Leah Remini

November 29, 2016

I am Leah Remini, Ask Me Anything about Scientology

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.

Proof: https://i.redd.it/ri3zbip14g0y.jpg

More Proof: https://twitter.com/AETV/status/811043453337411584


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."

I heard a theory that it's actually a giant money laundering scheme for the members. After all, once it goes through the church it becomes tax exempt.

Jeffrey Augustine: The Church of Scientology is not a money laundering scheme for the members. No. The money flows one way. It goes up. You sign a legal form that says this is irrevocable money gone forever.

Leah: But you’re asked to sign document after document.

Jeffrey Augustine: How do you become a Scientologist? You sign four contracts. You agree that Scientology is a religion, you abandon your rights to sue them, you give up the rights to ever see your confessional folders. The last one is if you go what is called Type 3, if you have a psychotic break in the Church of Scientology, you agree to let Scientologists come and take you out of the emergency room or psychiatric confinement and lock you up in a hotel room

Leah: Wait, wait, all Scientologists sign that? I signed that?

Jeffrey Augustine: You signed it without knowing it.

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.

Did you ever see any evidence that the Fair Game policy was actually suspended like they claim it was? Or that the church made even the slightest effort to curtail it?

How about you google "Fair Game in Scientology" and get back to me.

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 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.

What do you think happened to David's wife?

I actually do not know. Ask the LAPD.


Mike Rinder: For a long time, Shelly was at a property that is owned by one of the Church corporations near Lake Arrowhead here in California, and she was sent there when she displeased David Miscavige.

Leah: Why?

Mike Rinder: Shelly was privy to everything that went on with Dave.

Leah: Which is why I filed my police report.

Mike Rinder: Of course, because she vanished.

Leah: Which, by the way, I’m still following up on because there are still answers that I need. I do not know that she is alive. I do not know that she’s not being held against her will. I do not know these things. So, if the “Church” produces her by bringing her to an event, even if she went on a program and said, “Hi, Leah Remini, go f**k yourself,” I’d be happy to know that she was alive. The police department should say, “Yes, we’ve seen her.” I wasn’t told that. I was told that a representative saw her or spoke to her.

Mike Rinder: That is what they managed to convince the LAPD of. But then, when you have got a lot of money, you can go hire people who are influence peddlers. And those influence peddlers can peddle influence wherever you want them to, if you pay enough money.

Leah: Well, I don’t have that kind of money, but I do have you and I do have you at home, and we should probably end on that note.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.


Mike Rinder: Oh, I’m sure it’ll come to an end. I don’t think that the books of L. Ron Hubbard are ever going to disappear or that there won’t be people that believe that they have a reactive mind or have read Ddianetics, but organizational Scientology will be a distant memory.

Is Tom Cruise really the "Messiah?"

EDIT: Holy shit my highest rated comment is about our almighty savior, Tom Cruise! I knew Scientology was legit!!!

To the "Church," yes. Parishioners believe that he is singlehandedly changing the planet because that is what the "Church" is telling them.


I don't what rumors we're referring to here. I haven't read anything that has been inaccurate.

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.


No. Really, honestly, no.

You need to understand that they’re brainwashed. You need to understand that they think that out in the real world Scientology is doing amazing things. They don’t know what is going on in the real world. Maybe a relationship might be damaged for a short time, but you have to take the step. You have to fight. You have to fight for your family members that are in. We can’t fight for your family members. Believe me, I would love to walk into a Scientology church and grab your son and daughter, but they’re going to tell me to go F myself. You need to do it. If they’re underage, you have every right to ring the bell, wherever they are and say, “I want my family member. I want to speak to them alone. I want to speak to them outside of these gates without a representative of the Church.” You have every right to do it and you should do it.

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.

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?"

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.

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.

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.

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.

How can we destroy scientology?

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.

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.

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."

Was there a secret group of people or friends you had in the church that doubted it? Or did you feel alone.

I felt alone. If you ever confided in friends then you were (as policy dictates)... reported and turned in. Very 1984, very George Orwell.

Was there a secret group of people or friends you had in the church that doubted it? Or did you feel alone.

For me, I doubted it and I would go to my closest, most intimate friends in Scientology and I would say, “Did you see that thing on the Internet?” and I would get reported for that. That friend or family member would then be required to write an internal report on me, basically alerting the “Church” that I was having disaffected feelings towards my church and that I would be considered an enemy. So, if you had voiced any concerns to a family member, a husband, a wife, a child, they’re taught to believe that by turning you in they’re helping you because they believe in their hearts that you are lost and you are in trouble. People would say that a lot, “Leah, you’re in trouble. You need help.” They’d say things like that to me. “You need help.” Could you imagine a family member going “You need help”? But I’m like, I need help? You need f**king help. And then I would seem crazy because I would get emotional and passionate about it. I would be like, “I don’t need help. You need help. You need to look at this email.” And two of my closest friends, one of these people I considered like a father to me, I’d go to these people that I considered family members, and I said, “Listen, Debbie Cook, she’s the captain of the Flag Service Org, she sent out this email. Did you read it?!” I said. The wife says, “Why would I read that? Why would I read that crap?” I go, “It’s the captain, your captain of the Flag Service Organization. Why wouldn’t you read it?” She goes, “Because I wouldn’t want to read anything that’s negative about my church.” I go, “But you don’t know what she said!” “Well, I heard about it from the Church.” So, the Church intercepted this email and said, “Listen, if you see an email from Debbie Cook, delete it. She’s an evil person. She was committing crimes in the Sea Org.” Whatever they tell you. So, I go to these people and I say, “Have you looked on the Internet? Have you looked at these emails? Have you heard of the allegations?” and Scientologists will turn you in. They will simply turn you in. It doesn’t matter if it’s your child, if it’s your mother, your father, your husband, they will just turn you in and they will tell you “I’m writing a report on you.” And you go, “Go ahead.” Then you get called in, you get interrogated, and unless you’re willing to walk out the door that minute and lose everything you’ve ever known and your family, you usually just say, “Okay, fine, I won’t look anymore.”

Former Sea Org member in recovery here. What do you hope to accomplish with your expos'e?

Edited to thank some kind people for PM's and also to thank the angry people that doubt me. The fact is I'm telling the truth, but wish I wasn't. I was born into a church that ruined my family, took many of my good years, and hard earned cash. Believe what you will.

Greater awareness. Exposing the truths. Not letting to continue to let them bully people into silence and submission.

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?"

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.

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.

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."

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."

How much did you pay to the church throughout your time there?

Leah: Millions.


Leah: They like to say that there’s free courses and it doesn’t cost a lot to be a Scientologist.

Jeffrey Augustine: That’s the PR answer. You’re supposed to give as much money as they can get from you.

Mike Rinder: That’s exactly right.

Jeffrey Augustine: There’s no end to the amount of money they will take. If you’re a public member, paying to get auditing to go from the beginning all the way up to OT8, the generally accepted number is about $360,000.

Leah: So how do people do it who are not rich?

Jeffrey Augustine: They take out second and third mortgages on their homes or they live in apartments. They drive really crappy cars. If you ever go to a Scientology event, you will see a few wealthy cars and everything else are old cars. You sacrifice. You work extra jobs and you go without.

Leah: Good point. You go without. And that’s what’s so painful. People are giving up living to finance their actual religion.

Jeffrey Augustine: L. Ron Hubbard said there’s nothing more valuable than Scientology. You’re asked to give up your retirement funds and college funds for your children. This is insane.

What OT level are 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.

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?

Mike Rinder - True.

Leah Remini - Well, I know for a fact that certain material is not approved by the “church.” I remember that I did a Stuff Magazine cover where I was in a bathing suit in one shot.

Mike - I’ve seen that one. [chuckles]

Leah - That’s disgusting, Mike. Anyway. I was called in by Tom Davis and I was taken off The Way to Happiness float here in Hollywood.

Mike - [haha] Well, that’s okay. I’ve got a story about this that I’m not sure that I should really tell.

Leah - What?

Mike - When Quentin Tarantino approached John Travolta for a role in ‘Pulp Fiction,’ John asked me to review the script to tell him what I thought. His role was a heroin addict assassin and I said, “Oh John, I don’t think you should do this.”

Leah - Oh, really?

Mike - Yeah.

Leah - What a putz. [haha]

Mike - Great career advice. I should be an agent.

[both laugh]

Leah - But he took it anyway, so that’s good.

Mike - He ignored me.

Leah - Thank god.

Mike - Sensibly, he ignored me.

Leah - But I do want to answer this question about celebrities being treated differently. And there are not a lot of celebrities in Scientology. I really want you to think about this for a second because I don’t know of another religion that uses their celebrities as much as Scientology does and that’s very purposeful because it gives you the idea that there are a lot of scientologists who are successful because of Scientology. But there’s a lot more Catholics, there’s a lot more people who are Jewish. You don’t really know people’s religions and I agree with that, but how would you say that, Mike? Because you know how celebrities are treated in comparison to the average scientologist.

Mike - I mean, in a word... stroked.

Leah - Totally.

Mike - What happens with celebrities in Scientology is they are given incredible deference and special treatment. They’re looked after like they’re the most important people in the world.

Leah - Very.

Mike - I think that that is what Scientology plays on with celebrities and then in exchange for that they feel that they’ve got to go out there and tell the world about how great Scientology is. They are actively pressured to do that.

Leah - Right.

Mike - The difference with celebrities is if you’re on a TV show for nine years and Kevin James has not become a scientologist, everybody in the world knows that Kevin James is not a scientologist, so Leah, you’ve failed.

Leah - Yes, and people are going to ask that, too. How come you didn’t get Kevin James in? Kevin was very loyal to his religion. There was no in. And I was asked that many times. You’re telling me he has no failed purpose? He has no relationship problems? I was like, “He doesn’t, he doesn’t, he doesn’t.” He even said to me once, “Don’t try to get me into your Tom Cruise glare, man. You can’t.” There was no in. I didn’t feel right about doing it. I didn’t ever feel right about telling somebody that they were lost and they needed Scientology. I just did it within the “church.” I helped scientologists who were already in to get them to their next level. I felt that that was an acceptable transgression against mankind.

Mike - [chuckles]

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.

Is it true they record your meetings and blackmail you with the recordings?

Yes, every "therapy room" is equipped with cameras and listening devices, as admitted by the "Church." Do they use it for blackmail? No, they use it to discredit you when you speak out.

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.

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.

How are you going to apologize to Lord Xenu for your sins and slandering his good name?

Are you serious with these fucking downvotes? You people suck

I'm glad you made your "joke." However, that is the type of thing that Scientologists will see that will push them back in. Trivializing their beliefs only makes more dedicated Scientologists by reinforcing what LRH says about the critics and not staying focused on its abusive practices.

Are you still in contact with any friends that are still part of the church?

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.

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.

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.

Are you an theist now or does another religion seem more appealing?

No, I'm not an atheist. It's not about being anything now. I do have faith in God. I do not judge people for their faith. I judge people who use religion to hurt people. I don't believe in a religion that shuns people for their beliefs, or that you should hurt people for their beliefs.

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.


Mike Rinder: For me, it was when I was in the hole. The hole is the place where people at the international base were kept 24/7 under guard. There was a big conference room that had a big table in it and the carpet there was industrial strength carpet and people, myself included, were made to crawl around on their hands and knees around this big table and eventually your hands become bloodied and your knees become bloodied and the next day you’re doing it again, so it never really heals. I still have a little scar on my left knee from doing that.

Leah: And that was just usual? That was just everyday?

Mike Rinder: Yeah.

Leah: Other than being punched and slapped and ridiculed?

Mike Rinder: Yup.

Leah: When I was in Scientology, I used to hear information about Sea Org members saying that they were abused. I remember thinking if that were true then the police would be raiding this place and the FBI would be doing something. If this were true, how come no one has done anything about it? And I want you to talk about that.

Mike Rinder: The primary reason is because people within in Scientology are indoctrinated heavily. The law enforcement, the FBI, the police, they’re all horrible, suppressive people. So, the concept of even going to them is something that just never enters the mind of a Scientologist.

Leah: Not to mention, your doctrine says if you prosecute a Scientologist, you will be expelled and shunned. So, there’s the fear of losing your family and everything you’ve ever known.

Mike Rinder: I actually wrote an article on my blog that is called “Dealing with Critics of Scientology – The L. Ron Hubbard Playbook.” It has all of these documents in there.

Leah: I want people to see this! I don’t want to be just like Scientology and say, “Believe me.” I don’t need you to believe me. I need you to google it yourself.

Mike Rinder: I need you to believe Scientology. Go look at their stuff.

Leah: Go look at their policies. Go google “Scientology and disconnection,” “Scientology and coerced abortions,” “Scientology and physical and mental abuse.” Just google it! Make your own decisions. I’m doing exactly the opposite of what the “Church” will tell its parishioners.

And I’m sweating. That’s the thing, I get so passionate about everything that I talk about that I start sweating just saying one thing.

How are children treated in Scientology?

As old spirits in little bodies who have returned to Scientology... children are treated as adults.

Everyone's talking about what a nightmare Scientology is (understandably). What, if anything, do you think the church does RIGHT? Do you believe that it is the right choice for some people?

No I don't think it's the right choice for some people b/c you have to be all in...eventually. IF it was truly bettering the planet, and ridding the planet of disease, and war....if the "Church" was using its money to help non-Scientologists, then it would be helpful. But, I don't find this to be true.

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.


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.

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.

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.

Hi Leah! I think this is very brave of you and I think you're awesome. That said, do you worry about something happening to you in one way or another for doing this? Scientology is not exactly known to be, uh, "friendly" to people who leave, let alone people who speak out against them.

No, I’m not worried that anything will happen to me. What I’m afraid of is nothing happening. That this won’t be enough for the government to step in and do something about it. That’s what I’m most afraid of.

I'm a former Scientologist and Sea Org member. I was raised in Scn and joined the SO as a 15-year-old girl and was in for six years. I'm still dealing with the effects of the abuse I endured in the SO. I just want to say thank you for being brave and outspoken. I feel like even when people are rightly negative about Scn, they still don't really get it, and it's difficult to talk about. So, thank you for doing what you're doing, and for being an example for someone that gets it. What has helped you get through the leaving process and the intimidation from the church?

Mike Rinder: I think the most important thing for me was finding other people who understood what it was that I had experienced. Instead of going, “Oh my god, that’s amazing!” or “Is that really true?” they would actually understand and we could talk about it and say we get it.

Leah: Yeah. I have a group of friends. We get together and that’s all we do. We don’t even invite our husbands because they don’t know what the hell we’re talking about. So, I would suggest people create a little support group for themselves.

Mike Rinder: When you connect up with those sort of people, you realize that you weren’t crazy.

Leah: Right! This is what I want to say to people like you and people like this person who wrote to us through Reddit is that my advice would be that you have been given a blessing of a second chance at life. Live your life. Enjoy your life. Had you not gone through what you’ve been through in Scientology, you might not be cherishing the moments that you have with your children now. With your wife now. You have a real relationship now. In the Sea Org, you didn’t have a relationship. You never even saw your wife and now you’re able to appreciate a real life. So, I say cherish your life now.

What do you think makes this cult so attractive to people willing to join? Do they peruse any particular type of person?

Leah: We get criticised a lot. Like what are you two assholes, you didn’t know what was going on in the real world? No! And by the way, who is going to actively go after bad information of an organization that they believe in completely? Sea Org members are absolutely cut off from the real world. They have an excuse. I didn’t. I was home. I had a computer. I had access to movies. I had access to books, but it wasn’t like I wasn’t going into my church and saying, “Hey what about this?” And every time you are subjecting yourself to interrogations, of your family being interrogated, simply for asking questions, so you learn to shut up.

Mike Rinder: And there are a lot of things like that in Scientology that when you finally extract yourself, you go, “Wow this is nuts.”

Do people actually believe the story that book tells(frozen aliens dumped in a volcano, Xenu, etc) ? Or is it just a set of rules and philosophies, wearing a story?

Mike Rinder: It’s principles that are dressed up in a parable.

Leah: Right. Nobody believes in Xenu the story, truly. But we are told, we’re not allowed to confirm that that is a story in the upper levels of Scientology called the OT Levels. And no, we don’t necessarily believe it, but we don’t have to believe it is what we’re told.

Mike Rinder: Well, I think there are people that believe it.

Leah: It doesn’t matter because we need to stop talking about Xenu. It’s not really the story. The story is that Scientology is selling that these upper levels do not include the story of Xenu and it absolutely does.

Is there anything GOOD about Scientology?

Leah: Yes. The beginning courses of Scientology talk about communication, responsibility, being an ethical person, but it’s overall very damaging. Overall, it’s not worth your whole life, not worth losing your children.

Mike Rinder: Right, and that’s why there are probably a hundred times more former Scientologists than there are current Scientologists.

Hi Leah!

What influence does the Church of Scientology have on U.S. politics? Any examples you've witnessed?

Mike Rinder: Zero.

How far did you get in going clear? when did you begin to question the logic in what you believed.

Also, what is the racial makeup of the organization?

Mike - 99.9% Caucasian.

Leah - Why do you think that?

Mike - Because I think that traditionally and from the very earliest days of Scientology, or Dianetics even, Hubbard appealed to the middle class of America. That was who he was reaching. If you go back to even the very first photographs of Hubbard’s lectures that he delivered on Dianetics and you look at the audience, I bet there isn’t a single non-Caucasian person in the entire audience of any of those lectures. It was only when Isaac Hayes, who at one point got all over David Miscavige and said, “Why are you not reaching out to my people?”, did Scientology buy a building in Inglewood and one in Harlem and say, “We’re putting a church there.” They’re not full of people from the local community, believe me. Subsequent to that, over the last, I guess it’s five or seven years or so, there has been a concerted effort by the Church to engage and involve the Nation of Islam in Scientology. Now, where this is going and how this is going to end up, I don’t really understand because you cannot be a anything and a scientologist. You are a scientologist and that’s it. In fact, when the IRS was asking Scientology questions, they responded with an answer that is very revealing. Ultimately, you may not be a scientologist and practice another faith. You cannot be both.

What is the church's stance on homosexuality?

Leah - Well, you see, they are very clever in how they deal with this subject. The first book that was written was called ‘Dianetics’ and after that was a book called ‘Science of Survival.’ In the books that every scientologist has to read, there is a chart of human evaluation. Basically, what it does is it teaches you who to look out for in your life. There’s numbers connected to this chart and below a certain number on this chart is the most degraded, aberrated person that you could ever know. That classification is called 1.1, and that is where L. Ron Hubbard wrote homosexuality lives in that band. That is the sexual pervert. That is the person who needs so much help, but not really a person worth trying to help.

Mike - Right. I mean truthfully, Scientology has two positions on homosexuality. One, the public position, which is “Well, we don’t take a position.” Internally and for scientologists, the position is there is something very wrong with it. Deviant behavior that needs to be dealt with with Scientology.

Leah - Meaning, as a person gets to the upper levels of Scientology, the “gayness” will be audited out.

Do you think that the recent high-profile anti-Scientology documentaries, such as Going Clear and My Scientology Movie, have had any effect on the "church" or the general public's perception?

Lawrence Wright - It certainly did because now when I’m in speaking situations, so often people are in the audience and it is very touching to me because again and again you get stories, like the ones you’re telling now of people who have lost so much, in terms of their families and their fortunes.

Leah - And it cleared the way for us to do this show.

Lawrence - Well, thank you.

Leah - I applaud you for what you’ve done.

Is it true that there is a mansion in CA that is kept stocked with food, staffed and maintained in anticipation of the return of LRH?

Lawrence - Yes, indeed, Mike. As you know.

Mike - Actually, there’s more than one.

Lawrence - There’s at least two in California.

Mike - There’s one in Creston and there's one at Hemet. Well, not Hemet because the City of Hemet put out a tweet the other day saying the Scientology thing is not in the City of Hemet. It’s in unincorporated Riverside County.

Leah - Point taken.

[All laugh]

Lawrence - In the houses that he has, his favorite cigarettes, the Kool cigarettes are there for him, the Thom McAn sandals by the shower door, Louis L’Amour novels on the bedside table, and a table setting for one.

Mike - That’s correct.

Lawrence - Also, I’ve heard, you [Mike] could probably tell me, that those signals, those two crossed O's that are in the Kools cigarettes, are an emblem and that if his spirit is soaring over the earth he’ll be able to look down and spot those O’s, those interlocked O’s, and he’ll know that’s the place.

Leah - Mike.

Mike - Do you want me to respond to that?

Leah - Is that true, Mike?

Mike - I have never heard the thing about the two interlocking circles. Even in the position that I was in, there are still all sorts of things that I find out and I go, “I had no idea that that was going on. I had no idea about this.” Even me, the international spokesperson, the head of OSA. All of this is compartmentalized unbelievably and there is a mechanism that is in place in Scientology that Hubbard put in place very early on. Either you have not attained the appropriate level, either you don’t have the fucking rank to ask about it, you are not privy to the secretive communications that L. Ron Hubbard dispatched to certain people that you didn’t see. There’s always an explanation.

If the members stuck in prison-like conditions at Gold Base are put through such rigorous labour and mistreatment, what goes through their minds that rationalizes staying is such a place?

Steven Hassan - In my understanding, the cult identity is programmed to be dependent and obedient and follow the rules. Their desires to be free and get out is suppressed, so there’s a constant war going on inside.

Leah - Yeah and you’re told that your wanting to leave is because of your transgressions and then you’re put on an interrogation.

Steven - So the blame is on you. That if you just do what you need to do, you can get out of this and you can help save the planet.

Ray Jeffrey - It is so deeply ingrained, I messed up. When I first was representing Debbie Cook and I was trying to figure out, wait, why would somebody be made to lick the floor of the bathroom? This was even years after she had left. That’s when you really messed up. You smiled when you weren’t supposed to smile. You didn’t smile when you were supposed to smile. You spoke too soon. You spoke too slowly.

Steven - All cults believe the ends justify the means. Because it’s such a great good, we can lie and cheat and steal and frame and do criminal activity. You can create an ideal world by criminal activity.

Leah - But have you seen any other organization go after journalists?

Steven - Critics.

Leah - Go after its critics?

Steven - Thank you for asking it that way. Not as viciously, systematically, with celebrities, and such abuse of the legal system. Scientology is in a class of its own.

Ray Jeffrey - When it comes to Scientology, there are law review articles written about their excessive tactics in court. When you’re a lawyer standing up in court, you can point to that stuff as legitimate legal authorities and commentary on this kind of behavior, so I think it is a little different than most of these other groups.

Steven - And all the other groups would love celebrities, but no group has had celebrity centers before.

Lawrence - I think that was a stroke of genius on Hubbard’s part because he saw that there’s one thing that Americans really do worship and that is celebrity. And that’s the reason he set his church here in Los Angeles and that’s the reason the celebrity center is just down the street. It’s all geared and celebrities are like athletes on Wheaties boxes for the Church. They’re selling the product.

Do you need to have money to join. I mean, can i be a regular guy or homeless for that matter. Can i join with no contribution??

Leah - Now remember, the “church” responds with…

Mike - “Absolutely!”

Leah - “We have free services!”

Mike - Free services and charity and I’ve never seen any of them.

Leah - But there are little things, Mike. You can go in for a seminar.

Mike - Correct.

Leah - You can do free things on the Internet now.

Mike - However, if you wish to make any progress up the bridge to spiritual freedom, you’ve got to have money. Or your life. Meaning, you can join the Sea Organization or join staff and get it for free.

Leah - Unless you leave.

Mike - Unless you leave and then you didn’t get it for free.

Leah - Because you’re billed for it.

Mike - Correct.

This is for both Leah and Mike; if you could sit down with a one on one interview with David Miscavige, what would you ask/say to him?

Leah - Huh, what would I say to David Miscavige? The reality of it is, I would love to sit in a room and talk to him. I would love to say, “Stop doing what you’re doing. Stop hurting people. You know what we’re saying is true. You need to stop this. You have the power to turn things around. You have the power to abolish these policies. With all the damage that you’ve done, take this opportunity to do something right.” I mean, honestly, that’s what I would hope I would say.

Mike - I think that’s probably what you would say, and it would all go by like that. [waves hands past head]

Leah - You’re right because still I would be thinking there’s some shred of decency in him.

Mike - Yeah, there’s not much. The shred is little.

Leah - Right.

This interview was transcribed from an "ask me anything" question and answer session with Leah Remini conducted on Reddit on 2016-11-29. The Reddit AMA can be found here.