Elisabeth Moss Says She Doesn't Want to Be 'Cagey' About Ties to Scientology: I'm an 'Open Book'

"I would just encourage people to find out for themselves," Elisabeth Moss said of Scientology as she opened up about her experience with the religion in juxtaposition with her Handmaid's Tale role

"The Handmaid's Tale" Hulu Finale
Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty

Elisabeth Moss is getting candid about her experience with Scientology.

The Golden Globe winner, 39, spoke about the religion during an interview published Friday by The New Yorker, explaining that while she doesn't often comment on Scientology in the press, she's not purposely hiding anything about her faith. "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," Moss said, adding: "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."

Scientology has long sparked controversy in Hollywood and beyond, and some fans of Moss's Hulu series The Handmaid's Tale have compared the religion to the Republic of Gilead, the oppressive fictional cult-like government on the show against which Moss's character June leads a rebellion.

"People can obviously hold in their mind whatever they want to, and I can't control that," Moss has said in the past of criticism she's received. "If it's not that, it's going to be something else."

elisabeth moss, handmaid's tale
Elisabeth Moss.

A second-generation Scientologist, Moss urged people to keep an open mind. "I would just encourage people to find out for themselves," she said.

"I've certainly been guilty of reading an article or watching something and taking that as gospel," Moss continued. "And obviously something like religious freedom and resistance against a theocracy is very important to me."

"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," she added.

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The Shining Girls actress also denied that the church forbids her from speaking to Leah Remini, a Scientology defector who opened up about her traumatic experience with the religion in her 2015 book Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology and the accompanying A&E docuseries.

"I have never received any request to talk to her," Moss claimed. "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."

Moss also commented on chatter about her leaving the room when Remini, 51, won a Television Critics Association Award for the series in 2017. "I went to the bathroom. I wish it was more exciting than that," she said.

In recent years, she has rarely spoken publicly on the topic, telling the Daily Beast in 2019 that she stays silent on the subject 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.

And she expressed similar sentiments during an interview with The Guardian in 2016, stress 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."

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