When I first heard that Leah Remini planned to make a show about Scientology, I was cautiously optimistic. Not that many celebrities have been brave enough to share their stories, much less want to really go further than the HBO Going Clear documentary. After watching the first episode, I am happy to say that Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath is professionally done and extremely thoughtful. It presents a lot of useful information in a short time. Please watch it and tell everyone on your social network to watch it too.
I highly recommend it not just for those interested in learning more about Scientology, but also for those who are curious about any high demand group. It will resonate with those who have experienced alienation, disconnection, excommunication, disfellowshipping, and shunning. I especially loved seeing the contrast between old footage of Leah as a Scientologist, and footage of her as an emotionally available, thoughtful, authentic person as an ex-member. Same goes for Mike Rinder, former number three man of Scientology who is also featured.
There are just two comments I wish to make, but I imagine the entire series is already complete. First, there’s a huge opportunity to draw in a wider audience by connecting the dots between Scientology and other destructive cult groups. Isolating members from their family, forbidding people from listening to ex-members and critics, love-bombing, and unethical use of confession are all common cult mind control tactics. Second, the show seems to be made for those who are already knowledgeable to the group. I suggest explaining the loaded language it uses such as “body routing” and “originating a thought.”
The first episode, “Disconnection,” focused on the stories of Amy Scobee and Mike Rinder, two former Scientology higher-ups. Amy’s story was particularly poignant. Signing a billion year commitment to the Sea Org, lying to her dad, and getting blamed for being raped by a Scientology executive was just the start. When she finally woke up to the abuse, insanity, and immorality of Miscaviage and Scientology, she was demonized and labeled a “Suppressive Person” or SP by the organization. (I was labeled an SP back in 1976 when I went on TV criticizing cults, and of course was friends with Paulette Cooper). Amy’s mother who had brought her into the cult was heavily pressured to disconnect from her. Amy never gave up on her mother, and they were eventually reunited after her mother left Scientology. It was so special to see her mom who was dying from stage 4 cancer, speaking out so forcefully against the cult and how her love for her daughter won out. Love is truly stronger than mind control!
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