Leah Remini famously left the
Cult Church Cult of Scientology in 2013 after having been a member since age 9. Since then Remini has made it her mission to share all of the close-kept secrets of the infamous business and expose their horrifying practices to the world.
Remini authored a book that I absolutely MUST read, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, and is appearing in Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath on A&E Tuesdays at 10 EST. Today is Tuesday!
Remini took her badass self to reddit to answer absolutely anything about Scientology, because fuck the pseudo-church police.
Why do you think there are so many people in the entertainment industry in the religion?
If you really look at the numbers at the entertainment industry, in comparison to the small number of scientologists that are celebrities, the number wouldn’t even register. I think Scientology has done an amazing job convincing people that there is a great number of celebrities in the “Church.”
Is Tom Cruise really the “Messiah?”
To the “Church,” yes. Parishioners believe that he is singlehandedly changing the planet because that is what the “Church” is telling them.
We can (almost correctly) assume that celebrities receive special treatment because of their status - could you elaborate more on that? For instance, how would your experiences in the church differ from someone who is not a celebrity?
We had special course rooms in separate parts of the buildings. Any complaint we had about the outside world was met with agreement from the “Church.” We were serviced differently, we had supervisors doing courses in our homes, giving special schedules to celebrities. Staff was interrogated by the Church. Often times there were Sea Org members working for celebrities in their homes, personally working for them. I know of one celeb who had a sea org member working in their home and sea org members were averaging $25/week. The labor laws don’t apply to any church therefor they were made to work ungodly hours, forced into interrogations if making human mistakes around the celebrity.
Over the past 10 years, I’ve seen my parents get deeper and deeper into Scientology. Decent reasoning, science and logic have done nothing to convince them to question the church. From someone who left, is there anything a loved one can do to help a brainwashed member see the truth, without ruining the relationship completely?
If you want to get them out there is no way to do it nicely. There is no way to do it quietly. You have to challenge them by saying, “If you can think for yourself, if you have truly accomplished what scientology says you have accomplished, you should be able to speak freely on any subject. If you have completed the “PTS/SP Course” you should be able to confront and shatter suppression.” You should ask them how is it then that you can’t watch a movie called Going Clear or look on the internet if you are the elite of the planet and handling the planet’s ills if you can’t think for yourself. I only hope that your challenge will get them to simply look.
Fight like Hell. Never give up.
Are you safe?
Yes, I feel very safe. I have the support of my family and friends. And, I feel strangely protected by the world at large.
Do you think there are members of the cult of Scientology reading this AMA?
Do I think? I know. Hi Karin Pouw and members of OSA! If any Sea Org member is currently reading this and works for OSA and wants to leave, I will help you… including Karin.
Have any other actors come to you for support or help?
The policy of the “Church” does not allow them to come to me. Former high ranking Sea Org members like Debbie Cook and former members like Katie Holmes are forbidden to speak to other SPs. Certain members are forced to sign agreements that does not allow them to speak to ex members.
What’s is the single most horrible thing you encountered in the “”church”“?
I would say the “church’s” Fair Game policy, and how they systematically go after anyone who publicly speaks out against them. Anyone who speaks out against the “church” is seen as an enemy.
How do the powers that be in Scientology keep their followers from reading anti-Scientology news, or your book? Why don’t more scientologists leave?
Great question. Because very early on in the brainwashing process, L. Ron Hubbard’s “technology” teaches you that outside sources (i.e. The news, the Internet, books, magazines) are ALL LIES and hellbent on destroying something decent like Scientology. The AMA, and APA, and all “governments” do not give scientology its due because they have a vested interest in not healing people and not helping people. And Scientology is in the business of making people better. So Scientologists are taught that their safest bet is to get their info from the only true decent people…and those are Scientologists. And if they look on the internet, if they read time mag, they will be met with punishment at their expense. And, as a Scientologist…you have to confess that you’ve read outside materials, and that will be met with punishment at your expense.
Have you seen the HBO documentary Going Clear? If so, would you say it’s an accurate representation the church and worth showing to people?
Very much so. I thought it was very accurate. I was shocked how accurate it was for not coming from Scientologists. I wanted to see more stories about how it affected children. The systematic recruitment of members’ children. I wish it would have told the story of how Scientologists give their children to the “Church.” It protects the life source that is continually bolstering the religion. But, I think they did an amazing job and they cleared the path for people like me to speak about it. HBO was very brave in taking it on. As is A&E, as it will be the first network is do a full series about it.
How are they able to recruit intelligent people into what appears to be an obvious scam and cult?
Most Scientologists are 2nd or 3rd generation, they were born and raised into an ideology and have been surrounded and isolated. It is all they know. They are victims. Most of the original Scientologists are all out and have spoken out. Unfortunately, their children were indoctrinated by them…. are still loyal, faithful and have cut off communication due to the policy of disconnection.
do you remember what your initial reaction was upon first seeing the course materials for OT3?
Yes my first reaction was “Are you all fucking nuts?” and then I looked at my mother and said “What kind of bullshit did you get me in?” My only option was to leave, but at the time my family was not ready to go. The “church” told me I didn’t need to believe it, just do it. And they always pose this question: “Are you ready to leave everything you’ve ever known?”
Considering that Scientology is consistently painted in such a negative light how did you maintain the commitment to Scientology for so long?
Because i was taught to believe that the controversy was due to people being unaware of what Scientology was truly doing in the world which was good things. I also felt the press was focused on making fun of Scientology and not what was important, so it was easy to turn away from the information. And also a major part of Scientology is learning how to fight your critics. If i wasn’t fighting I wasn’t being a good Scientologist.
Was there a single breaking point that convinced you to leave the church? Or was it a long term struggle with the decision?
Long term struggle, however, seeing the “church” attack those who were speaking out, those who gave their life, life savings, their children to this organization that were once considered exemplary Scientologists or staff members of the church to being liars, bitter apostates, and what ever vile sophomoric, vitriolic adjective they can find overnight says a lot about the organization.
If all Scientology’s secrets were revealed tomorrow, which do you think would be most shocking?
When you reach the top of The Bridge (OTP 8) you will be told that God is a lie for LRH, and there are more levels ahead, that will cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. There is no end to Scientology.
What is the message you are hoping to send to the folks of Reddit?
This is not my one woman battle against the “church.” I would love to move along in my career. In doing this project I would like to bring to light what I wish the press and authorities would. Instead of them always trying to be “fair” and “balanced” towards an organization that does not warrant protection, religious status, and free passes. I know you have pressures from your editors and producer to come up with something that’s insatiable or has a little comment about Tom Cruise because it gets people to read your magazine or watch your show. However, I am showing bravery of the victims that have chosen to put their asses on the line for speaking out and you have a responsibility to have a fucking opinion about it.