Tonight’s episode of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath is not the last we’re going to hear from this A&E series. There’s yet another special episode scheduled for next Tuesday that is apparently going to focus on Leah herself.
But tonight’s is the last episode that Leah, Mike Rinder, and their production team filmed. And so there is a sense of finality to it when Leah signs off tearfully, thanking fans for so much support. And we can’t help feeling a little thrill when she says that this is the end of filming “for season one,” which sure seems to imply that there’s going to be a season two. At this point, however, we’ve heard nothing definitive about that.
So what’s in this episode, the second of the “Reddit AMA” specials? Leah and Mike answer more questions that have been sent in by viewers, including questions about celebrities in Scientology and the church’s reputation for homophobia.
Three special guests also take part: author Lawrence Wright, attorney Ray Jeffrey, and cult expert Steve Hassan. (We wrote at some length about Ray Jeffrey on Sunday.)
We were very happy to see Wright take on a subject that has been a little played down in the rest of the series: Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. Wright described how, when he was writing his 2011 New Yorker profile of Paul Haggis, then-church spokesman Tommy Davis arrived at the New Yorker offices with seven linear feet of documents in an attempt to derail the article.
Instead, Tommy set himself up for a fall, saying that if it weren’t true that Hubbard was severely wounded in World War II, then it also wasn’t true that he’d healed himself with Dianetics, and that the entire movement of Scientology was a fake.
Wright explains to Leah and Mike what a tantalizing challenge that was coming from Tommy Davis — Hubbard’s war injuries was something they could actually fact-check!
So Wright went to St. Louis to talk to a war records archivist and got Hubbard’s entire file. And the funniest thing happened — the documents on file with the US military didn’t match what the Church of Scientology had turned over. The Scientology documents were fakes!
Wright goes through some specific differences between the church’s fake documents and what was actually in military records, and we’ll just say that some of the differences are downright hilarious. This may be covered at this level of detail in Wright’s book Going Clear, but it sure felt like fresh material, and a laugh riot.
And infuriating, of course. Add Hubbard’s stolen valor to the unforgivable list of Scientology chicanery that Remini has been uncovering all season.
Please join us tonight at 10 pm and live-blog the episode with us in the comments section.
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Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.
The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)
Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…
BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts
Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ
Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield