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On tonight’s ‘Leah Remini,’ reality star Mimi Faust takes on Scientology’s harm to family

In 2012, we talked to Mimi Faust for the Village Voice after she had dropped a bombshell on VH1’s popular show Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta. At 13, Mimi had been abandoned by her mother, who chose Scientology’s Sea Organization over raising her own daughter. Mimi then became homeless.

It’s an incredible story of how Mimi’s life was so shattered by her mother’s dedication to Scientology, and how she managed to survive and flourish despite being left to her own devices.

She tells that story to Leah Remini and Mike Rinder in a powerful way in tonight’s episode of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.

Mimi’s mother, Gloria Eva Simmons, added the surname James after a marriage, and so Mimi was brought up as Mimi James. But then Gloria joined an African religion and changed her name to Olaiya Odufunke. That African religion was superseded by Scientology, and Olaiya jumped into it completely, joining the Sea Org and dragging Mimi, her youngest child, from Atlanta to the Flag Land Base in Florida and then the Pacific Area Command — PAC Base — in Los Angeles.


It was there that Mimi, at only 13, was put under intense pressure to join the Sea Org herself, and to sign its billion-year contract. When she refused, Scientology kicked her out on the street — and her mother helped walk her out of the building. “I had no idea where to go. I figured my mom would try to stop me. But there was nothing. She didn’t ask me where I was going, she didn’t ask if I had bus fare. I think that’s what hurt the most. That she just watched me walk away,” Mimi told us.

After that initial interview, we managed to track down more information about Mimi’s mother, who had died in 2003 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. We learned that Olaiya had risen through the ranks until she was working for the Sea Org’s secret police, the Office of Special Affairs, first in Los Angeles and then at the Flag Land Base in Clearwater. Her former co-worker, Kirsi Ojamo, explained that the job she and Olaiya were doing was running security interrogations on high-ranking Scientologists before they could enroll in expensive upper-level courses.

In tonight’s show, Mimi Faust tells a heartbreaking story about how she persevered without her mother, but still welcomed her back into her life several times. It’s a shattering tale, and Mimi tells it so well.


The episode also features Christi Gordon, who was also abandoned by her mother for Scientology’s Sea Org, and approximately at the same time, the 1980s. She and her sister, Christi explains, went through brutal treatment in the Cadet Org and the RPF, the Sea Org’s prison detail.

Forced to do heavy manual labor as a young child, Christi tries to convey what it was like when your mother simply has other interests than your own welfare.

Today, there is no cadet org or Children’s RPF, but Mike Rinder and Leah Remini explain that Scientology’s underlying concepts about the family are still in full force in Scientology. In the philosophy of L. Ron Hubbard, we are all immortal beings called thetans, regardless of our age, and so even small children are really ancient beings and should be treated no differently than adults. Also, while you might have a connection to another person as child or parent, those relationships are somewhat illusory since you are only in that relationship in this lifetime, and what’s more important is that thetans live forever and inhabit many different bodies over time.

This idea undercuts the family bond, Leah explains, which is how parents can find it so easy to drop off a child for Scientology to take control of. And since Hubbard has died and his ideas can’t be changed, neither can Scientology’s ideas about family.


[Christi Gordon]


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,905 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 51 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,114 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,888 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,662 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,008 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,502 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,542 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,254 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 780 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,869 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,009 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,329 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,304 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 660 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 4,962 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,068 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,471 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,344 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 925 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,430 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,674 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,783 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on October 17, 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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