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Amy Scobee: ‘Even on her deathbed, my mom was fighting Scientology and disconnection’

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[Mat Pesch and Amy Scobee, while Angelo Pagan photobombs]

When we called up Amy Scobee last night, she still hadn’t seen the episode of Leah Remini’s A&E show that featured her so prominently. But she had a pretty good idea of what would be in it.

Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath premiered last night with an opening segment that had Leah quickly recounting how we got here, with her defection and her best-selling book, Troublemaker, and the intense media coverage it kicked up. But her high profile escape from Scientology produced more than just headlines; Leah heard from many other people who had also struggled to break away from the notoriously vindictive organization.

In particular, she heard from Amy Scobee about how Scientology had forced her mother to ‘disconnect’ from her after it had labeled Amy an enemy of the church. Amy herself had been a high-ranking member of the Sea Organization who had broken away after being forced to endure the Sea Org’s prison detail, the Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF), multiple times.

Bonny Elliott, Amy’s mom, had been put into an impossible situation: Scientology forced her to make a choice between her husband, a dedicated Scientologist, and her daughter, who the church considered a “suppressive person,” and had excommunicated. And at first, Bonny went along with the church and cut Amy out of her life, disconnecting from her. But eventually she changed her mind and they had a reunion.

And the person telling us this story last night was Bonny herself, in an interview she gave on her deathbed. She passed away just two weeks after Leah Remini had sent a film crew to get her on tape.

“Can you believe that?” Amy said to us last night, still marveling that her mom was interviewed in time.

“Even on her deathbed, my mom was fighting Scientology and disconnection, and Leah gave her an avenue to do that. I’m just so happy that was the case,” Amy said. “I’m happy that she could talk about what she was fighting against, and that more people will become aware of what happens in Scientology.”

Also startling in last night’s episode was to see Amy speak so plainly about being subjected to sexual abuse. She was 14 when she first joined staff in Scientology, and she was soon targeted by a 35-year-old male staffer who had sex with her. It was statutory rape, but Amy said it was covered up by the church, which not only didn’t report it to the authorities, but also kept it from Amy’s mother.

We asked her how hard it was to talk about that with Leah knowing that it was going to be used in a nationally televised show.

“I said it knowing that Scientology is probably going to use it to smear me. But I’m willing to put myself out there to warn other people,” she says. “There might be things that I’m embarrassed about, but it will make other people aware and I wanted it known.”

She says that during her career as a Sea Org officer she saw plenty of other people abused in Scientology, but she knew it was important for Leah’s show to focus on what she could testify to about her own experiences. “I didn’t talk about what happened to other people, I just stayed on what happened to me. And I’m willing to go to court and repeat that,” she said.

And she laughed at the thought of Scientology calling her a liar and trying to smear her the way it has for years. “It just shows how sleazy they can be. They just can’t let it go and own up to things they did that weren’t OK. If they just apologized for that behavior, people would let go and move on. But they can’t do that. They have to attack and try to harm people, and it’s a sign of how sick the organization is.”

At one point during the show last night, a title card tells us that Bonny’s husband, Mark, eventually left Scientology, and we asked Amy about that. She told us it was an interesting story, actually.

“My mom called me and she asked for my help to get Mark out. He had told her he was going to join Scientology staff, and mom asked, ‘Amy, can you help? I don’t want him to join staff.’ So I basically did an intervention.”

We’ve witnessed an attempt at a Scientology intervention, and they are not easy to pull off. We asked her how she managed to succeed.

“We hadn’t seen him in years, but we showed up at his house. I told him all about what was going on at the top levels of the church, and he decided to walk away.”

Really? It was that easy?

“Information is a major component of mind control. You don’t have the information you need, so you can’t make proper decisions. You’re kept so cloistered you’re acting like a robot. And just giving him that information had an immediate effect,” she said.

“I started it out by saying, this family separation was devastating mom, and he knew that it was. That let me know how to open the conversation. ‘You know me,’ I said. ‘I’m not just an SP. I left and spoke out because these are the the things that are going on. If you join staff now, you’d be supporting those things.’ So he changed his mind about going on staff, and then eventually left Scientology itself.”

We’re glad to hear it worked that easily in her family’s case. And it was a privilege to have been let in on her family’s story last night.

We asked Amy to drop us a line after she’s seen the episode and let us know what she thinks. And we’d like to hear from you, too. How well did it work? What are you hoping to see in upcoming episodes? Let us know.

 
UPDATE: Here’s the meat of the letter that Scientology’s Karin Pouw sent to A&E on November 2 about Amy Scobee. Take note of how vague the accusations are. Scientology never learns. All this does is embolden a media company to expose someone who would write a letter like this…

 
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The rest of the letter, as well as a “white paper” (what a stupid term) that the church sent over can be seen at the A&E website.

 
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Go here to start making your plans.

 
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3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on November 30, 2016 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

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.

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

 

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