admit, I'm intrigued by Scientology. I mean intrigued in the "what really
happens?" kind of way. I have the same feeling about bachelor parties. I don't
want to attend one, but I do want to know what really happens at one.
In general, I don't have a thing against
Scientology the way others seem to. It's not my place to judge what makes
someone happy. But when I read the
recent BuzzFeed interview with actress, funny lady and former Scientologist
Leah Remini, my ambivalence toward the religion changed to concern.
why she left the church after a lifetime commitment, Remini said, "In my house, it's family first—but I was spending
most of my time at the church. So, I was saying 'family first,' but I wasn't
showing that. I didn't like the message that sent my daughter."
Remini also says the timing
came about because her daughter Sofia (now 9) is getting to the age where she
would start being an active member of the church. That means Sofia would be
subjected to what the church calls auditing sessions, which can become intense
interrogations that Remini remembers being traumatized by as a child.
I've always thought Leah
Remini was funny and talented, but now I see just what a great mom she is as
well. Scientology seems to be all encompassing, especially with its belief
that nonbelievers should be excommunicated from one's life.
I can't help but question the parenting choices of Scientologists.
Leah Remini's entire world was
probably based in the church. To give it all up is a big deal and a big loss.
Most parents say they'll do anything for their kids, but when push comes to
shove it doesn't always happen. Leah Remini gave up her entire identity and
community for her daughter. It was undoubtedly a terribly difficult decision,
one that has and will cost her connections and credibility down the line
judging by the fallout already coming her way.
If Leah Remini left the church
out of concern for her daughter, I can't help but wonder why other parents
would force their young kids to stay. As I read Remini's BuzzFeed interview as
well as director Paul Haggis's famed letter published in The New Yorker in 2009, I can't help but question the parenting
choices of Scientologists. Both articles
and interviews outline concerning tactics of the church—including separation
from one's family, homophobia, unorthodox medical techniques and abuse. I can't
help but question any parent who doesn't pull her kid out of
To be fair, many supporters
claim Scientology not only changed their lives, but that it also saved their lives. Tom
Cruise has been quoted as saying the religion cured him of dyslexia. Actress Kirstie Alley has been quoted as
saying, "Without Scientology, I'd be dead." But since neither are little kids
themselves, they can make educated and informed decisions about their religion.
Little kids, on the other hand, can't.
Leah Remini made an admirable
and difficult choice for her daughter. Hopefully, her star power and her
fearless openness, will cause other Scientology parents to do the same.