Dec 1st 2016 by geoffmk • 40 Questions • 137 Points
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.
When are you finally gonna show up on the Easy Allies Podcast? ;)
How much did you pay to the church throughout your time there?
Can you give us a hint as to what you're planning with the Thumper guys? :D
Are you still in contact with any friends that are still part of the church?
Been working on some stuff with them and the DOOM team. Still in development.
I am an SP (supressive person). You are not allowed to be in contact with an SP. I would love to talk to my former friends and see my goddaughter.
Have you had a moment where you looked at this year's script/running order and said "Wow, I can't believe we're doing this tonight"?
Hope you have a great show!
Was there a secret group of people or friends you had in the church that doubted it? Or did you feel alone.
I'm very excited by a few things tonight. A couple surprises, and of course our tribute to Hideo Kojima.
I felt alone. If you ever confided in friends then you were (as policy dictates)... reported and turned in. Very 1984, very George Orwell.
Hello again Geoff ! What game have you played the most in 2016 ? and why?
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.
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.
What is something the average citizen can do to help prevent Scientology growth?
Speak to your local councilmen/women about cracking down on the abuse of its citizens. I believe people have influences, they know judges, lawyers, police enforcement I think everyone bringing attention to these abuses can help. It takes a community to police itself.
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.
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.
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.
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 the most unusual 'corrective action' you've seen them physically do to someone?
The most abusive thing that I've experienced is seeing the victims being further victimized by an organization that claims these things did not take place... from physical, to sexual, to mental abuse.
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?"
I actually do not know. Ask the LAPD.
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."
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.
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.
I've been a huge fan since the early days of KoQ (was watching at 11, now 24!). Did you ever find that your religion interfered with your work in a way you would turn town any potential jobs, either for your own religious reasons or advice received from members?
I was punished for doing Stuff magazine because it was too racy. They would not want us to do anything that would be considered not "becoming of a Scientologist." I see they have since changed their stance of what they believe is "becoming of a Scientologist."
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.
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 do members actually gain from being a member? How is it made worth all the money and time they invest?
They gain a purpose. They gain a group. They gain a sense of accomplishment (awards, certificates). They gain an education that in the real world LRH states would be equivalent to getting a "PHD in life." You become an elitist. That you have all the answers in life. If you have a question about life, you are made to think that Scientology has the answer.
As old spirits in little bodies who have returned to Scientology... children are treated as adults.
You are so brave for telling the truth about Scientology. Why are so many other people staying quiet? What can we do to help?
Thank you! Watch our show tonight and spread awareness. It is bigger what people think. This religion is massive.
Yes, I feel very safe. I have the support of my family and friends. And, I feel strangely protected by the world at large.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
I don't want to destroy Scientology. I only want them to admit to the fraud that they promote, to not deny the confidential upper levels of the religion, so people can decide if they want to spend $250K and their lives doing it. That they admit to the policies of Fair Game. That they allow people to decide for themselves where they get their information. That they admit to disconnection and leave families the fuck alone.
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.
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?
And a follow up - do you think that more celebrities would like to break free from the church but are afraid because of the repercussions? Is there any merit to the claim that there's so much dirt on them that could be exposed that they may not want to leave?
Hope you convince others to follow your path!
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.