Starting in November of 2016, a documentary series aired on the original network A&E where it continues to capture the attention of thousands of viewers in America. Scientology: The Aftermath, starring the well-known King of Queens and Dancing with the Stars actress Leah Remini and former senior executive of the church of Scientology International and Sea Organization Mike Rinder, aim to reveal the "truth" that hides behind the church of Scientology. The show interviews ex-practitioners who claim their lives have been deeply impacted by the church and who want to assist in revealing the shocking stories of abuse and harassment the church tries to keep secret. The goal of the show, in short, is to not only share the "real" face of Scientology to the public, but to also reach out and assist people who have been affected personally by the church; some have lost their family and friends while others have been followed or monitored by church members. A simple Google search on Scientology brings up multiple news headlines on the church being labeled as a "cult" and "criminal" while magazines in the lines of grocery stores display the downfall on the marriage of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes due to the intensity of the Church of Scientology.

Yet Scientology isn’t alone in receiving negative attention from the media. Christian Science has been accused of depriving the ill of needed medical attention which has led to some members becoming severely ill and dying in some cases. Most of these cases are children that were deprived of needed medical assistance due to their parents' religious views. Religious Studies scholar, Mary Bednarowski, adds that due to these circumstances, Christian Science has long experienced harsh criticism. With families and anti-cult movements protesting in the streets, ads, books, and magazines displaying their opposition, and the media labeling these movements as "dangerous", why would people join and remain in these New Religious Movements? What is it that makes these religious movements alluring and what are their adherents benefiting from them?

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Gleig, Ann


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Arts and Humanities



Degree Program

Religion and Cultural Studies


Orlando (Main) Campus



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date