Boasting whisperings of aliens and unethical methods of control, the religion of Scientology — which was founded by L. Ron Hubbard in the 1950s — has been a controversial figment in news and pop culture for decades.
"Scientology is a religion that offers a precise path leading to a complete and certain understanding of one’s true spiritual nature and one’s relationship to self, family, groups, Mankind, all life forms, the material universe, the spiritual universe, and the Supreme Being," as stated on the Scientology website.
With documentaries like 2015's Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief and Leah Remini's Scientology and the Aftermath, the ugly side of Scientology — involving alleged manipulation and abuse, rapid draining of one's funds, and refusal of mental health treatment — has come to light. Some say it's a devious cult, one that should be avoided at all costs.
Despite this, many celebrities, including Tom Cruise, Kirstie Alley, John Travolta, and Elisabeth Moss still practice Scientology to this day. The latter of the famous faces — who you know from AMC's award-winning series Mad Men and Hulu's dystopian drama The Handmaid's Tale — has been a practicing Scientologist since before she can remember. But because she's also a bonafide feminist queen and an Emmy-winning actress who's stellar at her craft, her stance on Scientology is sometimes confusing, and she knows people feel that way.
How did Elisabeth Moss become a Scientologist?
According to The New Yorker, Elisabeth was raised in the Church of Scientology, as her parents joined the faith well before she was born. "According to Scientology records that have been made public, Moss took the Hubbard Key to Life Course when she was 8 and achieved the state of Clear when she was 11," The New Yorker detailed.
And per Elle Australia, Elisabeth has professed that Scientology helped her become the woman she is today, whatever that means.
If that's so, then why does she seldom talk about it? It feels as though Scientology is a large part of her life, but she rarely points to it, as if it's something that's meant to be kept hush-hush. Well, there's a reason for it.
When Variety brought up her connection to Scientology in an August 2022 interview, the energy shifted. "I don’t want to come off as being cagey," she began.
"If you and I met, just hanging out as friends, I’m, like, an open book about it. [But] I don’t want people to be distracted by something when they’re watching me. I want them to be seeing the character," she explained. "I feel like, when actors reveal too much of their lives, I’m sometimes watching something and I’m going, ‘Oh, I know that she just broke up with that person,’ or, ‘I know that she loves to do hot yoga,’ or whatever it is."
When you consider the overwhelming amount of negative, sometimes investigative press that Scientology gets, it's understandable that the Invisible Man star wouldn't want her faith to distract from her work (though it totally does).
As for Elisabeth Moss's own personal experience with the Church of Scientology, it differs greatly from that of Leah Remini's.
"It’s not really a closed-off religion,” she told Variety. “It’s a place that is very open to, like, welcoming in somebody who wants to learn more about it. I think that’s the thing that is probably the most misunderstood.”
When you put it like that, it doesn't really sound like a "sinister cult that’s vindictive and evil," as gracefully put by Leah Remini. Perhaps we can only take Elisabeth's word for it. Or don't, we're not going to tell you what to do.