Scientology Defectors: A Timeline

From allegations of abuse to lack of support for LGBT rights, a look into why 10 former Scientologists decided to leave the church

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Jenna Miscavige Hill
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Jenna Miscavige Hill

Who She Is: Many years separate Dewolf from Jenna Miscavige Hill, but she makes the list here because of her tie to another major Scientology leader – as the niece of current church head David Miscavige. Hill signed a billion year service contract with the church at age 7, and stayed until she was 21 years old.

Cause for Defection: In 2005, after years of issues with Scientology policies, Hill and her husband left the church. "I don't even have a life," she told ABC's Nightline in 2008, of her thoughts during that period. "I don't even get to enjoy things. Who am I really helping?" The church accused Hill of neglect of duty, among other infractions, which Hill told ABC was the result of her frustration with the church's control over her life.

In her 2013 memoir Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape, Hill describes the isolation of her difficult childhood inside the Sea Organization – the clergy of the church – including the unorthodox education and work schedules she says she and other kids were expected to keep. "The conditions we worked under would have been tough for a grown man, and yet any complaints, [talking back], any kind of questioning was instantly met with disciplinary action," she wrote.

Most WTF Scientology Moment: Beyond Belief also details a situation when, at 13 years old, Miscavige was asked to fill out a church questionnaire with all of her sexual experience up to that point. "I knew I had to do it, but it was hard to understand why the church needed this information," she wrote. The church denied the allegations in her book. "We note that recollections in Ms. Hill's book about her schooling are dramatically at odds with the recollections of 30 of her classmates," they told the BBC at the time. "The church follows all laws with respect to children. Claims to the contrary are false."

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