Last week on Love And Hip Hop: Atlanta, Mimi Faust made the rather shocking announcement that her mother, Gloria Eva Simmons James, abandoned Mimi and the rest of their family in order to pursue Scientology. By the time Mimi reached the age of thirteen, her mom had moved to the Scientology headquarters in Los Angeles and took Mimi with her, but Mimi realized the religion wasn’t for her and she left on her own. In a recent interview with the Village Voice, Mimi shares her story in detail about what happened next and how Scientology had a firm grip on her mother until her death. We’ve outlined her pretty unbelievable and sad story below, and the entire thing is available online at the Voice‘s website.
- “When my mom joined Scientology, I was still living here in Atlanta. I think I was six or seven when she was introduced to Scientology. By the time I was 8 or 9 she just went balls to the wall and sold everything we owned. Our house, our car, everything,” Mimi says. Then, at the age of thirteen, her mother left Mimi’s two older siblings behind in Atlanta and took Mimi to Hollywood to live at Scientology headquarters. There, here mother signed a billion-year contract with the religion.
- While they lived at the Scientology facility, her mother worked for the intelligence division of the organization. “I had no idea what she did from the day we got there until the day she died.” After a few years, Mimi was asked to join the religion herself but refused. “At 13, they told me that I was a freeloader. I was eating their food and staying in their facility. They told me I either needed to sign a billion-year contract or I had to leave.” So while she was still in high school, she left the housing complex, couch surfed for the rest of the school year, and later found a job to support herself. “I figured my mom would try to stop me. But there was nothing. She didn’t ask me where I was going, she didn’t ask if I had bus fare. I think that’s what hurt the most. That she just watched me walk away.”
- After four years of no contact, her mother contacted her and tried to get her to join the religion again. Mimi went to visit her and was locked in a room with her mother and four “officers” from the organization who refused to let her leave until she signed the contract. “They said over and over, ‘Sign the paper. Sign the paper. Sign the paper.’ They were chanting it. I thought I was in the Twilight Zone,” she explained. “They finally let me out, and I just hauled ass. I was so mad at my mom. It was years before I saw her again. And we never spoke about that moment until I was 27.”
- In 2003, her mother was diagnosed with cancer and Mimi went to visit her one last time. “When she was dying, I flew out to see her. But I was not allowed to be alone with her. Even when she was dying, they had a chaperone in the room.” Though she was with her mother when she died, her mother never apologized for essentially abandoning the family, which is what sticks with Mimi the most. “My mom was always searching for that something in her life. For whatever reason she found it in Scientology. But she gave up her kids for it.”