Leah Remini on Scientology

It’s well known that the actor Leah Remini, most famous for her work on the television comedy “The King of Queens,” is a lapsed Scientologist, and is now speaking out vocally against the “Church.” She’s instigated police investigations into the disappearance of Shelly Miscavage, the wife of the lunatic director of the Church, David Miscavage, a tyrant who seems to have ordered his wife to disappear—perhaps under Scientology guard somewhere.(The LA cops, who said they met with Shelly, dropped the investigation.

Remini also wrote a book about Scientology, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientologyand is presenter of a documentary, Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermathwhich began in late November and has aired four of its eight episodes (I haven’t seen any, but readers who have should weigh in.)

Remini was recently interviewed by Larry King about her 30 years as a Scientologist and her recent apostasy, which you can see by clicking on the screenshot below. (The video is 28 minutes long.) If you’ve studied this ludicrous and harmful cult, as I have, you might not learn anything new, but one thing worth noting is this: Scientology is dying, and it’s largely because of the Internet.

It used to be that you attacked Scientology at your own peril, for they were armed with lawyers and harassers who made life hell for any “SP”s (“suppressive persons”: those who attack the cult). Now anybody with access to a computer can read all about the cult, how it scams its members, and about its absolutely ridiculous “theology”, which you have to pay thousands of dollars to learn. (For a taste of this, look up “Xenu” on Wikipedia. It’s unbelievable that people believe this stuff.) Disinfected by the Web, Scientology no longer has the power to harass its detractors, and, as Remini says, it’s bleeding members.

That hemorrhage was helped along by Pulitzer winner Lawrence Wright’s book on the cult, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief , which I’ve read and recommend highly. If you want a good take on how truly bizarre Scientology is, and how it victimizes its adherents, squeezing money out of them like milk from a cow, read that book. It’s a crime that Scientology has been classified by the U.S. government as a “religion,” and thus gets all the tax advantages of any religion. (Of course, no religion deserves tax breaks.)

The Internet has had many salubrious effects by disseminating information freely (including websites run by ex-Scientologists), and one of them is exposing the follies of religion. Because it impoverishes its members, the Church of Scientology is one of the worst Western religions. Those who say that all religions are equally harmful should compare the Quakers to the Scientologists.

Remini is calm and eloquent on the malfeasance of her former Church. When Larry King asks her (he’s giving her listener questions), “What’s the number one thing you want people to know about Scientology?” Remini answers, “Really, do their own research. . . It’s a harmful, dangerous proposition that will cost you a quarter of a million dollars, minimum—and your life.”

screen-shot-2016-12-24-at-7-20-04-am

h/t: Grania

38 Comments

  1. Barry Lyons
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Correct me if I’m mistaken about the following, but it seems to me that if religions were taxed, it would mean they would have a legitimate say in the political process. They will have paid into the system. They would have real skin in the game. I don’t think I want that trade off.

    • John Conoboy
      Posted December 24, 2016 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      As it stands now, they pay no taxes and they still are politically active. The IRS is reluctant to go after them for violating their tax exempt status.

      • Barry Lyons
        Posted December 24, 2016 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

        Okay, that’s fine. I was only remarking on the tax issue as a general proposition (and not specifically with regard to Scientology).

        • Eclipse-girl
          Posted December 24, 2016 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

          Scientology won its tax exemption in 1993. Read Lawrence Wright’s Going Clear for a wonderful analysis of what occurred.

          Then you may want to Google The Scientology Money Project. One man, with help from others, has been digging into the opublic filings, into tax records to understand how much scientology is worth. It is in excess of 1 billion.

          Then they use that tax exempt money to hire PIs to investigate, and follow people. In 2013, two PIs were caught in West Allis, WI fooling the father of David Miscavige. The state that were paid $10k a week to follow him, and have others befriend in order to track him.

          I am all for taking away scientology’s tax exemption.

    • ploubere
      Posted December 24, 2016 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      Well, don’t they already have a huge say in politics? It might technically be illegal for a minister to endorse a specific candidate from the pulpit, but that doesn’t stop them. The Southern Baptists were explicit in their support of Trump.

      What’s infuriating also are shams like Benny Hinn and Joel Osteen making millions tax-free.

      • Barry Lyons
        Posted December 24, 2016 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

        Oh yes (about the odiousness of Osteen and his ilk).

  2. Diana MacPherson
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been watching Remini’s series and I found that there are so many parallels in regular life. One is people don’t leave things that are bad – jobs, marriages, religions and it must be because of the sunk cost fallacy. With Scientology it is really pernicious because people have no money or skills when they leave.

    There are also parallels with other religions: The shunning (disconnecting is Scientology speak) is no different than what the Amish and a few other fundamentalist type religions do. It would be nice if there was some sort of charity that helped people leave religion – sort of like the clergy project for regular schmoes.

    Another similarity is the Xenu thing. Remini says no one believes in Xenu when answering questions from viewers on the series but Mike, who once was a big guy in Scientology and appears on the series with her, corrects her and says some people probably do. But isn’t that like the whole talking snake and virgin birth thing? Some think it’s a myth others think it’s a metaphor and ultimately it doesn’t matter because it’s ruining lives anyway.

    So, to me, Scientology is an example of what’s wrong with religion whether you’re lying for Xenu, Jesus or Mohammad. I really hope people see the parallels, for if they can see how David Miscavage, a dangerous sociopath, makes up OT levels then they can see how priests, dangerous brainwashers, make up the heaven bullshit.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 24, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      And sub

  3. allison
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of Scientology, I was listening to an interview conducted by Sam Harris recently, and either he or his guest (sorry, I don’t remember which) commented that Donald Trump reminded him of L. Ron Hubbard. I thought that was an apt comparison.

    • Simon
      Posted December 24, 2016 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      Hubbard was far more erudite than Trump. I also doubt that Trump could formulate such an impressively effective system of gradual brainwashing as Hubbard did. Hubbard was many things, a lot of them nasty, but he had twice as much character as Trump.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 24, 2016 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

        LRH also apparently wrote the books for which he’s credited as author, the early ones anyway.

        I see no evidence that the Donald has ever read a book, let alone actually written one himself.

        • loren russell
          Posted December 24, 2016 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

          Unless we credit Marla Maples claim that he kept a volume of Hitler’s speeches at bedside…

  4. jaxkayaker
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    The South Park episode “Trapped in the Closet” explains their core beliefs entertainingly. They do the same thing with Mormonism in another episode.

    • BJ
      Posted December 24, 2016 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      And they did it at a time when Scientology was still often winning fights to scrub the internet of their misdeeds and core philosophy (that you otherwise have to pay tens of thousands of dollars and years of time to obtain). It was an unbelievably bold middle finger to Scientology at the time, and they got tons of blowback such as Isaac Hayes (Chef) leaving the show and Comedy Central refusing to air reruns of the episode for years after due to complaints an threats from the “church.”

      • jaxkayaker
        Posted December 24, 2016 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I’m annoyed that the only episodes that aren’t made available to stream are those which depicted Mohammed.

  5. Randall Schenck
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    I watched one of the shows on TV, I believe it is on A&E, not sure. The one I saw, she was interviewing a guy who had escaped from the cult and he was full of very good information about it because his position in Scientology was the guy in charge of enforcement. For something like 30 years he went after anyone who said bad stuff about the religion. He went after anyone who left the group.

    So now, they were after him. They harassed him daily and followed him every where he went. He was separated from his family and his own wife and kids went after him. It was beyond crazy what these people do.

    While this guy was still with the cult, the leader would go after you if you pissed him off. Even this guy was smacked around and hit by the guy often. Sometimes he would ship you off and put you in isolation from your family as punishment.

    Just one show I saw and you can see it is the craziest outfit you can imagine. How actual people live this way is hard to believe.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 24, 2016 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      Just one show I saw and you can see it is the craziest outfit you can imagine.

      Is that the sound of a gauntlet hitting the deck? I rather think it is.
      I would see your Scientology card and rise you … the Klingon Fan Club of hardcore Trekkiedom. Kookier than Scientology?
      Or, or … Heaven’s Gate?
      The Raelians?
      To quote some singer, “How looooow do you wanna gooooo ?”

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted December 24, 2016 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

        Yes, they are probably goofy toons but Scientology does a lot of damage to people. It is truly nothing more than a cult that screws people out of their money and their life. It’s like that hotel in California where you can check out any time you want but you can never leave. The operation is criminal hidden behind the fraud of religion.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted December 24, 2016 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

          Wikipedia puts their global population at 1 to 2 hundred thousand. In terms of the sum of human misery, there are more damaging religions. They don’t even kill too many people – almost certainly fewer than, say, the advertising industry’s worship of thin girls does.

          • tubby
            Posted December 24, 2016 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

            Have you heard of Narcanon, what they do there and how they fill their beds?

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted December 26, 2016 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

              (1) Nope.
              (2) Googles.
              (3) So, it’s news that people exploit other people if they think thy can get away with it? Regardless, they’re pretty small beer. I note that they use the mind manipulation technology of the advertising industry. Adulterated evil, or unadulterated evil?

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted December 24, 2016 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

            However, comparing one very bad thing with another really bad thing is kind of non productive don’t you think. This murderer only killed one guy but that one killed three.

            I would rather call out this fraud of a cult for what it is than try to compare it to something else. The advertising industry? Next we compare this stupid to some other stupid. What do we compare Trump to? Charles Manson with more money?

            • Eclipse-girl
              Posted December 24, 2016 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

              Perhaps the reason why Tubby mentioned Narconon is because they are scientology, repackaged.

              Its a separate rehab orgainziation that is known for a multitude of abuses. It is scientology repackages, and the clients are lied to get their approx $30K for a 28 day stay. When scientology is promoting its ‘good works,’ they cite Narconon.

              People have died at Narconon. They lie to uninformed desperate families about the success rate of their facilities, and not using scientology. They hire people who ‘graduated’ the Narconon rehab, but are still using. They have faked their credentials.

              • Randall Schenck
                Posted December 24, 2016 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

                Interesting. And I did not know about Narconon. However, my comment was not to Tubby but to gravelinspector.

              • tubby
                Posted December 24, 2016 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

                I mentioned Narcanon because it’s likely the most clear example of how Scientology can reach outside of its cult to harm people who may never have ever considered joining their religion. The connection is hidden, people are going there expecting treatment from professionals, and instead they get Scientology exercises from recent Narcanon graduates for ridiculous sums of money and high relapse rates. They use predatory methods to fill their beds, through tweeking Google listings, through fake addiction hotlines, and through ‘outreach’. It’s also a pretty extreme example of any religion preying on people during their most vulnerable times. Also, people die there.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted December 25, 2016 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

        The Peoples Temple? (i.e. Rev Jim Jones)

        cr

    • Simon
      Posted December 24, 2016 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      They do it because they really believe that they are mankind’s, and probably the galaxy’s, only hope.The mission is everything, Scientology indoctrination is extremely strong. It starts from the very first training routines which ,contrary to the stated intention, have an hypnotic effect.

  6. Mark Joseph
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Many followers of this web site have probably already seen this, but just in case, here is Crispian Jago’s Venn Diagram of Irrational Nonsense, with scientology firmly ensconced at the intersection of all four basic types of nonsense.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 24, 2016 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for reminding us if this! There seems to be some updates too. I’d you scroll to the bottom, past the translations there is a “work in progress” that has even more stuff!

      • Mark Joseph
        Posted December 25, 2016 at 11:31 am | Permalink

        Ooh yes!

        All the way at the bottom is a work in progress, adding a fifth type of nonsense (“conspiracy”) to the “Big 4” of religion, pseudoscience, quackery, and paranormal, but before that, in case anyone is interested, is the current version in Croatian, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese.

        And scientology is *still* in the intersection! However, it has company now, “Project Monarch” and “Indigo Children”. If I cared about this sort of stuff, I’d wonder what they are.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted December 25, 2016 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

          Cool site!

          (Also, sub)

          cr

  7. Diane G.
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    sub

  8. Erroll Phillips
    Posted December 24, 2016 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    Its a shame that these super stars believe in this scientology shit. Miscaviage is an embarrassment to the men and women that wear a naval uniform and give their lives for their country and these scientology morons wear fancy uniforms and medals. Good on Leah for speaking up against this cult.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 25, 2016 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      Pretty brave too. I’d even a chicken because of the harrassment.

  9. Ullrich Fischer
    Posted December 25, 2016 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    The series does a good job of showing what a huge scam Scientology is and how it works to destroy the lives of its apostate critics.

  10. Mike
    Posted December 26, 2016 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Well it has to be a question of who is the greater Con-man, Hubbard or Joe Smith.? Hubbard I’m sure did it for the money , and Smith did it for the Sex, either way the gullibility of people in the 21st Century astounds me.

  11. ladyatheist
    Posted December 26, 2016 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    It truly is a life or death matter for any member who comes down with a serious mental illness. Scientology preaches that only their useless “technology” can cure mental illness (which is really unhappy reincarnated dead souls occupying your body and making you unhappy, or perhaps hearing them argue or tell you to do things). People have committed suicide and matricide due to this:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Elli_Perkins

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisa_McPherson

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientology_and_psychiatry

  12. Posted December 28, 2016 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Late to the game here, but Bill Burr’s latest special from a couple years ago still has one of my all time favorite bits.

    Yes, the Internet is killing Scientology the same way it’s killing mainstream religion. The latter will take longer, but I have no doubt the rapid increase of the “nones” is more than just a coincidence as the Internet exploded in the last decade or two.


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