It’s hard to imagine it now, but there was once a time when few Americans outside the Celebrity Centre knew what an E-meter was.
For decades, Scientology was known as a mysterious religion popular with Hollywood A-listers such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta. But in recent years, the church, founded by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, has spawned a cottage industry of journalistic exposes and jaw-dropping memoirs in which former devotees allege abusive, cult-like behavior and outlandish beliefs.
At this point, Scientology is as much an active religion as it is fodder for the various juicy tell-alls that have familiarized readers of People magazine with once-obscure concepts like Operating Thetans and the Bridge to Total Freedom.
The latest entry in this flourishing sub-genre is “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.” Premiering Tuesday on A&E, the eight-part docuseries follows actress and former Scientologist Leah Remini as she meets with other church defectors and listens to their often-harrowing stories.