Leah Remini on Growing Up in Scientology: 'Your Ego Becomes Extremely Inflated'
Leah Remini explains that "because Scientologists view children as spiritual beings, you're not treated as a kid"
ABC Breaking News | Latest News VideosIn a new clip of Leah Remini‘s upcoming 20/20 interview about her break from Scientology after more than three decades, the actress opens up about the church’s purported views on kids – and how she believes that philosophy affects children.
“Because Scientologists view children as spiritual beings, you’re not treated as a kid,” she said in a clip that first aired on Good Morning America Thursday. “So you’re given a lot of responsibility. Your ego becomes extremely inflated.”
Remini, 45, has said that she ultimately decided to leave the church because of her own young daughter.
“I decided I didn’t want to raise my daughter in the church because from what I’ve experienced and what I saw, the church becomes your everything,” she said earlier this year on her reality show, Leah Remini: It’s All Relative. Her daughter is now being raised Catholic, and she shared a photo of her recent baptism on Instagram.
In the 20/20 clip, it’s explained that her mother brought her into the church as a child, and after joining she was quickly brought “on course.”
When asked to explain the Scientology term “on course,” Remini replied: “You learn how to apply the techniques of Scientology to yourself and others.”
The former King of Queens actress explained that learning the techniques was a big deal because it was understood their ultimate goal was “[to save] the planet.”
The interview airs just days before Remini’s new book, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, is set to be released on Tuesday.
The book details her decision to leave the church in 2013, which she understood meant leaving behind everything that was once central to her identity.
“The decision to leave is your giving up everything you have ever known and everything you have worked for your whole life,” she says. “I feel that people need to understand this has been my whole life. I want people to understand how it happens.”
VIDEO: Former Scientologist Leah Remini Shows Support for Scientology Doc
Church International Spokesperson Karin Pouw told PEOPLE in a statement earlier this week that Remini’s claims are an effort to drum up attention for herself.
“It comes as no surprise that someone as self-absorbed as Leah Remini with an insatiable craving for attention would exploit her former faith as a publicity stunt by rewriting her history with it,” Pouw said, “including omitting that she was participating in a program to remain a Scientologist by her own choice, as she was on the verge of being expelled for her ethical lapses.”
Remini’s full 20/20 interview with Dan Harris will air Friday night at 10 p.m. on ABC.