Leah Remini is an US actress, known to the public for various roles, principally as one of the leads in the TV series, “King of Queens.”
She was ‘born into’ Scientology and participated for many years. Recently, however, she left the organisation.
The details of ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’ are bizarre. A decade ago, after a dispute with her husband, the wife of the current leader of Scientology disappeared. In 2013 Leah Remini wanted to know where her friend had gone – and was aggressively blocked. The fact that she did so during a celebrity wedding which Miscavige was attending made matters worse.
Eventually, Remini filed a missing persons report with the Los Angeles police. Informed sources place Shelley in an isolated Scientology facility, which includes an underground bunker. This place is dedicated to preserving he writings of the founder of Scientology L Ron Hubbard. The police cast no light on Shelley’s whereabouts. They claimed to have determined that she was not under duress, and therefore her location was confidential.
After leaving Scientology shortly after these events (with her family, who refused to ‘disconnect’ from her, as per Scientology policy) Leah Remini produced a eight-part critical TV series about Scientology, which is now being broadcast. This is different from previous examinations (e.g. “Going Clear”) . It does not take a documentary approach, but is based upon first hand experience and interviews with ex-Scientologists. It promises to bring the abusive behaviour of the Church of Scientology to a new, wider audience, and add a human dimension.
Click ‘Continue Reading’ for links enabling you to watch the first seven episodes (so far) a bonus episode (which includes some incredible interviews) entitled “Ask me Anything” and coverage by the ABC New programme 20/20. Continue reading
Rambam (Dutch TV) 2015 | View Online |
Rambam is a Dutch television programme which addresses consumer issues in an informal, irreverent and entertaining way.
To give you an idea of their style, they once investigated allegations that Dutch public honours were carelessly administered. They did this by packing out a stooge’s fake CV with three false references and accounts of volunteer work for non-existent charities (supposedly dedicated to the welfare of dachshunds and ecological gardens).
Not only did their stooge ‘win’ an honour in the King’s birthday list, but one of the programme’s presenters stood in for him, wearing a fake beard, when he was publicly presented with his honour by the Major of Utrecht.
In this programme, they infiltrate a Dutch Scientology Org – and reveal abuses that they take more seriously.
Watch it a video window (and read my commentary) after the break
Cold Case Files | Scientology: A Question of Faith| A & E Network (US) | View Online | Download as .mp4
“Cold Case Files” is a US television series which examines ‘unsolved’ crimes using forensic science and criminal psychology.
This episode deals with the case of Elli Perkins, who was stabbed to death by her 28-year-old son. The facts of the case are not at issue. The question is, where does the responsibility lie?
Elli was a committed Scientologist. L Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, considered psychologists and psychiatrists to be member of an evil conspiracy who were responsible for (among other things) the Nazi Holocaust. To this day, Scientologists campaign against the psychiatric profession, and consider psychiatric medication to be dangerous and ineffective.
When Elli’s son Jeremy started to develop symptoms of schizophrenia, she insured that he did not receive psychiatric treatment – and especially not anti-psychotic medication. As a result, his mental condition deteriorated. She ‘treated’ him with doses of vitamins which are used in a Scientology practice called the purification rundown. When Jeremy stabbed his mother, it is doubtful whether he was responsible for his actions.
This audio recording of an part of psychiatrists interview with Jeremy Perkins, which was obtained by CBS news in 2009 (downoad as .wma) supports this. After his mother’s death, Jeremy exhibits the disorganised thinking and lack of emotion that is characteristic of Schizophrenia. Jeremy also describes delusions and visual hallucinations focussed on his mother (e.g. her face sometimes ‘became evil’). No fewer than eight doctors diagnosed him as suffering from Schizophrenia.
So who or what was responsible for the death of Elli Perkins? Could it be those doctrines and practices of the Church of Scientology that deprived him of appropriate treatment? View the programme in a video window after the break.
Inside Scientology and Escaping the Witnesses | August 2015 | Channel 5 Television (UK)
View Online |
This programme is based on interviews which present the stories of three British women’s involvement in two different high-control religious groups – The Church of Scientology, and the Jehovah’s witnesses. There are striking parallels in the oppressive practices of the two groups.
It begins with an account of Sam Domingo’s 20 years in Scientology and moves on the experience of two other women with the Jehohvah’s Witnesses.
The researchers make one significant error (concerning the supposed legal status of Scientology in the UK – it is not recognised as a religion) but this does not detract from the testimony of ex-Scientologist Sam Domingo (who suffered a great injustice) which is engaging and powerful. Continue reading
At a presentation yesterday in the Conway Hall in London, Tony Ortega dropped the bombshell that Sky Atlantic will broadcast the Alex Gibney documentary film “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” in the UK in September. This has subsequently been confirmed by the BBC.
The broadcast of this documentary film had previously been postponed, apparently due to doubts about whether Sky would fall foul of the more repressive libel legislation still in force in Northern Ireland, and be sued by the Church of Scientology. It seems that Sky (which cannot exclude Northern Ireland from its coverage) has decided to call Scientology’s bluff.
Ortega (on the left) is an investigative journalist who writes the best blog about Scientology and appears in the film as an expert on Scientology. He knows whereof he speaks. This presentation was fascinating in itself and there is more about it after the break (including the video). However, before we move on, I would like to appeal for information from readers.
Before the UK broadcast of “Going Clear” was postponed, the Church of Scientology launched a media blitz. They promoted their front groups in full-page ads in publications such as “The New Statesman” and “Metro”, on social media and electronic billboards.
The advertisement in “The New Statesman” regarding ‘Volunteer Ministers’ was the subject of a complaint to the UK Advertising Standards Association. As a result the Church of Scientology agreed not to present VMs as if they were a relief organisation in future.
The Church of Scientology is unlikely to let the broadcast go without some media response – which may break their promise to the ASA or lay them open to complaints on other grounds. If anyone in the UK sees an advertisement, especially in a newspaper or print periodical, promoting Scientology front groups please let me know about it in the comments, or via the feedback page.
2015 | Going Clear:Scientology and the Prison of Belief | Alex Gibney | HBO
View Online| Download as .mp4
The long wait is over, “Going Clear” was broadcast in the US on the 29th of March 2015.
This film has been so keenly anticipated by activists because it promises to bring the story of the Church of Scientology into the mainstream, and could prove to be a game-changer.
Please, buy a copy when the film becomes available for download, or on DVD. The people who made this need our support.
A review will follow (after I’ve seen the film myself).
Important news about the availability of “Going Clear” in the UK follows after the break.
2003 | The Exclusive Brethren | Everyman (BBC2 TV)
View Online | Download as .mp4
This documentary film is an examination of an extreme Christian sect which separated from The Plymouth Brethren . When it was made, these people were known as “The Exclusive Brethren“.
Their core belief is that worldly things are of the devil and that, to be redeemed, they have to withdraw from the world and adhere to very strict rules (and discipline).
The windows in the building in the image above have been bricked up. It is an Exclusive Brethren Church, and they do not have windows, in order to exclude a view of the sinful world outside.
The Brethren are examined here because their practice of ‘dis-fellowship’ or ‘exclusion’ closely parallels the Scientology practice of ‘disconnection’.
Disconnection is one of most controversial of Scientology practices. If a Scientologist defies the Church, other members (including family) are ordered to send them a formal letter stating that they will not communicate with them in any way until they relent, and complete the penance required to be restored to good standing. In practice, this is rarely a genuine option.
This policy has separated husbands and wives, and estranged parents from their own children. The threat of disconnection is a powerful disincentive to internal dissent.
View the documentary in a video window after the break Continue reading