Australian former senior Scientologist calls on celebrities to step away from the group

Bryan Seymour

A former Scientology heavyweight is calling on celebrities to stop promoting the abusive group.

Janis Gillham Grady rose from humble beginnings in Australia to serve alongside the multi-billion dollar cult's founder L Ron Hubbard.

Now she's written a stunning tell-all account of her experience and has spoke exclusively to 7 News from her Las Vegas home.

Australian-born Ms Grady's book tells the story of her childhood serving Hubbard.

Janis Grady pictured with Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard. Photo: Supplied
Ms Grady in her home speaking to 7 News. Photo: Supplied

"I was with him for six hours a day for nearly 11 years on and off," Ms Grady said.

As a child in 1960s Melbourne, her parent's senior position with Scientology was suddenly a negative, when it was banned in Victoria.

"No-one was allowed to practice Scientology so we had police showing up at our house to see if we were practicing you could be arrested for doing Scientology in the State of Victoria."

Ms Grady in her days as a Scientologist. Photo: Supplied

She and her father Peter were both imprisoned and chained by the church for minor transgressions.

"He didn't kill anyone, he didn't get drunk, do anything like that it was part of how justice was issued in those days. Hubbard issued it and people accepted it."

Finally settling in Los Angeles, Ms Grady's mother set up the first Celebrity Centre. It grew quickly.

"It was the biggest Org in the world at the time."

Ms Grady (pictured centre, dressed in blue) said she was chained and imprisoned by the church. Photo: Supplied
The first celebrity centre, set up by, Ms Grady's mother. Photo: Supplied

Ms Grady's mum Yvonne Gillham-Jentzsch got John Travolta involved and he adored her. Travolta was studying at the Celebrity Centre when he got his first big break on Welcome Back Kotter.

"The celebrities of today are treated very different to how they were treated when my mother was there."

"The Scientologists are shutting themselves away from the real world when they should be embracing the real world and reaching out to it."

Hubbard pictured with Scientology members. Photo: Supplied

Many families, including here in Australia, are cut off from those still trapped inside.

"People are being forced to disconnect so that they don't talk because people who have left and know what's going on, on the inside will talk to those that are on the inside and tell them the truth of what's happening."

While many celebrities have left, 61-year-old Ms Grady believes those remaining, like Elizabeth Moss, hold the key.

The current head of the group David Miscavige. Photo: Supplied

"That's what they all need to do, they need to get on the internet and see the stories that have been going on and do something about it because they're the ones who can. You've got to be on the inside if you're going to reform that place."

The current leader David Miscavige, accused of assaulting and abusing staff, shows no sign of loosening his grip.

"David Miscavige is a lot more intense on his demands to get things done than Hubbard was."

Ms Grady says celebrity members like Elizabeth Moss need to stop promoting the group.

The Church of Scientology refused 7 News's request for an interview, issuing a statement rejecting Ms Grady's claims. Read the full statement below.

It is beyond question is that Scientology's membership has plummeted to less than 20,000 worldwide and here in Australia, barely 1,500."

Ms Grady's second book is due out next year, she says it's ludicrous for Scientology to attack her.

"For them to attack me they're like attacking themselves since I was born in Scientology, raised by Scientology parents and then raised by Hubbard himself as a teenager."

Lawyers for the Church of Scientology provided this statement:

Ms Grady was expelled from the Church of Scientology in 1990 due to her own breaches of her ecclesiastical obligations and has not had any contact with the Church since that time.

It is false to claim or suggest that Ms Grady and/or her father were at any time "chained and imprisoned as punishment", or that they were subjected to any unlawful treatment of any kind.

It is false to claim or suggest that Ms Grady was raised by anyone other than her parents, both of whom accompanied her in the Sea Organization.

Ms Grady's characterisations of Mr L. Ron Hubbard and Mr David Miscavige are rejected as false ad hominem to generate publicity.

Ms Grady's characterisations of the Church's status and religious practices are rejected as false ad hominem to generate publicity.

Our client rejects the Ms Grady's assertions about the conditions of the Church of Scientology. She was expelled from the religion in 1990 and has been out of the Church for nearly three decades. She is in no position to comment on the status of the Church today.