Time to meet Dad. On the Tuesday, December 20, episode of Scientology and the Aftermath, Leah Remini enlisted three former members of the Church of Scientology to help her tell the story of the church’s leader, David Miscavige. One of them seemingly knows him better than anyone. Read on to find out more.
Jeff and Tom’s Stories
The first former church member to talk to Remini was Jeff Hawkins, a marketing whiz who oversaw a major campaign to sell the books of church founder L. Ron Hubbard in the 1980s. Hawkins was key within the church because Hubbard thought books were the way to expanding Scientology. When Hubbard died, though, Miscavige took over.
Hawkins said Miscavige was “a mean guy” who physically assaulted him about five times. The next person Remini spoke to, Tom DeVocht, had been in the church for 30 years before leaving and said that he had worked directly for Miscavige toward the end of that time. He, too, reported being physically abused by Miscavige.
DeVocht also claimed that in private, Miscavige revealed that the upper levels of enlightenment that Hubbard had led followers to believe he had found were all fake. It was up to Miscavige himself to make up those levels and lead parishioners through classes in an attempt to reach them, according to DeVocht.
Remini was angry and reminded viewers that in the church, every person is taught that whatever happens in their lives is their own fault.
“You are a victim,” she said. “Something happened to you that you didn’t deserve, and you don’t deserve to be punished for that.”
DeVocht became emotional when he recounted that he had been disconnected from his family upon leaving the church. He said he sincerely hopes that he never aided in any families being torn apart.
After that, Remini doubled down on the disconnected family theme, bringing in Ron Miscavige as her final guest for the episode. He is David Miscavige’s estranged father, if you couldn’t guess, and he described his son as a smart, determined kid who would “remove” anyone who stood in his way.
David was so determined, the older Miscavige said, that he left home at 16 to start working for Hubbard. Then, David worked his way up until he was the most important person in the church.
Ron Miscavige reported that his son wouldn’t acknowledge him as his father once he ascended the ranks of the church’s leadership. While in his son’s compound, Ron's calls, internet use and letters were all monitored, so he had no way of contacting anyone freely, he claimed.
This changed when the younger Miscavige gave his father an Amazon Kindle without realizing it had an internet browser on it, according to Ron. He googled the church to see what the outside world thought of it, and when he saw allegations that the church was scamming people, he left with his wife. Like many of those interviewed for the show so far, Ron hasn’t spoken to anyone in his family since.
Ron Miscavige claimed that he had been tracked by GPS and followed for months after leaving the church. When the private investigator involved was eventually questioned by the police, Ron revealed that the younger Miscavige had given instructions to allow his father to die if he had a heart attack while under surveillance.
Still, he said, if his son ever wanted to hug him or shake his hand, he would do it right away.
As he teared up, Remini walked over to him and gave him a hug.
The Church of Scientology tells Us in a statement: "Leah Remini is doing this show for the money, just as she profited from her book. In addition, she attempted to extort the Church by first demanding $500,000, followed by an additional $1 million, because the Church invoked its First Amendment right to respond to her false claims with the truth. This shows the extent Leah Remini is willing to go to in order to distort the truth about Scientology. For the Church’s perspective and the truth about the bullies she now supports, go to www.leahreminiaftermath.com."
Tell Us: What do you make of Ron Miscavige's claims?
Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath airs on A&E Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET.
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