Heather Van Nest goes one-on-one with niece of the head of the church.
St. Petersburg, Florida-- Behind the bright lights of the big name celebrities, Jenna Miscavige Hill shares what she calls "the dark side of Scientology" saying that "the whole purpose is to raise awareness about what is not some benign religion, but actually a destructive and abusive organization."
As the niece of David Miscavige, the leader of Scientology, and high ranking parents Jenna says she spent years at a military style school for the executives' kids called "The Ranch" in California.
She says starting at six-years-old she was forced to do hours of hard labor, memorize ritual chants, and rarely got to see her parents. Jenna and her husband, who also used to be a Scientologist, say they are now experiencing childhood through the eyes of their own children.
Jenna details how she left Scientology after 21 years, in "Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and my Harrowing Escape," and Heather Van Nest had the opportunity to talk to her about the book.
Watch their interview or read the transcript below.
Heather Van Nest: What was the worst thing that happened to you as a Scientologist?
Jenna Miscavige: The worst part, I believe, is the robbing of your education, and taking away your childhood, and taking you away from your parents so you have no one to turn to. You have no one in your corner, and essentially brainwashing you from such an early age.
Heather Van Nest: You talk in your book about your uncle's power over the church and members even fear him. You have even called your uncle 'evil.'Explain why?
Jenna Miscavige: He's the head of this organization- the one responsible for child neglect and abuse, to separating people from their families, to having people work there... 100 hour weeks with little to no time off,and I thought it was about helping people. I thought maybe we have to make some sacrifices in that way, but there are so many things imposed on its members that are pointless. They're not helping anybody. It's just about control and power at this point.
Heather Van Nest: The Church of Scientology says it does not engage in any activities that mistreat, neglect or force children to engage in manual labor. Claims to the contrary are false. What is your reaction to that?
Jenna Miscavige: My reaction is they are lying. There are too many accounts of this for people to actually believe them. How many children at the ranch actually have a high school diploma? They didn't give out diplomas there or issue credits.
Heather Van Nest: Have you reconnected with your parents?
Jenna Miscavige: Yes I have re-connected with my parents and I have had questions. But they are out and my parents helped me get out. Unfortunately, you can't change the past, but they can apologize, and now we are moving on. They are amazing grandparents to my kids so that's all I can hope for.
Here is a portion of the response from the Church of Scientology:
"There is no basis for broadcasting that the leader of the Scientology religion engaged in any alleged neglect or abuse of children-accusations which are commonly understood to be criminal in nature-when the hard evidence clearly shows that no such conduct ever occurred. The school in question, Castile Canyon School, was a religious boarding school for the children of staff members of the Church of Scientology International's religious order, the Sea Organization. It was run by staff of the Church of Scientology International, including Ms. Hill's parents. The school was in an idyllic environment in the foothills of the San Jacinto mountains. Students were taught academic subjects as well as religious instruction in the Scientology faith. Facilities provided for the students included not only classrooms, but recreational facilities including a pool, athletic fields, horse corral, art studio, dance classes. Students also participated in gardening and other chores typical of most children. That these activities rose to the level of "abuse" or "neglect" are absurd."
See full response here: Church of Scientology responds to Hill's book
You may also like...
Prostitute Roundup: 78 arrested in online sex sting
Sex blog: Tampa area school CFO busted over her dirty sex porn blog *warning, GRAPHIC*
Sorry: Woman apologizes for flipping off judge
Nasty Nasty Dining: 10 of the nastiest restaurants in Tampa Bay in 2012
Cover Girl: Kate Upton back on the cover of Sports Illustrated
Cop of Love: Sheriff puts up Valentine's Day billboard
Faces of Meth: Before and After pictures
Take us with you: Download the 10 News app for your iPad
No sign of any ninja turtles: Alligator pulled from storm drain
Yowtch! Teen accidentally shoots off his penis, testicle
Shock Jock: DJ suspended for mocking woman with Down Syndrome
Bikini Photos: 2012 Hooters International Swimsuit Pageant
Not racist? Restaurant says 'How to catch an illegal immigrant' t-shirt is not racist
Money Mondays: How you can search for unclaimed cash
Sex Offender Mugshots: Look up Florida Sex Offenders here
Bikinis, mud, trucks: The Redneck Yacht Club
Photos: Ex-Charlie Sheen Goddess Bree Olson
Naughty Schoolgirls: Naughty schoolgirl night at Tampa club pictures
Outrageous mug shot galleries...
Strange: Some of the most unusual mug shots we've seen
Notorious Women: Bad girls behind bars
Teachers: Teacher arrest mugshots
Celebrities: The rich and famous have their own booking photos
Jaw droppers: Open mouth mug shots
Laughers: What's so funny mug shots
Prostitutes: Prostitute mug shots
Athletes: Professional athlete mug shots
Porn arrests: Child porn arrest mug shots
Local Mugs: Hillsborough County Mug shots
More unusual mug shots and galleries: 10 News slideshows and galleries