Is Scientology a Religion? Leah Remini Now Says It’s Not

scientology religionAfter calling it her religion for 34 years, Leah Remini now claims that Scientology is not a religion.

Many anti-Scientologists promote the fact that the Church of Scientology went through a very intentional and detailed overhaul of all its missions and orgs to make Scientology look like more of what people expect a religion to look like. They point to this “religious cloaking” public relations program as proof that Scientology is not a religion.

But this religious cloaking program is no such proof. That an organization mandates certain statuary, costumes, and messaging to be more consistent with their religious message simply shows a desire to present a consistent set of messaging among many organizations and locations. No beliefs or even practices that make Scientology a religion were ever changed during this project.

So what makes any religion a religion?

Social scientists – the people we look to in society who study and catalog such things – point to various parts of a group’s message and beliefs – stories such as a cosmology, rituals devoted to promulgating beliefs and practices, and a belief in a divine or supernatural power of some kind. No matter how the members of the religion behave, or what any government thinks about it, it’s the scriptural subject matter itself that decides whether something is a religion or not.

When you look at the cosmology of Scientology, its rituals such as auditing, training, dissemination, and its clearly religious teachings on the thetan, the mind, and even Xenu – it is inescapable that Scientology is a religion.

So when Leah Remini, after being a Scientologist and calling it her religion for 34 years, comes out and starts saying that Scientology is not a religion – what’s going on here? Was she “brainwashed” that whole time into believing something was her religion when it actually wasn’t? How does that work? 34 years of saying it’s a religion and now, all of a sudden, it’s not?

Or was Leah Remini brainwashed into pick up a new set of anti-Scientology beliefs now, a set of beliefs that deny that Scientology is a religion, after having a set of beliefs for 34 years that argued that it was? This happens all the time with Scientologists who have been screwed over in some way by Scientology, and then come out on to the Internet and get exposed to the ideas of the anti-Cult Movement.

Has this happened to Leah Remini?

While there is not a tight consensus among all social scientists on what exactly a religion is, there is quite a bit of consensus among a majority of social scientists that if anything is a religion, then Scientology is.

My answer to the question I posed in the title is yes, Scientology is a religion. The proof is in its scriptures – its beliefs and practices – not in any “cultic” behavior by David Miscavige or anyone else.

Leah Remini does not have a cogent argument for why Scientology is not a religion. I believe she has simply picked up a new set of Ex/Anti beliefs which oppose and contradict her old Scientology beliefs, and that is why she is saying Scientology is not a religion now.

Since she does not address Scientology’s scriptural beliefs and practices, Leah Remini’s argument that Scientology is not a religion fails.

6 thoughts on “Is Scientology a Religion? Leah Remini Now Says It’s Not”

  1. Many people who leave CofS eventually question everything they believed before, seeing those things in a new light. They notice that OTs often die of cancer and don’t act very enlightened anyway.

    Also, don’t forget, Leah’s been talking to people who were treated horribly and the focus is on that abuse. Most long time members have horrific accounts to relate, should they choose to do so. Her focus has changed and that affects her opinions.

    Also, I’ve really been thinking for several years now that it’s only a religion to and for those who consider it such. That sounds awfully nebulous, huh. But even when I was in CofS, I knew people who felt it was their religion and I knew people who didn’t, even if they liked it and all that.

    It doesn’t help matters that Hubbard seemed to have a number of definitions for Scientology and Scientologist. This is why, on alt.religion.scientology, people often remarked “is it a floor wax or a dessert topping?”

    There are elder religions that don’t do deity worship. Scientology could theoretically qualify. I leave tgat decision up to the individual.

    • I was thinking the same thing, Claire. Over the years, in numerous lectures, Hubbard claims Scn to be a science, not a religion, then flip-flops to “its a religion in the purest sense of the word”, then back again. And since everything that came out of his mouth is “truth”…including obvious contradictions, Scnists are really in a quandary.

      Since the inception of Dianetics, Hubbard craved the approval and recognition of the scientific community. When that wasn’t forthcoming, I think the “religion angle” won out due to the obvious perks.

      As you state, I too have known Scnists who consider it a religion, and those who don’t. I,myself, flip-flopped between the two over my 30 year involvement.

      I’m surprised Hubbard didn’t come up with something clever, like…”It’s both! A perfect marriage of Science and Religion”.

      My best answer to this question is:

      “Scientology IS whatever it needs to be to serve the interests of Scientology. For new-joiners, who do not want to join a religion – its a “science”. For true believers and organizations, who do not want to pay taxes or desire First Amendment protections, its a “religion”. “

      • For me, Scientology held the place that religions hold.

        When I was in my late teens, I was looking for an alternative religion or spiritual pursuit that was not what was on offer around me – Christianity and Judaism. There was nothing else around. I worked in a drum shop and one of the other drummers there did transcendental meditation. So I tried that. This got me reading all kinds of eastern mysticism such as Herman Hesse’s “Siddharta” and lots of others, which then set me forward looking for Buddhists texts. At that time (late 70’s early 80s) there were not many Buddhists texts that had been translated into english, but the ones I did have access to intrigued me.

        I started trying some Buddhists meditation techniques and liked it. Plus it was new and very different than the Episcopal Church Id grown up in. I just could never get into the “Jesus died for your sins” thing. It just made no sense to me. But “work out your own salvation with diligence” – that made sense!

        A few more years passed and my interest in mysticism and gnosticism increased. I’d studied sociology and anthropology in college. I’d been taught what a religion was and how they were analyzed and classified as part of any culture.

        By the time I walked into a Scientology mission and they told me “This is Buddhism, updated! With science and meters!” I had to try it out.

        Examining the thought processes I had, and the emotional needs I had at the time with all their weird leaps in logic, along with the total deception that was going on as I explored Scientology for the first time, have been very enlightening to me.

        But I definitely was looking for a religion when I got myself involved in Scientology. And Scientology was my religion the whole time I was in it. Knowing other religions as I did, though, there was always something missing. Like a sense of compassion. And its sense of community was always shallow and unsatisfying because in Scientology we were a community of sales prospects with brick overcoats.

        Not really a sustainable religion. But I had no idea of any of this at the time I joined. It was new and different and endlessly fascinating.

        Until it wasn’t.

    • Yes, Leah is dealing with peoples’ stories which had been hidden from her as a Scientologist. And when she was a Scientologist, Leah had gone on TV multiple times for them, endorsing Scientology to the world. She has put her good name onto Scientology to be used to get people in – only to be treated like these people were treated. That can definitely enrage a person. It is a huge betrayal.

      Leah has also been very harshly attacked by them. They have done their very best to destroy her. And this radicalizes a person. You not only want to be at war with them, you actually need to be at war with them, or they will destroy you utterly.

      In addition, Leah says she has been getting counseling from a psychologist who is “knowledgeable about cults”. That means that it is likely she has been offered the anti-cult ideology as her “route to recovery”. Once she has fully adopted that recovery paradigm, and sees her past through the lens of the anti-cult ideology, she will then be considered “recovered”. Or, sorry, “on the road to recovery”.

      So I understand the emotional reactions and social offerings which have been made available to Leah, and which she has adopted, that would make Leah deny the legitimacy of everything she was, and everything she did as a Scientologist. But that doesn’t make it legitimate, or true. And it especially does not make it healthy.

      The real problem with Ex-Scientology is that you write about things and appear on TV and do things while you are all fired up, and very much in the fight of your apostasy. But you have not been offered a worldview by the anti-cult movement that allows you to question things objectively. And the Church’s fair game tactics tend to keep you in the fight, rather than calm you down and let you figure things out and reconcile the Scientologist with the Ex-Scientologist inside you.

      That’s where Leah is right now. She’s been radicalized. And that’s why she is presently denying that Scientology is a religion, and using Hubbard’s quotes out of context to the point of lying about Scientology to the world – telling them that Scientology believes in pedophilia.

      Leah was very level-headed in Season 1. She has now become more hysterical.

      And I do not mean that in a “female” way. I mean that anti-Scientologists go through an hysterical period. Chris Shelton is very much in his hysterical period, too. And Steven Mango. And Aaron Smith-Levin. Leah is in hers now, too, for the whole world to see.

      • During my exit from Scn, I tried to remain as level-headed and rational as possible. Offering to “go away quietly”. The church would not have it. During my comm ev, they continued to manufacture “evidence” and recruited more of my “friends” to convince my spouse to divorce me, and thus break up my family. The more reasonable my approach, the more mean and vicious they became. I even told them that I was not an enemy of the church going into the comm ev, but, boy, sure felt like one now.

        Even today, it is difficult to understand the motivation behind such a tactic.

        • Following L Ron Hubbard’s policies, they create enemies. And then continuing to follow L Ron Hubbard’s policies 100% standardly, they radicalize the enemies they create and then turn them into enemies for life.

          Tony Ortega believes they poisoned his cat, for God’s sake. And they may very well have. Joel Sappel believes they poisoned his dog. Hanna Whitfield came home to see her poisoned cat laid out on her front lawn.

          If you want to create an enemy for life, just do stuff like that to people.

          L Ron Hubbard was a complete idiot.


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