The first season of “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath” has wrapped, but its revelations about the notorious church will be hard to forget.
After splitting from the church in 2013, “King of Queens” star Leah Remini gave other former Scientologists a platform to discuss their reported harrowing experiences on the A&E series.
She was joined by former high-ranking people in the organisation who each have their own stories about the secretive teachings, alleged shady business dealings, and purported abuses of its followers, former members, and their families.
The church declined to take part in the series. It says that the statements Remini and the other contributors to the show have made about Scientology are false and driven by a desire to profit or gain publicity from their time in the religion.
Here are all the most shocking revelations about Scientology according to the show:
Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard was under investigation in multiple countries and lived on a ship to supposedly evade any one country's jurisdiction.
Scientolology's former international spokesperson Mike Rinder explained that in the early years of Scientology, the church was under investigation for being a cult. In fact, Australia banned the religion in 1965 after its investigation.
L. Ron Hubbard lived on a ship called the Apollo. Rinder described it as the 'floating headquarters for Scientology.' Since he was being investigated by the UK and other countries, Hubbard found that he could sail away when necessary into international waters and away from the jurisdiction of any one country.
L. Ron Hubbard based Scientology on his claim that he healed himself from war injuries -- a claim that 'Going Clear' author Lawrence Wright says is fabricated.
Lawrence Wright, the author of the best-selling book on Scientology, 'Going Clear,' says his research found that Scientology's documentation of Hubbard's injuries and military service was faked.
Wright said his research into Navy documents found that Hubbard had no serious injuries, which Wright sees as a major fault in the church's foundation.
Additionally, Wright said he found that Scientology's claims that Hubbard received many military service awards and records were false. In response, Wright said, the church told him that the records were 'sheep-dipped' -- that the military created a whole set of fake documents to cover up Hubbard's covert military duties.
'That's the person that the church has to protect,' Wright said. 'With encasing (Hubbard) in this myth, they try to cover the efforts of people like me and others to uncover the truth.'
After steadily rising through the ranks and becoming Hubbard's adviser, David Miscavige announced the founder's death in 1986. Hubbard's passing was framed as an intentional decision by him to leave his body to go onto even higher levels of spiritual being.
‘The core belief of Scientology is that you are a spiritual being,’ Remini said. ‘L. Ron Hubbard had reached, obviously, the highest level of Scientology there was to reach, promoting this idea that there's an afterlife, and he found the answer to it by deciding to discard this body to go explore new OT levels. All of this is bulls---. L. Ron Hubbard died of a stroke.’
As Hubbard's closest adviser, Miscavige assumed the leadership of Scientology. His official title is chairman of the board of the Religious Technology Center. But according to Rinder, Miscavige likes to refer to himself as ‘the pope of Scientology.’
David Miscavige allegedly took on the responsibility of finishing the church's course curriculum, or OT chart, because L. Ron Hubbard wasn't able to complete it before his death.
Tom Devocht, who left Scientology in 2005 after 28 years, worked closely for David Miscavige. His job was to work with city authorities for Clearwater, Florida, worldwide headquarters for Scientology. He said he was often dispatched to carry out outrageous requests from the leader.
Devocht said that his doubt about the church began after Miscavige allegedly divulged that he had L. Ron Hubbard's various writings and was going to finish the OT chart.
'It suddenly hit me,' Devocht recalled. 'Then it's a farce that Miscavige himself was going to finish these off. Hubbard died. He's not some superpower being.'
'You have parishioners believing that L. Ron Hubbard obviously reached the highest level of Scientology there was to reach,' Remini said, 'that he could actually decide to discard his body, because how else was (David) going to keep Scientology going? What if he came out and said, 'L. Ron Hubbard has died of a stroke.' Then, why are we doing all this if we're just going to die of a stroke?'
David Miscavige is allegedly prone to resorting to violence against those who report to him, as well as encouraging violence among his staff.
Jeff Hawkins, who was in charge of church marketing while he was a Scientologist and wrote a book about his experiences called 'Counterfeit Dreams,' described a violent scene in which Miscavige was unhappy with an infomercial Hawkins wrote, accused him of crimes against the church, then allegedly physically assaulted him.
'I was scratched up, my shirt was ripped off,' Hawkins said. 'Everybody (else in the room) was sitting.'
Hawkins claimed that Miscavige assaulted him on at least five occasions.
Devocht described when Miscavige allegedly assaulted him when he couldn't get the city permits to destroy the footpaths around the Clearwater headquarters in order to dissuade protestors from standing around the property. Devocht said that even then he blamed himself for failing at the task instead of being angered by Miscavige's violent reaction.
'It was, 'Man, I f---ed up,'' Devocht said. 'That was the level of control and power that (Miscavige) had.'
If the leader believed that someone was guilty of 'crimes' against the church, he would allegedly tell other members to get that person to confess their crimes. Often, they would allegedly resort to violence on the targeted member, according to the show's insiders.
'It was like 'Lord of the Flies' in there,' Rinder, who detailed his own alleged assault by Miscavige on one episode, said. 'I mean, it was insane. It was literally, 'I'm going to beat the crap out of you before I get the crap beat out of me.''
David Miscavige allegedly maintains extreme levels of security at Scientology's Hemet, California headquarters to keep people out and church members in.
David Miscavige's father, Ron Miscavige, says that he and others were monitored around the clock at the headquarters in Hemet, California. He described locks on doors, sharp spikes on the gates -- both facing out and in -- being chaperoned by other members when exiting the facility, the internet being severely filtered and monitored, and all calls being eavesdropped on.
He decided to leave the church after a supposed fatal error by his son. David Miscavige gave his father an Amazon Kindle, which was connected to the internet -- unfettered by the church's filters.
'(Ron) just Googled Scientology,' Remini said. 'And he was hard-pressed to find anything good that the world was saying. He found all the bad things.'
In 2011, after 42 years as a Scientology member, Ron Miscavige decided he had to leave. He and his wife planned their escape for six months. They were finally able to do so during a routine trip across the street to the only refrigerator available to them on the campus. The guards were used to them making the trip and let the couple pass through the gates.
David, Ron's daughters, and their children ended their relationship with Ron and his wife after they left Scientology, part of an alleged church policy toward former members called disconnection.
In the early 2000s, Miscavige established 'The Hole' at Scientology's headquarters in Hemet, California, according to Rinder. It was a detention center for high-ranking members who displeased him.
'Honestly, the reasons for that could be anything from answering a question wrongly,' Rinder said, 'not answering a question, a facial expression that was inappropriate, falling asleep after being up for a couple of days -- I mean anything, you're in the hole.'
Rinder said he and as many as 100 people were held at 'The Hole.' He describes the poor conditions -- having to eat 'slop,' security bars on the windows, guards to keep people from leaving. He also said that members beat each other up until they confessed their supposed crimes.
''The Bridge to Total Freedom' are the series of steps that were laid out by L. Ron Hubbard that every Scientologist must follow in order to attain the ultimate in spiritual enlightenment and in spiritual freedom,' Rinder explained.
Scientology teaches that reaching the top of the Bridge means one should be able to use their mind to do powerful things like 'move things, cure cancer in yourself,' according to Remini.
Required courses cost about $650 each, Remini claimed, and a course could require that its members study from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.
Despite leaving the church, Remini admitted that she got something out of the courses.
'There are some useful one-on-one therapeutic things that are being done,' she said.
Rinder and Remini both reached level two of the Bridge, though both feel as if they didn't achieve the level's goal of 'relief from the hostilities and challenges of life.'
Mary Kahn was a devout Scientologist for about 40 years and had completed all the courses required by 'The Bridge.'
But like the books, courses are often updated. That means they have to be repeated by members whenever Scientology claims there have been changes or that a mistake was made when a member was taking a course.
'They constantly invent new things,' Remini said.
Kahn had to repeat 'The Bridge,' she claims, but she became fed up with the constant pressure to pay more exorbitant fees. At one point, she alleged a fellow Scientologist charged her credit card without her knowing and said he did it because he needed to meet his financial goal for the church.
Scientologists allegedly spend thousands of dollars to purchase every book written by founder L. Ron Hubbard.
Remini showed off a large bookcase in her home filled with L. Ron Hubbard texts. One might not think that books for church membership could cost thousands of dollars, but Remini explained that there are 12 basic books in Scientology, and the package costs about $4,000. And a member will often have to buy the books multiple times whenever Scientology says they have been updated.
Additionally, Scientology allegedly tells members that libraries have a demand for the books and encourages members to buy multiple book packages to donate to libraries.
In addition to books, Remini said that Scientologists must buy Hubbard's lectures, various audio CDs, donate to the church's causes, and pay a membership fee.
The low-priced introductory Scientology courses are allegedly just ways to bring in new members and don't actually count toward anything.
Remini referred to several $35 introductory courses as 'throwaways,' which don't really count as credits in the intense list of courses Scientologists are required to take. She said they're only meant to bring in new members and 'indoctrinate' them to the Church's terms.
In addition to courses, Scientologists must attend auditing, essentially the church's term for therapy, which allegedly costs $800 an hour.
These expensive auditing sessions can last a minimum of two and a half hours each, Remini said. They involve an auditor who listens and helps members 'find and handle areas of distress.'
It's done with what's called an 'E-meter,' which measures electrical activity on one's skin. According to the church, it aids the auditor in his or her work.
Audits could be administered to children as young as six years old, Remini said.
There's an alleged dark side to auditing called 'Security Checks,' which are also at the member's expense.
According to the show's contributors, 'Security Checks' or 'Sec Checks' are administered on members who are suspected of breaking a church rule or having doubts about the organisation. They can be gruelling, long, and pressure-filled experiences as the auditor tries to get the member to confess to some sort of wrongdoing.
'Many times, an interrogator will try to get what they believe is the truth out and the subject will finally just tell them what they want to hear,' Rinder said.
'Sec Check' sessions are also paid for by the member being interrogated.
Every meeting is recorded and videotaped to use against members if they decide to speak out, Remini said.
'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.'
To officially complete 'The Bridge,' members allegedly have to live on a ship called the Freewinds for as long as the church deems necessary.
Kahn went to live on the ship for a second time and claimed she was subjected to intense 'Sec Checks' that lasted hours and sent her back to her room crying.
'Every second was hell,' she said. She then vowed never to do another E-meter audit.
Scientology allegedly justifies its extreme actions against enemies of the church with a policy called 'fair game.'
'Fair game' is the idea that anybody who's an enemy or critic of Scientology can have anything done to them because the ends justify the means, according to Rinder.
Basically, it allows members to push the boundaries of legality when it comes to shutting up and destroying the organisation's detractors without fear of punishment from the church.
The church maintains that the 'fair game' doctrine has been canceled, but Rinder, Remini, and other ex-Scientologists claim it's alive and well.
Rinder said actions could include stalking, digging up dirt, checking out people's background, vilifying them in the media and on the internet, and hiring private investigators to surveil them.
The church has little regard for children's relationships to their parents and other family members, Remini claims.
Remini explained that the belief in reincarnation means Scientology places very little significance on family relationships and marriages. One's mother, she said, is just one's mother currently and the child has many, many mothers over the span of its lives.
There are at least two mansions in California that are maintained, staffed, and stocked with food in the event of L. Ron Hubbard's return, Wright says.
Scientologists believe that Hubbard chose to leave his body to continue his research into the higher levels of being. Hubbard died in 1986 after having a stroke.
But in the event that he does return, there are at least two fully staffed and stocked mansions maintained in California, in the cities of Hemet and Creston.
According to Wright, the houses contain Hubbard's 'favourite cigarettes, the Kool cigarettes are there for him; Tom McCann sandals by the shower door; Louis L'Amour novels by the bedside table; and a table setting for one.'
'Scientology concentrates on collecting celebrities,' said Amy Scobee, a former high-ranking Scientology executive assigned to the religion's Celebrity Centre.
She said that the goal was to make celebrities 'walking success stories of Scientology.'
Remini added, 'The Church of Scientology is a business. And like any business, they like to have a celebrity selling it.'
Celebrity members allegedly receive great levels of preferential treatment, sometimes at the expense of other church members.
'We had special course rooms in separate parts of the buildings,' Remini said in an AMA chat on Reddit.
'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,' she continued. '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 labour laws don't apply to any church therefore they were made to work ungodly hours, forced into interrogations if making human mistakes around the celebrity.'
Scientology allegedly surrounded Tom Cruise with Scientologists to minimise his exposure to outside influences.
Scobee, who said her main job was to work with Tom Cruise, allegedly hired everyone from house managers to cooks and maids -- all Scientologists -- to surround Cruise.
Cruise has been an incredible representative for the church. According to Remini, the church considers the 'Mission Impossible' star its 'messiah.'
'Parishioners believe that (Cruise) is single-handedly changing the planet because that is what the 'Church' is telling them,' she said.
Remini says Scientology pressured her into recruiting 'King of Queens' costar Kevin James to the church.
'Kevin was very loyal to his religion,' Remini said. 'There's no in, and I was asked that many times.'
In order to bring him into the organisation, Remini says she was asked by other Scientologists if he had any weak places in his life, including a 'failed purpose' and 'relationship problems.'
'He even said to me once, 'Don't try to get me in your Tom Cruise glare, man,'' Remini said. 'There was no in, and 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.'
The high-level group of Scientologists called the Sea Organisation allegedly recruited children between the ages of 12 and 18.
Though the children had to get their parents' permission to join, Scobee said the organisation lied to her father (who wasn't a Scientologist) about her going to Europe to model in order to get his permission. Plus, parents sign away all their parental rights, she claims.
Upon joining ther Sea Organisation, members sign a billion-year contract, as they're expected to remain a lifetime member or allegedly face harsh punishment.
'The church doctrine thinks that fields of psychology and psychiatry are a sham,' Remini said. 'They deny mental illness and afflictions. They promote that you can heal your psychosomatic 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.'
Scientologists are allegedly banned from seeking legal justice against another member, even in cases of abuse.
'When I was 16 and working for a senior Scientologist who was in his late 30s, he had sex with a 16-year-old friend of ours,' Remini said. 'And the church handled it internally. All abuses are dealt (with) within the church as it is an enemy act in the church to prosecute another member.'
Publicly, the church says it has no position on homosexuality. According to Remini and Rinder, that's not true internally.
Remini said the church has 'a chart of human evaluation' from Hubbard that helps Scientologists discern who they should have in their life. A 1.1 is the lowest on the scale and includes people who need a lot of help but aren't worth helping, Remini said. That rank includes gay people.
'Internally and for Scientologists, the position is there is something very wrong with a deviant behaviour that needs to be dealt with with Scientology,' Rinder said of the church's internal stance on homosexuality.
'Meaning as a person gets to the upper levels of Scientology, the 'gayness' will be audited out,' Remini added.
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