LIFESTYLE

How Leah Remini Went From A Devout Scientologist To The Church's Most Vocal Critic

February 1, 2019

The Church of Scientology has a number of celebrity members, including actors Tom Cruise and John Travolta and Elvis’ ex-wife Priscilla Presley. Actress Leah Remini was a Scientologist, too. But she left the church after nearly three decades and has no regrets.

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From a devout Scientologist to a vocal critic

Leah’s mother brought her and her older sister Nicole into the church when Leah was nine years old. A family of Italian descent, they have been Catholics before that. But Vicki, Leah and Nicole’s mom, turned to Scientology after a painful divorce from her husband and the girls’ father.

When Leah was a teenager, her mom brought her and her sister into the mysteriously-sounding Sea Org, a religious order of the church. Leah had to quit school in eighth grade to serve the church full-time. At the time, she didn’t see a problem with it.

When Leah grew up, she remained in the church and even defended it publicly when she became well-known. However, she eventually decided to leave for the sake of her family, she said on Today.

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When the time came for Leah’s daughter Sofia to be acclimated, Leah knew that it wasn't what she wanted for her girl. She wanted Sofia to have a normal childhood and study at a regular school. Leah recalled her own experience serving the church in her interview on Today:

We were working from morning until night with barely any schooling. There was no saying no. There was no being tired. There was no, ‘I’m a little girl who just lost her father and everything I’ve ever known.’ There was only, ‘Get it done.’

After Leah left the church, she felt like her eyes were finally opened. She became a vocal opponent of Scientology, speaking out about it in interviews on major TV channels. In 2015, two years after leaving, Leah published a memoir titled Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology.

Scientology leaders hit back at Leah, calling her "self-absorbed", claiming she tried to profit financially from her criticism, and even stating they were the ones who didn’t want her in the church and that she'd been about to be expelled when she left. Despite the barrage of verbal abuse (or, maybe, because of it), Leah feels she made the right choice.

No regrets

A few years after leaving Scientology, the actress has absolutely no regrets and says it was the right decision for her and her family. She also says she will continue speaking out against the church. She said in an interview on Today:

[This fight] is not an easy thing to do, but I think it’s the right thing to do. And I’m not talking about myself – I’m talking about [Scientology] victims. And I feel it’s an important message, I feel it’s the path I’m supposed to be on at this point in my life.

Leah and her family embraced Catholicism after she left Scientology. She told People it makes her family happy and called the religion of her ancestors “a beautiful thing.”

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