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Tonight: Leah Remini and Mike Rinder wrap up their 2nd season with questions from viewers

Our favorite duo is back tonight at 8 pm to wrap up their second season with a clips show to answer questions submitted by viewers. And so while you wait for tonight’s episode to air, we’re going to take a look back at the this season from Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath and ask you once again to tell us which chapter was your favorite.

The questions that Leah Remini and Mike Rinder take on tonight are generally pretty standard. They’re the sorts of questions we see over and over again at places like Facebook and Twitter: What was life like in the Sea Org? How does the church recruit? Why hasn’t law enforcement stepped in? And the like.

But why at 8 pm? Well, you know A&E wouldn’t pass up one last opportunity confuse viewers. It’s just how they roll.

So let’s look back at season two, which in many ways was stronger than the first season. But it also had its challenges, and A&E never got to air as many episodes as it planned. We know that A&E shot 10 “regular” episodes, 4 “special” episodes, and tonight’s Reddit AMA. Only nine of the regular episodes aired, however, because one of them featured three women who are accusing Danny Masterson of rape, and as we revealed earlier, the Los Angeles District Attorney asked Leah to hold off on airing that show as long as they are still trying to decide whether to charge the Scientologist actor. Will that episode ever air? We don’t know. But here’s what was put on the air…



[Mirriam Francis]

Regular episode 1, “Thetans in young bodies.” Aired: Aug. 15. Our quote: “If past episodes of this series have left you emotionally battered, you’re in for a real roller coaster ride tonight.”

Leah starts out the season with an explosive look at child abuse and its cover-up with the stories of Mirriam Francis and Saina Kamula. We followed up with them and found that despite Leah’s efforts to get the LAPD involved, their cases appear to be going nowhere.


[Marie Bilheimer]

Regular episode 2, “The ultimate failure of Scientology.” Aired: Aug. 22. Show quote: “I’ve known five people in my life who have killed themselves. Four of them were Scientologists.”

The second season doubled down on emotion with the stories of Aaron Poulin and Tayler Tweed, two young Scientologists who ended their lives in violent ways. To tell their stories, Leah talks to Aaron’s widow, Marie Bilheimer, and Tayler’s friend, Lauren Haggis, who also happens to be daughter to director and former Scientologist Paul Haggis. And once again, we’ll encourage you to read more about Marie’s larger story about how her family was twisted and torn apart by Scientology.


[Liz Gale]

Regular episode 3, “The perfect Scientology family.” Aired: Aug. 29. Our quote: “Parents who are so deeply into their Scientology journeys rarely have time for kids.”

Philip Gale was a child prodigy, and part of a four-generation Scientology family that seemed to be the epitome of success. But Philip’s sister, Liz Gale, explains to Leah how horribly wrong everything went, from her brother’s suicide on L. Ron Hubbard’s birthday in 1998 to her own estrangement from her mother, who chose Scientology over family.


[Vicki Marshall]

Special episode 1, “The Bridge to Total Freedom.” Aired: Sept. 5. Our quote: “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.”

During the first season, Leah was vocal that she only wanted to focus on Scientology’s alleged abuses and not talk about its beliefs. But thankfully she changed her mind, because this show, the first of the round-table “special” episodes, was shockingly effective for such a deceptively simple setup. With the help of former auditor Bruce Hines and her own mother, Vicki Marshall, Leah took apart Scientology’s secret upper-level teachings in devastating manner, and with lots of needed humor.


[Gary “Jackson” Morehead]

Regular episode 4, “The rise of David Miscavige.” Aired: Sept. 12. Our quote: “As Leah rightly points out, however, it was the Sea Org itself, created by L. Ron Hubbard, which required that kind of ruthless push for dictatorial control. If Miscavige hadn’t muscled others out of the way, someone else would have.”

Today, Scientology is run by a ruthless dictator named David Miscavige. But how did he get there? Leah and Mike talk to John Brousseau in his first ever television interview. JB was once L. Ron Hubbard’s personal driver, he was David Miscavige’s brother-in-law for 16 years, and he also did work for Tom Cruise. This is a guy who was up close and personal as Miscavige was taking over. And they also talk to Gary Morehead, who from 1990 to 1997 was chief of security at Int Base, and not only witnessed some of the most abusive policies Scientology dishes out, but also carried them out. This was one powerful night of insider dope.


[Paul Haggis]

Regular episode 5, “Scientology and celebrity: The betrayal of Paul Haggis.” Aired: Sept. 19. Show quote: “I’m sorry. At the beginning I excused them. They were my friends and I excused them. You know what, damn them now, for being purposely blind.”

Scientology is a tiny organization that gets much more press than it probably deserves. Why? Because of its glittering celebrities. So this episode was long overdue as Leah and Mike spoke to a former Scientology celebrity recruiter, Karen Pressley, and to two-time Oscar winning director and screenwriter Paul Haggis, who spent more than 30 years in the church. If you saw the HBO movie Going Clear and think you already knew Paul’s story, you really weren’t prepared for how aggressively he puts his former fellow Scientology celebs on this spot in this terrific episode.


[Nathan Rich]

Regular episode 6, “The Ranches.” Aired: Oct. 10. Our quote: “The church really, really does not want you to watch this episode tonight.”

After taking home an Emmy award for its first season, the show took a well-deserved brief break and moved to a new time slot. Then it came back with a vengeance. In this episode, Tara Reile and Nathan Rich detailed their terrifying experiences at a series of ranches operated by Scientologists so that busy Scientology parents could get rid of their problematic children. Treated like human garbage, Tara and Nathan spoke for many other “ranch kids” who are coming forward now to name and shame people like Wally Hanks, a ranch operative who happened to die while the season was airing.


[Mimi Faust]

Regular episode 7, “The greatest good.” Aired: Oct. 17. Our quote: “Mimi, at only 13, was put under intense pressure to join the Sea Org herself, and to sign its billion-year contract.”

Let’s face it. In this country, Scientology is a very white and middle- to upper middle-class phenomenon. But Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta reality star Mimi Faust demonstrated in this show that Scientology is just as capable of ripping apart black working-class families as well. Christi Gordon also appears and describes yet another family destroyed by an organization that teaches that children are just ancient beings in small packages.


[Jeffrey Augustine]

Special episode 2, “The business of religion.” Aired: Oct. 24. Show quote: “It’s so cutthroat you would not believe it. It’s a machine. And it’s designed to get as much money out of you as possible.”

Mat Pesch worked in finance at Scientology’s Flag Land Base where the highest “technology” in the church — the processes for separating suckers from their money — is a high art. In this second round-table discussion, Mat outlined how the vulture “registrars” target church members, and Jeffrey Augustine shows how that fleecing is then wrapped in ironclad and draconian contracts so that Scientology has control of its victims coming and going.


[Sherry Ollins]

Regular episode 8, “Lifetime of healing.” Aired: Oct. 31. Our quote: “Chantal and Sherry both describe being in and out of the Sea Org, and trying to survive on almost nothing, and how they had to rely on each other rather than their families.”

In this episode, Leah weaved her own personal story with the harrowing adventures of her two close friends, Chantal Dodson and Sherry Ollins. All three of them, to one extent or another, suffered at the hands of parents who put more of themselves into Scientology than into caring about their own kids. And although Sherry has been out of Scientology for more than a decade, Chantal’s defection was much more recent, and set up the surprising result in the following episode.


[Ramina Nunnelee]

Regular episode 9, “Aftermath of the aftermath.” Aired: Nov. 7. Show quote: “I just walked away from Scientology after seeing Leah’s show.”

This emotional “season finale” (actually, just the last of the regular episodes that A&E can air to this point) reflected what we’ve been seeing for nearly a year now — a huge result from Leah Remini’s efforts. There’s just almost no comparison to a year ago, when it comes to the number of people affected by Scientology who are now coming forward and speaking out. Sure, some of them are still taking precautions and not revealing their identities in public, but the results we’ve experienced here at the Underground Bunker are nearly overwhelming (and we can only imagine how much Leah and Mike are hearing behind the scenes). And here was a perfect exclamation point to illustrate the new reality: Chantal Dodson’s mother, Ramina Nunnelee, after watching HBO’s Going Clear and then Mirriam Francis’s story in episode one of this season, decided to leave the church and reunite with her daughter. What a way to make the point that Scientology really is in serious trouble.


[Quailynn McDaniel]

Special episode 3, “Propaganda arms.” Aired: Nov. 12. Our quote: “Leah admits that it really burns her that politicians are so easily fooled. By signing such proclamations, she says, politicians are helping to keep people in a fraudulent organization.”

Your proprietor was fortunate enough to join Quailynn McDaniel and Fred Oxaal in a round-table discussion with Mike and Leah about Scientology’s various front groups, including Narconon and the Citizens Commission on Human Rights. Fred helped Scientology put on a positive face for the public with its “The Way to Happiness” booklet, and Quailynn served with the “Volunteer Ministers” to bring Scientology propaganda to disaster sites. Mike is particularly good in this episode as he explains that Scientology’s “good works” are really all about deceiving church members and getting more of their money.


[Russell Miller]

Special episode 4, “The Life and lies of L. Ron Hubbard.” Aired: Nov. 14. Our quote: “It’s a wonderful deflating of the Hubbard myth, and we hope some current church members sneak a peek at the episode.”

With the help of Hana Whitfield — who was once “deputy Commodore” — and biographer Russell Miller, Leah and Mike use their final round-table discussion to puncture the myths of Scientology’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard, which have been used for so long to convince credulous believers that there really is something to Scientology. We especially appreciated that the episode not only tore apart Hubbard’s lies about himself, but also took the time to go through the facts about his wives and children, facts which the church has tried to hard to erase.

So there you have it. Now that the season is concluding, please tell us which of these episodes had the most meaning for you, or surprised or saddened or enraged you. We look forward to your responses.


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,940 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 86 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,149 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,923 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,697 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,043 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,537 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,577 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,289 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 815 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,904 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,044 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,364 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,339 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 695 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 4,997 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,103 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,506 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,379 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 960 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,465 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,709 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,818 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on November 21, 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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