This week, Jenna Miscavige Hill—a third-generation Scientologist and the niece of David Miscavige, the church's leader—has released her tell-all memoir, Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape, of growing up inside the organization that isolated her from her family, robbed her of an education, and put her to work, full time, at hard labor when she was just seven years old.
It's one thing to think that Scientology is weird, gawk at its bizarre relationships with celebrities, and be horrified by stories from ex-members. But it's another to be confronted with the abuse of little children who were brought into the religion by their parents and forced into a life of oppression, severe punishments, and psychological control that borders on torture, as Miscavige Hill describes in her book. As far as brainwashing, miseducating, financially defrauding cults go, Scientology is right up there with the FLDS in its treatment of children. (Interestingly, Miscavige Hill's coauthor was Lisa Pulitzer, who also cowrote Stolen Innocence with Elissa Wall, who escaped the FLDS and became the star witness against polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs at his trial for accomplice to rape.)
There's an excerpt from Miscavige Hill's book on Salon about Scientology's infamous Celebrity Center. It's really the only time in her memoir that she drops any famous people's names, so of course that particular chapter would attract attention. There isn't anything there that we hadn'tread about before, but did establish the stark contrast in treatment that the celebrities experience compared to the members of Sea Org.