Remini, a former outspoken supporter of Scientology, left the church in 2013 in a very public departure after believing that the church and its leader, David Miscavige, were corrupt and damaging to members and their families. She has since made it a mission in life to help those who have been hurt by the Church of Scientology and to expose the church for what she feels are counts of fraud, intimidation, abuse and several more crimes.
Her crusade continues with Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath(Tuesday, 10/9c on A&E), a docuseries mixing her own personal accounts of life in and after Scientology with stories of others who have also left the church. These are the most surprising revelations from the first episode.
Leah Remini first started doubting the Church of Scientology at Tom Cruise's 2006 wedding to Katie Holmes
Remini was at the wedding of the century when she asked questions about the whereabouts of a top clergyman's wife. She was immediately told that she shouldn't be asking such questions because she wasn't a high enough rank inside the church. That led her to doubt the church and research some of the church's transgressions, which included accusations of sexual, physical and mental abuse. As she asked more questions, she and her family were subject to intense interrogations that the church forced them to pay for. "And that's a problem: When you are asking questions about your religion and you're being met with interrogations that you're paying for. And that made me suspect of a church that I had believed all my life."
The Church of Scientology actively recruited celebrities, and it was someone's job to convert them
We all know several high-profile celebrities who are Scientologists (Kirstie Alley, John Travolta, Cruise), and it turns out that celebs were specifically targeted because Scientology acts as a business, and all businesses benefit from celebrity spokespeople. If they were successful under Scientology, it would be easier to recruit others into the religion.
The Church of Scientology went out of its way to surround Tom Cruise with only Scientologists
Amy Scobee, a former high-ranking executive in the Church of Scientology, says it was her job to go out of her way to make Cruise comfortable and happy. And to make sure he was fully indoctrinated, she surrounded him with Scientologists at all times, even making sure that those employed at his home, including his maids, were Scientologists.
Scobee also alleges that at the age of 14, she had sex with her Scientology boss, a 35-year-old married man. When the issue was brought up to authorities, the series says, they ignored it and said it would be handled internally. Nothing ever came of it.
The Sea Org is a special organization within the church that is reserved for only the most dedicated youth to promote Scientology. The contract binds recruits for a whopping billion years, meaning those who sign on the dotted line are committing their whole life and millions of future lives to the cause. Those who want out or show signs of dissent are sent to the Rehabilitation Project Force, a sort of boot camp where their thoughts are reformed back on track through manual labor, limited communication and heavy surveillance.
Scobee said she witnessed many fights between Miscavige and male members of the church who'd upset him. Miscavige would punch, knock down or wrestle those he felt went against the church's ways in front of bystanders.
When members leave the Church of Scientology, family members who are still in the church are asked to "disconnect" from them, meaning they aren't allowed any contact with them at all. Mike Rinder, a former high-level Scientologist who helps Remini with the series, lost two daughters to the church and hasn't spoken to them since he left the church.