Scientology’s like your
weird next-door neighbor who keeps his blinds closed and his doors dead-bolted. People in large, expensive cars are constantly paying him a visit. Sometimes, pamphlets with terms like " thetan " and " Dianetics " and " E-meter " scatter through your street, but you have no clue what they mean.
You know something fishy is happening. You might even be tempted to knock on the door and find out for yourself. But one thing's for sure: Your neighbor's not spilling the beans (potentially because he’s an alien).
A&E special series , Remini and a team of former high-ranking Scientologists and experts tear the blinds off the proverbial house next door. Actress and former star of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath King of Queens, Remini’s the perfect fit to head this project. Since leaving the church after 30 years as a member, Remini has made it her mission to expose this mysterious organization for what it is.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the show's first season, so you can be prepared when it returns for
season 2. Read These Stories Next: Leah Remini Dares Church Of Scientology To Sue Her Over A&E Show The True Story Behind This Scary Meme This Actress Fired The Nanny Who Wanted To "F**k Her Husband's Brains Out"
L. Ron Hubbard was essentially a ship-dwelling pirate.
In its early years, the
Church of Scientology was under investigation by a number of countries for potentially being a cult. Allegations were pretty serious: Australia, for example, banned the church in 1965 as a result of these trials.
Given this persecution, Hubbard lived on a roving ship called the Apollo. That way, he could set sail into international waters if a country banned his church. Ta-ta, Australia.
But before he was a seaman who founded a religion, L. Ron Hubbard wrote science fiction. Go figure.
Pictured: L. Ron Hubbard PETER BROOKER/REX/Shutterstock More
Enlightenment's a costly process.
In order to achieve total enlightenment, every Scientologist must proceed through Hubbard's stringent course list called the Bridge to Total Freedom. According to Scientology lore, the payoff for crossing the so-called Bridge is well worth the price. Upon reaching the top of the Bridge, you'll be able to move things telekinetically or cure your own cancer.
Costing about $650 each and occasionally requiring up to 12 hours of studying, seven days a week, these courses are quite a commitment.
In addition, members have to purchase the 12 essential Hubbard-penned texts, a collection which can cost up to $4K. These books are frequently updated, and members are encouraged to buy each new set.
Pictured: Scientologist Tom Cruise on a Scientology Cruise in 2004 J.j. Guill?n / EPA/REX/Shutterstock More
You can’t trust your therapist.
The Church keeps tabs on its members through enforced (and costly) internal auditing sessions. During these hourlong questionings, members don
E-meters, devices purported to measure the skin’s electrical activity and subconscious emotions.
Then, trained auditors sniff out areas of distress. Even children are trained as auditors and perform tests on adults.
Along with audits, there are more serious security checks, which are given to members suspected of going rogue, breaking rules, or having doubts.
Each therapy session is completely recorded, but you guessed that already.
Pictured: A Scientology E-meter Wikimedia Commons More VIDEO
Scientology's version of Hell is called the Hole, and it exists on Earth.
spokesperson Mike Rinder revealed that there is an afterlife for sinning Scientologists, and it’s right on Earth. In 2000, church head David Miscavige created a detention center for the high-ranking officials who got on his bad side. Pretty much anything can get you sent to the Hole, from facial expressions to answering a question incorrectly.
Having been a resident of the Hole himself, Rinder described conditions as grim. Residents ate slop, and members were forced to beat each other up until they confessed to their so-called crimes.
Wikimedia Commons More VIDEO VIDEO
Talk about an anti-pleasure cruise.
To finish the Bridge process, members must live on ship called the Freewinds for an undefined period of time. Mary Kahn, a former Scientologist, described the cruise’s hours-long security checks. Guess Scientologists aren’t into shuffleboard.
Pictured: the Freewinds docked in Aruba. Courtesy of Robert Wollstadt, Flickr More Read More
Scientology renders personal relationships meaningless.
Scientology uses the notion of reincarnation to justify loosening your ties to your friends and family. Just think: Your mother is your mother in this life, but you’ve had many moms over your life.
Pictured: Remini and her husband, Angelo Pagan. Alex J. Berliner/BEI/REX/Shutterstock More
They’re waiting on a second coming.
And they’re prepared, too. Hubbard died of a stroke in 1986, but Scientologists interpret his death as a
mere temporary departure. In case Hubbard decides to come back to Earth, there are two California mansions waiting to receive his spirit. According to expert Wright, the houses are stocked with his favorite cigarettes and Louis L’Amour novels. Pictured:. Gold Base, the official Scientology headquarters in Hemet, CA More
The Sea Organization is the "special ops" of Scientology.
Abbreviated as the
Sea Org, this high-level group of Scientologists actually signs a contract swearing to serve for a billion years.
Even children are recruited to join the group — and are often manipulated through deceit to do so. Famously,
Amy Scobee, former head of the Celebrity Centre in Hollywood, tricked her parents and began working for the Sea Org at 14. When parents give permission for their kids to join the Sea Org, they also sign away all parental rights.
Leaving the Sea Org is no easy feat. Members make well below minimum wage, and the church demands defectors pay back any Scientology services they'd racked up in breach of their
billion-year contract. So, many leave the Sea Org without a bank account, money, or a foundation for life on the outside. Courtesy of HBO More
Recruiting’s the name of the game.
Recruitment is the engine that keeps the Scientology machine going. And it’s not just recruiting average Joes, either. With its designated Celebrity Centre, the organization makes a beeline for celebrities and public figures.
Celebrity church members get preferential treatment. In Remini's
AMA chat, she said some celebrities had Sea Org members working in their home for an average of $25/week.
The Church even pressured Remini into recruiting Kevin James, her
King of Queens co-star.
Pictured: Remini with co-star Kevin James Picture Perfect/REX/Shutterstock More VIDEO Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here? Ryan Reynolds Hates Flying With His Kids About As Much As You Hate A Screaming Baby On A Plane Ashley Graham Says Boyfriends Would Break Up With Her For This Horrible Reason Jennifer Garner Delivers Powerful Emotional Testimony For A Good Cause