She answered many questions so I organized them by subject.
On being a Scientologist in Hollywood:
Why do you think there are so many people in the entertainment industry in the religion?
If you really look at the numbers at the entertainment industry, in comparison to the small number of scientologists that are celebrities, the number wouldn't even register. I think Scientology has done an amazing job convincing people that there is a great number of celebrities in the "Church."
How different would you say your view of Hollywood is now compared to when you were on Saved by the Bell and did your experience with Scientology effect these views versus if you never joined them?
When I was a Scientologist I saw Hollywood as a dark, lost bunch of souls that needed saving. Now I see it as any other business and that we're all just trying to do right by ourselves, right by our friends and family and that people outside of scientology are not bad.
I've been a huge fan since the early days of KoQ (was watching at 11, now 24!). Did you ever find that your religion interfered with your work in a way you would turn town any potential jobs, either for your own religious reasons or advice received from members?
I was punished for doing Stuff magazine because it was too racy. They would not want us to do anything that would be considered not "becoming of a Scientologist." I see they have since changed their stance of what they believe is "becoming of a Scientologist."
When you were a scientologist did you ever get any weird reactions from other famous people?
Weird reactions? No. I got appropriate reactions, "Why are you in this crazy shit?"
Is Tom Cruise really the "Messiah?"
To the "Church," yes. Parishioners believe that he is singlehandedly changing the planet because that is what the "Church" is telling them.
Have any other actors come to you for support or help?
The policy of the "Church" does not allow them to come to me. Former high ranking Sea Org members like Debbie Cook and former members like Katie Holmes are forbidden to speak to other SPs. Certain members are forced to sign agreements that does not allow them to speak to ex members.
Did being a Scientologist help your acting career?
I'm sure there were tools that helped me to be able to communicate better, not be nervous when I walked in the room. Acting classes would have been cheaper. Or maybe staying in Brooklyn a little longer would have been more beneficial to my acting career.
From what I've seen of Scientology, it seems like there is a major difference in treatment between celebrity "followers" and folks in Sea Org who are tortured, locked in the Hole, beaten publicly by Miscavige, etc.
Did the news of this mistreatment find its way to celebrities and general "members" of the Church who weren't in Sea Org? Or were people left completely in the dark?
No, and if they did hear about it, we were told that those claiming abuse were lying. Then I would have been interrogated and even punished for asking.
We can (almost correctly) assume that celebrities receive special treatment because of their status - could you elaborate more on that? For instance, how would your experiences in the church differ from someone who is not a celebrity?
And a follow up - do you think that more celebrities would like to break free from the church but are afraid because of the repercussions? Is there any merit to the claim that there's so much dirt on them that could be exposed that they may not want to leave?
Hope you convince others to follow your path!
We had special course rooms in separate parts of the buildings. Any complaint we had about the outside world was met with agreement from the "Church." We were serviced differently, we had supervisors doing courses in our homes, giving special schedules to celebrities. Staff was interrogated by the Church. Often times there were Sea Org members working for celebrities in their homes, personally working for them. I know of one celeb who had a sea org member working in their home and sea org members were averaging $25/week. The labor laws don't apply to any church therefor they were made to work ungodly hours, forced into interrogations if making human mistakes around the celebrity.
On Scientology in general:
How are they able to recruit intelligent people into what appears to be an obvious scam and cult?
Most Scientologists are 2nd or 3rd generation, they were born and raised into an ideology and have been surrounded and isolated. It is all they know. They are victims. Most of the original Scientologists are all out and have spoken out. Unfortunately, their children were indoctrinated by them.... are still loyal, faithful and have cut off communication due to the policy of disconnection.
Have you seen the HBO documentary Going Clear? If so, would you say it's an accurate representation the church and worth showing to people?
Very much so. I thought it was very accurate. I was shocked how accurate it was for not coming from Scientologists. I wanted to see more stories about how it affected children. The systematic recruitment of members' children. I wish it would have told the story of how Scientologists give their children to the "Church." It protects the life source that is continually bolstering the religion. But, I think they did an amazing job and they cleared the path for people like me to speak about it. HBO was very brave in taking it on. As is A&E, as it will be the first network is do a full series about it.
Do you think there are members of the cult of Scientology reading this AMA?
Do I think? I know. Hi Karin Pouw and members of OSA! If any Sea Org member is currently reading this and works for OSA and wants to leave, I will help you... including Karin.
Over the past 10 years, I've seen my parents get deeper and deeper into Scientology. Decent reasoning, science and logic have done nothing to convince them to question the church. From someone who left, is there anything a loved one can do to help a brainwashed member see the truth, without ruining the relationship completely?
Fight like Hell. Never give up.
If you want to get them out there is no way to do it nicely. There is no way to do it quietly. You have to challenge them by saying, "If you can think for yourself, if you have truly accomplished what scientology says you have accomplished, you should be able to speak freely on any subject. If you have completed the "PTS/SP Course" you should be able to confront and shatter suppression." You should ask them how is it then that you can't watch a movie called Going Clear or look on the internet if you are the elite of the planet and handling the planet's ills if you can't think for yourself. I only hope that your challenge will get them to simply look.
What do you think happened to David's wife?
I actually do not know. Ask the LAPD.
What odds do you give of the whole thing collapsing once Miscavige dies?
The policies of the "Church" are the policies of the "Church." They will not change, and there will be someone right behind him ready to pick up where he left off.
How do the powers that be in Scientology keep their followers from reading anti-Scientology news, or your book? Why don't more scientologists leave?
Great question. Because very early on in the brainwashing process, L. Ron Hubbard's "technology" teaches you that outside sources (i.e. The news, the Internet, books, magazines) are ALL LIES and hellbent on destroying something decent like Scientology. The AMA, and APA, and all "governments" do not give scientology its due because they have a vested interest in not healing people and not helping people. And Scientology is in the business of making people better. So Scientologists are taught that their safest bet is to get their info from the only true decent people...and those are Scientologists. And if they look on the internet, if they read time mag, they will be met with punishment at their expense. And, as a Scientologist...you have to confess that you've read outside materials, and that will be met with punishment at your expense.
What do members actually gain from being a member? How is it made worth all the money and time they invest?
They gain a purpose. They gain a group. They gain a sense of accomplishment (awards, certificates). They gain an education that in the real world LRH states would be equivalent to getting a "PHD in life." You become an elitist. That you have all the answers in life. If you have a question about life, you are made to think that Scientology has the answer.
What is something the average citizen can do to help prevent Scientology growth?
Speak to your local councilmen/women about cracking down on the abuse of its citizens. I believe people have influences, they know judges, lawyers, police enforcement I think everyone bringing attention to these abuses can help. It takes a community to police itself.
How are children treated in Scientology?
As old spirits in little bodies who have returned to Scientology... children are treated as adults.
How can we destroy scientology?
I don't want to destroy Scientology. I only want them to admit to the fraud that they promote, to not deny the confidential upper levels of the religion, so people can decide if they want to spend $250K and their lives doing it. That they admit to the policies of Fair Game. That they allow people to decide for themselves where they get their information. That they admit to disconnection and leave families the fuck alone.
You are so brave for telling the truth about Scientology. Why are so many other people staying quiet? What can we do to help?
Thank you! Watch our show tonight and spread awareness. It is bigger what people think. This religion is massive.
As a psychologist, I am curious what you observed as mental health 'treatment' with Scientology? In addition, I am aware the 'church' is against psychology; how was this opposition demonstrated within or by the 'church'? Finally, in your opinion how prevalent are mental health difficulties with the Scientology community?
The "Church" doctrine thinks that fields of psychology and psychiatry are a sham. They deny mental illness and afflictions. They promote that you can heal your psycho-sematic issues with their "technology." They will get in the way of people taking medications. They will prevent people from getting the real medical help that they need. and in some cases have caused suicides because of it. Scientology is mentally abusive because we are all taught that we are responsible for everything.
Everyone's talking about what a nightmare Scientology is (understandably). What, if anything, do you think the church does RIGHT? Do you believe that it is the right choice for some people?
No I don't think it's the right choice for some people b/c you have to be all in...eventually. IF it was truly bettering the planet, and ridding the planet of disease, and war....if the "Church" was using its money to help non-Scientologists, then it would be helpful. But, I don't find this to be true.
Besides promoting the show tonight at 10/9c on A&E, What is the message you are hoping to send to the folks of Reddit?
This is not my one woman battle against the "church." I would love to move along in my career. In doing this project I would like to bring to light what I wish the press and authorities would. Instead of them always trying to be "fair" and "balanced" towards an organization that does not warrant protection, religious status, and free passes. I know you have pressures from your editors and producer to come up with something that's insatiable or has a little comment about Tom Cruise because it gets people to read your magazine or watch your show. However, I am showing bravery of the victims that have chosen to put their asses on the line for speaking out and you have a responsibility to have a fucking opinion about it.
On religion in general:
What is your overall opinion on organized Religion now? Did your view on say Christianity change?
Yes my view of religion changed in that I am no longer a bigot against people's religious beliefs when it doesn't harm other people, promote killing people for their beliefs... like extremism. But if religion brings you comfort, hope, and a sense of community, I say "whatever works for you."
Are you an theist now or does another religion seem more appealing?
No, I'm not an atheist. It's not about being anything now. I do have faith in God. I do not judge people for their faith. I judge people who use religion to hurt people. I don't believe in a religion that shuns people for their beliefs, or that you should hurt people for their beliefs.
Her experience during Scientology:
How much did you pay to the church throughout your time there?
What OT level are you?
do you remember what your initial reaction was upon first seeing the course materials for OT3?
Yes my first reaction was "Are you all fucking nuts?" and then I looked at my mother and said "What kind if bullshit did you get me in?" My only option was to leave, but at the time my family was not ready to go. The "church" told me I didn't need to believe it, just do it. And they always pose this question: "Are you ready to leave everything you've ever known?"
What's is the single most horrible thing you encountered in the ""church""?
I would say the "church's" Fair Game policy, and how they systematically go after anyone who publicly speaks out against them. Anyone who speaks out against the "church" is seen as an enemy.
Do the higher ups know it's a scam or do they really believe this crap?
The higher up is singular. And he definitely knows. however I believe most parishioners and Sea Org members (people who work for the "church") are int he dark and believe that they are doing amazing things for the world. And David Miscavige is directly responsible for that fraud.
If all Scientology's secrets were revealed tomorrow, which do you think would be most shocking?
When you reach the top of The Bridge (OTP 8) you will be told that God is lie for LRH, and there are more levels ahead, that will cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. There is no end to Scientology.
Out of all the rumors surrounding Scientology, which one is true and hits home the hardest for you?
I don't what rumors we're referring to here. I haven't read anything that has been inaccurate.
Considering that Scientology is consistently painted in such a negative light how did you maintain the commitment to Scientology for so long?
Because i was taught to believe that the controversy was due to people being unaware of what Scientology was truly doing in the world which was good things. I also felt the press was focused on making fun of Scientology and not what was important, so it was easy to turn away from the information. And also a major part of Scientology is learning how to fight your critics. If i wasn't fighting I wasn't being a good Scientologist.
Is it true they record your meetings and blackmail you with the recordings?
Yes, every "therapy room" is equipped with cameras and listening devices, as admitted by the "Church." Do they use it for blackmail? No, they use it to discredit you when you speak out.
What is the most unusual 'corrective action' you've seen them physically do to someone?
The most abusive thing that I've experienced is seeing the victims being further victimized by an organization that claims these things did not take place... from physical, to sexual, to mental abuse.
Was there a secret group of people or friends you had in the church that doubted it? Or did you feel alone.
I felt alone. If you ever confided in friends then you were (as policy dictates)... reported and turned in. Very 1984, very George Orwell.
Are there any sexual malpractices that occur in the church?
I have read stories on the internet. I was told personally by a few people that I personally know that there was sexual abuse. When I was 16 and working for a "senior Scientologist" who was in his late 30's, he had sex with a 16 year old friend of ours. And the "Church" handled it internally. All abuses are dealt within the "Church" as it is an enemy act in the "Church" to prosecute another member. Please do not take my word for it, just google the words "Scientology and sexual abuse."
Her experience after leaving:
Do you personally feel like you're being watched/tracked/etc by the church for doing everything your doing?
I am. I'm okay with it because I knew what I was getting into and I knew the policies of the "church" and what would happen by my speaking out against it.
Are you safe?
Yes, I feel very safe. I have the support of my family and friends. And, I feel strangely protected by the world at large.
Are you still in contact with any friends that are still part of the church?
I am an SP (supressive person). You are not allowed to be in contact with an SP. I would love to talk to my former friends and see my goddaughter.