Imagine you had a son who had the power not only to entirely control every facet of your life, but to also have the power to control all of your immediate family members and relatives. Then imagine living under this power for over two decades. Now, imagine that you finally escape this control, only to find out that your son has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars paying private investigators to watch your every move, and to find out that your son could care less if you live or die.
This isn’t fiction about a father’s worst nightmare, but a true story about Ron Miscavige and his life in Scientology, where his son David Miscavige has been the “church” leader since founder L. Ron Hubbard died in 1986.
For anybody unfamiliar with Scientology, this book is sure to be an enthralling read. The official “church” policies (which, to this day, are denied by Scientology representatives) of disconnecting and isolating families, verbal, financial, and physical abuse; manipulation, and other cult-like activities, will undoubtedly be disconcerting. These policies are nothing new, and were written and practiced by Hubbard during his reign. Under David Miscavige’s leadership, however (his preferred title being COB, for Chairman Of the Board), these policies have been practiced to such an extent that Scientology has lost many members, including such prominent ones as Mike Rinder, Marty Rathbun, Leah Remini, and Jenna Miscavige Hill who is David Miscavige’s niece. The few members that are left are under a constant cycle of fundraising for new buildings that are basically Potemkin villages, and doing whatever it takes to remain in David Miscavige’s good graces (which, you will learn, is an impossibility).
The book does a good job detailing the basics of Scientology, including the various organizations (“orgs”) that are under their control. Ron Miscavige comes across as a flawed but sympathetic person, who has no problem admitting his faults as well as what he perceives as the positives of Scientology. He has seen it all, from being a lowly Sea Org member living in austerity, to working with such people as John Travolta and Tom Cruise. He is an accomplished musician as well as a former U.S. Marine, and he comes across as a common sense person who is heartbroken by the way that things have turned out with his family. The “suppressive person” policy in Scientology has ruined thousands of families, and it has even ruined the family of the leader of Scientology.
For those already familiar (as I was) with Scientology, this book won’t have too many surprises, as many of the stories of abuse have been written about by other members. It is, however, a fascinating look into the mind of David Miscavige, and Ron Miscavige even alludes to his son being a psychopath at the end of the book, but he doesn’t directly say it, and I’m sure that’s because Scientology has more lawyers on retainer than they do actual “church” members at this point. He also writes that he forgives him, so one can gauge the inner torment that Ron Miscavige is going through. It is obvious that he didn’t write this book for fame or money, but for an inner conviction to expose Scientology for what it truly is, and to help save some families going through the same things in the process.
I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the inner workings of Scientology.