Better Eggs's Reviews > Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology

Troublemaker by Leah Remini
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What I got from this book is the usual stuff about Scientology. No one writes anything good about it. It's all what a terrible scam and wicked cult it is that absolutely controlled their lives. And how the author (any author of these exposé books) was deluded for many years as were there entire families and friends and suddenly they realised the truth. Do these authors realise how stupid they sound?

All these conversions from are about as convincing at conversions to. I could never take Karen Armstrong seriously on her 'objective' books about religion when she'd been a nun and ended up a Muslim. And I think Leah Remini also lacks credibility. She makes out what a savvy person she is, how she was always one that knew what was going on and when she set her mind at something (like becoming a star, although I'd never heard of her before) she would achieve it. But then she subjects herself to all sorts of punishments of where she has to stay, what she has to do and how many hundreds of thousands of dollars she will have to pay for the privilege of all this punishment and abuse. What is this book about? Cognitive dissonance!

In some ways it was the usual celebrity memoir portraying Remini as a bit of an airhead but quite entertaining and with lots of nasty gossip about Kirsty Alley and Tom Cruise (view spoiler) et al. I can't say I didn't enjoy that part.

Do I believe her? Does it matter? She believes it, the book made money and she got even more column inches. I think she also feels her attempted revenge on those who had sidelined and mistreated her about her ideas and refused to persecute Tom Cruise as she wanted has succeeded through this book.

But there is another side to Scientology and it would be interesting to read a book from a positive point of view by someone we know and who has credibility, rather than yet another demonisation of the church and everyone in it.

Really, when you have a religion or cult started by a man who had been convicted of fraud (as had Hubbard and his wife), do you really expect a path that leads to nirvana-on-earth? (Or in the case of the LDS, in the next life as a god on your own planet).

So what's kept people in Scientology? Happy, productive people who've done well. I'd like to know.
__________

Written when reading the book. (view spoiler)
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Reading Progress

January 23, 2016 – Started Reading
January 23, 2016 – Shelved
February 2, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-28 of 28 (28 new)

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message 1: by Henry (new)

Henry Avila She was on the very popular sitcom , The King of Queens, for nine years on t.v.


Sandra I know her from the sitcom The King of Queens. I always liked watching her on the show, has great comic timing.


message 3: by Praxedes (new)

Praxedes I am anxiously awaiting your full reviews, not because I am a Scientologist!


Better Eggs Sandra wrote: "I know her from the sitcom The King of Queens. I always liked watching her on the show, has great comic timing."

I've never heard of the show. But then I don't get US tv unless I dl it. I don't dl much US tv except for Food network and occasional documentaries. I don't like sitcoms or soapoperas.


Better Eggs Praxedes wrote: "I am anxiously awaiting your full reviews, not because I am a Scientologist!"

I have always wondered how Scientology and Mormonism ever got going considering both their founders were absolute frauds and convicted con artists.

I've never heard anything good at all about scientology and I wouldn't mind reading a book from that view point.


message 6: by Nancy (new)

Nancy After having read some of L. Ron Hubbard's science fiction, I decided that any religion that he came up with would not be for me. A male "friend" tried to recruit me and gave me some of the Scientology texts. After reading it, I decided that the best option was run like hell.


message 7: by Ryan (new)

Ryan Williams Leah also appears in the Going Clear documentary, based on the book of the same name. Both are excellent.


Better Eggs Ryan wrote: "Leah also appears in the Going Clear documentary, based on the book of the same name. Both are excellent."

I saw the documentary, you are right it is excellent. I sort of remember her as strident and with a terrible accent (to me) but she didn't stand out for me. It was the documentary that was it's own star.


Alisi ☆ wants to read too many books ☆ There's another Scientology book out that's by a kid that was raised in the religion, which was really interesting. It's called 'My Secret Life Inside Scientology', if you haven't read it already.


Better Eggs Alisi ☆ needs to stop starting new books ☆ wrote: "There's another Scientology book out that's by a kid that was raised in the religion, which was really interesting. It's called 'My Secret Life Inside Scientology', if you haven't read it already."

The only one that comes up when I search is Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape. That's another hatchet job. They are probably all true but, there is another side to it where people get something more out of the religion than they are paying in. People who are really happy with it. I'd like to read a book from one of them.


message 11: by Fred (new)

Fred Forbes Hubbard supposedly said "Want to make some money? Write a book. Want to make a lot of money? Start a religion!"


message 12: by Alisi ☆ wants to read too many books ☆ (last edited Feb 03, 2016 06:52AM) (new)

Alisi ☆ wants to read too many books ☆ Petra X wrote: "Alisi ☆ needs to stop starting new books ☆ wrote: "There's another Scientology book out that's by a kid that was raised in the religion, which was really interesting. It's called 'My Secret Life In..."

Yeah, that's the one. Have you read it? It's more easy for me to understand why people believe these sorts of religion when they're put into them from birth, basically. She was never exposed to the outside world much at all (or perhaps it's fairer to say not at all.)

Strangely, I think I could've almost understood why the parents were into that. What I couldn't was how they allowed the church to do what they did. Okay. You believe in space Gods. Good for you. But wouldn't you start questioning them basically taking your kids away? Like, perhaps this religion isn't so good or something?


Better Eggs Alisi ☆ needs to stop starting new books ☆ wrote: "It's more easy for me to understand why people believe these sorts of religion when they're put into them from birth, basically. She was never exposed to the outside world much at all (or perhaps it's fairer to say not at all.)..."

Remini was also brought up in Scientology from very young. I do know what you mean. It's brainwashing. When you don't even understand the word 'belief'' and everything your mother says you take as gospel truth and you are being taught that this religion or that religion is the right one and you really are going to get poked with hot pitchforks if you say that bad word again then why wouldn't you believe it?


Alisi ☆ wants to read too many books ☆ Petra X wrote: "Remini was also brought up in Scientology from very young. "

Ah, I misunderstood. I thought this book was told from someone who got into all that as an adult. Haven't read it. Suppose I should've read the book description before commenting! lol


Better Eggs Her mother got her into it.


Better Eggs HFK wrote: "I am so glad you ended up digging this one, too."

I don't have to agree with a book to enjoy it. It was a good read.


Better Eggs HFK wrote: "You pointed out some things that always puzzles me with religious cults: staying even when supposedly questioning all the time..."

What's the difference between a religion and a cult? Is it sheer numbers, public acceptance or what? All religions started as cults. All intelligent people question their religion/cult. Their answers often reflect, to me, their cognitive dissonance. Or else, typically Jewish, they have long-winded explanations why things are so, and the explanations are so enjoyable you tend to forget it's all just words.


message 18: by Athena (new)

Athena Petra X wrote: "I have always wondered how Scientology and Mormonism ever got going considering both their founders were absolute frauds and convicted con artists."

In the 50's in Hollywood my Dad worked at a couple of "writers bars" frequented by L. Ron & cronies. Apparently ol' L. Ron would start drinking & loudly proclaim that 'the only way to make any money in America was to start a religion.'
Bwah-ha-ha!!


message 19: by lethe (new)

lethe So what's kept people in Scientology? Happy, productive people who've done well. I'd like to know.

Would there be any? I highly doubt it, unless maybe ones in the higher echelons, who have privileges that the ordinary Scientology members don't have.

Scientology recruits people who are in a bad way mentally. Unstable, insecure, lonely, seeking acceptance, a family, love. Scientology preys on them. And as you said, people born into the cult are brainwashed into believing.


Better Eggs Athena wrote: "Apparently ol' L. Ron would start drinking & loudly proclaim that 'the only way to make any money in America was to start a religion.'Bwah-ha-ha!! ..."

That mmust have been his tag line since it's quoted in just about every article that is even mildly critical of him.


Better Eggs I see where you're coming from Iethe, but I have a different point of view. Firstly, cults and religions prey recruit people who are .... etc. everyone is lonely, seeks acceptance and love in one way or another. I get Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses and Church of God of Prophecy (who like large donations even if you aren't a member) doing it all the time. I don't think Remini's family were in any way more than averagely dysfunctional, lol, whatever that is.

Secondly, I think all religions brainwash people and I'm not going to say that Scientology is worse in that respect than any other cult or established religion. I don't think it is.

Thirdly, there are a lot of quite ordinary people who are Scientology members and I really don't think everyone of them is totally mental and can't escape. It's in too many countries. They have to be getting something from it, and that's what I'd like to read about.


message 22: by lethe (new)

lethe Petra X wrote: "They have to be getting something from it, and that's what I'd like to read about."

A sense of belonging, I think. From the documentary mentioned above I got the impression that enormous pressure is put on members who want to leave. So much emotional blackmail and mind games. And if a member does leave, all ties with their family are cut. That must also be a strong disincentive.

I have heard Jehova's Witnesses also ostracize ex-members, but at least their methods of recruiting are not as forceful as Scientology's are.


Better Eggs I know a lot of Jehovah's Witnesses, they're fine. Nice normal people with ideas that I would never subscribe to myself.

Have you ever seen a documentary on Scientology which didn't demonise it? I haven't. I read part of a book last year about some woman leaving a Hassidic Jewish family and it was utter rubbish. Half my family are Hassidim, yet people are convinced that her pepped-up terrible demonisation of them is the truth. It might well have been her truth (plus the pepped-up bit to horrify people) but it isn't the truth. And that's how I feel about cult and religion books and documentaries. What about those who are quite happy and normal and have families and jobs.


message 24: by lethe (new)

lethe Petra X wrote: "Have you ever seen a documentary on Scientology which didn't demonise it?"

There may be a reason for that. :-)

I find their methods despicable and if I knew someone to be a Scientology member I don't think I could be friends with them. I don't have that with any other religion, even though I think religion in general is the world's biggest man-made evil.


Better Eggs lethe wrote:if I knew someone to be a Scientology member I don't think I could be friends with them. I don't have that with any other religion, even though I think religion in general is the world's biggest man-made evil. ..."

I would agree with the last part of your last sentence. Definitely.


Antigone It's my understanding that Scientology strongly discourages any form of publicity that isn't directly under the control of its leadership. Critical thought, especially in regard to the organization (meaning any doubt or question or simple, voiced curiosity regarding LRH and his teachings), will result in an immediate increase in auditing sessions for the member, if not complete lockdown until those "suppressive" thoughts are eradicated. This is an environment that fosters self-censorship and silence - which might go a long way toward explaining why Scientologists produce tons of manuals for expensive, on-going coursework and not a single positive, personal account for release to the general public - beyond, of course, Hubbard's initial treatise. And it is also, to my eye at least, a courageous stab at true healing to find ex-members breaking away from that censorship and silence to finally speak of this "church" that kept them socially and intellectually gagged for decades of their lives. It is a freedom of expression they have been quite completely denied.


message 27: by DeB (new)

DeB MaRtEnS Petra, you inspire discussion!

Scientology was a very secretive, selective and hidden group for a very long time. The culture created its own reality, based on the improvised "theology" of guru Hubbard, and no one feels different if everyone experiences a common reality, misconceived or not. Going Clear is excellent in putting in context the historical connections to the New Age mind/body synthesis, emerging concepts in the fields of psychology and the lingering post-Victorian fascination with seers, spiritual manifestations and otherworldly transcendence as the groundwork for Scientology. It is Transactional Analysis with a "concrete" payoff in making you an evolved Thetan, a perfect other-worldly made manifest. "The Secret" for only those who go the distance and keep the secrets. Then Tom Cruise blew up the perfect bubble, and the exclusive society publicized was "outed" as fantastical, self serving and mercenary. I suspect that those who live happily with Scientology are those untouched by the raw greed, publicity or just content to keep their heads down and find comfort in the "society" with visible rules and roles. Many pretty, talented, rich celebrities make good fodder for the media, whereas fraud in a local Baptist congregation isn't as visibly titillating. Money, money, money.


Better Eggs DeB wrote: "Petra, you inspire discussion!

Scientology was a very secretive, selective and hidden group for a very long time. The culture created its own reality, based on the improvised "theology" of guru H..."


I do like discussions on books and the issues reviews bring up. I don't have a problem with people disagreeing with me especially if they explain why. It's all good!


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