Elisabeth Moss on Her Relationship with Scientology: 'You Can't Take Away' My Right to 'Believe'
In recent years, Elisabeth Moss has remained largely silent about her involvement with the Church of Scientology
Elisabeth Moss is standing by her involvement with the Church of Scientology, no matter what criticism might come her way.
In a wide-ranging interview with the Daily Beast published on Monday, the Emmy winner, 36, spoke out about the church — stressing that those curious about Scientology “educate themselves for themselves and form their own opinions, as I did.”
Asked whether the tenets of Scientology as being at odds with the feminist themes or roles Moss has had on shows such as The West Wing, Mad Men, and The Handmaid’s Tale, she said she maintains strong core beliefs in freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
“It’s a complicated thing because the things that I believe in, I can only speak to my personal experience and my personal beliefs,” Moss said. “One of the things I believe in is freedom of speech. I believe we as humans should be able to critique things. I believe in freedom of the press. I believe in people being able to speak their own opinions. I don’t ever want to take that away from anybody, because that actually is very important to me.”
She went on to compare any censorship of one’s beliefs to Gilead, the totalitarian society ruled by a fictional fundamentalist regime in Handmaid’s.
“People should be allowed to talk about what they want to talk about and believe what they want to believe and you can’t take that away — and when you start to take that away, when you start to say ‘you can’t think that,’ ‘you can’t believe that,’ ‘you can’t say that,’ then you get into trouble,” Moss added. “Then you get into Gilead.”
“Whatever happens, I’m never going to take away your right to talk about something or believe something, and you can’t take away mine,” Moss stressed.
Moss also responded to a question about the church’s founder L. Ron Hubbard’s alleged anti-LGBTQ beliefs.
“[That’s] not where I stand,” Moss told The Daily Beast. “It’s like, it’s a lot to get into and unpack that I can’t do. But that is not my bag. I am obviously a huge feminist and huge supporter of the LGBTQ community and believe so strongly — I can’t even tell you — in people being able to do what they want to do, to love who they want to love, to be the person that they want to be — whoever that is.”
“To me, it’s a huge reason why I love doing [The Handmaid’s Tale],” Moss continued. “That’s all I can say. I can’t speak to what other people believe, I can’t speak to what other people’s experiences have been. That’s where I stand and the only place I can speak from is my own.”
The Daily Beast‘s interview was one of the rare times Moss has spoken out about Scientology. She told the outlet that she stays silent about it because “it’s so hard to unpack in a sound bite or an interview.”
“I choose to express myself in my work and my art. I don’t choose to express myself about it in interviews. I don’t choose to talk about not just religion, but my personal life — who I’m dating and that kind of thing,” she said.
“The things that I believe in personally, for me, The Handmaid’s Tale, and the ability to do something that is artistically fulfilling but is also personally fulfilling, I’ve never had that,” she also said. “The Handmaid’s Tale lines up so perfectly parallel with my own beliefs in freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the things that this country was actually built on.”
Moss was introduced to Scientology through her family. She said in a 2012 interview with The Telegraph that she made a conscious decision to embrace it.
“It’s not the same thing as going to church on Sunday,” she said. “It’s self-applied. It involves reading — you have to make a choice.”
“Some people say that yoga really helps them to feel centered,” she said of what drew her to the religious system. “And some people feel that being vegan is something that makes them more of themselves. Or Kaballah. Or there’s Buddhism or whatever. I mean, I think that for me it’s one thing that has helped me at times, and it’s kind of as simple as that.”
In recent years, she has rarely spoken publicly on the topic, telling The Guardian in 2016 that everyone has the right to their own privacy.
“It is weird for me to be put in the position where I am like, ‘No, I can’t. I don’t really want to talk about this,’ ” she admitted. “You feel kind of like, I am a nice person who likes to talk about stuff. I also get the curiosity. I get the fascination. I become fascinated with things that are none of my business as well. I am just fascinated when someone breaks up with somebody. I want to know all about it. I am very interested in what people are wearing, and all of that kind of thing, but you have a right to your privacy.”