Sunday, May 28, 2017


This week I read Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini. This is not a book I would have naturally picked up but it was selected by my book club, albeit without my vote. I had never heard of Leah Remini nor the sitcoms she had been in and although I knew a bit about the cult-religion of Scientology I did not have a huge interest in it. Nor was I impressed with the book once it arrived with its glossy photo of the author on the cover and, in a picture section, a photo or her at the Colosseum in Rome which she describes as "boring".

One of the things I love about my book club is that I read books I would not normally choose to read. Despite my initial impression, Troublemaker turned out to be an incredible compelling work.

Remini was raised in Scientology which is probably the most mis-named religion in the world. "Science" is just a Latin work for "knowledge" yet Scientology eschews education of all types.

Troublemaker is a memoir of Remini's life growing up in the world of Scientology and Hollywood with her ascendance in both. Eventfully, however, she was able to see Scientology for the controlling cult and criminal organization it is and break free. With Troublemaker she became an advocate against Scientology. She currently hosts A&E's Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath which is in its second season.

The book itself is self-deprecating almost to the point of being self-glamorizing. It is funny and often poignant. It is a world completely different from mine. But maybe not so different. Remini was in a controlling cult, I was married to a controlling person. Each time I wondered why Remini put up with Scientology I imaged others wondering why I put up with Spring. Scientology was Remini's religion and it was hard for her to leave. Spring was my wife and I had no interest in leaving her. To her credit, Remini was able to leave. I, of course, was not. Spring left me only because it allowed her to become even more controlling.

Some of the phrases used by Scientology officials were identical to ones that Spring and her lawyer used against me. That was bit unnerving.

Remini had the courage to go public for what she believes in. I have an incredible amount of respect for that. For my part,  I have hedged. I write this blog, I write legislators and the media, I post on the internet and I advocate for alimony reform. But my name is not public. I tell myself it is to protect my children but in truth that is only part of it. I fear that if I go public, I will be punished by a legal system where truth is no protection from people willing to hurt you. I fear I will end up in a worse position. Yet, my thoughts are changing on this. At some point they will no longer be able to hurt me because I will have nothing left they can take away. And even if they find a way to further hurt me, is it right that I allow such injustices to continue? Do I not owe society and my children my best effort in making the world a better place?

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