*“Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” star Mimi Faust was front and center on Tuesday’s episode of “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath,” which focused on the view of family in Scientology, particularly when it comes to the members of the Church’s Sea Organization.
Remini’s partner, former Scientology spokesperson Mike Rinder, first explained: “Family, in the Sea Org, is something that is given lip service but isn’t considered to be important. If you are married, you’re unmarried, if you have kids, if you don’t, if your parents are dead, if they’re alive, all of that is completely irrelevant to are you doing your job in the Sea Organization? Are you doing the greatest good and absolutely nothing else?”
Rinder and Remini visited Faust, who was 9 years old when her mother joined the Sea Org. She uprooted Faust from her life in Atlanta, separating her from her sister and brother and moving first to Florida and then to the “Big Blue” Scientology center in Los Angeles.
In school with fellow children of Scientologists, Faust said she was taunted with racist slurs and spat on. At 13, Mimi said she was told to either sign her own billion-year contract with the Sea Org, or she’d be kicked out of the dorm in which she was living with her mother. When she refused, she was kicked out immediately—she had to leave the building by 7 p.m. that day and was not even given bus fare.
“My mother did not utter one word. She watched me walk out of that building and said nothing,” Faust recalled. “The feeling of abandonment right in your face like that is terrible. It was terrible.”
Faust had lost contact with her brother and sister and didn’t have contact with her father, and ended up going to a friend’s house. At a loss for what to do, she went back to her Scientologist-owned school the following Monday. She spent a night with a different friend every night, and no one knew she was homeless.
The Church denied forcibly removing Faust from Big Blue, and claimed that Faust was never homeless, rather she lived with a family that her mom arranged for.
Faust next saw her mother four years later, at 17, when she was living with a friend’s family. Her mom called and asked to see her, so she went to Big Blue and waited in an office when she said four Sea Org members and her mother locked her in the room told her to sign a billion-year contract. But after she screamed and yelled, they let her out. She didn’t see her again for another 10 years when she tried a final time to repair her relationship with her mom. They spent quality time together but eventually fought when Faust confronted her mother about abandoning her.
She was conflicted a few years later when she learned that her mother had stage four pancreatic cancer. A Sea Org chaperone was with her mother in the hospital when Faust came to visit, and wouldn’t let them be alone until her mother passed away. Now, as a mother, Faust said she would never let her 7-year-old daughter join Scientology.
“As long as I’m on this Earth, that is not happening,” she said. “In my experience, Scientology tears families apart. If you can’t keep a mother and child together, how are you supposed to unite the planet? Does that make any sense to you? Because it doesn’t make any sense to me at all.”
Earlier Tuesday, Mimi posted the A&E teaser of her interview on Facebook, saying: “This was not the easiest thing to do and I’m still pretty nervous about sharing but this is apart of my life I feel I must share! Being on my own since I was 13 built the strength you see today.”