TV. Archived from the original on November 4, 2016. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
  7. ^ a b Allemang, John. "Is Jenna Miscavige Hill Scientology's most powerful opponent?". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
  8. ^ Wakefield, Margery. "Understanding Scientology". Religio.de. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  9. ^ a b c d e Grossman, Wendy (May 2013). "Clear and Fear: Scientology Under Review". Skeptical Inquirer. 37.3 (May/June 2013). Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  10. ^ "Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2013". Kirkus. Kirkus Media LLC. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  11. ^ Paris, Melissa (August 20, 2012). "Scientology's Grip on the Mind". Village Voice. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  12. ^ "Jenna Miscavige on Scientology Inc". 10News:WTSP. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  13. ^ Tremonti, Anna Maria. "The Current". CBC Radio. CBC/Radio-Canada. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  14. ^ "Family feud in Scientology's upper ranks exposes more oddities". Monsters and Critics. February 6, 2008. Archived from the original on March 13, 2008. Retrieved March 8, 2008.
  15. ^ a b c Jacobsen, Jonny (January 28, 2008). "Niece of Scientology's leader backs Cruise biography". AFP. Archived from the original on March 7, 2008. Retrieved March 8, 2008.
  16. ^ Krone, David (April 15, 2008). "Anti-Scientology Protests Continue in Dupont". The Hoya. Georgetown University. Archived from the original on May 14, 2008. Retrieved April 25, 2008.
  17. ^ a b c McCarthy, Spencer (February 2, 2013). "I feel brainwashed – a robot of Scientology". The Independent. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  18. ^ a b Weaver, Clair (December 3, 2015). "Jenna Miscavige Hill: "How I escaped Scientology"". Women's Weekly. Bauer Media. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
  19. ^ Ortega, Tony. "Jenna Miscavige Hill on her Uncle, Scientology's Leader: A Bully Too Afraid to Show His Face". The Underground Bunker. Retrieved October 19, 2016.
  20. ^ Olsen, Dawn (March 1, 2008). "Jenna Miscavige Hill Helps Out Children Trapped By Scientology With New Site ExScientologyKids.com". Technorati. Archived from the original on December 30, 2010. Retrieved January 2, 2011.
  21. ^ Fletcher, Lisa (April 24, 2008). "Niece of Scientology Leader Shares Her Story: Watch the Interview With Jenna Miscavige Hill Tonight on 'Nightline'". Nightline. ABC News. Retrieved April 24, 2008.
  22. ^ Fletcher, Lisa; Nelson, Ethan; Burbank, Maggie (April 24, 2008). "Ex-Scientology Kids Share Their Stories: Former Scientologists, Including Church Leader's Niece, Share Stories With 'Nightline'". Nightline. ABC News. Retrieved April 25, 2008.
  23. ^ "What's the Most Secretive Aspect of Scientology?". YouTube.
  24. ^ "HarperCollins to publish controversial memoir on Scientology". Voxy.co.nz. September 26, 2012. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  25. ^ "Ex-scientologist: I was brainwashed". BBC Today. March 8, 2013. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
  26. ^ a b Wessinger, Catherine (May 2017). "Review: Beyond Belief: My Secret Life inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape by Jenna Miscavige Hill with Lisa Pulitzer, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini and Rebecca Paley, Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, "Scientology: A War without Guns." ABC Television 20/20". Nova Religio. 20 (4): 116–121. doi:10.1525/nr.2017.20.4.116.
  27. ^ LIVE w/ Jenna Miscavige. August 28, 2023. 7:55 minutes in – via YouTube.
  28. ^ Tobin, Thomas C. (April 30, 2016). "A father speaks out against his son, David Miscavige, revealing deep rifts in Scientology's first family". Tampa Bay Times. Archived from the original on May 3, 2016. Retrieved April 30, 2016.
  29. ^ Former Scientology Sea Org Member: Sterling Tompkins. August 16, 2023. 1:30 minutes in – via YouTube.

Further reading[edit]

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