The “Leah Remini: It’s All Relative” Season 2 premiere was not shy about diving deep into why the actress and her family left the Church of Scientology. Remini has addressed her displeasure with the “minimal time” she says members spend with their own families because of devotion to the church. But now she’s revealing more details as she and her family go through the healing process after having left. Here are five things viewers learned from Wednesday’s (July 15) “It’s All Relative.”
Leaving the church is isolating
Remini has a group of female friends who all grew up in the church and have since left. They “get together once or twice a month as a support team” for each other because when most of them left Scientology, they were cut off from friends and family who remain in the church. “It’s an amazing thing — out of this heartbreaking time in my life is born — reborn — a support group that I’m receiving so much love and support from them and vice versa,” says Remini. “We kind of pick each other up and help each other through it, because it’s not something you just get over, something you’ve been in since you were 12 or 13 [years old].”
Leah’s personal exit experience was tough
“This whole thing with the Church of Scientology began because of the things that I saw and was calling people out in the church about not following their own policy,” says Remini. “And because of that, they put me through major interrogations, then they go after your family and try to get your family to go against you, to put pressure on you to straighten up. It was getting to the point where we all couldn’t subscribe to these policies anymore.”
Her brother-in-law William adds, “You’re in a cult, so you know what’s gonna happen. You may get smeared in the media, you may have things leaked about you. Friends you’ve had for 20+ years are no longer your friends.”
But leaving is different for everyone
“When you leave, you can leave quietly like [friend] Sherry did,” Remini explains. “You maintain with your Scientology friends. But if you make a stink in the public world, they call you a suppressive person, which means the church has put a stamp on you that says you are bad. They then go to all your family and friends and say you have to disconnect to the suppressive person. In Trisha’s instance, she refused to disconnect from her best friend who was declared an SP, so she was then declared an SP, so none of her friends or family could then talk to her.”
Leah’s decision to leave was primarily because of her daughter
“I decided I didn’t want to raise my daughter in the church because from what I experienced and what I saw was the church becomes everything,” says Remini. “It becomes your mother, your father, your everything. You are dependent on the church. If you’re raised in it as a child, you really don’t have loyalty to your family. The church does come first to you and that is what we would be teaching Sofia. … I didn’t think it would be healthy for her.”
Leah and her family are in group therapy
“We’re so used to suppressing feelings in the church, so I’ve done that my whole life. I wanna feel normal, I want to be not a robot … dealing with real feelings of guilt and loss and all that stuff, is, for the first time, kind of emerging and there’s no real outlet for it,” she explains.
“Leah Remini: It’s All Relative” airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on TLC.