Over the weekend, we were contacted by several sources with detailed inside knowledge who tell us Remini is breaking away because of the way leader David Miscavige is treating church members, Sea Org workers, and Scientology itself.
According to our sources, Remini has been distancing herself from what she refers to as the church’s “corrupt management” for a few years. And it started with a dramatic scene.
In November 2006, Remini was one of numerous celebrity guests at the wedding of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes at a castle outside Rome. Cruise’s best man was David Miscavige, who has been the church’s leader since the death of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, in 1986.
Notably absent, however, was Miscavige’s wife, Shelly. Remini dared to ask about it — and loudly.
We’ve written about Shelly Miscavige several times before, and in our most thorough story yet about her vanishing, we provided details about her deteriorating relationship with her husband, and explained why we believe she’s being kept out of sight at a secretive Scientology facility near Lake Arrowhead in the mountains above Los Angeles. Shelly has not been seen by the rest of the membership of the church since 2006, except for one sighting when she was allowed to attend the funeral of her father in August 2007.
In November 2006, when the Cruise-Holmes wedding occurred, it was still surprising for Remini to see Miscavige at such a major event without his wife. When she asked about it she was told to shut up, as if the question itself was out of line. That did not sit well with the actress, who is known for speaking her mind.
When she returned from Italy, she did what Scientologists are told to do when they see something that they consider against the church’s rules — she wrote a “Knowledge Report.”
Remini’s report, we’re told, included criticisms of Miscavige, his personal “communicator” Laurisse Stuckenbrock, Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, and other members of Scientology’s upper management. She also “had it out” with Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw, church execs Mike Sutter and Hansueli Stahli (who, with another executive, Marion Pouw, have been used as a kind of barnstorming committee, traveling around the country to quiet ex-members with large payments and confidentiality agreements), as well as media handlers Tommy Davis and Jessica Feshbach, accusing them of lying to the press about Scientology’s toxic “disconnection” policy and the excessive interrogations of church members. Remini then filed her report.
Let that sink in: Leah Remini wrote up David Miscavige, the leader of Scientology, and submitted it for action.
After she made her complaints, Remini was ordered to go to Scientology’s spiritual headquarters — the “Flag Land Base” in Clearwater, Florida — for “thought modification,” which consisted of extensive “sec-checking” and what the church calls the “Truth Rundown.”
“Security checking” is Scientology’s version of interrogation using an “e-meter.” During “auditing,” Scientology’s form of counseling, a church member holds the sensors of the machine, which measures skin galvanism and is reflected in the motion of a needle indicator. Scientologists believe that the machine can actually read the “mass” of thoughts, and therefore it can tell when they are holding back information. In “sec-checking,” this process becomes more brutal as the questioner bores into the church member’s private life, trying to determine whether a subject is holding negative thoughts about Miscavige or the church itself.
In this recent video interview made by filmmaker Mark Bunker, former Scientologist Bruce Hines explains what happens in the “Truth Rundown.” It’s a process, he explains, that is intended to convince a subject that whatever unethical or bad behavior he witnessed was only a delusional product of his own evil intentions. In other words, Leah Remini would have been under intense pressure to confess that it was her own evil intent which caused her to say something negative about David Miscavige.
We are told Remini was forced to rescind her reports while being “modified” at Flag.
Despite that experience, Remini continued to be an outspoken advocate of Scientology for at least a few more years, as we outlined in Friday’s story. But according to numerous sources, Remini has also long been considered a troublemaker inside the church for asking questions about reports that members of Scientology’s “Sea Org” suffer abuse, and for refusing to “disconnect” from family and friends who were “declared” by the church. (Declaring someone a “suppressive person” or SP is Scientology’s version of excommunication.)
We’re told that Miscavige and his minions made multiple attempts to convince Remini that she was out of line, but their heavy-handed efforts only convinced her that her questions were valid, and that the church had no right to tell her who she could talk to and what questions she could ask.
Some of Remini’s own friends in the church reportedly deserted her when she reached out to them for support, further causing her to distance herself.
We’re also told that Remini’s mother Vicki Marshall, who is an Operating Thetan Level Eight (the highest level of Scientology spiritual advancement) and Class Six Auditor, her stepfather, who is Operating Thetan Level Seven, and her sisters are standing by her and have promised not to let Miscavige split the family apart with the disconnection policy.
Remini raised eyebrows back in 2011 when she tweeted support for Paul Haggis after he had publicly criticized Tommy Davis for lying about the disconnection policy and the church’s anti-gay political stance. Sources tell us Remini was the only person from the church who e-mailed Paul Haggis support.
Although our sources have asked to remain nameless, they tell us they think it’s inevitable that Remini will eventually make a statement of her own. As they describe her, she is a daughter of Brooklyn who speaks her mind and isn’t inclined to turn the other cheek when anyone messes with her or her family.
We hope they are right. Leah, drop us a line!
[Don’t miss our post from last night with more news involving Tom Cruise — the Underground Bunker teamed with Australia’s Woman’s Day magazine for an interview of Alanna Masterson’s father, Joe Reaiche, and his thoughts about her dating Tom’s son, Connor Cruise.]
LUIS GARCIA CASE: CHURCH INTENDS TO DEPOSE BRIAN CULKIN, GARCIA ASKS TO DELAY EVIDENTIARY HEARING
As expected, Luis and Rocio Garcia, through their attorneys, have asked to delay an evidentiary hearing in their federal fraud lawsuit against the Church of Scientology, which was set by Judge James Whittemore for July 24.
At issue is the church’s motion to disqualify the Garcias’ attorneys, Ted Babbitt and Ron Weil, which rested largely on a declaration by former Scientologist Brian Culkin — a declaration which he produced for the church in return for a refund of $350,000 he had given to Scientology in only about a year as an active member.
Culkin lives in the Boston area, and in this motion for a continuance, Babbitt writes that the church intends to depose Culkin, which will take some time. Also, he says that he and Weil will be out of town on the 24th, and suggests several dates in September and October for the hearing.
Posted by Tony Ortega on July 8, 2013 at 07:00
E-mail your tips and story ideas to email@example.com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.