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Tomorrow on ‘Leah Remini’: You’re going to learn what it’s like on Scientology’s ‘Bridge’

[Bruce Hines]

After three gut-wrenching victim-centered episodes of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath‘s second season, A&E is shaking things up by running a “special” episode that we think is not only well timed, but a long time coming.

Tomorrow night, you will begin your training as Scientologists.

Well, that’s the line we used a few years ago when we did a similar thing here at the Underground Bunker — give non-Scientologists a taste of what Scientology’s “Bridge to Total Freedom” is all about in our series “Up the Bridge” with experts Claire Headley and Bruce Hines.

And we’re really happy to see Bruce show up in this episode. He’s not only someone who taught other Scientologists L. Ron Hubbard’s “technology,” he’s very good at explaining things for non-Scientologists. (We still consider his explanation of the “Truth Rundown” that he gave Mark Bunker one of the most chilling things to come out of Scientology.)

With Bruce’s help, Leah Remini and Mike Rinder set things up by talking about what Dianetics is, what it promised, and how it was originally pitched as a science, not a religion. And what did Hubbard promise if you engaged in his counseling and went up his “Bridge”?


“He promised superhuman powers,” Bruce says. And did Bruce ever see evidence of any, Leah asks him? After some 15,000 hours of auditing other people, Bruce says he never saw superhuman abilities demonstrated by a single Scientologist.

It’s a simple thing, but we’re really glad that Leah and Mike are taking the time to spell this out.

Leah also brings on her mother, Vicki Marshall, the person who got Leah into Scientology as a child. And she asks her mother a great question: What got you into it?

Vicki explains that she had wanted to be a nurse and to help people. And she liked what she read in Dianetics, that it claimed it could cure all human ailments. That sounded like a future she could believe in, Vicki says.

It seems so simple, but often we find that Scientologists tell us they were hoping for such basic promises — improving themselves, or the planet — and soon found themselves paying tens of thousands of dollars for courses, giving up their kids to a paramilitary organization, and expecting the world to become a better place, all based on the promises of a 1950 paperback.


[Vicki Marshall]

What really makes this special episode useful is what happens next. After describing the Bridge, its promises, and how someone might be taken in by it, Leah and Bruce actually engage in some Scientology processes on camera to give viewers an idea of what it’s like. Bruce reads questions from the “Grades” — costly intermediate levels that a Scientologist goes through on the way to Clear — and Leah responds, illustrating just how simple and repetitive Scientology processes are, and how ludicrously expensive they are.

Again, it seems like a simple thing, but based on the kinds of questions we get constantly on Twitter and Facebook, this episode seems timed perfectly for the many new people Leah is attracting to the subject who naturally want some idea not only what the abuses of Scientology are, but what Scientology is actually selling, including OT 3, the infamous auditing level with the story of “Xenu” that even newcomers to the subject have heard about. Yes, Xenu really is what you learn about when you get to this expensive upper level.

“It’s insane. But we all did it,” Leah says.

We have a feeling those newer viewers are going to find this a gripping episode and truly useful.

Especially when Leah and company get to OT 8, the very top (at least currently) of the Bridge.


In just a few minutes, Vicki — who is OT 8 — and Mike and Leah take apart OT 8 in devastating fashion, and if this episode is remembered for anything, it should be this segment.

As Leah explains to one of the cameramen, who is apparently astonished by the secret of OT 8 revealed in the show, this program has just saved you anywhere north of the half a million bucks it takes to get all the way up the Bridge.

This is service journalism at its finest.

But then, just to show that while she can criticize Scientology’s “technology,” she has no issue with the people who believe in it, Leah brings out two “indie” Scientologists, Ronit and Yossi Charny, who live in Portland, Oregon, but are originally from Tel Aviv. (We had the pleasure of meeting Yossi last year in Haifa when we were visiting Dani Lemberger at his “Dror Center.”)


[Ronit and Yossi Charny]

Ronit Charny had been Vicki’s auditor, and she was another person who had dedicated body and soul to Scientology for decades. And what caused her disillusionment? She and Yossi describe how David Miscavige made changes to the “technology” that made no sense except as money grabs. (Semicolons are mentioned, and our longtime readers will find that Leah makes the most of this great moment in Scientology history.)

Yossi breaks down as he recounts the familiar dilemma they faced: Get with Miscavige’s program, or lose contact with their own children forever. They chose to leave, and their family is still intact.

And today, they continue to audit outside Scientology, which Leah wants viewers to know she has no problem with. She can criticize Hubbard’s ideas at the same time that she respects people who choose to follow those ideas. Hey, sounds like a familiar outlook.

One of the ways that this special episode works, even though it’s just a half dozen people sitting around a table, is the use of archival footage which is really top notch. In particular, the show makes use of the church’s “testimonials” videos that we’ve featured here over the years. For those newer readers who may be astonished to see a few of those clips tomorrow night, we’ll include some of the longer videos here to assure you that yes, these videos are real, and they feature real Scientologists, not actors.

This is your brain on the Bridge…



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,863 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,846 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,620 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,966 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,460 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,500 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,212 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 738 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,827 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,967 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,287 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,262 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 618 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 4,920 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,027 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,429 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,302 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 883 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,388 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,632 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,741 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on September 4, 2017 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 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


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