I really enjoyed this episode as someone who really doesn’t know too much about Scientology. Even if you do know a lot, Leah’s personal experiences on being a part of the church were extremely fascinating all on their own. Also, it is my opinion that Leah was flirting with Joe the entire time (lol).
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Responsibilities as a Scientologist
The episode begins with Leah talking about her past and how she came to be in Scientology after her stepfather introduced her and her mother to it.
During this conversation, Leah mentions some interesting things about the church and how their members are required to behave. For example:
- Members are required to attend service every day for a minimum of 2.5 hours. If you miss out on going a day, you are forced to make up the time.
- Members are tested on L Ron Hubbard “policies” (must conduct demonstrations, write essays, create clay models, etc.)
- In regards to ranking up through the church, everyone starts with self-improvement courses, which are the most affordable.
When looking online, I was only able to find “Life Improvement Course” which I assume are the same thing. The screenshot above is taken from the Scientology – Los Angeles website.
- Once you complete the improvement courses, you are then able to move up an actual chart known as “The Bridge”. This is described by the church as, “L. Ron Hubbard provided a precise delineation of these [higher states of existence], and then clarified how they could be attained by arranging them on a chart which graphically showed each step of the route upward.”
- OT-8 is (was) the most enlightened level until more levels were added.
- Scientology does not value a traditional education which means members are poorly educated since they often drop out. Leah dropped out of school in the 8th grade and then was forced to work selling insurance for Scientology companies. Click here to read more about Scientology’s perspective on society’s education system.
- Once someone outside of the church is labeled as an enemy, members are not allowed to speak to that person and are actually encourage to harass them. See “Fair Game” policy below:
Celebrities & Knowledge Reports
One of the more interesting aspects to this podcast is learning about Scientology and their relationship to celebrities, and most importantly, Tom Cruise. The first time we hear about this was when Leah describes seeing David Miscavige at Tom’s wedding and noticing that his wife, Shelly, was not present. When Leah asked about her, people avoided the question and was told that she did not have the rank to ask about her. This turned out to be the beginning of Leah questioning the church.
[BANTER] – At 27:00 minutes, Leah teases Joe about looking at her “sexy nails” and not liking cologne. This will continue to come up throughout the podcast which leads to some pretty funny interactions. There is some more silliness at 29:46.
Leah then begins to talk about how members are forced to write reports on themselves and other members of the church as a self-policing mechanism. Here is an interview with a former member, Jefferson Hawkins, who seems to validate everything Leah said about these reports.
Leah admits that she wrote up Tom Cruise for his behavior on Oprah (jumping on couches) and John Travolta for Battlefield Earth. Ultimately, she was concerned that they were not setting a good example for the church and being harmful to the church’s image.
Because of these reports on Tom, Leah was required to travel to the Scientology headquarters in Clearwater, Florida. For 3 months, she was interrogated by people who work for Tom while she was hooked up to the E-meters. Finally, she retracted everything she said in the reports just so she could get out and go back home.
Before elaborating on what happened after Leah got back from Florida, her and Joe go off on a very interesting tangent about celebrities. These are the highlights:
- The “main goal” of Scientology is to keep Tom Cruise happy
- The reason Tom doesn’t leave is because of the amount of power he is given within the church
- There are policies describing the proper behavior to be had around Tom (and other high ranking members). You can be beaten up for not following these policies
- Tom Cruise is at the top of the organization along with David Miscavige
- John Travolta was given the designation known as Kha Khan. The policy surrounding this role states that he is allowed to kill (Ethics Protection Policy)
Another interesting aspect that was mentioned during all this celebrity talk was the fact that the church will create hate websites for people who have left the church, here is Leah’s. In 2013, Scientology was exposed as being tied to one of the websites. See that article here.
45:23 – Leah talks about never smoking pot
50:32 – Leah talks about working with Kevin James on Kings of Queens
53:03 – Joe’s run in with the church
Leah Begins Questioning the Church
Finally, we get back to what happens to Leah when she gets back from Florida. Insulted by the whole thing, Leah stops going to her services every day and only goes about once a month. The church holds a meeting with Leah and apologizes for the interrogations to get her to comeback. Leah then asks the church to refund her all the money she spent going and staying in Florida. The church conveniently points to a policy that states they don’t allow refunds. Offended, Leah begins to ask more questions about Shelly’s whereabouts.
At this point, Leah also mentions members who were beaten by the church:
1:10:41 – Leah flirts with Joe
Leah then goes into the Shelly Miscavige case and how she filed a missing person report. Adding to her frustration, she finds out that the policeman assigned to her case was giving speeches at the Scientology Celebrity Center about human trafficking. When she questioned the officer about what they have found, she was told that it’s classified information. Because of this, Leah is forced to hire a lawyer to get the information they are withholding.
More Random Facts About Scientology
From here, Leah talks more about the organization itself, these are the highlights:
- Celebrities in Scientology
- Members of the Sea Org sign billion year contracts and get paid ~$50 a week
- Leah explains the OT-3 ceremony:
- They have files upon files on you and begin asking you questions about things you’ve done in the past
- You’re forced to sign documents stating that you will not disclose what you’ve been shown
- You’re given a briefcase that is physically attached to your body with a clip
- In the briefcase is a folder with materials you must read.
- You are then asked to explain what you learned to a supervisor. The supervisor made Leah draw out what she learned multiple times
- Leah confessed to the supervisor that she is not happy with the content. He tells her that she doesn’t have to believe it, she just has to do what she’s told
- You are then given a series of questions that you must ask other “entities” via an e-meter
- You are told that if you give out the answers to this ceremony, the people you tell will get pneumonia
After all of this, the conversation jumps between Leah’s life after leaving the church to more facts about Scientology. These are the aspects I found most interesting:
- Leah describes the Purification Rundown. A detox for beginners that consists of taking niacin and sitting in a sauna for 5 hours
- More OT levels created, OT-8 is no longer the highest level
- The church is involved with molestation (Google this for references)
- Over Boarding Policy. They would toss people into the water who were acting out of line
- The LAPD is in bed with the church and attends the yearly gala. The church help fund the Police Activities League
- To give their members the illusion of growth, the Church shows off buildings that they buy. Leah suspects these buildings are empty and that they were only bought for tax purposes