Jenna Miscavige Hill (left) and Leah Remini
Brian Zak/NY Post/Splash News Online; Jason LaVeris/Filmmagic
07/12/2013 at 03:00 PM EDT
The niece of the most powerful man in the Church of Scientology is speaking out in support of Leah Remini's decision
to leave the church.
"From what I understand, she was just fed up with the way she was being treated when she was following church policy," says Jenna Miscavige Hill, who left the church herself in 2005. "She is a tough woman and isn't the type to yield or turn a blind eye to a blatant injustice. People like that don't last too long in Scientology because they aren't easy to control."
Miscavige Hill, who wrote an explosive memoir, Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape
(published by Harper Collins in February) is very familiar with the dangers of criticizing the church.
Remini, she says, "has been viewed
as being a vocal advocate for the church. But what people may not know is that sometimes church members who are in trouble due to stepping out of line, are required to display their advocacy publicly in order to prove their dedication."
Many church members are eager to do this because of their fear of being separated from family and friends if they don't, especially if they have grown up in Scientology like she has."
Meanwhile, sources say, Remini's family, several of whom are high ranking members of the church, are supporting her decision and have vowed not to cut her off.
"I hope for her and her family that she has indeed left," says Miscavige Hill. "And I wish her well."