5 Things We Learned From 'Scientology and the Aftermath,' Episode 6 - 2017-01-04
This week's episode of A&E's Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath focused on the story of Aaron Smith-Levin, a Scientologist for 29 years who left the Church in 2014. Here are five things we learned from last night's show, courtesy of Mr. Smith-Levin's story.
1. Winning tax exemption from the IRA legitimized Scientology to some of its own followersLike many longtime Church members, Smith-Levin joined as a child when his mother started taking courses and working for the organization. He told Remini that he distinctly remembers becoming actually invested in the religion himself in 1993, when Church leader David Miscavige announced that Scientology had won tax exemption status from the IRS and was now recognized as a religion. Smith-Levin distinctly remembered the promotional video that Scientology released, which touted "The War Is Over."
According to former Scientology exec Mike Rinder, the Church had accrued over one billion dollars in back taxes at the time; he's alleged that without the exemption, Scientology would probably still exist, but it wouldn't be nearly as powerful as it is now. In addition to making all of their contributions to the Church tax deductible, many Scientologists felt that finally, the government was actually legitimizing the work that they were doing to Clear the planet and save humanity.