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Tonight on ‘Leah Remini’: ‘I just walked away from Scientology after seeing Leah’s show’

[Ramina Nunnelee]

Leah Remini’s A&E series ends its “regular” second season of episodes tonight with a dramatic and deeply satisfying segment as Chantal Dodson’s mother, Ramina Nunnelee, reveals that she has walked away from Scientology as a result of Leah’s show.

But let’s deal first with that programming note, because we know it’s confusing, and confusing viewers is what A&E seems best at. Besides moving the series an hour later, to 10pm, in the middle of the season, A&E has always counted episodes in a confusing way. Ten “regular” episodes were filmed for the second season, as well as four “special” episodes.

Only nine of the regular episodes are airing because, as we revealed last week, one of the regular episodes featured three of the women who are accusing Scientology actor Danny Masterson of rape. The LAPD began investigating those claims a year ago, and in April the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office got involved, but it still has not made a decision whether to file charges. The DA’s office asked Leah not to air the episode as long as they were still investigating, and Leah asked A&E to respect that request. So by calling tonight’s show the season “finale,” it suggests that A&E has given up on the notion of airing the Masterson episode.

Meanwhile, two of the “special” episodes have aired, one on Scientology beliefs which featured Bruce Hines and Leah’s mother, Vicki Marshall. The second special episode featured Mat Pesch and Jeffrey Augustine discussing the business side of Scientology. Two more special episodes remain, and as far as we know they will air in the following two weeks. (And there may be an additional “Reddit” episode beyond that, as well, but we haven’t confirmed that yet.) So it’s pretty confusing for A&E to call tonight’s episode the “season finale,” simply because it’s the last of the “regular” episodes they plan to air.

Whew. OK, now that we have that out of the way, let’s get back to tonight’s remarkable show. You’ll remember that last week, Leah featured two of her close childhood friends, Sherry Ollins and Chantal Dodson, who had their own harrowing stories of growing up with parents who seemed more focused on Scientology than their families.


Chantal talked about how she kept her own children out of the church, but eventually they became curious about it, particularly after they saw Alex Gibney’s 2015 HBO documentary Going Clear. At that point, Chantal felt she had to be more open with her kids about her own experience in Scientology, and it also put a strain on her relationship with her mother Ramina and stepfather Richard, who were still dedicated members.

But now, we learn, that has changed.

Ramina herself is featured on tonight’s episode, and she says that she too had begun having some doubts after watching Gibney’s film. But then, it was the first episode of Leah’s second season that really got her — and the story of Mirriam Francis in particular.

Mirriam revealed in her episode that she had been molested by her father, and when she reached out to her Scientologist mother for help when she went to law enforcement years later, her mother refused to help. Her involvement with Scientology was still more important than her own daughter’s pain.

Ramina explains that she had known Mirriam’s mother, and this devastated her. How could a mother treat her child that way? And then Ramina had to look at her own self and how Scientology had come between her and Chantal. At that moment, she says, she was done with Scientology.

“I don’t give a damn if nothing comes out of this except for maybe one other parent will listen to me. Please, I beg of you — save your children, go back to your children,” Ramina says in a powerful appeal to the camera. “No church is a church if they condone, advocate that family members must split up and disavow each other. No decent church would do that. How could they be considered a church?”

Ramina, a lot of us have been asking that question for a long time.

What a way to “end” the series.


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,926 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 72 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,135 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,909 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,683 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,029 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,523 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,563 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,275 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 801 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,890 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,030 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,350 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,325 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 681 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 4,983 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,089 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,492 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,365 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 946 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,451 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,695 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,804 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on November 7, 2017 at 07:00

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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 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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