Jan 11, 2017

What we learned from the seventh episode of Leah Remini's Scientology series

National Post
Sadaf Ahsan
January 11, 2017

On the latest episode of Scientology and the Aftermath, creator and host Leah Remini revealed that she had recently been informed by the Church of Scientology that she had “incited hate crimes” against the organization.

Remini and fellow former Scientologist Mike Rinder decided to look into the matter. Their investigation led to the family of former high-ranking members Lois and Gary Reisdorf, and their sons Brandon, Brett and Craig. Although Lois and Gary left the Church in the early ’80s to raise their sons, Brandon and Craig took an interest in its teachings as they grew up and decided to join themselves. As a result, their parents chose to return to the Church as well, in order to keep contact with their children.

But their beliefs were compromised when Brandon, who is bipolar, had an “episode” while at the church and was placed in “introspection rundown,” which involved weeks of isolation and intense interrogation. The way the Church chose to handle Brandon’s bipolar disorder concerned Lois and Gary, who had been debating disconnecting.

In the end, they didn’t have to, as they were ultimately expelled from the church for maintaining contact with non-Scientologist family members. However, their son Craig chose to stay, disconnecting from the family. Brandon found it difficult to cope, at one point throwing a hammer through a church window in a rage.

Despite receiving psychiatric care, the church insisted on charges being brought against Brandon who was eventually convicted of a felony for a hate crime. Lois and Gary said they believe the reason the Church was so adamant in charging him was because they didn’t want the public to notice their attempts at “helping” Brandon only made him worse.

When informed of the church’s allegations against Remini – that she somehow incited Brandon’s actions –Brandon said, “That’s not true,” adding that he had been “destroyed” by the Church’s actions towards him. After clarifying the situation, Remini remarked, “This is taking it to a level that is so f—king vile to me as a person that I feel like I’m going to have to hire a f—king lawyer.”

In hopes of finding a way to hold the Church accountable, Remini and Rinder then got in touch with a group of journalists, including John Sweeney, Tony Ortega and Mark Bunker, who have made it their mission to investigate and expose the Church for its wrongdoings. Sweeney revealed that despite having covered both North Korea and Vladimir Putin, it’s only his experiences with the Church and its attempts to defame and stalk him after he left it that still haunt him. All three described instances of being allegedly ambushed and intimidated by members.

The episode also finally addressed “Xenu,” an intergalactic being who, according to Scientology, traveled to earth 75 million years ago and supposedly began the religion after annihilating part of humanity. Remini said that anything regarding Xenu is “confidential information” and, in fact, there is a $100,000 fine for anyone who dares to reveal details of the figure to anyone outside the church.

When Sweeney asked Remini if her series has been her way of apologizing for spending a part of her life promoting Scientology, she replied, “Yes, of course.” She added that she had also been worried that producers and crew members on the series were risking being stalked by church members, much like the reporters and most defectors.

By the end of the episode, Remini and Rinder traveled to New York in hopes of finding a lawyer who may be able to help them take legal action against the church. Whether their trip proves fruitful will be made clear in the series’ next and final episode.

Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath airs on Tuesday nights at 10:00 p.m. local time on A&E. Only one episode remains of the eight-part docu-series.


No comments: