How Leah Remini's Daughter Saved Her From Scientology

leah reminiSometimes it takes your kids to push you to make a change you knew all along you needed to make. King of Queens star Leah Remini is talking about why she left Scientology, and she says the biggest reason was her daughter, Sofia. At 9 years old, Sofia was required to undergo "auditing" -- a controversial kind of spiritual counseling opponents to Scientology believe can be abusive. Remini felt she was at a crossroads where she had to choose which was more important, her daughter or her religion. She says she chose her daughter.


Remini says she was spending too much time at church and not enough with her daughter. And that's how she remembers growing up in Scientology. She says there's a "church first" mentality -- but she wanted to put her family first. She used to resent her mother for that, but not anymore.

"The fact my mother stood by me after all her years in the church totally took away any resentment I may have been harboring" over her childhood spent giving everything to the church. "When it mattered the most, my mother was there for me. It was the moment that erased all those days she wasn't there."

That's kind of a bittersweet statement. I wonder if Remini's mother regrets putting her daughter through all that deprivation just for the sake of the church. I imagine them having private conversations where Remini's mother confesses she wishes she'd been able to leave, too, years ago.

With those memories still fresh, Remini is putting herself in her daughter's place. Sofia may not be suffering the same poverty Remini grew up with, but she knows what it's like to sacrifice a parent for religion. And then there's that scary auditing practice. Remini says Sofia could be asked questions like, "Have you ever pretended to be ill? Have you ever decided you didn’t like some member of your family? Have you ever been a coward?"

Each of those in isolation doesn't seem too bad ... if asked in a low-pressure conversation. But at church? When your answer leads to more probing questions? At the age of 9? Yeech, I wouldn't want that for my kid, either.

I feel like as parents, we all face different changes we need to make for the sake of our kids. It may not be leaving a religion -- it could be quitting smoking or leaving a toxic marriage. The thing is, none of us have perfect lives when we start our families. We're all works in progress.

I still believe in trying to lay the best possible foundation before you start having kids. But we're imperfect, and so are our lives. And sometimes it's not until we become parents that we get that shift in perspective we need to really change. Someday I'm sure Sofie will be glad Leah left Scientology -- and she'll understand why it took her mother this long.

Is there anything you quit or changed after you had kids?


Image via Pacific Coast News

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