The last ten years haven’t been easy for Scientology. After the religion/self-knowledge practice/tax-exempt corporation arguably peaked in 2006 with the spectacular Italian wedding of its most famous congregant, Tom Cruise, the Church since then has faced a barrage of reports alleging nefarious practices—from physical violence committed by senior executives to widespread harassment of people seen as enemies of Scientology. Going Clear, a meticulously reported book about the organization by The New Yorker’s Lawrence Wright, was a finalist for the National Book Award for Nonfiction, while a documentary based on the book by Alex Gibney was nominated for an Academy Award. And several of Scientology’s celebrity members—the Church’s most powerful recruitment tool—have quit, none in a more high-profile and outspoken fashion than Leah Remini.
Remini, the former star of The King of Queens, left the Church in 2013, after a series of incidents that she says compelled her to question the integrity and hierarchy of an institution she’d grown up in. In 2015 she published Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, a biographical account of her personal history with Scientology, and the events that led Remini and her family to abandon it. In the introduction, Remini seems to anticipate that the Church’s well-documented practice of attacking its critics might make her a target, and lists her own personal failings in considerable detail. “After the Church of Scientology gets hold of this book, it may well spend an obscene amount of money … in an attempt to discredit me by disparaging my reputation,” she writes. “So let me save them some time.”