Leah Remini isn’t afraid anymore. The former Scientologist answered any and all questions about the controversial church in a Reddit AMA on Tuesday, November 29, while promoting her new eight-part A&E series Scientology and the Aftermath.
From claims of "physical, to sexual, to mental abuse” to allegations that she is forbidden from discussing the religion with fellow former Scientologist Katie Holmes, to admitting she donated “millions” to the church, the Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology author spills all. See below for the most interesting claims we learned from the King of Queens actress, who has been speaking out about her experiences in the controversial religion since leaving the church in 2013.
Q: What's is the single most horrible thing you encountered in the "church"?
L.R.: 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.
Q: Why do you think there are so many people in the entertainment industry in the religion?
L.R.: 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."
Q: Is Tom Cruise really the "Messiah?"
L.R.: To the "Church," yes. Parishioners believe that he is singlehandedly changing the planet because that is what the "Church" is telling them.
Q: Was there a single breaking point that convinced you to leave the church? Or was it a long-term struggle with the decision?
L.R.: 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.
Q: How much did you pay to the church throughout your time there?
Q: Have you seen the HBO documentary Going Clear? If so, would you say it's an accurate representation of the church and worth showing to people?
L.R.: 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.
Q: Are you safe [now]?
L.R.: Yes, I feel very safe. I have the support of my family and friends. And, I feel strangely protected by the world at large.
Q: Is it true they record your meetings and blackmail you with the recordings?
L.R.: 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.
Q: Have any other actors come to you for support or help?
L.R.: 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.
Q: What is the most unusual "corrective action" you've seen them physically do to someone?
L.R.: 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.
Q: Are there any sexual malpractices that occur in the church?
L.R.: 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."
Q: Are you an atheist now or does another religion seem more appealing?
L.R.: 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.
Q: Do the higher ups know it's a scam or do they really believe this crap?
L.R.: 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 in the dark and believe that they are doing amazing things for the world. And David Miscavige [the leader of Scientology] is directly responsible for that fraud.
Q: What do you think happened to David [Miscavige’s] wife?
L.R.: I actually do not know. Ask the LAPD. [Miscavige's wife, who is known as Shelly, hasn't made a public appearance since 2007.]
The Church of Scientology has previously and repeatedly denied Remini's remarks. Last year, a rep for the Church of Scientology spoke out about Remini following her book release. "Desperate for attention with an acting career stuck in a nearly decade-long tailspin, Leah Remini needs to move on with her life," the rep told Us at the time. "Instead, she seeks publicity by maliciously spreading lies about the Church using the same handful of bitter zealots who were kicked out years ago for chronic dishonesty and corruption and whose false claims the Church refuted years ago, including through judicial decisions."
Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath premieres on A&E on Tuesday, November 29, at 10 p.m. ET.
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