Ex-scientologist: I was brainwashed

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A remarkable picture of the inner workings of the Church of Scientology has been published by a member of one of the families most closely associated with it.

Jenna Miscavage Hill was the third generation of a family of scientologists, born into it and raised in its disciplines. Eventually, like her parents, she left and has now written a devastating account of her experience, particularly in its most secretive inner core, what is known as the Sea Organisation or Sea-org.

She told Today presenter James Naughtie about a life that was intimately bound up and directed by scientology.

We asked the Church of Scientology for an interview - they declined, but said in a statement: "We note that recollections in Ms Hill's book about her schooling are dramatically at odds with the recollections of 30 of her classmates.

"The church has long respected the family unit while accommodating and helping those raising children. The church does not engage in any activities that mistreat, neglect or force children to engage in manual labour. The church follows all laws with respect to children. Claims to the contrary are false.

"The Church of Scientology does not counsel its staff members or parishioners to have abortions. Any such statement is false.

"Sea Organisation couples are permitted to marry, but... if Sea Organisation couples wish to have children, they must do so outside the Sea Organisation. They may return once the children have grown."

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Friday 8 March 2013.

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