Surviving Hollywood and ScientologyBook - 2015
Leah Remini has never been the type to hold her tongue. That willingness to speak her mind, stand her ground, and rattle the occasional cage has enabled this tough-talking girl from Brooklyn to forge an enduring and successful career in Hollywood. But being a troublemaker has come at a cost.
That was never more evident than in 2013, when Remini loudly and publicly broke with the Church of Scientology. Now, in this frank, funny, poignant memoir, the former King of Queens star opens up about that experience for the first time, revealing the in-depth details of her painful split with the church and its controversial practices.
Indoctrinated into the church as a child while living with her mother and sister in New York, Remini eventually moved to Los Angeles, where her dreams of becoming an actress and advancing Scientology's causes grew increasingly intertwined. As an adult, she found the success she'd worked so hard for, and with it a prominent place in the hierarchy of celebrity Scientologists alongside people such as Tom Cruise, Scientology's most high-profile adherent. Remini spent time directly with Cruise and was included among the guests at his 2006 wedding to Katie Holmes.
But when she began to raise questions about some of the church's actions, she found herself a target. In the end, she was declared by the church to be a threat to their organization and therefore a "Suppressive Person," and as a result, all of her fellow parishioners--including members of her own family--were told to disconnect from her. Forever.
Bold, brash, and bravely confessional, Troublemaker chronicles Leah Remini's remarkable journey toward emotional and spiritual freedom, both for herself and for her family. This is a memoir designed to reveal the hard-won truths of a life lived honestly--from an author unafraid of the consequences.
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"In Scientology you are told to stay away from the Internet or other forms of media or intelligence that might be against Scientology. I broke away from this long-held rule and looked at hundreds of stories about my church and just sat there and cried. Not just for me, but for the many who believed in something that they thought was bigger than themselves and dedicated their whole lives to sustaining it. How could I have been blind to the stories that the rest of the world knew? Scientologists are hardworking, dedicated, and caring people albeit misinformed people, and I was no exception. The reason for their blind faith lies in their core belief that they alone have the answers to eradicate the ills of humanity. You run back to the safety of the group that shares your mentality, and in this way your world becomes very insular." (p. 182)
"What I have slowly come to realize, and often still have to remind myself of, is this: There is no 'right' way to be. I am flawed and imperfect, but am uniquely me. I don't fit in and probably never will. And I don't have to try to anymore. That other person was a lie. And let's face it, normal is boring. We all have something to offer the world in some way, but by not being our authentic selves, we are robbing the world of something different, something special." (p. 170)
"Scientologists are often prepared to respond with what's called dead agenting -- a method of shutting down any criticism of the church by disproving the veracity of the source of information. A common dead agenting strategy is to sidestep any questions from outsiders that could hurt the church, and focus instead on exposing supposed lies the source told or attempt to undermine his or her credibility with ad hominem attacks. / We learned to first ask questions like "Do you still beat your wife?" Then offer only partial truths in response to their questions, and finally, try and deflect by referring to positive things the church has done." (p. 157-158)
"When it came to talking about my role and required activities in the church, I would often lie to people. When a non-Scientologist girlfriend asked me how things were going with Angelo, I never admitted to the usual marital problems that couples have, because that would have been revealing something less than the perfect image demanded of Scientologists. The list of workarounds to keep up appearances goes on and on. / Being a Scientologist was like having a double life." (p. 155)
"The (auditing) process could produce a great sense of cathartic relief. Here was a problem I wasn't been aware of, that I may have created for myself, and after much back-and-forth, I was able to overcome that problem. / So while in session, I would feel the euphoria of self-discovery and growth, back in the real world I was still angry, depressed, and judgmental.... What I didn't realize at the time was that all the understanding I gained through auditing only related back to my life in the church and helped me to be a Scientologist. My 'gains' in Scientology were not relating to the real world. I was so entrenched in the church that it had become my everything. I couldn't question that." (p. 75)
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