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Tonight on ‘Scientology and the Aftermath’: When the fraud & abuse becomes overwhelming

leah_remini_mary_kahn2

 
Last night, A&E fed the huge fascination for its new series, Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath with a remarkable sneak peek of tonight’s third episode. The network played the first fifteen minutes of the episode, which featured Remini and Mike Rinder explaining to executive producer Alex Weresow how Scientology’s “Bridge to Total Freedom” was laid out, including the ludicrous prices that Scientologists are expected to pay.

We’re super impressed with how Remini and Rinder have convinced a bunch of reality-TV folks used to less serious fare (Weresow’s previous credits include Celebrity Wife Swap) to create a show that is methodically and systematically taking apart the Scientology story, from how it sucks people in and takes over their lives to how it rips families apart.

In tonight’s episode, Remini and Rinder keep the education going with their explanations about how Scientologists must pay enormous amounts, often for courses that they’ve been forced to redo, or for books that they already own copies of. Members also pay ridiculous amounts to be interrogated so that the church has a file of their most damaging secrets. “You may be paying someone $800 an hour to sit and interrogate you,” Rinder says. “If you keep doing that to someone, you get them to the point where they will say basically anything in order to put an end to it.”

But the real star of the episode is Florida mom Mary Kahn, who surprised us with how wretched her situation turned out to be. Mary told her story at Mike Rinder’s website two years ago, and last year she held a reception for us in her Clearwater home when we were in town with Paulette Cooper for our book tour.

Based on what she’d written at Rinder’s site, we knew that she’d had a familiar story of joining Scientology enthusiastically in her twenties in 1973, then going up the Bridge (twice, because of re-dos), until the disillusionment set in during the David Miscavige era. Her experience on Scientology’s private cruise ship, the Freewinds, for OT 8 was particularly dreadful. And then, like so many others, Mary was energized by Debbie Cook’s infamous 2012 letter about Miscavige’s shortcomings.

What we didn’t realize, however, was how tortuous Scientology made it for Mary to finally leave the organization. For more than a year after she left in May 2013, Scientology operatives tried to convince her husband, David Kahn, to divorce her and stay in the church. In the show, he admits that he considered it, if only because he didn’t want to lose contact with their younger son, Sammy, who was a dedicated Scientologist. (Their older son, Michael, was not a Scientologist.)

Mary tells a visibly disgusted Remini and Rinder how she managed to get through a final showdown with church officials at Scientology headquarters, which resulted in her being “declared” a “suppressive person,” an enemy of the church. David Kahn explains how he “strung along” the same church officials for as long as he could before he, too, was declared last year.

And that’s how they both lost their son, Sammy, who has now disconnected from them. Despite spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in Scientology and being a member for 40 years, Mary Kahn couldn’t keep her family from being ripped apart. And she can barely keep it together as she describes the anguish she experienced at the hands of church officials, calling it mental abuse.

And then, on camera, there’s an emotional breakdown that stunned us.

We won’t tell you more about it except that it was a moment we weren’t expecting, and it drove home for us how much pain many former Scientologists are carrying with them.

It’s a powerful hour of television, but we were left with a few questions after it. So last night, we called up Mary and David Kahn and their son Michael to ask them to fill in a few details.

We asked Mary to tell us a little more about her son Sammy. He’s 25, and he’s a very dedicated church member (he’s reached the mid-range goal of “Clear”), but he doesn’t work for the organization. Mary explained that Sammy joined the Sea Org briefly, but didn’t finish its brutal monthlong boot camp, the Estates Project Force. Then he was on staff at the Belleair mission, but that didn’t last long either. Today, he’s living in Virginia and working for a company that’s owned by a Scientologist. He moved there, Mary says, to get away from his parents.

He was still living with them as recently as three years ago. “We had Christmas with both Sammy and Michael in 2013,” Mary says. But even then, she could see that he was pulling away from her. He told her repeatedly that she needed to “handle” her problems with the church.

“In early February 2014, he hugged me goodbye. ‘Don’t do anything weird, mom,’ he said. He hugged me, but it was pretty cold,” she says. She hasn’t seen him since.

In March 2014, Mary posted her story on Rinder’s blog.

For another year, she says, the church worked at David, trying to get him to divorce her.

“I was stringing them along,” David says. “I was trying to walk the thin narrow line, but ultimately that wasn’t possible.”

They say that the church drew a line in the sand in July 2015: Divorce Mary, or David would be declared as well. He finally stopped acting like it was a possibility and stood by his wife.

Since then, Michael, 28, is the only one who has heard from his brother, because he’s not a Scientologist and hasn’t been declared an SP.

“I haven’t talked to my brother much since this happened, even though I’m the one who can, technically,” Michael says. “I’m mad at him. But I’m afraid if I said what I really think he’ll disconnect from me. And there’s some pressure on me to stay the only link to him.

“At one point I was being more direct. I was telling him how I was ashamed of him and I couldn’t believe what he was doing,” Michael adds. “He said that mom can just go back in and it will be all over. But I told him it’s like torture for her. You’re asking her to give up to the torturer. She’s never going to do that. it’s ridiculous.”

We were struck by how Scientology has such a hold over a young man who is only 25 years old, does not work for the organization, and who doesn’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in it like his parents did. We asked them, what keeps Sammy so firmly inside Scientology that he would turn his back on his own family?

“He doesn’t know how to live without it,” Mary says. “And he thinks that there’s something in the OT levels that he’s really going to like.”

“He’s being manipulated by the way the thing is set up,” David says, “He’s convinced that he’ll lose his ‘eternity’ otherwise.”

David says that before his son disconnected, he tried to bring up with him the news about the organization that has been leaking out about it in recent years.

“I tried to have a conversation with him about the fact that the church wasn’t expanding. I said, either the technology is good and it’s being misused, or the technology doesn’t work. Either way, it’s a problem,” he says. “Sammy didn’t want to have that conversation. He had promised to have it when it looked like I was going to get declared. I ran into him about six months later, in a grocery store, and he denied that he promised to have that conversation.”

So for now, they sit and wait, hoping that their son begins to see what’s really going on with his church. They can only hope that he tunes in tonight.

We’re looking forward to your comments as the show airs. Please join us in the comments at 10 pm Eastern for the show, which airs on the A&E network.

 
——————–

HowdyCon2017

Go here to start making your plans.

 
——————–

3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on December 13, 2016 at 17:25

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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  • chukicita

    Saying out loud the thought that something was wrong with the church was freeing for Mary. Once she found out about the physical assaults, she was done. Tried to explain to her husband.

  • SarahDB

    rule- can’t be critical of church

  • Joy Lover (Ex-CS)

    Critical means Enemy…

  • SarahDB

    if you don’t disconnect you will lose anything

  • madame duran

    Mary Kahn, upon leaving ship, started to check out Scientology. Reads Counterfeit Dreams and sees Anderson Cooper’s 360 episode on abuse. Knowledge of abuse turns Mary completely off.

  • SarahDB

    husband wrote knowledge report and Mary got pulled in for sec checks

  • Joy Lover (Ex-CS)

    Do I divorce my wife or not?

  • SarahDB

    church trying to get David to divorce his wife

  • SarahDB

    just stringing the church along and wasn’t going to really do it

  • chukicita

    Mary’s husband says there is a brief time that he considered divorce after they sent a longtime friend to convince him to disconnect.

  • Tony Ortega

    The other video Scientology posted tonight is this “Ben” who was the friend who was used by the church to tell David to divorce Mary. What a fucking scumbag.

  • SarahDB

    2013 called in about knowledge report, she isn’t going to hold the cans, said, yes you will, Mary said she wouldn’t

    • Michael Leonard Tilse

      Holding the cans is an “anchor” you’ve agreed that it works, that it can find your secrets. Once you give in you give them a handle on your soul, a purchase on your heart…

  • SarahDB

    It was so oppressive, I know that they own me

  • Joy Lover (Ex-CS)

    I know that they own me…

  • SarahDB

    They have been owning me all these years

  • Vaquera

    Oh Mike.
    The pain in your face.

  • SarahDB

    In my mind I knew this is it

  • SarahDB

    there is a good chance I’m going to lose my family but she left anyway

  • SarahDB

    if that door was locked they would not have let me out

  • SarahDB

    keep you head down and get out

  • Joy Lover (Ex-CS)

    Thank God the door wasn’t Locked!

  • SarahDB

    followed me out the back and barred the door

  • Jimmy3

    They don’t own you

    • Qbird

      ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ! And her life is not just a soundbyte.
      She has courage deep inside, this woman, this person.

  • MaxLuvsDaBunk

    so terrifying

  • SarahDB

    was done, wanted to sit on the floor and scream to get out

  • chukicita

    May 2013 Mary is called in to answer to a knowledge report and doesn’t want to hold the cans. She realizes then, they own me. There is a good chance I will lose my family. She tries to get out the back door and he wouldn’t let her. She says I was going to sit on the floor and scream.

  • Baby
    • MaxLuvsDaBunk

      yaaaaaazzzzzzz baaaabbbbyyyyyyyyy

    • SarahDB

      Baby!!! huggles and huggles

      • Baby

        Hi sweetie.. Leah’s shows are telling it exactly how it should be told. With honesty, integrity and Facts.

        Giving others the opportunity to share their stories is Amazing! She has taken it to the next level. So proud of her.and everyone who is sharing..

  • L. Wrong Hubturd

    Oh, fuck commercials!

    • chukicita

      No. pay attention to and support sponsors of this programming.

      • L. Wrong Hubturd

        Pffft! Sensible people. 😉

  • SarahDB

    cmmercial

  • SarahDB

    phew!

  • chukicita

    Damn, Mary! I am crying here.

  • Sir Hemet TC Burlwood, VIII

    Twitter: This is North Korea POW shit right here in the USA.

    • Sir Hemet TC Burlwood, VIII

      BTW, that was Tony’s tweet.

  • Narapoid

    Thank y’all for sharing. I can’t see it until it is out online tomorrow.

  • madame duran

    Mary tells husband she wants to leave. He informs cult. He gets pressure from Scientologist buddy to divorce wife but David (hubby) ultimately decides not to. They both wanted to stay in to be close to son. Mary called in to “church” to discuss Knowledge Report. She agrees but insists NOT to be on the cans (i.e. not hooked up to emeter). Her auditor insists she will. He’s really insistant, blocks door. Scary and oppressive.

  • Tony Ortega

    Gets even better. Looking for your reaction when the key moment happens.

    • Eivol Ekdal

      You big tease!

    • Aaron Smith-Levin

      I don’t see the Ben video on freedom ethics twitter handle. Somewhere else?

    • MaxLuvsDaBunk

      SO love a Tony Tease

  • PerpetualOutflow

    Mary is such a likable, credible person. What a great segment tonight.

    • Sir Hemet TC Burlwood, VIII

      And Leah adds an emotional, gut punch, exclamation point.

  • Jimmy3

    STOP TRYING TO SELL ME YOUR PHONY CONFORMIST CONSUMERISM BULLSHIT, MATRIX.

    Wish there was an app I could buy to block commercials

    • chukicita

      I hate them too but will support those who support this program if I can. Except for the diamond place.

  • Dyan Shane

    Someone needs to seriously start a CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT!!! I seriously hope this happens, i am on a commercial break right now and these scam artists are nothing more than thieves, this reminds me of the MAFIA in some ways, and the Government gives them legal status???? Okay, now is the time to go after them and the IRS!

    • Michael Leonard Tilse

      Fuck the lawsuits. They know how to win at that game.

      Criminal prosecution with the weight of the state behind it is the only way to change.

      • Dyan Shane

        There has never been a class action against them to my knowledge.

        • Qbird

          google Michael Flynn & scn.

    • daisy

      If you join the Mafia you know what your getting into.

  • madame duran

    Sorry no commercial break summary…I’m also corresponding with someone on Twitter. Commercial breaks are happening so fast, not giving me time to process thoughts.

  • SarahDB

    disclaimer

  • A True Prince

    Here we go

  • SarahDB

    he wouldn’t let her get out the door

  • SarahDB

    just get out is what she was yelling

  • SarahDB

    looked at him and said, let me go

  • SarahDB

    jsut walk out the front door don’t want to make a scene in public

  • Joy Lover (Ex-CS)

    Followed her to the street…

  • chukicita

    Mary turns around to get out the front door where there were public.

  • SarahDB

    followed all the way to street, mentally abusive and such torment

  • SarahDB

    goes home and tells David, he said you better think of your family

  • MaxLuvsDaBunk

    oh goodness he’s chagrined having said that to her

  • SarahDB

    it’s all she’s been thinking of for the last 5 years

  • Vaquera

    Mike is so quiet. His chest must hurt at this point.

    add: Oh.

  • SarahDB

    crying, all the money we spent trying to hang on the her family

  • Joy Lover (Ex-CS)

    OMG! Mike breaks down!

  • A True Prince

    Heart Breaking

  • SarahDB

    everyone crying, stop the tape

  • SarahDB

    we are going to do something about it

  • madame duran

    Mike Rinder crying
    *buries face in Kleenex*

  • chukicita

    Oh wow. Mike starts crying when Mary does. Oh, sweet people.

  • SarahDB

    it’s so hard to get through

  • Chocolate Velvet

    making me cry right now…

    • Michael Leonard Tilse

      I’m crying and I’m not even watching the show…

      • Frodis73

        Me too!!!

  • Baby

    Damn.. I can’t

  • SarahDB

    Leah, so sorry this is happening to you

  • Newiga

    T_T </3

  • SarahDB

    hoping someone else will see this and it won’t happen to them too

  • 5 Feet Long and Luminous

    Oh shit, I’m not going to make it thru this episode without ending up in a puddle of tears. Dear gods…

  • Sir Hemet TC Burlwood, VIII

    Dam burst.

    • Sir Hemet TC Burlwood, VIII

      And I mean myself.

    • Jimmy3

      Having a beaver skin hat doesn’t make you a dam good engineer, my friend

      • Sir Hemet TC Burlwood, VIII

        Hence the burst. Next time, my hat shall be millnered from the Wood of Burl.

  • SarahDB

    why is it ok to have this evil policy of disconnetion, good people become evil

  • SarahDB

    why did you join the church in the first place when you knew this could happen

  • SarahDB

    Reddit a and e special on tv next monday!!!

    • Mike Rinder

      That show is going to be amazing. Trust me. Amazing.

  • Tony Ortega

    If you know what Mike has been through with his own family, you understand why he broke down. I thought it was amazing television.

    • Vaquera

      You could see him fighting to hold it in.

    • MaxLuvsDaBunk

      and so true, and important, of our mike showing his deep compassion and his own brutal heartaches

    • Johnny Tank (Forever Autumn)

      Powerful stuff.

    • daisy

      It was moving. He shows his humanity.

    • Mike Rinder

      I thought it was embarrassing. But I had been with Mary through her whoe ordeal as she was talking to me while this was all going down and it reminded me of her absolute torment.

      • daisy

        It was perfect.

      • ExCult.Jan

        And your own. Feeling the pain shows strength. xo

        • Exactly. The cult teaches you to feel bad (while telling you that you should not feel anything). Actually genuinely feeling what is right for you is to be free.

      • Frodis73

        Do not be!!

      • Newiga

        It was touching.

      • Qbird

        It’s hard to be human, Mike Rinder. And to do that on TV, to share so much of your humanity.
        It’s a good thing.
        Good will come of this.

        • Frodis73

          Yes!

        • Princess Squishy

          it is hard to be human. I shove all that stuff down most of the time a lot of stuff doesn’t touch me.
          Until I’m face to face. Somebody I’m in the same room with starts crying and it’s likely I’ll start crying too.

      • Jimmy3

        That was no embarrassment. You did well here.

      • Ms.P

        While Mary was talking I saw you holding back a lot, ok to break down, it needed to come out, it’s been a long time coming. Hugs and kisses- we feel for you and all those that are disconnected

      • Johnny Tank (Forever Autumn)

        Thank you for taking the time to do this show. It means so much to so many people.

      • Sir Hemet TC Burlwood, VIII

        Everyone here and following on Twitter cried with you all.

      • It gets the point across.

        The criminal organisation known as the “church” of $cientology recruits by manipulating the feelings of the would-be victims. Showing the devastating effects of the cult on the lives which are wilfully ruined has to be one of the most effective antidotes (1).

        Thanks again to you and to Leah and to everyone who speaks up. It needs doing, and you’re doing it well.

        (1) only second to legal action dismantling the organisation 🙂

      • Chewkacca

        Mike, I feel your pain. OOOUUWCH!

      • Ella Raitch

        Pish posh Mike. Even boofhead blokes emote (and sometimes they eat quiche too – but only if it has bacon in it)

    • Dee Findlay-DeElizabethan

      I respect him so much. He also has empathy with those that worked for or used by the GO/OSA. I remember not trusting him. Well he has proven himself over and over and he shows remorse for his actions. Amazing TV and reality for sure!

  • MaxSpaceman

    “They’re declaring good people, evil.”

    There aren’t words.

  • Baby

    I am sobbing.. OMG..

  • Jimmy3

    Outtakes from a botched Life cereal commercial. Mikey dislikes it so much, he begins sobbing. Show back on in a minute

  • SarahDB

    Mary says she never thought she would be declared

  • Tony Ortega

    Oh, did they finally announce the special?

    • A True Prince

      Huh? What?

    • Vaquera

      The reddit special? Yes.

      • Tony Ortega

        Where?

        • Vaquera

          There was just a promo for it

        • Baby

          at 10 reddit..AMA special

        • SarahDB

          A & E Monday night, at 10?

    • Baby

      Yes.. Monday

    • Eivol Ekdal

      No, we are all crying.

    • SarahDB

      yes, right before the commercial break

      • chukicita

        I could not see through tears.

      • L. Wrong Hubturd

        You got some kind of direct SP feed? I didn’t get that.

    • HTC

      Say what?

    • chukicita

      Whaaaaaaa?

    • L. Wrong Hubturd

      Not on my feed.

      • Vaquera

        It was a promo just before the commercial

    • Johnny Tank (Forever Autumn)

      2 for 1 pizza?

      • Eivol Ekdal

        pizza pizza

        • Johnny Tank (Forever Autumn)

          Gimme gimme!

  • PerpetualOutflow

    Incredibly powerful. THIS is what the “Church” of $cientology does…to SO MANY PEOPLE. Thank you Leah for making that widely known in such a compelling way. God bless you Mary and your poor son who is in their clutches.

  • Sir Hemet TC Burlwood, VIII

    I think everybody on Twitter is crying now.

  • HTC

    Oh Mike the horror on your face the whole time…glad you broke down brother

  • chukicita

    The average guy would say well why did you join in the first place if you knew about this policy of disconnection, Mary says because that was for evil people and I never thought I would be declared an evil person.

  • Chocolate Velvet

    This is why…

    This is why you should stay away from scientology.
    This is why we keep watching, and calling out the abuses and the destructive polices of the cult

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/97cd43fab8f27ea7dac805253478358fe07850bb0c9b6dec248e6e181be1e569.jpg

  • gtsix

    Oh damn, the loss of family because of the choices you made, not having a clue of the cost of those choices. .. God fucking damn you Scientology! Fuck you dammit!

  • cocamars

    What a powerful show.

    I wonder if they now regret not telling Leah what happened to Shelly.

    • Michael Leonard Tilse

      Can’t. Can’t admit they are wrong. That’s why the tactics don’t change and this keeps happening. They are stuck with Hubbard’s playbook and their own wounded souls.

    • pluvo

      It all backfires. They are crating their own enemies non-stop.

  • Sir Hemet TC Burlwood, VIII

    Scary spice on Twitter: “Mike Rinder crying just ruined me for the night.”

    • Ella Raitch

      Wow…..

  • SarahDB

    Mary’s arms are open always, and Sammy knows that, must have broken his heart to disconnect

  • Frodis73

    TOT News. Alan Thicke died…heart attack maybe.

  • SarahDB

    The years raisning those kids were the happiest for me

  • Joy Lover (Ex-CS)

    The years raising the kids was the happiest for me…

  • SarahDB

    they were great kids, great family

  • SarahDB

    Mary had her family destroyed because she said no

  • SarahDB

    Leah, this is not a fun project

  • Joy Lover (Ex-CS)

    This is not a fun project…

  • Bernie Headley

    This series just keeps getting to the point. Mary had me in tears!

  • SarahDB

    all these sacrifices, want some payoff, we are getting nothing

  • Dyan Shane

    It’s been 23 since BLACKMAILING the IRS, does anyone know if these blackmailed employees still work there?
    Why has this status not been questioned by the IRS by now?
    Wondering these things.

  • Vaquera
  • A True Prince

    Leah Go To Lake Arrowhead Find Shelly!!!

  • SarahDB

    Mike, it’s a battle and it doesn’t change overnight

  • Elendira

    Christ. I am a new father and her story is tearing me apart… bawling like a baby

    • chukicita

      Hold your child and be thankful for the bravery of these folks it never has to happen to you

    • SP Wannabe

      Please hold that baby close tonight, for all of us.

      Especially Mary and Mike.