Most religions are in a unique and unenviable position. They reach out trustingly and with open arms to help all souls in need who come their way. Most come away better and happier for the guidance, aid and friendship they receive.
Unfortunately, not everyone can be helped. There are those few who, deep in their heart of hearts, hide a grain of sin that can’t be reached. When the chips are down (for them), instead of taking responsibility for their own bad actions, they blame others and strike back, most often at the very hands that were outstretched toward them in real help. Unable, at their core, to repent and come clean, they viciously bite the hand that fed them.
As a Scientologist of over 35 years, it disheartens me that a person like Leah Remini cannot be helped—someone who was happy and flourishing with her faith, who then cast herself out and made herself bitter and degraded, reduced to ludicrous, destructive hate-mongering.
I looked for a reason and found the sin of apostasy. Merriam-Webster online defines “apostasy” as:
1. An act of refusing to continue to follow, obey, or recognize a religious faith
2. Abandonment of previous loyalty; defection
One who commits apostasy is known as an “apostate” or, synonymously, “defector,” “deserter” or “renegade.” Additionally, in the eyes of her former friends and church members, the apostate Leah Remini might also be known as “betrayer,” “double-crosser,” “traitor,” “turnabout” or “turncoat.”
“If a man’s religion does not make him averse to sin, sin will make him averse to religion.”
It is no small thing to be a traitor. At their core, traitors are liars seeking to justify themselves rather than find a common ground over their disagreements. At all levels, whether it be national, familial, organizational, or religious, the traitor is scorned and rejected as untrustworthy. Betrayal after trust can cause widespread damage which the traitor/apostate justifies by imagining she is “getting even” for something done to her. She isn’t considering the collateral damage done to the innocent people she hurts. At the level of religion, apostasy can prevent many from getting the spiritual help they need, through the spreading of lies and rants that influence others. It can also inflame the uninformed or misinformed to acts of violence and increase intolerance in society.
Biblical scholar J. Mason wrote an excellent article, “The Nature, Cause, and Danger of the Sin of Apostasy,” which, though written primarily for Christians, is relevant to all religions and the sins of Leah Remini and those like her. The author lists how one becomes an apostate and then justifies it. Mason asserts that the sins of the apostate are “a determined and deliberate act, the result of thought and choice; and a perverted and abused understanding approves the choice, so that the apostate goes astray with the full bent of his will.”
To be clear, we are not talking about a “victim” here with Remini. This is someone working intentionally to do damage to her former faith. One can easily see this in Remini’s tactics of lying on tabloid media. She has stooped to attacking individual members and trying to revive long-since disproven allegations, employing discredited sources in an attempt to do so. And when she was unsuccessful in that arena, Remini moved on and began attacking other faiths. J. Mason further states that the sin of apostasy is “[s]ome secret, predominant vice or unconquered lust which men care not to part with. If a man’s religion does not make him averse to sin, sin will make him averse to religion.”
Sadly, because of the rise of sensationalism in the media, apostates asserting there is a scandalous angle on an otherwise unscandalous topic (such as religion) can gain attention and misinform the masses. As J. Mason notes: “Nothing [is] more contagious than the breath of a profane man. The world is governed by examples. Bad examples are commonly most attractive…”
Remini and her cohorts are placed in a position of prominence by the unethical and faithless media and allowed to peddle hatred and bigotry that they (the media) think will sell advertising. The media tried to persuade the unsuspecting masses that Remini & Co. are valid sources. In actuality, the media is simply suppressing what it knows to be the truth.
In an essay from his book A New Slant on Life, L. Ron Hubbard wrote: “To love in spite of all is the secret of greatness.” He further states that men go wrong as follows: “He only acts badly when his acts, done for order and the safety for others, are done with hatred. Or when his disciplines are founded only upon safety for himself regardless of all others; or worse, when he acts only out of a taste for cruelty.”
One wonders which it is for Leah Remini… hatred, cowardice or cruelty?
When some protest too loudly about their former associations, one has to wonder what they have done to the group they now attack that they don’t want others to know, or why they have bitten the hands that fed them—the arms once stretched out in fellowship, friendship and aid.
A person is entitled to change his mind and leave a religion, or any group for that matter. Freedom of choice is a basic human right in the free nations of the world. But leave with a clean heart. And don’t try to destroy the group that helped you.