One of the most notable things about Elisabeth Moss is that she is a second-generation Scientologist. She was raised in the Church, still practices, and somehow she does not get the same flak for it that people like Tom Cruise and John Travolta do. For years she has been a masterclass in deflection when asked about the Church and the accusations that it is a life-ruining cult.
In a new profile for the New Yorker, Michael Schulman (of Jeremy Strong profile fame) repeatedly asks Moss about Scientology. “I don’t want people to be distracted by something when they’re watching me. I want them to be seeing the character,” the Mad Men actress insisted. That ship has sailed, sweetheart.
Moss then said something truly bizarre. Something that makes me wonder if self-awareness is at all possible among Scientologists:
“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.”
Let’s break that down beat by beat, shall we?
First of all, Scientology is notoriously closed-off, in the sense that it is powerful and secretive and forcefully resistant to scrutiny. That’s what makes Leah Remini’s ongoing crusade to expose all of its darkness so fascinating. I’ll remind you that Shelly Miscavige, the wife of Scientology leader David Miscavage, has not been seen in public since 2007.
Even stranger is Moss’s claim that what’s “most misunderstood” about the religion is that it is “very open” to welcoming in anyone “who wants to learn more about it.” That is the thing about Scientology. If you walk into any Scientology building, they’ll welcome you with open arms, offer to give you a free “personality test,” and try to convert you on the spot. I don’t even remember where I learned about that, I feel like I was born with the knowledge.
With regards to what is really happening in the Church, Moss said that she would “encourage people to find out for themselves.” If that’s something you’re interested in, I recommend seeking out the documentary Going Clear, Leah Remini’s show Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, or any of Tony Ortega’s reporting from the last 20 years. You could also just Google “Scientology Rehabilitation Project Force” and decide for yourself.