Earlier this week, one of the Church of Scientology’s multiple ships, Freewind, had to be quarantined off the coast of St. Lucia due to a measles outbreak. One former member of the church, actress Leah Remini, has now opened up to say that she feels the quarantine is a “blessing in disguise,” and that she’s hopeful that those who are wishing to flee the church will now have the opportunity to do so.
As Newsweek shared, Remini, who is now an outspoken activist against the church, thinks that the docked ship offers an out for people who might be feeling as she once felt. Remini believes that this incident could provide an easy way for them to get out while they can.
“This outbreak could be a blessing in disguise because maybe some people can get off this ship of horrors. Circumstances like this give an opportunity for some agencies or authorities to gain access to this ship beyond what would normally be offered,” Remini said.
Newsweek further added that some ex-members have come out and stated that they had been held against their will, but there’s no way to tell whether or not those stranded on the ship in St. Lucia are being told they can’t leave.
The ship is one of the many training vessels the church uses to help its members further advance within the organization, and they refer to it as a “pinnacle of a deeply spiritual journey.” Many Scientologists focus on climbing the church’s hierarchy, and when they board the ship, it’s usually in the hope that they will advance to the rank of New OT VIII — a rank Scientologists consider to be the highest level of spirituality.
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Remini, who left the church in 2013 — after having been a member for most of her life — is hopeful that a doctor will board the Freewind and ask people if they wish to leave. Remini thinks that having an outsider board the ship will be the perfect opportunity for those wishing to leave the organization to disembark the vessel, and the organization, once and for all.
However, Remini is concerned that once people do get the opportunity to leave, they may not take it. Based on her experiences, she believes that Scientologists who are wishing to leave may feel as though they will have no place to go once they walk away. The King of Queens alum stressed that there are networks and support systems in place for those who are ready to get out. That being said, many Scientologists are likely to have been told such resources don’t exist, a narrative expressed as a means for the church to keep people under their control.
“They don’t know that they have a place to go. They don’t know there are people out here who are willing to literally take these people in and help them. They have no way of contacting us. When you really look at it, they need someone to care,” Remini added.