Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath (2016) s02e03 Episode Script

The 'Perfect' Scientology Family

1 She'd tried to commit suicide and she had nowhere to go to get help.
What does it mean to be a successful parent? And what makes a family a family? Why is it that some families get along fine and some just fall apart? How do I know what's right? How do I know what's wrong? How do I find out for myself? This a story about the perfect Scientology family.
I can't even imagine my family without Scientology.
I mean, my parents met at a Church of Scientology.
My brother was accepted to MIT at 15, and he was a poster child for L.
Ron Hubbard's study technology.
We had three generations of healthy, smart, capable people applying Scientology to the best of their ability.
And at the end of the day, it destroyed us.
I am the writer of the textbooks of Scientology.
The aim and goal is to put man in a mental condition, uh, where he him can solve his own problems.
Without any Scientology organization things are not gonna change on this planet.
After years of slowly questioning Scientology Leah Remini and her very public break with Scientology Stop lying to people that they hold their eternity in their hands.
Stop telling parents that it doesn't matter what you do this lifetime other than Scientology.
If your religion is so amazing and doing all these amazing things for the world, then it should stand up to some questioning.
I would repeat this line, "I want to die.
I want to die".
That was my first idea of I want to end my own life.
You gave me up at 13 years old.
How could you think that this was okay for me? These people are doing extreme things, and they need to be held accountable.
For us to do more of this, we wanted to do something that could help these people.
We need to do more than simply document stuff.
You got this.
People will continue to speak.
People will continue to fight.
What would you be thinking if you were in the church in this moment, and you were like and you heard, oh, Leah Remini is interviewing Liz Gale.
There'd be a lot of sleepless nights happening.
But why? Why would you be worried about Liz Gale's story? When you go beyond the disconnection stories and start getting into things where people have died, this is stuff that brings to the attention of the world that this is not just a crackpot cult that sits around chanting or does, you know, weird stuff that nobody needs to worry about and it's not really hurting anybody.
This gets into the real harm of what happens from your involvement with Scientology.
It's beautiful.
I don't know which door to knock.
Is it a bet of which door's gonna open? How are you? - Hi, welcome.
- Hi, honey.
- Welcome.
- Thank you for having us.
I'm Elizabeth Gale, and I was born into Scientology, and I left the church in 2007.
Because I have publicly denounced Scientology, I'm rejecting my family's legacy, is what I was told.
This was your family's property, right? Yes, it is.
We have 1,300 acres here.
So I don't know if you can see it, but there's a little grassy section right there.
My parents' house was right up there.
My grandparents built it.
There's, like, 40 acres on the other side of that.
Then, like, that whole thing.
There's a creek.
We moved out here about seven years ago with our first son.
- I can't stop looking at it.
- I know, it's really beautiful.
It's like a drug.
My family came across on the Oregon Trail.
My great-great grandparents homesteaded it.
- Oh, wow.
- And they worked really hard.
And then my grandparents and my great-grandparents bought additional parcels.
And my whole life, I was proud of it and had been told that it's, you know, our family heritage.
My great-great grandparents were not Scientologists.
That was before Scientology existed.
And they came up here from San Francisco, following the gold rush.
For the Homestead Act, you could get free land.
My great-grandparents were not born Scientologists, but my grandmother did get her mother to do some Scientology Dianetics.
My grandmother was, like, hardcore Dianeticist.
And my grandfather, too, - was a Scientologist.
- Wow.
So my mother was raised from her birth - That way.
- That way.
Scientology claims like, on their websites they say, you know, we value family and the family unit.
It promises and it sells the idea that it has all the answers to life.
That it's scientific.
That it can be proven and it has been proven to solve all of mankind's issues.
Scientology has just been everything.
Like, my parents met in Scientology.
My mom was on staff.
My dad was public at the LA Org.
And they went for it, full-on.
My brother and I both received Child Dianetics since two years old since before I could write.
What were you doing in Child Dianet like, what is Child Dianetics? I mean, I have little memories of it.
But basically, just my mom auditing us.
There was a book that was published by the church called "Child Dianetics".
It was a compilation of materials that Hubbard had given in lectures or in other writings of his where he talked about how to treat children.
Child Dianetics then became loosely used to describe the application of Dianetics and Scientology principles to children.
My brother and I both we were kind of like poster children for Scientology in some ways.
We had to make sacrifices at home.
We had a budget because people in my family wanted to do Scientology services.
My dad was our main provider in our home, so he worked a lot.
He had a software company but I feel like he was present, as much as a working father can be.
My mom would be an expert in Scientology.
An expert in policy.
She was a professional public Scientologist.
My mother would be gone on services for long periods of time.
It was just, "This comes first.
"I have to go do this and it's gonna make me better "and our family better and it's just the thing I have to do right now".
And then, on top of all of that, she was a CCHR spokeswoman.
CCHR is the Citizens Commission on Human Rights.
It is the arm of Scientology designed to attack psychiatry.
It's a full-time, all-out, no-holds-barred assault on Psychiatry.
We were kind of a perfect Scientology family in the beginning, with all the promise, you know, and potential.
So you and your brother grew up totally, fully indoctrinated into Scientology.
Were you aware of any issues that your family was having growing up in Scientology that Scientology was dealing with? My mom told me that my brother had broken his arm when he was four years old.
There was a birthday party, and he didn't want to get on the horse.
There was, like, a pony ride, horse thing.
He didn't want to get on it, and my mom said, "Get on the horse," and he said, "If I get on that horse, I'm gonna break my arm".
She said, "Get on the horse".
And then he fell off and broke his arm.
He went into surgery.
They had to reset it.
When she got him back, he was different.
He started throwing tantrums, which he'd never done before.
He became moody.
He, I think, was just behaving differently.
- At four? - At four.
And I have two children.
When I hear that, I hear, wow, your kid just broke their arm, they're cranky, they just, you know, went into surgery.
This is age-appropriate behavior.
The kicker is that she told me that it was her that was restimulating him, that she realized that he had gotten an engram an unconscious recording through that time of pain.
LRH does say that a child acting up - Yes.
- Is only acting up because - its restimulative mother.
- Yes! And it already sets up the mother as the enemy.
Scientologists believe, and it's in "Dianetics," that when you're pregnant, everything that might happen to you is being recorded in your child's subconscious mind.
As an unborn child, you're very easily hurt.
You're not protected by fully formed bones, and there's no room to move.
And when you're experiencing pain, everything being perceived is recorded as an engram.
So the things said and done around a pregnant woman have a considerable effect on an unborn child.
So the mother usually is the blame when a child is acting out because the mother is what's considered a restimulator to the child.
So if the child's acting out, the mother was taught that it was her fault because you activate bad memories for your child because of the things that you did when your child was in your womb.
So if they're children, you know, they're children.
You know, they're acting up, they're crying, they're battling you at every turn, like kids do.
The Scientologist parent would think, I'm restimulating that child.
- You have to give up your bond.
- Oh, yes.
- Like, I hurt you.
- Yes.
Right? I was pregnant with you and I bumped into the wall - and I said, "Oh, shit".
- Yeah, yeah.
Now, every time I say, "Oh, shit," - which is a lot, your head hurts.
- Right.
Right, so go away from me, baby.
- Go be safe somewhere else.
- Yeah, so your mother, - who's causing him to react - So the sound of her voice, the smell of her person, the things that, typically, a four-year-old who's having a hard time needs You know? So she decided that it was her.
And to me, I'm imagining a loving mother who goes to her church for help.
And there's a certain kind of support system that says, you're okay, you've got this.
No mother's perfect.
Nobody expects you to be perfect.
And then there's the mindset that pounces on that in a second and says, well, there's this Scientology boarding school starting up.
Maybe he should go there.
In Scientology, that separation was set in stone.
So between the ages of four and eight, your brother was acting like a child.
And your mother believed, from her Scientology teachings, that it was actually because of her.
Yeah, exactly.
But I know my mother loved us.
She just applied the technology.
What she knew.
What she knew.
- Yeah.
- Right, what she was raised in.
She believed that she had to give him the best chance by giving him away from her to the best next place, which would be a Scientology school.
Delphi's an elite boarding school, and you have to follow a specific line of thinking and a specific type of being or you can't be there.
Scientologists send their kids to a Scientology boarding school at a very young age to become the model Scientology children.
Because there, they will get the help of the LRH tech and they will be with likeminded children from other Scientology families and won't have outside influences on them.
So he goes to Delphi boarding school until what age? - Till he graduated, 14.
- Wow, until 14.
He came home for breaks and stuff like that, - but he never lived with us.
- Yeah.
I also was sent to boarding school at eight.
I mean, it's laid out in "Dianetics".
Eight years old is the time to start clearing a child.
If you believe that your child has engrams or is restimulated, just keep him cool until eight years old, when you can get in there and crack at their case.
At eight years old, you're, too, - sent to have a school raise you.
- Yeah.
- A Scientology school.
- Yeah.
And how did you respond to that? Once you send your child away That gap is created.
You are on your own now.
It was really overwhelming, and I wasn't ready for it.
And so I probably called home crying every day.
When I look back later, our childhoods were hard.
You just can't raise kids like that and expect for them to be okay.
- Like, you just can't.
- Yeah.
My dad was on his way home from a fishing trip, and he had like, a blood vessel in his heart popped.
So he died instantly.
And there was no illness, there was no nothing leading up to it.
I was 12.
And I wasn't even living with my parents.
So I hadn't seen him in a while.
My mom showed up, and she just said, "Your dad died".
I talked to my mom about it.
You know, she's just like, "I just don't understand why you have to talk about this kind of stuff".
I'm like, "What do you mean?" So that I can heal and move on.
I mean, I don't want to talk about it for the rest of my life.
But you have to get there.
To sit and cry and mourn and feel the loss over someone in Scientology is not a normal thing to do.
- Like, it would be seen - Sympathy.
- And weak.
- Yeah, sympathetic.
And sympathetic is not a good thing.
Not a good thing.
We went to Flag I remember this we went to Flag after my dad died.
And they did, like, a little handling with me at that time.
I remember being told that dying on OT V was a very unfortunate side effect, but it happened.
That's what a Sea Org member told me.
Who would sign up for OT V, if a side effect is dropping dead? Like, why didn't they tell us this before he paid, whatever, $40,000 to take this course? If the whole point is to become this powerful being who's completely in charge of his body, how could you just die? That doesn't make sense.
So at 12, I started to not get it.
I just thought, this is what took my parents away.
This is where all of our money has gone.
When my dad died, I was 12.
You know, it was really hard for me.
I stopped going to school.
I was unhappy.
I cut class a bunch.
The staff ethics officer at Delphi was just like, "Do you want to be here?" I was like, "No, I don't want to be here".
She's like, "Well then, you can go home".
I was like, "Thank you".
You know? It never occurred to me that I could just go home.
So I went home, but it's not a home anymore if you don't have your dad, and you don't have you know, my brother had moved out by then.
And my mom said, "What do you want to do? What do you want to do for your life?" Like, at that time we lived in North Carolina 'cause of my dad's work like, what are we gonna do? It was just my dad's work that guided where we were, what we were doing, you know? And Scientology.
So once you had one of those factors gone, it was just suddenly it all became about Scientology.
So we moved to LA, and I took I went to CC Int every afternoon.
And I went and I did courses in auditing.
When she left, it was one of those, "Oh, I'll be back in just two weeks".
And it just went on and on.
And I felt very abandoned.
I felt angry.
She basically was saying, "I'm done being a mom.
"There's something bigger, something better for me to be doing".
I don't know, you show me one kid that wouldn't feel abandoned from that.
I did.
I still do.
She just left.
And Again! - Right.
- Again, yeah.
And at that point, I had signed my Sea Org contract too.
So that was looming at that time.
In the afternoons, I took my courses at CC Int, right? So I would walk down there, and there's a 15-minute break in between the afternoon sessions.
And that's your only break.
So during that break time is when you get recruited to join the Sea Org.
And it was just relentless.
Every day, every day.
And I just wanted to have my 15 minute break.
So once you had signed your contract, they couldn't recruit you anymore.
So I signed it, crying.
You know, here I am at 14 years old, signing a billion-year contract.
And you just kind of spin out of control.
- Then you feel even more alone.
- Right.
You know? And like I actually tried to commit suicide when I was 14.
I just felt really hopeless.
I felt like the path that had been picked for me was set in stone.
I just didn't want to live that life anymore.
There's only so many things you can do in Scientology that are, like will get you out of where you are.
And attempting suicide is one of them, you know? So much pressure all the time.
And you're told that the outcome is gonna be this you're gonna be happy.
You're gonna be happy.
You're gonna be perfect in a way.
And I just never felt that way.
I just never felt like, overall generally happy.
You know? And when I thought about the Sea Org, which was like what was so important to my mom to throw me aside? It just this feeling of dread.
It was like a prison sentence was coming up.
I just know I wanted that life to be over.
And I wish someone had told me that you don't have to kill yourself to get out of that life.
You can just stand up and walk away.
And I didn't realize that.
I didn't realize that.
What did she do when you tried to commit suicide at 14? Well, she came back, and I I wasn't having it.
So after the attempt, I spent some time in the hospital.
My mom was there the whole time.
She never left.
She wanted to make really sure that I didn't get into the hands of psychiatrists.
The horrible psychiatric mental health system.
Which pisses me off now.
'Cause I could've used that.
It is hardly surprising that a spokesperson for the Citizens Commission on Human Rights would be so infused with this hatred toward psychiatry.
I said, "What kind of church, Mom, allows a mother to leave their child for months".
Like, what? She said, "Actually, honey, it was the church that made me go back".
That's what she said.
And I was like, Jesus Christ, Mom.
I like the version better where you loved me, and you wanted to come home and be a mother.
Meaning, she didn't come back because of you.
No, she didn't come back I mean and she doesn't want me to think poorly of her church.
- It wasn't her volition.
- Yes, right.
It was the church to make the church look good to you.
- Exactly, exactly.
- Ugh.
Which you know, is pretty shitty.
- It's a lot shitty.
- Yeah, yeah.
It is.
It's always, protect the church.
And so yes, parents care about their kids to an extent if it doesn't affect Scientology negatively.
But if that happens if they have to choose between Scientology and their children, nine out of ten times, a good Scientologist will choose their church, will choose Scientology.
Let's stop calling it a church.
My brother was accepted to MIT at 15.
He up till that point had been the youngest graduate of Delphi.
And of course, they would say, "This is how great you can be".
You know, "You can go to MIT at 15 "if you're a third generation Scientologist, 'cause everything's perfect," you know? So he was used as a as a marketing tool for Scientology.
He went, actually, to MIT for a short period and decided that he would prefer to go work for Sky Dayton, Earthlink.
My brother was a kid living in an adult's world.
He lived by himself.
He had a studio apartment in Hollywood.
And at his work, Sky Dayton who is the founder of Earthlink was a longtime Scientologist and a Delphi graduate.
My brother had a girlfriend got a girlfriend there who also worked at Earthlink, who was a little bit older and was not a Scientologist.
They were concerned because his girlfriend had some qualms about Scientology that she had shared with him and vice versa.
They were talking to him about his girlfriend and trying to make sure that he wasn't falling into any anti-Scientology stuff.
So you're living on your own at 16 and having a lot of grown-ups depend on you.
You know, there's pressure in that.
My brother was done with the bullshit, and he just wanted to get out of that environment.
And he chose to go back to MIT.
At MIT he joined a I don't know if it's a fraternity, but it was, like, this cult-debunking sort of organization.
So he felt that he was in a cult.
I I think so.
It seems like he was searching and fighting this theology and this ideology that he was raised with.
At that time, he started playing the drums.
You know, he was really into music.
He seemed like he was finding things that he liked and he was experiencing them.
Even though you're separating yourself out from Scientology, you're still left with a deep, deep sadness.
It's not an easy thing to do to just walk away from something you've known your whole life.
I'm out, and I've been out for four years, but I still struggle.
Your brother did write, I guess, his ex-girlfriend, talking about he never really fully recovered from the pain of losing your father.
- Yeah.
- And in this, he mentioned something about, maybe I should have asked for help outside of Scientology.
I don't know.
- What I read - Yeah.
- Was pretty heartbreaking.
- Yeah.
I know that my brother Phil went to the 15th floor of the Green Building in Boston, which is on the university campus.
And he wrote the mathematical equation for his body weight times the velocity times the distance he would fall.
19-year-old Philip Gale jumped off a building.
Plosky was inside watching TV and heard a crash.
The windows of the building were sealed, so he actually had to throw a chair out the window to break it so that he could jump through.
The noise that we heard was that chair hitting the ground.
Some of the people in my dorm actually looked out the window in time to see him fall.
For him to jump out of that window, when everything seems like it could've been avoided, you know? Like, you don't have to do any of this anymore.
You don't have to do it.
But we aren't told that growing up.
We aren't told that there's another way to live.
We are told that if you reject Scientology, you will lose.
I look at my brother, and I think, Who who did you have? What was there keeping you from jumping off of that building? You know? And since I tried to commit suicide, I feel guilty that maybe I I gave him the idea.
No, Liz, you don't think that, really.
You're a child.
It was so close afterwards.
- You're a child.
- I know, it's just And you were a victim yourself.
I tell you, I'd give a whole lot of everything I had to have him sitting at this table, having this conversation with us today.
- What is this? - A copy of his suicide note.
"Presumably I have jumped from a tall building.
"Yes, it is odd.
"To tell you why "would be to tell you my mind.
"I cannot do this.
"I am not crazy, "albeit driven to suicide.
"It is not about any single event or person.
"It is about stubborn sadness, "and a detached view of the world.
"The saddest part is the inevitable guilt and sorrow "I will force upon my family and my friends.
"And there is not much I can say.
"I'm sorry.
"Try to understand that this is about me "and my fucked up ideas.
"It is not because I was raised poorly "or not cared for enough.
"It just is.
"Please give my money to my family "and my gizmos to people who will use them.
"And no fucking suing.
I am scared of the fall".
"I am scared of the impact.
"But when it is through, it will be through.
"Take care, world.
Philip Gale.
And stay happy".
Even here, he's protecting his family.
Even here, he thinks he has fucked up thinking.
And he was questioning things, he was questioning his ideas, and he was never able to deal with the pain of losing his dad.
He was never able to deal with his depression.
He was never able to deal with that.
And so this says everything that someone feels when they question what they were forced to believe.
That they are bad.
And that it was him who was fucked up.
Tonight, we honor L.
Ron Hubbard.
It's the one name on Earth synonymous with freedom in every land, for this is "Ron's Birthday Celebration 2010"! LRH's birthday is a big deal.
You've landed at a birthday celebration that captures every nuance of those words, epic, majestic, monumental and magnificent.
If you grew up in Scientology even if you're a Scientologist for a year you are expected to be at this celebration.
Happy birthday, sir.
- Hip-hip! - Hooray! - Hip-hip! - Hooray! You know, people are calling you, other Scientologists all day, all night.
"Will you be at LRH's birthday? Can I confirm you for LRH's birthday event?" And these big, elaborate celebrations where L.
Ron Hubbard is celebrated as a deity.
I mean, it is like Christmas.
Happy birthday to you, Ron Happy birthday, our greatest friend It's a celebration for the birth of the founder of Scientology.
It is a major event in Scientology.
I mean, life itself was born through L.
Ron Hubbard's birthday.
My brother killed himself on March 13th.
To kill yourself on L.
Ron Hubbard's birthday is It's a big fuck you to L.
Ron Hubbard.
After Phil died, my mother, she went to Boston to, like, get his stuff.
When she got there, a reporter came to talk to her, told her that he'd interviewed my brother for this series of articles that came out in the "Boston Herald".
He wasn't named in the interview.
But you have to understand that even talking to a reporter when you are a Scientologist is a big deal.
And if it is a reporter who has known to have anti-Scientology history, that's an even bigger deal.
The articles came out in the very beginning of March.
Every day, an article was coming out, written by this reporter, who was anti-Scientology.
And my mom, she really believed that his death was because of this anti-Scientology stuff.
And so my mother went online, and she posted something to the critics that said something along the lines of, "I know that my son had contact with you critics "and I cannot help but think that was a huge part of why he decided to kill himself".
Scientologists are taught to believe that it's the church first.
Their own family says, "Just so everybody knows, "this had nothing to do with Scientology.
"'Cause Scientology's perfect.
And if they committed suicide, that's on them".
The first time my mom and my stepdad met my husband when I was pregnant, they told us both him in particular that our child would be a Scientologist whether we liked it or not.
My mom, she wanted my son my older son to come visit her in Florida for a week.
And while our relationship wasn't going great, she still wanted that.
You know, my son's turning eight.
You know, it's right at that time.
I could not risk allowing my children to be subjected to Scientology.
It was just it was too dangerous.
She would've tried to take him from you.
Yeah, and I know others who thought that it was okay that their parents were Scientologists and they just didn't have to, you know - Do it.
- They thought it was safe to have that grandparent relationship intact, - but then they realize - Right.
They realize that by the time their kid is older, they're already a Scientologist at heart because they believe in the scientific facts that L.
Ron Hubbard laid out.
This land has been part of my family for 110 years.
I've lived here for the past seven years and moved out here under the impression that it was gonna stay in our family.
But since I've rejected Scientology, I had to choose.
I'd gotten every other aspect of it out of my life.
'Cause I want it out of my life.
And unfortunately, there was no way to still have my mom and no way to still have this property if I'm not for Scientology.
I reached out to her and asked her, you know, what about the boys? Because they didn't do anything wrong.
And they love it here, and they're good, strong boys from this family.
And they could keep this property.
And they could grow up and have children, and it could be theirs.
It never even has to be mine.
She said I'd rejected the family legacy.
And that that was that.
And the boys wouldn't get it.
I'm not gonna get it, and the property is actually going on the market shortly.
That makes me very sad to know that something that's been in your family for so long is being sold.
You know, all of this destruction.
All of this destruction is Scientology.
In the end, this family lost it all.
The whole family has disintegrated because of Scientology.
That's a fact.
And it doesn't just end because the story ends.
It's gonna continue.
You have to fight for your friends.
You have to fight for your children.
I don't care what cult you're in.
I don't care what religious theology you believe in.
But you need to protect your family.
You need to protect your children and the people that you claim you love.
I knew I wouldn't inherit this anymore.
But I had to pick, and I picked my kids.
Because that's the kind of mom I am.
There's a 114-year chapter of my family's life is over.
And that's sad, but at the same time, that means that that Scientology chapter is over too.
And it's hard to see how they're all intertwined together, but they are.
If Scientology worked, then I wouldn't be here, because we had three generations of healthy, smart, capable people applying Scientology to the best of their ability.
It ended up in death, in suicide, in loss.
And one day, my kids are gonna ask me about this ranch that used to be in our family.
The one thing we do have is our freedom.
And so, to people who are scared to leave, get yourself in a position where nobody has the ability to put their thumb on you or take away your livelihood.
Work hard at that.
And when you're ready, let us all know, 'cause we're here.
So I say, get your ducks in a row, rip the Band-Aid off, and welcome to the free world.
I have never met a more competent, a more intelligent, a more tolerant, a more compassionate being.
- What did you witness? - I saw David Miscavige physically beat people.
David Miscavige was a new level of evil in the Church of Scientology.
And I was an executioner of his evil directives.
The security system was by design to keep people out.
Eventually it became to keep them in.
How did you justify this brutality? The reality is that there's David Miscavige masquerading under a religion and getting away with it.
And this is our leader? What the hell's going on around here?