Elisabeth Moss Says Scientology Is "Misunderstood" in Rare Comments About Her Faith

The Handmaid's Tale actress and Scientologist Elisabeth Moss explained her decision to keep her faith a private matter and her thoughts on Scientology being compared to Handmaid's.

By Cydney Contreras Apr 29, 2022 6:57 PMTags
Watch: Elisabeth Moss Wants a Rom-Com Next...Or Else!

Lifelong Elisabeth Moss is speaking up about her faith.

"It's not really a closed-off religion," the Handmaid's Tale star told the New Yorker. "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."

For years, Scientology has been plagued by allegations of wrongdoing, with many former members of the Church claiming that they were separated from their families and subjected to mind control and other abuses. (As the New Yorker writes: "The Church calls these allegations ‘false and mischaracterized.'")

The actress, 39, who was raised in the Church, understands why people have preconceived notions about the organization, saying, "I've certainly been guilty of reading an article or watching something and taking that as gospel."

Elisabeth Moss' Best Looks

Some people have even drawn parallels between Scientology and the authoritarian regime portrayed in The Handmaid's Tale. Asked about the comparisons, Elisabeth said, "I would just encourage people to find out for themselves."

Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

She noted that she wouldn't participate in the series if it didn't align with her beliefs, saying, "Obviously something like religious freedom and resistance against a theocracy is very important to me."

Nonetheless, Elisabeth said she doesn't feel the need to defend her ties to the organization, which touts Tom Cruise and John Travolta as members. Having worked in the film industry for most of her life, the actress knows that people are going to make their assumptions about her, whether she likes it or not.

That's why, she says, she typically doesn't discuss her faith. "I don't want people to be distracted by something when they're watching me," she said. "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."


Elisabeth also spoke about ex Scientologist Leah Remini, who won a 2017 Critics Choice Award for her anti-Scientology docuseries Scientology and the Aftermath. At the time, it was reported that Elisabeth left the awards show during Leah's acceptance speech, but the Mad Men star said she simply had to use the restroom: "I wish it was more exciting than that." 

Leah has gone on to claim that she's forbidden from contacting Elisabeth, but Elisabeth said that wasn't the case. "I have never been approached by her," she explained. "I have never received any request to talk to her. So there hasn't been an opportunity for her to say that. I don't know her that well, so it's not like we were friends."

As for what Scientology has given her, Elisabeth credits the Church for teaching her about the importance of communication: "That is probably one of the No. 1 basic things that I grew up learning and grew up using and use every day: the power of just being able to listen to somebody, of making somebody feel heard, of not belittling them for what they think or believe, even if you think it's wrong."

However, Mike Rinder, a former Scientology leader who hosted Scientology and the Aftermath with Leah, told the New Yorker to not be fooled by Elisabeth's transparency. "You'll hear a lot of Scientologists say, ‘It taught me to communicate,' because it's a simple, uncontroversial thing," he explained. "Lizzie is good at communicating her roles to audiences, so you can't say that's a lie. It's a great line to use, because it's one of those things that you can't really challenge."

For more of what Elisabeth had to say, read the New Yorker profile.

Latest News