It always gets me when books like this show the authors as children (much like Jenna MisCavige Hill's book on escaping Scientology). They're so young and innocent and have no idea that what is happening to them is abuse, and they deserve so much better.
Rachel Jeffs is one of Warren Jeffs' 53 children whom he has with perhaps as many as 80 wives and in this she book recounts is excruciating detail what life was like living within the confines of the FLDS Church, run by her father and self-proclaimed Prophet. Jeffs' stranglehold on the cult is so strong that despite a life sentence plus twenty years, he still issues edicts from behind bars that his followers adhere to. Never doubt, he is still very much in control.
Yet Rachel found a way out and I deeply admire her courage and strength as she made her plans to escape. After years of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse at the hands of her father, she knew this was not okay, nothing about this was right, and she had to get away. Rachel was often punished for what the church viewed as transgressions by being isolated in a house by herself, and her children kept from her.
In 2015 though, Rachel pulled the trigger on her escape, fleeing with her children to her grandparents' home, finally safe from the only home she had ever known.
I wish people would stop calling this a religion, it's a cult and we all know it.
That's really my only issue with the book - the subtitle.
Otherwise, this shit is bananas just like every other Scientology book I have read so far and I am HERE. FOR. IT.
It is so batshit insane that I can't stop picking up books about this cult. I mentioned above the memoir written by Jenna Miscavige Hill, but there are many others out there as well, and still more I want to read.
I was really surprised at just how cooperative the "church" was with Reitman. She was given access to current members and officials for interviews, as well as confidential documents that we might never know about otherwise. Yet still I wonder how much they also kept from her. She also interviewed numerous former members to keep the perspective balanced.
Reitman is a journalist and takes the approach of telling a factual story about Scientology. There are, of course, celebrity stories and Tom Cruise will forever be the couch-jumping poster boy, but there is tons of actual information here. Of course, a lot of those facts are ridiculous and terrible, so Scientologists still come off looking ridiculous and terrible, which a lot of them are.
For all the good the "church" claims it has done, such as volunteer ministers travelling to sites of devastation to render aid, whether natural or man-made disasters, all the negative can not be and must not be overlooked.
One need only to seek out interviews with former members, some of whom had previously dedicated their whole lives to the organization - not to mention hundreds of thousands of dollars.
And that right there is the root of it all - the money.
L. Ron Hubbard was a con man of the worst kind, bilking people out of their life savings for a chance at salvation. Yes, there is some level of personal responsibility that must be realized, but what about children born into Scientology, who never know any other way of life? Or those who are such outcasts, feel like they don't belong anywhere, and suddenly within the "church" they become someone?
It makes you wonder how much longer this can go on. How many more people have to come forward with the insane stories of being sent to far-flung outposts to 'plant a new church'? How many more will be harassed and see their lives destroyed because Miscavige is so rich, he's practically untouchable?