Here’s a fact that few people would argue: Elisabeth Moss is one of the greatest actors of her generation. Here’s another fact that would receive only slightly more pushback: Many ex-members of the Church of Scientology have alleged a culture of exploitation and abuse. Now Moss, one of the most prominent practitioners of Scientology, has granted a lengthy interview to The New Yorker where she not only delved into her craft, but also defended her Church from critics.
Moss is a second-generation artist and member of the Church, whose father was close with jazz legend and Scientologist Chick Correa. She went through the Hubbard Key of Life course at the age of eight and was labelled Clear — which the Church defines as a person “who no longer has his own reactive mind, the hidden source of irrational behavior, unreasonable fears, upsets, and insecurities” — at 11.
“I don’t want to come off as being cagey,” she said. “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. 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.”
Moss said of Scientology, “It’s not really a closed-off religion. 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 asked about fans who struggle to reconcile the radical politics of The Handmaid’s Tale with Moss’ place in such a Church, she said, “I would just encourage people to find out for themselves. I’ve certainly been guilty of reading an article or watching something and taking that as gospel.” She added, “And obviously something like religious freedom and resistance against a theocracy is very important to me.”