Leah Marie Remini is an American actress, producer, author, and comedian. She is best known for her role as Serafina Tortelli on Cheers and Carrie Heffernan on The King of Queens.
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Hi everyone, I’m Leah Remini, author of Troublemaker : Surviving Hollywood and Scientology. I’m an open book so ask me anything about Scientology. And, if you want more, check out my new show, Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, tonight at 10/9c on A&E.
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.
Do the higher ups know it's a scam or do they really believe this crap?
The higher up is singular. And he definitely knows. however I believe most parishioners and Sea Org members (people who work for the "church") are int he dark and believe that they are doing amazing things for the world. And David Miscavige is directly responsible for that fraud.
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 personally feel like you're being watched/tracked/etc by the church for doing everything your doing?
I am. I'm okay with it because I knew what I was getting into and I knew the policies of the "church" and what would happen by my speaking out against it.
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."
What do you think happened to David's wife?
I actually do not know. Ask the LAPD.
What odds do you give of the whole thing collapsing once Miscavige dies?
The policies of the "Church" are the policies of the "Church." They will not change, and there will be someone right behind him ready to pick up where he left off.
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.
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?
Fight like Hell. Never give up.
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.
Out of all the rumors surrounding Scientology, which one is true and hits home the hardest for you?
I don't what rumors we're referring to here. I haven't read anything that has been inaccurate.
My sense is that Scientology, like many fraternities/secret societies, learns your deepest, darkest secrets (via E-Meter, aka lie detector) and then uses them to blackmail you into donating and/or doing their bidding once you become rich and/or successful. Am I close?
I think that's a small part of it. What's more important and the thing to focus on is that from the first book Dianetics, people are made to believe indoctrinates i believe to be false and fraudulent...so it is more taking hostage of a person's faith, their "eternity," the saving of mankind and most importantly, the fear of losing all of your family and friends if you question or speak out.
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.
What do you think Scientology will look like in 50-100 years? Do you think it has longevity or is it going to come to an end?
I hope that its abusive practices come to an end. I'm all for people believing in things that are decent.
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 if 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?"
How different would you say your view of Hollywood is now compared to when you were on Saved by the Bell and did your experience with Scientology effect these views versus if you never joined them?
When I was a Scientologist I saw Hollywood as a dark, lost bunch of souls that needed saving. Now I see it as any other business and that we're all just trying to do right by ourselves, right by our friends and family and that people outside of scientology are not bad.
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.
Are people actively being held prisoner against their will?
If so, how upsetting is it that the government and law enforcement does not act?
It's very upsetting. I'm only an actress with a short window of interest. So it is up to the authorities who have to do something about it and the judges who are hearing cases of abuse, coerced abortions, being held prisoner, fraud, mental and emotional imprisonment. They won't look at cases to decide its a religion. They have to separate and look at the law. Your doctrine is abusive. It mandates that you abuse people.
What is your overall opinion on organized Religion now? Did your view on say Christianity change?
Yes my view of religion changed in that I am no longer a bigot against people's religious beliefs when it doesn't harm other people, promote killing people for their beliefs... like extremism. But if religion brings you comfort, hope, and a sense of community, I say "whatever works for you."
Former Sea Org member in recovery here.
What do you hope to accomplish with your expos'e?
Greater awareness. Exposing the truths. Not letting to continue to let them bully people into silence and submission.
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.
Did being a Scientologist help your acting career?
I'm sure there were tools that helped me to be able to communicate better, not be nervous when I walked in the room. Acting classes would have been cheaper. Or maybe staying in Brooklyn a little longer would have been more beneficial to my acting career.
When you were a scientologist did you ever get any weird reactions from other famous people?
Weird reactions? No. I got appropriate reactions, "Why are you in this crazy shit?"
How much did you pay to the church throughout your time there?
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.
Are there any sexual malpractices that occur in the church?
I have read stories on the internet. I was told personally by a few people that I personally know that there was sexual abuse. When I was 16 and working for a "senior Scientologist" who was in his late 30's, he had sex with a 16 year old friend of ours. And the "Church" handled it internally. All abuses are dealt within the "Church" as it is an enemy act in the "Church" to prosecute another member. Please do not take my word for it, just google the words "Scientology and sexual abuse."
What OT level are you?
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 lie for LRH, and there are more levels ahead, that will cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. There is no end to Scientology.
As a psychologist, I am curious what you observed as mental health 'treatment' with Scientology? In addition, I am aware the 'church' is against psychology; how was this opposition demonstrated within or by the 'church'? Finally, in your opinion how prevalent are mental health difficulties with the Scientology community?
Thank you for your time.
The "Church" doctrine thinks that fields of psychology and psychiatry are a sham. They deny mental illness and afflictions. They promote that you can heal your psycho-sematic issues with their "technology." They will get in the way of people taking medications. They will prevent people from getting the real medical help that they need. and in some cases have caused suicides because of it. Scientology is mentally abusive because we are all taught that we are responsible for everything.
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.
From what I've seen of Scientology, it seems like there is a major difference in treatment between celebrity "followers" and folks in Sea Org who are tortured, locked in the Hole, beaten publicly by Miscavige, etc.
Did the news of this mistreatment find its way to celebrities and general "members" of the Church who weren't in Sea Org? Or were people left completely in the dark?
No, and if they did hear about it, we were told that those claiming abuse were lying. Then I would have been interrogated and even punished for asking.
Can you imagine a scenario where you may be cast alongside a Scientologist or would it not be allowed?
That would not be allowed from their end.
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.