Remini, the executive producer of the series, interviewed former Scientologists to discuss what they witnessed about the religion from behind closed doors in the first episode that debuted on Tuesday, Nov. 29. As a former member of the Church, Remini previously stated that this expose is not only a means of sharing her side of the story; it’s for the victims that need a platform from which they can vocalize the horrors they’ve witnessed. “It’s for the people who have spoken out, but it’s also for people who just maybe don’t have the strength to fight, feel they don’t have a voice,” Remini said on the Today show on Monday.
Before each segment of Remini’s show, A&E shows statements from the Church of Scientology that counter the arguments made by its former members featured within. The network also has a site that hosts the Church’s official statement, resources and more to defend their side of the story.
Here are seven takeaways from the first episode of Remini’s docuseries, which highlighted the perspective of Amy Scobee, who skipped high school and became a member of the Church at age 14 before eventually becoming in charge of Celebrity Centres.
- Scobee claimed that her boss from the Church of Scientology, who was 35 at the time, raped her: “He was married, and he had me stay back when everybody else left, and basically we had sex. This was statutory rape, and I was too afraid to tell anyone about it,” Scobee said. Her boss allegedly told his wife and they told the Church, but the Church did not tell Scobee’s parents or police officials. “[The church and their beliefs] indoctrinated in me that if anything serious goes on, it’s handled internally,” she added. “It happened to me, so, therefore I must’ve done something that caused it.”
- The Church of Scientology does not rely on using the judicial system to resolve corruption: “You’re also indoctrinated in Scientology to believe that the justice system is corrupt,” said Mike Rinder, the international spokesperson for Scientology for 20 years, “that it doesn’t do anything to ever resolve the problem. That Scientology is where the answers lie, to even a child molester.”
- The Church’s leader David Miscavige, “a very angry man,” is physically abusive to its members: “If you said something that didn’t please him he would go off on you. If you were a man he would likely hit you, punch you, knock you down, choke you,” said Scobee.
- The Church “is first” and everything else, including family, is considered a distraction, so members of the congregation often write letters to their families so they aren’t reported missing: “They’re called ‘good roads fair weather’ letters,” said Scobee, “so that they don’t file missing persons reports on you or go to the media because they haven’t heard from their children, or something like that.”
- Security guards prohibit members from leaving: “You run everywhere you go,” said Scobee of her experience once she was sent to the Rehabilitation Project Force in 2003. “You do hard manual labor. You call everybody ‘sir.’ You have no communication in and no communication out within that group.”
- Scobee‘s job was to “surround Tom Cruise with Scientologists on staff”: Scobee said that she had to hire an executive housekeeper, a maid and a cook that were dedicated Scientologists. “They wanted him to only be in Scientology 100%,” said Scobee of the Church’s leaders.
- The Church encouraged disconnection, which Scobee considers as their “biggest weapon”: Scobee’s mother said that she received a visit from an ethics officer from the Church while Scobee hid in another room. “What he was telling me was that my daughter was evil and everything she touched was poison, and that she’d done so much damage to the church and that I should have nothing to do with her,” said her mother.