When we hear "Scientology," celebrities Tom Cruise and John Travolta are likely the first things to come to mind. You might have the idea that Scientology is filled with the rich and powerful, which is exactly what they want you to think. The reality is that Scientology is a cult that takes advantage of people financially and steals their life and families. "King of Queens" star and former Scientologist Leah Remini has dedicated herself to exposing the real Scientology as the dark and abusive cult that it is. Since leaving Scientology in 2013, Leah Remini has used her platform to speak out and give other former members and families a chance to tell their stories, all of which are heartbreaking and gut-wrenching. But as revealing and shocking as the stories of abuse are, the way Scientology responds to the accusations raises nearly just as many red flags.
Mike Rinder and Leah Remini Instagram / @leahremini
The abuse and manipulation within the Church are steadily causing people to leave Scientology. If you do manage to escape Scientology, any family and friends who remain in the Church are forced to cut off all contact with you, and you may be stalked and threatened by the Church. In light of all of this, it is no surprise that Scientology's numbers are shrinking, despite their claims to be the "world's fastest-growing religion".
Scientology's numbers are declining. Though they won't publish their official numbers, it is estimated that there are only about 20,000 members left in Scientology today (they have claimed their numbers are in the millions). People are leaving (or escaping) and people just aren't joining the church.
Combined with the power of the Internet, Leah Remini's docuseries, Leah Remini: Scientology and The Aftermath, has been a powerful force in informing the public about the cult and the harsh reality of what is really going on behind closed doors.
Scientologists are not allowed to read or consume any media that might have anything bad to say about Scientology. As a Scientologist, you shouldn't even put "Scientology" into a search engine. The information you are allowed to access to is heavily controlled by the church. Do a Google search for Mike Rinder or Leah Remini, and mixed into the search results will be smear websites published by Scientology. If you come out against the Church of Scientology, you're likely to be declared a Suppressive Person, someone who the Church actively works to destroy and silence. They may stalk you at your own home, or tell your neighbors you're involved in some illegal scheme thanks to a policy called Fair Game. The issue with how the Church of Scientology reacts is that when they come for you, it's not in any smart or eloquent way. There is no subtlety. Their smear tactics include attaching "wife-beater" to the front of your name and pretty much ends there. With nothing to back up their claims, they just throw accusations around and hope something sticks.
Google Search result of "Mike Rinder" a smear website by Scientology
The Church of Scientology isn't doing anything to help itself as an organization. They are self-sabotaging through their attacks and abuse of their members and former members. It won't be long before the Church implodes and ceases to exist--and they will have no one to blame but themselves.