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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Troublemaker

I finished Leah's Remini's book Troublemaker, Surviving Hollywood and Scientology. I listened to it on Audible. I know I go on and on about how great audible is all the time, but just to reiterate, I literally had Leah herself telling me her story.


I very much enjoyed her book. It was interesting to hear a story that was happening parallel to my own, in the same locations with many of the same people and yet from a vastly different perspective.

As someone who has been on the butt end of the press's unlimited ability to make every important story regarding Scientology into a statement about Tom Cruise (and sometimes Brad Pitt or even Bono), I was a little bit apprehensive to fall in love with Leah or read her book which was beginning to sound more like a celebrity "tell-all" from all the media surrounding it.

Yes, I do realize that celebrity is the vehicle by which people become aware of the human rights violations ongoing in Scientology. But its still hard to hear about Tom Cruise's wife auditions yet again because although the (auditions) story is horrific, it still pales in comparison to the stories about abandoned children, sexually abused, deprived of an education and family and physically beaten and who are still struggling every day with the aftermath of this. I know many such victims who have given interviews, done book proposals and even gone to court only to be denied, cut out of the show or let down because it wasn't salacious enough. I myself experienced this for years before my book was finally picked up.

However as soon as I started listening to the book and learning about Leah's beginnings starting with her relationship with her abusive father, her family life, how they got into Scientology, how things led up them moving to Florida and she and her sister joining the Sea Org as teenagers, then later leaving and dealing with poverty, it actually made me respect her more as a person. She didn't get life handed to her on a silver platter. She had to work through some very tough circumstances for everything she has now and did so to care for her family and remained loyal to those who she called friends along the way.

Her candor about her own vulnerabilities and her self depreciating humor made me relate to her story and I found myself completely drawn in and unable to stop listening to it.  Her straight talk, with swear words and all, is refreshing in a world with all of its political correctness, trigger warnings and people being constantly offended about everything.

Her diva, ham and borderline obnoxious personality is what makes her unique. If we didn't have people like her in this world, life would be black and white. Leah is neon pink which is a color that some people may not like, but its my favorite color.

I have a theory, one that I've thought a lot about in recent years, which is that the type of person who people often describe as "rough" or "a lot to deal with" are more often than not the kind of people who would put their own butt on the lines for their friends. Conversely, that person who everyone loves because they are so easy-going, cool and never confrontational will probably take that same (easy and non-confrontational)  course when the going gets tough and do what is easy instead of what is right. But the one who is a "bitch" will have your back. I actually discussed this briefly a few months ago in this post.

Here are a few of my favorite lines from the book:

"What I have slowly come to realize and often still have to remind myself of is this. There is no right way to be. I am flawed and imperfect but am uniquely me. I don't fit in and probably never will and I don't have to try to anymore. That other person was a lie and lets face it - normal is boring. We all have something to offer the world in some way. But by not being our authentic selves we are robbing the world of something different, something special. 

"If there is one thing I can brag about and be proud of in my life its my dedication to friendship. If I call you a friend I mean it. You are now on par with being a family member. Friendships are not made overnight, it takes time, effort and energy. For me, friendships are not tested in the best of times but in the worst of times. You don't always get a second chance to be there for someone when they really need you so when I say I will be there for someone, I mean it. But when I need you -you better be there! Everyone has deal breakers and this is one of mine. 

"Finding real friends who will step up and do the right thing on your behalf is almost impossible as well. 

"Stupidly perhaps, and sometimes at the cost of my own job or being labeled "difficult" I'm willing to say shit to people no matter who they are and what the consequences may be and yes in the end I'm probably cutting off my nose despite my face - but that's who I am."

They say bravery isn't about being unafraid, its about being afraid and yet doing the right thing despite your fear. So kudos to Leah.  I know her bravery has given hope to many people and will draw attention to other brave peoples stories such as Marc and Claire Headley, Amy Scobee, Jefferson Hawkins, John Sweeney, Kate Bornstien, Paulette Cooper and so many more.

I only wish that she'd chosen a Taylor Swift song instead of Katy Perry on her DWTS showdown. I'm totally team Swift.

35 comments:

  1. This is totally on my to read list as well..... I'm currently reading 'Going Clear' (after having seen the documentary...) wow... just wow.... :( I hope the documentary gets an Oscar nomination - I wonder if Tom Cruise would then be forbidden to attend the 'big show', haha ;)
    There is a big court case going on in Belgium right now - hope it has a similar outcome like the one in France a few years ago...

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    1. Yes it was great documentary! I so hope it gets an Oscar nom as well!!

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  2. thank you so much for this. I too think that people like Leah are the ones that tell you the truth even if it hurts, they also are the people that will stand with you in the storm. you get what you see.

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    1. Totally. Thanks so much for stopping by the blog :)

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  3. Great review Jenna. I was quite surprised that there was no real review on the Bunker, other than that Leah got her facts a bit wrong regarding the Missing Persons followup police report. I am sure there is a lot to endorse in her book, and Tony usually give both pros and the cons.. I didn't see much in the way of "pro". Kudos to Leah for stepping out and up and shouting loudly. Regrdless of whether the "Shelly: facts are askew.. she has created enough of a noise that DM would be well served to produce her.. for longer than 5 minutes.

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    1. you may have missed this blog...
      http://tonyortega.org/2015/11/02/chapter-by-chapter-the-best-parts-of-leah-reminis-book-troublemaker/

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  5. "Finding real friends who will step up and do the right thing on your behalf is almost impossible as well.

    "Stupidly perhaps, and sometimes at the cost of my own job or being labeled "difficult" I'm willing to say shit to people no matter who they are and what the consequences may be and yes in the end I'm probably cutting off my nose despite my face - but that's who I am."

    Did you ever witness any violence, or a raging screaming slapping punching superior in your Sea Org years?

    That type of group behavior just is notches below "friend" it is institutionalized group behavior when it goes on in the Sea Org, and I witnessed it increasingly over the 27 years I was in the Sea Org.

    Friendship is just out the window when your years earlier friend is now beating a woman Sea Org member and screaming at her, I witnessed once. (First time I witnessed a friend beat up a woman Sea Org member, it was the most intense conflicting moment in my Sea Org life up to that point.)

    It's hard to watch the violence threatening and demeaning raging and hazing that went on in the Sea Org (the fake religious order of Scientology).

    The top people in Scientology acting the sickest.

    What completely put me OUT mentally from the Sea Org were those moments when I witnessed senior Sea Org "officers" beating, punching screaming totally berserk at some lowly Sea Org member who's "f...ked up" in some seemingly dire way that the superior felt or was told was "sabotage" or told it was some horrendous mistake.

    Superiors in the Sea Org who went berserk and threatened violence, or engaged in slapping punchings to me that was the most unsettling and you have to think, is that person who's going berserk my friend? Things by that point have become institutionalized cult bizarre.

    Losing it, getting violent, threatening violence, raging screamings shouldn't happen in a self-declared "religion."

    That type of sick behavior weighed the most and still weighs on me most when I think of Sea Org member behaviors that paint my image of my 27 years in the Sea Org.

    In the Sea Org top ranks, threatening violence and screamings happened over and over, and today, your uncle is still in power.

    He's the main perpetrator of what I consider worst about fake religion Scientology. He condoned RTC staffers who condoned and perpetrated screaming ragings and violence threatening Sea Org "tough" behavior of superiors.

    Scientology is a sick cult with an unpunished top leader your uncle.

    The Flag Orders (Sea Org policy) that condone that harsh tough Sea Org screaming raging are L. Ron Hubbard's deep personal flaws that are unfortunately unremovable from the Sea Org's DNA.

    You uncle is a vicious top dog executor of that Hubbard vicious DNA bureaucratic policy.

    The only sane thing is get out of this cult.

    I'm glad you did and that you were somewhat spared the worst.

    You were caught right up close to a modern sick cult. Thankyou for writing your book and doing publicity about it.

    I look forward to your grandfather's book further exposing Scientology's leader David Miscavige.

    Chuck Beatty
    ex Sea Org 1975-2003

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  6. She needed to use We are Never EVER Getting Back Together for her dance! Great review and I enjoyed your book, Jenna, tremendously.

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    1. Yes that would be perfect! Bad Blood would have been good too...just sayin. Thanks so much <3 <3

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  7. Great review, I'm reading it now and coming to the same conclusions: Leah wasn't born with a silver spoon in her mouth and despite the Scio indoctrination, kept her good nature and loyalty to friends.

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    1. So true! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  8. Jenna, I was a never-in who witnessed horrible collateral emotional and financial damage to never-ins who dared associate with a Scilon celebrity (sports, not acting). I wondered why everything our partners touched fell apart and why the local Ojai community I live in was so upset that Larry Hagman's "Heaven" estate was purchased by Scientology when my two friends appeared to be good people who were OTs. My OT2 and OT5 friends proudly bragged how I would be so close to the Narconon Center and couldn't wait to show it to me. In January of 2015, I saw your book at the Ojai library. It was an eye opener. It changed my life for the better and brought me to the Bunker and Rinder and now I'm healing from the horrible shame of having unintentionally been influenced to make decisions from a position of weakness, meaning not knowing the truth. My association with Scilons hurt many people because of my role in the sport of tennis. Even my children suffered dearly. Your book was raw, innocent, and I knew you did not lie. Thank you for being an angel of light on earth. Your own courage continues to inspire. Tell your grandpa that the Great Spirit of Truth and Justice eagerly awaits the coming entheta storm that I nicknamed Hurricane Daddy in honor of how it will feel to your uncle.

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    1. Thanks so much for the sweet words John! I so appreciate it. I'm glad you are no longer associated and I'm grateful that my book could help in some small way. <3 <3

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  9. why there is no inside story's from you? did you get some money from your uncle? or you are scared?

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    1. Lol, did you miss the memo on the entire BOOK she wrote that subject? The stupidity of people, and their drive to display it publicly, never ceases to amazes me.

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    2. lol, thanks for taking this one for me. I didn't know how to respond :) <3 <3

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  10. I so agree on all points, from the frustrating, celebrity/media past non coverage, and definitely strong women. "Well behaved women seldom make history. With a lot of help from my friends, I managed to write and record this as a thank you gift for all strong women, and that includes you!

    Your book meant a great deal to me and the press tour was impressive. Thank you, Jenna. TheHoleDoesNotExist a/k/a Moxie Magee

    https://youtu.be/cGe6hNgSVv4

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    1. Thanks so much! And thank you for the awesome video! What a great gift! I am so honored to be included <3 <3 <3

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  11. Thanks Jenna. Never-In myself, got interested after Going Clear. Read lots of books including yours. TBH, your book was so dark at times I had to put it down. Excellent read. You, along with Leah, both have courage. Thank you for speaking out.

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    1. I truly appreciate your kind words. Yes my book definitely had its dark points. Fortunately life is much better now :) Thanks so much for stopping by the blog and for reading my book!

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  12. I enjoyed you review of the book. I am so happy that Leah has the courage to speak out. It takes a strong person to speak the truth about what really goes on inside Scientology. Since the "Church" is nothing but a bully masked as a Church, anyone that takes that step to speak out, knows what the repercussions are.

    When my husband I left, we lost all of our friends that we had for decades and both of our daughters.

    A big light is being shined on this "Church" more everyday by courageous people like you, Jenna and Leah! I hope with all my heart, that 2016 will bring all of our friends and families back to us! Cindy Plahuta

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  13. Jenna, this was a beautiful post,...also, I read your book earlier this year and it was fascinating and heart-wrenching.

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  14. Jenna, I'm just so impressed with you! Your book and leaving, both took so much courage and strength AFTER all the years of being weakened. I wondered how it was for you and your husband when you had your children. (Do you think about how it would have been in the organization vs. away? Did you feel immediately 'in love' with this new child or did it take time?) I can't even wrap my head around the concept of the multiple lives/multiple bodies/you're never really a child. Did you take to being a mother naturally even without an example in your own life?
    I cried for all those children who didn't get to be children and didn't even get to feel safe and grow up with their parents. I cried for you, an adorable, sweet child who wasn't nurtured and loved as she should have been.
    I hope this cycle of abuse and brainwashing soon comes to a complete end because of the accounts of those of you who have escaped.
    With deepest regards, Tiffany

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  15. Thanks for your review Jenna. I was hoping you were going to go into more detail as to "... a vastly different perspective." But I read your book and your experiences were a vastly different perspective then mine 1974-2010. Actually my earlier experiences have been so buried that only recently have I been recalling them probably just a natural human thing to work back thru them and learn. If I had written a book 5 years ago it would be a completely different book then I would write now and I suppose that is one of the wonderful things about life that one can and does change with education and experience. It hurts like hell losing my 2 children to disconnection 2.5 years ago but by that event I am smarter and stronger. Us telling our stories is not only for the benefit of others but therapeutic for the writer. I sent your book on to my daughter #1. She was born and raised in the SO. She refused to sign-up and is doing excellent in life ~ a rare one for sure but still she benefited from your book and passed it on. I'll have to catch-up on your blog and see how the trailer renos are going :)

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  16. I always found Scientology to be kinda a joke and then I read Going Clear and other books, especially yours which was the most impacting. Since then I have felt I couldn't believe an organization was allowed to do this to kids and families in our country. I always feel I need to become involved to help those leaving and those trapped. I find both you and Leah to be amazingly strong and brave. I am glad your life is going well and happy to have discovered your blog.

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  17. Wonderful review, Jenna & I agree on all points. The book was riveting - I couldn't put it down, just as I couldn't put yours down either. As a rather "far from the bubble" dweller on the "rim of the earth" here in South Africa, I had NO idea of the degree of control TC wields over he church. What the hell qualifies him?? It's utterly insidious. Two LITTLE mean men literally playing with people's lives. I was one of the many of fell when the storm troopers arrived on South African shores in 2013, ultimately ending in the sudden death of my beloved mother who was put in the untenable situation of being told to "choose" between her still-glugging-the-KA daughter and me. My sister is the famed "foster mother" to the unwanted Duggan child. Her and her lobotomised OT8 husband are living high on the hog with $9,000 plus montly payments from the Duggans - sickening to the core. So many have lost so much and we fight on. I will continue to do everything I can to bring this tyrannical cult to it's knees. Kudos to you & your family, Jenna - well done for surviving it all - and with such aplomb :)

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  18. Thanks to Leah, she brought my attention to how sick Scientology really is...I became so intrigued by her book that I have now bought your book..I am still waiting to receive it in the mail and cant wait to read. . I am sorry for what you went through but applaud your bravery to break free and speak out!!

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  19. the plight of a common person in scientology isn't of interest to the public. It has to be a celebrity, former exec, etc. I hope you'll forgive me saying, but your fortunate because your name acted as a golden parachute,so to speak. Not to minimize your experience whatsoever. I was in for 10 years, also on staff and no one will ever know. I walked out of Flag on foot all the way to Hollywood, FL. JB

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    1. I would want to know! Please look into writing your own book..More ppl need to speak out. I want to hear about everyones story not just a celebrity.

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    2. I would want to know as well. Celebrity's stories bring interest into Scientology to the average public but Jenna's story and Claire and Marc Hadley's story is what tugged on my heart strings. Learning about all the abuses of children and staff of the sea org and everyone being swindled out of their money, and families being destroyed are the stories the public needs to hear. It's why I care and want to do what I can to help. So tell your story either in a book or a blog and I and others will listen. The crimes of the Church of Scientology has to be publicly known and stopped

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  20. I read her book first and then followed up with yours (just finished last night). And I think everything you had to say about her book (and what I initially expected from it) was very true. I always assumed most celebrities entered CoS as adults... it was amazing to read about her experience through the eyes of a child signing a billion year contract (as you did).

    I am thankful to people like you and Leah Remini for your strength. I feel confident that you and your honesty about the abuses of the church are the reason a lot of people are spared from entering into it's brainwashing and scare tactics.

    Thank you.

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  21. I read her book first and then followed up with yours (just finished last night). And I think everything you had to say about her book (and what I initially expected from it) was very true. I always assumed most celebrities entered CoS as adults... it was amazing to read about her experience through the eyes of a child signing a billion year contract (as you did).

    I am thankful to people like you and Leah Remini for your strength. I feel confident that you and your honesty about the abuses of the church are the reason a lot of people are spared from entering into it's brainwashing and scare tactics.

    Thank you.

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