Jenna Miscavige Hill: "How I escaped Scientology"


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Women's Weekly: Jenna Miscavige Hill: "How I escaped Scientology"

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20 year old Jenna Hill was raised in the fold of Scientology since she was a baby - so what happened when she finally broke free?

By Clair Weaver, Australian Women's Weekly, October 5, 2015

From the moment she landed in Australia, 20-year-old Jenna Miscavige Hill enjoyed a level of freedom she’d never known before. There was unlimited access to TV and the internet. She and her husband Dallas could hop on their bicycles and explore their new home of Canberra whenever they liked. Their usually rigidly-packed schedules were almost empty. There was minimal monitoring. They could even sit back with their new friends and enjoy a beer.

For the worldwide Scientology leader David Miscavige’s niece, who signed a billion-year contract of allegiance to the church at the age of seven, it was a radical new way of life.“We were in regular contact with [non-Scientologists and lay members], which I had never really had before,” said Jenna. “People in Australia are more real and they say it how it is. It was nice to have some real friends who were cool and relaxed. And we had some independence. When you are at the church in LA, you are told what you are allowed to do.”

Until that point in 2004 Jenna’s life had been so regimented that she had always eaten her meals in the church’s communal mess halls – Her visit to a supermarket in Canberra, where she’d been deployed by the church, was her first grocery run – full stop. Following recipes and working the stove were new and daunting tasks. Equally eye-opening was the hour or two of TV she allowed herself each day; the convention-flouting reality show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy became a firm favourite. Jenna liked the characters and was perplexed that “what I saw didn’t match what I’d learned in Scientology” – namely, that homosexuals are “sexual perverts and covertly hostile”.

But perhaps the most profound new experience was striking up a friendship with a woman in the church who had two young daughters and a baby born during their stay. As members of the church’s elite Sea Organisation, Jenna and Dallas didn’t mix with children and were forbidden from having their own. “[My friend’s] daughter was adorable, really sweet and I fell in love with her,” she recalls. “For the first time, I wondered what it would be like to have a family of our own.”

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